Going between two violins

February 20, 2018, 12:21 PM · Is it ok to have violins at two locations and go between both for practice?

The reason I ask is I am keeping one complete setup in my closet at work for my weekly lessons and one complete setup at home. Neither of the two are the same. I have only done this for one week. So far I seem to be ok taking concepts learned to my better violin at home.I needed to order an additional shoulder rest which hasn't come in yet so I just play that violin with no rest.
This helps get around last minute practice changes and keeping the violin in the car.

One added benefit is if I'm stuck at work waiting to pick up my wife I can play it there for awhile.

Does anyone else here do anything similar and how has that worked for you?

Replies (15)

February 20, 2018, 12:25 PM · It's not unusual for children to have "school" violins (cheap rentals that can be damaged without too much guilt) and "home" violins (much more expensive instruments that would cause heartbreak if damaged).

You just get used to playing both. It helps if they're similar.

February 20, 2018, 1:01 PM · I'm sure you'll be okay with that. The basics are the same, and as long as neither of them is a VSO... I don't have any problems with switching between my own and my son's violin. The main challenge for me would rather be the difference in bows, but one can also get used to that. (I own 5 at the moment, 4 of them being played regularly, and each of them teaches me a different lesson...)
February 20, 2018, 1:04 PM · I think it would be best if they had the same SR/CR arrangement.
February 20, 2018, 2:31 PM · If it doesn't bother you, it's almost certainly fine. It may depend on your technique, but I've found that my own technique is mostly helped, not hurt, by trying things out on another instrument or bow, even with a somewhat contrasting setup.

Switching bows can also sometimes suggest solutions to technical problems, though bows are also very opinionated about instruments (or vice versa), so you'll want to be sure you have a bow in each case that gets along with the instrument.

Edited: February 20, 2018, 3:05 PM · In any case, less complicated than going between two lovers...
February 20, 2018, 7:42 PM · I keep a violin at my work, and another at home. I think the benefits of being able to play some while on a short break a couple times a day are very helpful. Both violins play very differently, my home one is my main one. Its sound quality is much better especially in the higher registers. Overall, I have learned to adapt. As musicians we need to be able to adapt to different situations and instruments from time to time.
Edited: February 20, 2018, 8:48 PM · It is certainly okay to have two different instruments even if they have somewhat different setup, but the important thing is to be deliberate in your practice so that you learn from these differences rather than being hindered by them. For example, when practicing on a single instrument it is often beneficial for beginners to practice a passage with difficult fingering on different strings, this forces the student to make small adjustments that can highlight weaknesses in technique to resolve them. The same applies with different instruments.

If they have different scale lengths force yourself to listen and use it to train your ear rather than accidentally training yourself to accept bad intonation. Or if they have different response, make yourself aware of it to improve your right hand rather than allowing yourself to chalk it up to `it's better or worse.` There is definitely something to be said for getting intimate with a single violin and learning to make it sing. But if you take the right approach, what seems just a convenience to have two instead can help improve your understanding of playing the violin as a whole.

February 21, 2018, 12:01 PM · Thank you for the advice.

So far the only thing that seems different is the tone. They both feel pretty much the same. I believe some of my apprehension is mental in that
I am aware one violin is significantly less expensive than the other one.
If I didn't know this I believe I would feel more at ease.

Neither violin is bad per se. The bows I use on both are similar enough that I can't tell.I don't own a high end bow yet.

I want to be able to pull the one at work out and play it during a break, but I'm not sure I want to put up with the riff raff. I would love to do that though.If we ever get stranded at work I know I'll have something there to pass the time away.

I confess that I don't know if the scale lengths are much different. I seem to adjust to minor differences easily.

February 21, 2018, 12:37 PM · Can't you just bring your primary violin to work on the days you have lessons? It's a terrible shame to practice all week on one instrument and then go into your lesson with a violin you basically haven't played on at all.

I could see your current setup being a significant problem, especially as a beginner (because you don't have the ability to immediately work around the quirks of a given instrument).

If a student of mine told me this situation I would just make them take their violin into work (I have several that do this).

Does your teacher know about this?

February 21, 2018, 2:13 PM · I played on 2 and then 3 different violins for about 25 years depending on music being played, ensemble, and venue. I think they had the same string length but there were sufficient differences in instrument shape that I needed slightly different shoulder rest settings (I used a shoulder rest during those years) and the instruments had different tonal qualities and responded differently to bow speed and "weight." At that time I only had two bows and my choice of bow depended more on music being played than any other factor. All my violins have always had identical chinrests.

I saw no problem switching around - although from some recorded performances I later decided I probably had sometimes made the wrong choice of fiddle for the occasion.

I think there is no problem with what the OP is doing unless he has to play each instrument considerably differently.

February 21, 2018, 9:43 PM · Andrew, I feel it's a very different situation when we're talking about a beginner. It's relatively easy for an advanced player to adapt to the quirks of different violins at a moment's notice. But beginners often require hours or even days to adjust to a different violin, or any other small changes that might occur (different shoulder rest, different bow, etc...).
February 22, 2018, 6:36 AM · I also regularly play on two quite different violins, with quite different bows. I have no problem with it. in his original post Timothy seems to imply he has no real problems either. I think he was mainly asking if he was alone in this regard. you are not alone :-)
February 22, 2018, 6:18 PM · Q: "Is it ok to have violins at two locations and go between both for practice? ....Does anyone else here do anything similar and how has that worked for you?"

I have a cheap electric violin I never much liked but lately I've been bringing it to work to practice at lunch and whenever there's a break in the work. I already didn't fit in at the construction site, but now instead of my kindle it's a violin.

I LOVE being able to practice during the day, or in the morning in my car if I get to the site before the other guys, if it's raining and we're waiting it out, etc. I bring the electric because it's not delicate AND its quiet (I'm not very good yet), it's pretty impervious to temperature and humidity, etc. And I have a very short (and cheap) bow I use, so if in my car I sit in the passenger seat, lay the driver's seat down to make room, and rest my music book on the open glove compartment door. The car is a hatchback and yesterday it was so warm outside I used the rear windshield as a music stand, including using the wiper blade to hold the sheet music open --worked GREAT!

This violin plays very differently than my 2 real wood violins at home. I consider it a plus in the sense that it keeps me alert to what is happening, prevents robotic playing because I have to play close attention to the bow angle and how I'm holding the instrument.

February 23, 2018, 9:40 AM · Now I don't feel alone in what I'm doing. It is interesting to read the different ways people manage to find small amounts of time to play.

Unfortunately I only have a half hour for lunch. By the time I get the violin out of the case and tune it up I loose time.It takes me a few minutes to warm up. By that time lunch is almost over.

Will- I might also look for an electric one to practice with since I doubt anyone would hear that.I have more time after work when I'm waiting to pick up my wife.Don't feel bad about not fitting in. I feel like I'm from another planet at work. I do tend to let that difference get to me sometimes.

My teacher is aware of what I'm doing and hasn't objected yet. The advantages aren't huge. Still time savers for me. My teacher occasionally cancels or reschedules. Now it's no problem because I have a violin at work and my lessons are literally across the street from where I work.If we reschedule I didn't load a violin for no reason and drive it 30 miles or have to take it back home again.I have been known to forget a lesson day. If I remember too late it's no problem since the violin is always there. I have forgotten to bring it rushing around trying to get ready for work. I should never have that problem again.

I wish I could pick mine up and play it more during the day.

February 28, 2018, 7:14 AM · Here is a Tarisio story about Henryk Szyering who had a whole stack of violins at his disposal.


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