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Silent Violin

Technique and Practicing: My violin does not make any sound whatsoever when I use the bow with it, even after applying rosin for nearly twenty minutes.

From Seth Collins
Posted May 8, 2005 at 05:22 AM

I recently had my violin repaired, the strings and bridge replaced and I bought a new bow. I'm still looking for a place to take lessons but I thought I would try the violin before I left the shop and it was silent. Upon asking the man serving me told me I needed to apply rosin and I said alright and was on my way. Now however as I got an urge to see if I could do anything with it on my own, I applied rosin for five minutes or so and nothing. Figuring I simply didn't have enough on the bow, I applied rosin againt this time for a good twenty minutes and now it makes a little more sound, but nothing really noticable. So I am wondering, is it because the bow is new that I need to apply ALOT of rosin or do I need to heat the rosin or something or what? Thank you for your assistance.

From Bill Townsend
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 06:33 AM
Just keep applying rosin until you get sound. New hair sometimes takes a long time to rosin up...and new rosin will make the process even longer.
Also, make sure the soundpost is up inside the instrument. if by chance it fell or the repairer forgot to replace it, it would deaden the sound.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 09:57 AM
I usually take this in a whole different direction, but it's mother's day.

Sandpaper the top of the rosin till it's rough. That will help. If you break off a chunk of the rosin and pulverize it and rub the hairs through the powder that will help. Once it's finally rosined you don't have to rosin it much anymore.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 09:46 AM
Is the rosin new? You have to scratch up the surface of new rosin with something sharp first so that it will start coming off on the bow.
From Sarah Benedict
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 10:17 AM
I had a weird experience with a student once. They had bought a new violin online from someplace and I looked at it in class when they brought it in. I could not get a sound out of it...even with my own bow. I then looked at the spare strings the violin came with....can you believe the strings had been oiled? I told the student to bring in some money to buy a new set of strings (I often kept some for students just to make that process go faster rather than waiting a week for their parents to have a chance to get to the music store). I put on a new set of strings, had them rosin the bow well (it was also new hair with no rosin) and the combination worked.
So...I am not sure what to suggest...try changing strings if the rosin expiraments don't work.

Good luck.

From Michael Molnar
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 01:25 PM
You don't need a lot of rosin to get a bow working. If the soundpost is in place, the problem is with the strings. Replace them.
From N.A. Mohr
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 03:00 PM
...but he said they are brand new strings...isn't it odd that none of the 4 brand new strings would be 'good'? Unless they are all oiled as Sarah mentioned...but it that likely to happen if they came from a shop?

I also think it's odd the shop wouldn't have made sure it was producing sound before left the premises...

From Michael Molnar
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 03:45 PM
Yes it is odd, but I think my troubleshooting steps will resolve the problem. How this happened is another issue; find the problem first before identifying how it happened. I suspect someone used a cleaning cloth on the strings which contained a polishing oil.
From Wenhao Sun
Posted on May 8, 2005 at 05:57 PM
Another thing, my friend had a violin without a soundpost, check for that, look through the f-holes and there should be a beam sticking up under the bridge. That's where the sound gets from the strings to the violin itself.
From Michael Molnar
Posted on May 9, 2005 at 12:42 AM
Maybe it's an electric violin and it wasn't plugged in. [grins]
From Peter Kent
Posted on May 9, 2005 at 03:48 AM
Most probably you need to apply powdered rosin to the bow...I take the fragments from fractured cakes, grind them in a mortar/pestil arrangment and have a lifetime's worth in a rather large aluminum salt-shaker. Re-hairings and new bows work better, faster if powdered rosin is sprinkled on the hair and then rosinned with normal cake aplication.
From Christina Wilke
Posted on May 11, 2005 at 03:42 AM
It sometimes takes me as much as 50 minutes of rosin-ing before I get a sound. If it's brand new rosin, then I also suggest sandpaper as many others have. It helps to break up and loosen the rosin.
From erin dupree
Posted on May 14, 2005 at 12:33 AM
Take the [nut] end of your bow (the frog end) and rough up the surface of the rosin. That makes some powder. This suggestion is what I do, and it is sort've in-between the first two techniques. :)
From Ron Gorthuis
Posted on May 19, 2005 at 02:52 AM
what make of violin, what strings, what bow, and how old?
From Michael Molnar
Posted on May 19, 2005 at 08:42 PM
Seth,

How did you resolve the problem ?????????????????

From Mendy Smith
Posted on May 28, 2005 at 05:36 AM
Change your strings. This happened to me before, and all that changed was a new set of strings. The only way I caould get a sound was to put more rosin on the bow than I should have and playing fff. I still don't know what was wrong with the strings.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on May 28, 2005 at 05:45 AM
One of my students recently had the same experience as you. The cause was ultra crummy rosin. It wouldn't even come off onto her bow. She tried the rosin I use, a pretty ordinary, inexpensive variety, and it worked like a charm.
From Justin Haupt
Posted on May 29, 2005 at 04:55 AM
New bows *do* need alot of rosin to start, but if you're still not having luck after 20 minutes, than something might be wrong. If you want to try changing the strings, I recommend waiting until you actually start lessons (from your post it seems like you haven't begun yet?).

Also (and this might sound dumb, but if you're a beginner we might as well rule it out), are you tightening the bow hair? There should be about a pencil's width of space between the bow's wood and its hair.

Hope your violin finds its voice!


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