Printer-friendly version

Playing by the Numbers

Krista Moyer

Written by
Published: September 5, 2014 at 1:00 AM [UTC]

I’m not in the market for a violin. Not really. I keep saying that. After all, I’ve only had my current violin for a year and I really do like it. However, it’s a 3/4 and I’m constantly being pressured by people who know nothing about me, my teacher, my playing, or my physical limitations, to consider a full sized instrument.

They give me many examples of why I “should” have a full sized violin. Midori can do it, they’re tiny and have no problem, I’ll never get taken seriously with a fractional, no one will ever hear my violin, the sound will never compare, I’m silly for listening to my teacher, I can just learn to deal with the discomfort, etc. Sometimes it feels as if the cards are stacked against me.

With all that going on, it’s only natural that I should explore what is out there, right? Sure, I’m the rankest of amateurs; I rarely play in front of anyone but my husband or teacher. But hey, what does it hurt to try?

I finally got the opportunity to see what I was missing. I was fortunate to visit a local maker, Don Leister, who was kind enough to allow me to take one of his full size violins for a home trial. I am delighted by the sound of this violin. It sounds similar to the one I have, but bigger. It’s hard to explain. It’s just more – more volume, more resonance, more color. It has a wonderful response, and speaks to me. It doesn't hurt that it's also beautiful.

There’s only one problem. This violin is too big. I don’t think it’s simply a matter of getting used to it. My hand aches after 15 minutes of playing. I can’t crank my elbow far enough under the instrument to play in high positions, especially on the G string. The pegs are so far away I have to take it down to tune because I can’t reach them all. Clearly I’m cursed with T-rex arms.

That’s not to say that I will never play anything larger than a 3/4. Don also makes 7/8 size instruments. I briefly played one that he made that had recently been acquired by a new acquaintance of mine. I believe I was told it was based on a Bergonzi pattern. It has a wonderful sound that easily measures up to various full sized instruments I have heard. While Don doesn’t have any on hand at present, he said he would call when he has one available.

As I told him, I'm not in a hurry. There is plenty of time to right-size my violin. In the meantime, I'm still having a love affair with my 3/4 violin. Shhhhh.... don't tell my husband!


From 199.172.208.119
Posted on September 6, 2014 at 9:16 PM
I've had a similar experience. I was playing a full-size that I felt was too big for me, too much of a struggle. All the big people I asked teacher included, assured me that I wasn't that small, smaller people than me played full-size...

Then, after weeks of agonising, I asked my local string shop if I could play their 7/8 and 3/4 violins...

To cut a long story short, I traded in my full size for a 7/8... And am delighted. Just sorry it took me so long to find out!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Pirastro Strings

Coda Bow

Violin Lounge Academy

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Corilon Violins

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Subscribe