Advice, please ;)

September 20, 2005 at 05:21 AM · Hello all!

I need something for silent practice. Well, it's not very easy to find a silent violin where I live, but I've found Harley Benton violins (HBV400 & HBV700). Has anyone here tried them out? What do you think of them? I only need this for night practice (I plan on doing most of my practice on the acoustic), and since they're relatively cheap, I thought I'd give it a try. Suggestions?

Replies (18)

September 20, 2005 at 06:27 AM · Is there any way to practice all your stuff on the acoustic and leave the evenings for study of theory or your scores? It is not in your best interest to play often (especially if it is part of your practice routine) on a silent instrument because you get no feedback in tone or pitch. You could be really practicing incorrect shifts and improper bowing and not even realise it.

However, I understand the need to be quiet at night. The best I can suggest is a large practice mute and playing in some closed off room away from other people. At least with the mute you can still hear pitch- although this mute can alter where the notes are on the fingerboard if pushed down to maximum muting power.

September 20, 2005 at 11:54 PM · Wash all of the rosin off your bow! You get a kind of spooky ghost sound.

September 21, 2005 at 03:30 AM · Doesn't that feel just like a limp handshake?

September 21, 2005 at 03:40 AM · Yamaha makes a good silent fiddle which you can play with earphones (and the sound in the headphones is quite realistic). Plus, your neighbors will love you for it!

September 21, 2005 at 05:45 AM · late at night when I watch movies I like just to pluck away on my violin, practice difficult parts from a concerto or show piece. I find it really helps and it's fun, but I never do it unless I'm alone because I doubt someone wants to hear me practice fingerings over and over.

September 21, 2005 at 06:10 PM · I've been looking at the Plug 'n Play violins in the recent Shar music catalog and will probably get myself one for Christmas. They don't have the Plug 'n Play up on their website yet, but you can order a catalog from them.

Where did you find the silent violins you're asking about? I'd like to check those out too....


September 21, 2005 at 06:27 PM · I don't mean to be controversial, but just what is the *point* of trying to practice without proper sound production?

It seems to me that all you will do is counter-productive if you attempt to play something without the audible feedback of a properly resonating violin!

If you want to play electric, then fine, put on headphones and you get the response appropriate to your instrument (unless you like to play feedback a la Hendrix). But an acoustic violin is supposed to resonate. How is practicing on a "silent" violin going to do anything other than create a lot of bad habits?

OK, so the counter-argument will say, "yes, but I can work on my left-hand stuff, my scales and stuff." Well, sorry to break it to you, but the left hand does not do what you want unless the right hand is doing what it should. How can you practice scales--or any other thing for that matter--if you cannot properly hear and judge the intonation? Your "silent violin" will not produce sound the same way, and so your practice will only benefit you on that "silent violin." Sure, you might help your gross muscle memory for certain licks etc, but if you are practicing a piece of music that you would like to play in recital, you will undo it!



November 15, 2005 at 09:25 PM · If you're looking for something relatively cheap, why not try ebay? You get what you pay for, of course, but if you're not looking for good quality in particular, just something to practice quietly, you will be able to find something. I just bought an electric one, for the same reason, and for what I paid, it was a fantastic deal. Yes, cheap, but it does the trick. It makes just enough sound so you can hear it, you don't even need to plug it in, unless you want to.

November 16, 2005 at 11:12 PM · the cheap answer is a heavy metal mute

November 16, 2005 at 11:18 PM · Just to let you know, Bill P:

Menuhin advised violinists to practice every so often with a practice mute. I need to look it up in his book to find specific reasons as to why, but he did.

November 16, 2005 at 11:22 PM · Just be careful with a heavy metal mute - it might not be a problem on the violin, but on the viola, the vibrations of the bridge can throw it off - you wouldn't want to chip your varnish!

November 17, 2005 at 02:21 AM · Greetings,

Menuhin`s reason was he genuinly belived this was how to rest the ears and preserve sensitivity. he also drpaed toilet @paper over the instrument to protect it from rosin. The forme ris actually a rather interesting point. Rosand has said in a numbe rof interviewes that he has his studnets begin the day or practice session or a new piuece without extremes of dynamics . Likewise Eddie Brown argues the best dynamic for development of a singing tone is mf on slow bows.

What do people think aboutways of developing a big sound and retaining sensitivity/projection or whatever?



November 23, 2005 at 04:11 PM · Samantha,

Out of curiosity, which electric did you get off eBay? I recently got one, and yup, it was cheap... and I'm having a heck of a time keeping it in tune, darn pegs.

November 23, 2005 at 11:13 PM · Hi there. I bought a Sojing electric, from JulliardsMusic. The pegs do slip a bit, but in between playing and not during, especially the g string. So it's not too bad. I just ram them back in. I think chalk might help, but I haven't bothered yet. Then again, it might not, because it's all plastic, even the pegs. For the price, though, I really can't complain too much. Don't think I could have found anything comparable elsewhere for 43.00 US, which includes the shipping.

January 12, 2011 at 10:47 PM ·

I was thinking it might be possible to use a good mute in combination with some sort of pickup/headphone set up that might allow one to practice 'silently'. Anyone know of anything like this? Thanks.

January 15, 2011 at 06:08 PM ·

I tried several mutes, rubber, heavy metal, and while they dampened the sound it was still too audible for me to play without bothering others.

I got a $100 "silent" violin from ebay. It has tone and volume control, and a headphone and output jack if you want to play it through an amp. The sound is not performance quality, but it is great for practicing. I take it on travel and can practice in hotel rooms, it is quieter than a TV, but with the headphones it sounds full and loud to me!  I had to work on the setup, the bridge was not shaped correctly and the strings were junk, as was the bow. I put on some decent helicore and had the bridge reset and got a decent carbon composite bow from Shar. It has worked out very well for me for "silent" practice. 

I got the one with the complete violin shape....



January 16, 2011 at 07:57 PM ·

I have a "silent" practice viola thatI bought from ebay seller tdzpf. They call their brand "Yinfente" It has a thin solid body but still has resonance so i can hear sympathetic vibrations. No electric/silent violin/viola is going to be silent but just very quiet. I often play without using the electronics and sometimes use a heavy metal mute on it to be really quiet. the pegs work beautifully and the whole thing is playable right out of the box. If you are picky like me you can go to your luthier and have him/her match the set up (bridge, nut, string height, etc) to your acoustic instrument. It came with a useable bow (comparable to something you might pay $75 dollars for in a store) and i was able to have it custom made to match my viola (stop length, distance from nut to shoulder, and body length) I couldn't live without it! I keep it in the kitchen and can steal a few minutes of practice time whenever I want. Sounds pretty good hooked up to my micro cube when I want to "rock out" too!

January 17, 2011 at 07:16 PM ·

Liz, I'm curious about your Yinfente violin.  Do you keep it in it's case or out on a stand without fear of it cracking due to dry winter air in the house? 

I've been looking at similar violins to use for a practice instrument for the same reason as you; keep it out where it's handy so I can get in 15 minutes here and there.

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