Would you be comfortable to share your violin with your girlfriend or spouse

January 4, 2017 at 04:40 PM · Let's say that you have an expensive violin that you cherish. Are you inclined or disinclined to share your violin with a person who means so much to you or you'd prefer that your violin shouldn't be played by anyone else as long as it is in your possession or ownership.

Assume that the other person knows how to handle and play the violin.

By expensive, I meant monetary and sentimental value.

Replies (28)

January 4, 2017 at 05:23 PM · Does this other person know how to handle and play a violin? That is there first question to be asked and answered. It is not a good ida for a newbie to start out with an expensive instrument.

2nd question: What do you mean by expensive?

January 4, 2017 at 05:23 PM · If she knew how to handle a fine violin, why not? Furthermore, my violin and bows are well insured. The only issue I could find: how to play duets?!! So I guess I'd definitely get her her own....

January 4, 2017 at 05:25 PM · My wife is the better violinist by far, so if anyone is going to handle our instruments, it should probably be her. :)

January 4, 2017 at 06:04 PM · Assume that the other person knows how to handle and play the violin.

By expensive, I meant monetary and sentimental value

January 4, 2017 at 08:10 PM · Depends on whether or not they have cooties. ;-)

January 4, 2017 at 08:23 PM · Probably not in the long term because the two of us may need a violin at the same time. If it's just for an hour, that's okay. I'm comfortable giving my violin to people for short periods of time.

January 4, 2017 at 09:00 PM · David is right, cooties is the factor here! :)

January 4, 2017 at 10:14 PM · Interesting question! I've had no problem briefly handing over my favorite violin and bow (and others) for a colleague to try. So why not a qualified girlfriend or wife? If the other person plays at a good professional level, it's fine. If I hand over my violin and bow for someone much better than I am to try, I'm honored - and I feel that my violin and bow are honored, too! This has happened twice with me and Glenn Dicterow.

But there are other issues that come to mind. People have joked (?) about cooties...what about perspiration? Some people play for one minute and the fingerboard is all sticky. And when a violin is played for long enough periods by a particular player its response changes. And as much as I might like her perfume, would I want it on my chinrest? How far must intimacy go?

And how about this issue: all things being equal, how desirable is it for 2 people in a relationship to play the same instrument professionally? Yes, I've seen it work, but not for me. I feel that one talented, ambitious, accomplished, neurotic violinist per couple is more than enough! Aside from many other things, I'd prefer a significant other to have a real appreciation for classical music and supportiveness for what I do - but not be a professional musician, herself. If she is one, I'd rather she be say a pianist or flutist - so that we are as much apples and oranges as we can be. Or better yet, let her do something that can help me. Let her be a violin maker, or better yet, a manager! Hmmm...I seemed to have drifted from violinist.com to Match.com!

January 4, 2017 at 10:15 PM · As long as the person was capable of handling the violin, of course I would. My wife was good enough to carry my children, she can do whatever she wants with my violin. In the long run, a violin is an object that can be replaced. Replacing a spouse is much more expensive.

January 4, 2017 at 10:50 PM · Depending on how ironclad the pre-nup is....

January 4, 2017 at 11:53 PM · Raphael, reading your posts is always a pleasure, I always end up smiling or simply laughing, hahaha.

Well, Gautam, since you've already said that the person knows how to play the violin, then if I had an expensive violin I would have no problem at all to share it "a little bit" with a friend of mine, yeah, a friend, it hasn't has to be a girlfriend or spouse, just a good friend of mine. By "a little bit" I mean I can go out with him/her and let him/her play it the whole evening. I'd have no problem to play the piano along, accompanying the violin. I'm like Raphael in that way, I feel honored when a violinist plays my violin, and he doesn't have to be better than me at all, as long as he plays a nice piece, I will feel happy. And of course, if it's better than me, I'd feel twice as honored, and I will probably ask him (like always) what he doesn't like about my rig. I love to hear reasoned bad things about my bow or violin, much better than when they compliment my violin or bow.

Now, the situation you expose is a little different, I see you're talking about a constant share. Well, if your girlfriend is a violinist, it seems quite weird she doesn't have a violin, or if she has a worse violin than yours, I don't know why she'd want to play your violin constantly instead of hers. I mean, I would understand if she asked your violin to play a concert one night, cause the sound would be better, but each violinist should practice and play with his own violin.

Now, I've suffered it, a very important thing about Raphael's post. The perfume, THE PERFUME. I once let a girl friend of mine play my violin (few months ago), she played it for 2 hours and I played the piano along. Now, I didn't expect what happened after that: my God, the chinrest would smell like her perfume for 1 whole week, ONE WHOLE WEEK!

So please, girls, boys, gentlemen, maidens... when playing violin, please, please, don't take a perfume/cologne shower, please. At least don't take it if you're gonna play someone else's instrument.

Nonetheless, there are certain terms one must accomplish before I let him play my violin:

-You can NOT be a violist. My God, what are you thinking, asking this to a professional musician? Go ask some maracas to the percussion guy.

-You can't own a viola. If you come to me and ask for my violin, and I see that you own a viola, men, you're in big trouble.

-You can't like violas. I mean, if you like violas, w... what the heck, who likes violas anyway?

Now seriously, the issue for me about this whole topic is the other way around. I can't play an instrument of a musician I really love, I don't like that idea, at all. If you're a legend to me, don't ask me to play your instrument, cause that's almost the same (for me) as asking me to kiss your wife, I just can't.

Nevertheless, in the violin world this is kind of hard, cause there are these legendary violins that pass from generation to generation, and if I ever get to the point of being a master violinist, I will not be able to refuse a Stradivarius from another famous violinist. That's the only exception. These legendary violins are the only ones that break my golden rule. The problem is... my legends seem to like Stradivarius, Amati's, Guarneris... shame on you, legends.

January 5, 2017 at 12:09 AM · If one is swappin' spit with their lover, what's so gross about letting them play your violin?

January 5, 2017 at 12:27 AM · Not the violin...had a colleague who has what we term "acid hands." His sweat corrodes the heck out of metal keys, so none of us ever wanted to let him try or borrow our clarinets. His own instrument's keys were practically rusting off...

January 5, 2017 at 03:09 AM · Hahahaha, the Rusty Man, it's actually a super power, xD.

January 5, 2017 at 05:08 AM · The better question is, are you comfortable with it, Gautam?

January 5, 2017 at 07:32 AM · My ex-wife to whom I was married for over 20 years, also a professional player, got my J.B.Vuillaume violin when we divorced. She never used it for work. Too Loud !

Whilst for a couple seeing "eye to eye" is possible and a bonus, hearing "ear to ear" might not be so easy.

January 5, 2017 at 11:33 AM · @David Beck. If you don't mind my asking--Were you asked to forfeit the violin as part of the divorce? Does violin come into play during asset division? Or you just chose to hand it to her as a souvenir.

@Bailey Tincher. It would be very uncomfortable for me to see it in someone's hands. I am fine with it if it is just for a couple of minutes on condition that I am near the violin. Maybe I will change my mind later on, but for now, this is how I would feel.

January 5, 2017 at 01:12 PM · David raised an interesting. issue, because if your significant other uses your violin often and you end up splitting up, perhaps they might have a stronger claim and desire to keep the instrument for themselves.

Another potential concern might be 'if the instrument was damaged/destroyed in another person's hands, would the incident become a thorn of contention in the relationship?'. Something to consider.

Personally, I think I'm the sort that would be able to share. But it would be something I would have to consider first, and I would be very understanding if she didn't want to share her violin with me. It wouldn't seem strange to me if someone didn't want me using their violin.

January 5, 2017 at 02:03 PM · Like sharing a toothbrush. Ew.

January 5, 2017 at 03:01 PM · There is no small difference between girlfriend or spouse in my vocabulary.

As always, it depends... Craig has already hinted on some nuances....

January 5, 2017 at 03:30 PM · "@David Beck. If you don't mind my asking--Were you asked to forfeit the violin as part of the divorce? Does violin come into play during asset division? Or you just chose to hand it to her as a souvenir."

Yes, the violins & bows we had were deemed to be part of our joint marital assets and what I needed to forfeit was by chance the value of the Vuillaume instrument. I saw and tried the violin years later, when a subsequent prospective purchaser brought it to me to confirm that it was the same one I had owned and played, and which colleagues had rated highly. But I didn't have any great regrets. It was a good instrument to play, but I have become more deeply attached to Italian-made fiddles I have owned.

No - it wasn't just handed over as a souvenir !

January 5, 2017 at 04:02 PM · Good topic.I have been always hesitant to hand my Garimberti to my wife for her to play in church.Twice it has come back with deep sctratches on the ribs and back from not putting on the shoulder rest correctly.What do I say? I take many deep breaths , politely point out the damage and book time with Tim Bergen.After the repair I respectfully gave my wife a refresher course in instrument safety and preventitive maintenance.It's just good to be open with your spouse and while being loving and respectful be honest about your concerns dealing with an object that will be part of my retirement package in a decades' time.

January 7, 2017 at 03:47 AM · So when all is said and done, 'swapping spit' - or anything else (I'll leave it at that; this is a family show!) may be one thing, but when it comes to long-term violin sharing I say "le' go my Eggo!"

January 7, 2017 at 05:01 AM · I am with Raphael on this one but in a sense hypocritical because I play her mandolin from time to time.

January 8, 2017 at 12:16 AM · The bigger question is whether your wife will wreck your violin's tone if she plays out of tune. Or whether she can improve your violin's tone if her intonation is better than yours ...

January 8, 2017 at 04:58 AM · What if your wife finds out that you've been sharing with your girlfriend? You might want to think about that possibility, yes?

January 8, 2017 at 01:12 PM · In that case, my poor violin will pay the price :(

January 8, 2017 at 02:35 PM · If there is a silver lining to this saga,Tim cut a new soundpost and cleaned the violin at the same time as the varnish repair.I am leaning toward your "Eggo" idea Raphael for the next church gig.Just after my self righteous post on Jan.5th, I wacked my Peccatte bow on a stand and broke the side of the ivory tip.Humble pie is good eaten slowly.....

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