Practice routine. Fiddling around.

June 17, 2016 at 04:23 PM · I own a new violin for a few months now but I hesitate to play it.

Why expose the new violin to constant risk of handling, tuning, etc. ?

My old violin is fine for practice sessions.

Is there a downside here ?

Replies (33)

June 17, 2016 at 04:33 PM · If you bought the violin, use it by all means. It was meant to be tuned/handled/played. I guess the only downside is that you may feel like you didn't get your money's worth if you aren't using your new violin.

June 17, 2016 at 05:27 PM · A violin won't give of its best if you don't play it often. 10 minutes daily?

June 17, 2016 at 07:04 PM · Greetings,

I have to confess I am puzzled by this post since you have a lot of experience with the violin now. After nearly fifty years of playing , teaching etc. I had no idea there was any risk whatsoever in handling and tuning the violin. I hope you can resolve this isuue which seems to be more something in your imagination than reality. Violins were built to be used and are very offended when they are ignored.



June 17, 2016 at 09:57 PM · A violin sort of "wakes up" when used. It is like leather bands for necklaces, belts, and bracelets. The more you wear it, it will loosen up. The more you play a on instrument, the more it opens up and becomes better.

June 18, 2016 at 12:07 AM · Well-made violins are sturdy little critters that have lasted nicely for some several hundreds of years ... if played and tuned often.

June 18, 2016 at 01:20 AM · 'Constant risk' : what on earth are you talking about ? Violins are not like paintings, made to hang on the wall to look at. They are meant to be played...they WANT to be played. If it is a new violin then it will probably benefit from being played. The sound of a new violin can often improve dramatically over the first few months (mine did)and you will never know unless you play it.

Your old violin should be kept for travel and camping trips.

June 18, 2016 at 02:08 AM · Part of the truth is that the new violin is great but I am intimidated by it.

June 18, 2016 at 02:50 AM · Easy to be intimidated by the unfamiliar; only real solution--make it familiar.

June 19, 2016 at 07:52 PM · why did you buy the violin, if not to play it?

June 20, 2016 at 12:20 PM · I'm expecting to play more in church and I sometimes enjoy personal sessions.

What could I do to put a "good" violin at risk?

Drop it.

Leave it reachable to the dogs while I panic looking for the phone.

Whack the scroll on the music stand.

I'm sure there are more risks!

June 20, 2016 at 12:59 PM · Maybe you should switch over to piano....just saying.

June 20, 2016 at 02:35 PM · "They" say just treat it like a 2 yr old.


June 20, 2016 at 03:37 PM · But a 2 year old would be expected to grow up while my personal and monetary investments keep growing. Guess I'm stuck with a violin for now.

June 20, 2016 at 03:53 PM · I have read several posters who say split their practice time between several instruments.

That said I do not understand this thread at all.


June 20, 2016 at 04:00 PM · I can't think of a worse excuse to not practice.

June 20, 2016 at 04:36 PM ·

June 20, 2016 at 04:49 PM · I was actually hoping to hear a reason that a violin might benefit from restricted use besides physical safety.

I think the answer lies with multi-instrument people who seem to do O K without time rationing.

June 20, 2016 at 06:34 PM · I'm confused. You're wanting justification to not play a new Violin you bought? I guess if you want a decoration piece...otherwise, what is the point of having the instrument?

June 20, 2016 at 07:13 PM · I did not explain the real question very well to begin with.

The subject is my new violin and what, if anything special, should I be doing or not doing. Is there a "break-in" protocol?

I can accept that the answer is "no" which would put that concern to rest.

All I have for dating is "anno 2016" (Eastman 305) so this violin has a long way to go.

June 20, 2016 at 07:44 PM · Why not put it through a year of your usual use. Then you will be familiar with all of the nuances.


June 20, 2016 at 08:49 PM · Yeah, it is hardly a violin as it is right now !

I forgot about that.

June 20, 2016 at 08:52 PM ·

June 21, 2016 at 12:01 PM · My procedure for a new violin has been to use an old unimportant bow and a $1 a set steel strings. I play very aggressively until the strings break (broke 6 in one day, my record). I also use ear plugs. The student quality violins were used to learn how to handle, where to lay and how to hang the violin, along with how to swing the scroll without bumping it.

I found that good violins are more "picky", your finger better be in the exact spot to be in tune, so I had to play that violin to learn the nuances.

Bottom line: I am happy that you have your new violin and that your adventure continues. Have you found your wolf yet?

June 21, 2016 at 03:34 PM · I tend to be of the opinion that you can't afford to buy things that you can't actually afford to use for fear of damaging them.

You're not dealing with a precious, irreplaceable antique / heirloom either. It's a factory/workshop student violin and the world will be no worse off even if you smash it. You might be sad, of course, but a violin of this type is meant to be an abusable workhorse.

June 21, 2016 at 05:16 PM · Well said Lydia!!

June 21, 2016 at 08:47 PM · Lydia

I have been indoctrinated on this very forum that a qualified violinist can make anything sound good and I'm working on it even though my model violin didn't come with the wolf option.

June 22, 2016 at 04:25 AM · A better instrument will shape you into a better player. A qualified violinist is capable of making junk sound good because playing a higher-quality instrument has trained them in how to produce sound properly, whether or not the instrument itself is really responding well to that proper technique.

Use the best thing you have available to you. After all you already own it.

June 23, 2016 at 02:59 PM · I guess that for the sake of maintenance I have no choice but to exercise both violins about equally.

But now this leaves my electric somewhere in the middle and I love the electric without the racket of the acoustics.

The 15" viola will just have to suffer.

June 24, 2016 at 03:15 PM · Bob C Incidentally ..... your "picky" remark did not go without notice. I found the same thing with the new (better) violin but this is forcing me to be more careful

( or worse?)

June 24, 2016 at 11:46 PM · I found that if I keep the bridge positioned on each violin to give the same vibrating string length, and the string clearances above the fingerboard are the same between violins, then I don't notice a need to alter fingering slightly between violins.

To me, "playing in" a violin means conditioning one's bow arm and ear to react to the responsiveness and tone of the violin, not the other way around. If there are noticeable differences in responsiveness and tone between your violins, then you might be better off just using the "better" one and demote the "lesser" one to emergency use.

June 25, 2016 at 01:06 AM · Well, as long as you mention it ..... I have to politely disagree.

I think that each violin includes a feedback loop which, unfortunately, includes "under the ear". The violin must talk back to close the loop with the players in-process inputs. If the violin is returning a poor "signal" than how does the player get a true impression.

I think there is a living demo violin for my prejudices.

My electric.

Forget about amps, distortion tricks, etc. My electric is the easiest of my 5 instruments because it can just about deliver a sine wave without distraction from weird harmonics, etc.

In fact, after some punishing practice sessions I will often pick up the electric to convince myself that I just haven't lost it.

My best excursions into various violin studios have allowed me to play instruments in the $7500 range and I found out why. They spoke with beauty and accuracy. I'll report if I ever get one :) Such violins are so good that I became the accessory.

June 25, 2016 at 07:45 AM · @ Darlene - I have to disagree too. Put on a practice mute (or an ordinary mute) and the instrument becomes easier to play, because the frequency range has been limited. (Overtones, harmonics etc). It's the same as using a cheaper mic, it does not pick up the real sound. So an electric fiddle is easy.

And you need to get more experience with more expensive instruments - because some of these are quite hard to play. Even if you get a genuine del Jesu to try, it may well be an absolute ****** to play!

June 25, 2016 at 01:22 PM · I've had a few situations which were funny and alarming at the same time relative to this topic.

On rare occasions, I actually could not play a note in satisfactory pitch and worse, I couldn't find the note at all ! I'm talking about regular music at regular tempo. Nothing fancy. A millisecond event.

This is one reason I use cotton in the left ear. ( The less of my music I hear, the better I get )

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