I'm a 19 year old student living in Prague. I recently bought a violin after not having played since I was 13. I didn't really remember how to play when I entered the store, so I was really at a loss as to what to buy. Anyways, I picked out an instrument for $500(after the case and bow everything came out to about $750). I specifically picked this one because it did not sound like a normal violin. I do not really like the bright crisp sound most violins have, this one is much softer, more like a viola.
I brought the instrument home and began to play on it.
I originally played the violin for maybe 6 years in the Suzuki method starting at the age of 4. Despite having asked for a violin for my 4th birthday, I did not enjoy playing it at all. My parents where not so good to me and the violin practices where among the worst. I could hardly play a measure before my mother would stop me and point out some mistake. We'd often spend the whole day working on just three notes...
I later moved on to the viola when my Suzuki teacher retired. I ended up spending about a year fiddling, bluegrass which I very much enjoyed. I quit when I was in my early teens anyways.
I no longer live with my parents, and I have decided to relearn the violin. I hide in the attic, where I hope no one can hear my awful squeaks. I've been playing it for about two days now, and have noticed something "wrong" with my violin. I guess I could probably take it back to the shop as I've had it less than a week, but I'd like to have your opinion on whether this is fatal first.
I'll try here to explain to you the problem. When I pluck the strings, each rings for about a second and a half. Starting with one tone, and then "fading" to another. All of the strings fade at about the same rate, EXCEPT the A string, which fades almost twice as quickly. This translates, to when bowing, I have to bow the A string quite a bit more vigorously than the others, in order to get the same tone.
I don't really know much about the violin, I'll try to ask next time I'm at the shop. It has "HOPF" engraved on the back, but no placard inside(at least as far as I can tell, it's very dusty inside, has cobwebs growing it it I think). It was clearly a practice instrument for many years, probably at a music school, given the scaring and bruising covering it's body. But it does have a very beautiful ringing sound(except for that darn A string!)...
One thing I did take note of, is that the shop put new strings and tuner pegs(mechanical ones on the tail piece) on the violin for me. The A string is different than I'm used to in that it has a plastic tube thing on it over the bridge like the E string(unlike my old 3/4 size violin). The A string is also tightly bound and shiny like the E string rather than visibly "grooved" like the G and D strings, which is also new for me. The shop said there is a choice between metal and synthetic strings. I chose metal, maybe I should change the A string to synthetic?
I must say, I was rather afraid of tuning the violin after the new strings stretched out. The last time I had tuned a violin was several years ago. My mother has a rare violin, and by this I don't mean a strad, nothing quality like that. It was sold in a catalog a long time ago and has a mother of pearl drawing on the back. Most of it's "sister" violins from the same catalog burned in a fire, so it's simply one of the last left in it's line. When I tried to tune it though, two of the strings promptly broke marking the front. It's now siting under a table somewhere and should probably be repaired.
Anyways, I just noticed that I had tuned my current violin wrong. Not that it was flat or sharp, but simply because I had tuned it to some OTHER set of notes than G,D,A, and E! Having fixed that doesn't seem to have remedied the problem with the A string though.
It reminds me of a lesson a long time ago when I couldn't remember how one of the songs began(I never claimed on here to be musically talented nor intelligent). My teacher hummed for me a few bars to stir my memory, and I began to play the song with some difficulty. My mother and teacher laughed hysterically. Apparently my teacher had hummed the tune slightly sharp, and I had begun to play it just the way she had sung it. Including placing my first finger down to correct the open notes...
I hope someone can answer my question, and that I didn’t just flush $500 down the drain(not really, the violin still works, it’s just a little “weird”).
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