Primavera 200 - notes

February 21, 2021, 12:39 PM · Hi
I'm currently starting on my journey playing the violin, it's something I've always wanted to do and finally I've plucked up the courage to do it. My problem is that the lessons I'm following on YouTube have given me the measurements as to where the notes are located. But that doesn't seem to fit my Primavera 200 (recommended by different reviewers and music shops). I even bought one of those stickers which identify where the notes are, not to use it but just to simply check it against the violin. That seemed to follow the YouTube teacher's guide. However, for me those 1st finger notes of A F B Fsharp are closer to the nut (so instead of 36mm they're about 22mm from the nut). The bridge is lined up with the F holes, so that seems fine. So, I suppose I'm asking are violins not all the same? Also should I not worry about this? I play piano and classical guitar and it never entered my mind that all violins might not be the same - certainly not mentioned during the YouTube lessons.

My other issue related to this then is that those notes A flat, E flat, B flat and F are really close to the nut and I'm struggling to get them accurately. Should I not worry about this? Are they notes for more advanced players? Years ahead?

Sorry if all these are very basic questions but they are really bothering me. It's hard enough to play without me worrying if there's something wrong with the violin or I'm not putting my finger in the place I'm being told to.


Replies (19)

February 21, 2021, 12:40 PM · I think all violins vary in size even if its minute. May also be to do if your instrument is tuned
February 21, 2021, 2:01 PM · A half inch difference at the first step isn't minute. I wonder what the length is from nut to bridge.
Edited: February 21, 2021, 3:08 PM · For a note to be that far out of tune, so close to the upper nut, due to wrong bridge placement, would require a difference in bridge position of about three inches to account for a half inch error near the upper nut. So that probably doesn't explain Barbara's issue adequately.

Barbara, since you are already a piano and guitar player, I would suggest that you proceed for the time being by trusting your own intonation judgement, over the plethora of crap (particularly from all the wanna-be violin experts on youtube).

February 21, 2021, 5:17 PM · I just took my violin, put my finger on the A on the G string and measured the distance to the nut. Doing this it occurred to me that the discrepancy may be due to from where on the finger you measure. The 36 mm is from the nut to the "bridge side" of the finger. It replicates pretty precisely on my instrument. If you however measure the distance between the nut and the "nut side" of the finger you may get 22 mm depending on the diameter of your finger and the angle of your finger against the fingerboard (vertical or leaning).

I don't see any other way to explain this discrepancy.

February 21, 2021, 9:47 PM · Albrecht, I think that's the solution. Occam's razor.
Edited: February 22, 2021, 4:24 AM · Barbara, almost certainly your nut is too high. This is a common problem with cheap violins.

It's not a massive problem for an absolute beginner, as long as other aspects of playing it feel reasonably comfortable, but if after a few months you still enjoy playing it, you can start saving up for something better (at least double your money for each upgrade).

If I Google Primavera 200, I get mostly British sites, so if you are British, you could think about getting something like a Stentor Conservatoire or better from

February 22, 2021, 9:20 AM · Thank you for your comments ?? I'm not sure what is the best thing to do. The violin cost £215 which I thought was the price for a good student violin but maybe not. I've only had it a fortnight do if I had to I could return it for a different one. Haven't decided. Really hope I can learn by ear but worry that as I'm not confident in the sound of a particular note, I'll end up constantly moving around and never getting anywhere. I am thinking of getting a teacher to help me through these early stages. Must admit the whole experience has made me anxious about playing, always worrying my intonation is way off. Thanks again for your help.
February 22, 2021, 9:34 AM · INTONATION is primary. Get a correctly set up violin. My teacher recommended I get a Peterson Strobo-plus tuner to guide me while practicing. I don't see how else you can do it, without perfect pitch!
February 22, 2021, 9:50 AM · Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I think a teacher would be a great help at this stage and help you avoid pitfalls that come with learning a new instrument.
Edited: February 22, 2021, 10:22 AM · Barbara, if my diagnosis is correct, I suggest you return it for a better one, but the ease, or otherwise, of that may depend on where you bought it. If they are a good shop, they will appreciate the problem. It may have been better to rent a violin before getting a teacher, if you can get that option.

One of the ways you can verify the nut issue is gently to touch, say, the A string around where the D should be until you get a harmonic A, then stop the string. You will hear something closer to D# if the nut is high, D if the nut is good.

Erin, use your ears, and relative pitch - you can't really be a musician, least of all a violinist, without it. All musicians have to use their ears, but I was fascinated by the difference between ear use on piano and violin. I found my ears needed very specific training to hear exactly what sound was coming from the violin.

February 22, 2021, 10:28 AM · Thanks. I should be okay in returning it, they have a 30 day return guarantee. It's a shame as I really valued the shop's opinion. It was a violin they recommended.
My other option was the Stentor II. I'll see how it goes. I'm in contact with the shop so hopefully I'll get some help soon.

Sorry Gordon I'm not able to do the harmonic you mentioned. I'm just not very good. Thanks for the help

February 22, 2021, 11:09 AM · Use your tuner to help you get familiar with locating your notes. I'm sure you have a tuner of some kind, to tune your violin? I hope you are able to get a better set-up!!! Best of luck to you... Violin is hard enough to learn without a crippled instrument.
Edited: February 22, 2021, 11:19 AM · I don't really understand the problem. Since you are already a musician and familiar with the piano and guitar you should be able to replicate (say) a 2 octave G major scale on an in-tune violin to closely match the pitches of the scale on a piano.

I'd recommend playing through the scale, up and down, on the piano a few times so you can "sing it" either out loud or in your head and then play that on the violin using just your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers and then the open strings, etc. up to the 2nd finger G on the E string. Just remember that F# on the D and E string will require a "high" 2nd and 1st finger, respectively.

This could be a basic fingering pattern on all 4 strings for high 2nd finger. If you want to experiment with low 2nd finger after that , play a C major scale, starting with the 3rd finger on the G string.

The Suzuki program (and the Suzuki books) start violin in A major and only on the A and E strings to give a basic feel for the high 2nd finger and they start it with the song "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" beginning on the open A string.

These last 2 paragraphs are just ways to try to get your mind and fingers in tumne with the instrument - when it is in tune.

Just as on a guitar your fingers are never placed where the note would sound in tune were it not for the frets, so on the violin (and other bowed unfretted string instruments) your finger is not actually placed where the note sounds in tune, it is only the "edge" of the finger closest to the nbridge that sounds the note. SO when "tapes" or other markers are put on the fingerboard to guide the fingers they are not actually on the spot that creates "in-tune-ness."

Learning to play violin without a teacher is a tough go! At some point you should get guidance. I cannot say it is impossible, because my son got into violin playing in his 40s without a teacher, other than during a brief visit with me, but he eventually got involved with a (paid) on-line violin course. Most of his playing is folk-type music (and he doses perform in public and in groups), although he has been a (note-reading) musician all his life (piano, trumpet, guitar, bass, vocal) and he did go to recording school for a year and now has his own (not attached to his house) recording studio. Music has always been his thing since he first blew Taps through the handlebars of his tricycle. But it is not the way he has earned his living since he was about 20, 36 years ago, now.

February 22, 2021, 4:09 PM · Thank you for the detailed reply, Andrew, and in particular your mention of the Suzuki method. I'm a complete novice to the violin, so I'm often directed by YouTube recommendations. However, I researched the Suzuki method there and find a 30 day course. The big thing for me is I've just been working on Day 5 with the A string. I'm following the tutor, trying to match my sound with hers. I'm not always spot on but I can tell - I'm learning by ear!?? I'm even ignoring the dots and am considering removing them from my violin. Feel so much happier, less stressed, and have ordered the book to learn the pieces too. I am going to try to find a teacher of my own but in the meantime discovering this method has brightened my day. Thank you.
Edited: February 22, 2021, 7:33 PM · Please get a least for the first six to twelve months. It is so hard to unlearn bad habits such as holding the bow or the violin incorrectly. Unfortunately, the violin is not a self-teaching instrument. Buy a chromatic tuner to check your intonation and practice in front of a full length mirror if you can.
February 22, 2021, 7:49 PM · Violin really requires a teacher- there are so many things to learn and so many that can go wrong. The valuable thing a teacher does is give you feedback on what you're actually doing when you play, and what you need to practice to fix it. Youtube's entertaining, but I wouldn't trust it to learn how to play violin. Playing piano or guitar doesn't have much carryover to violin, unfortunately. Also, a teacher can give you some good independent (hopefully) advice on an instrument.
February 23, 2021, 8:58 AM · Thank you. I've contacted my local music school who deliver private lessons for adults. I'm just waiting for a regular time slot so hopefully I'll be able to start within the week. Thank you for the advice. It's so easy to follow YouTube but after what you've said, the worry of bad habits, has made me rethink my approach. I do want to take playing the violin seriously and hopefully a teacher, a good teacher, will help. Thanks.
February 23, 2021, 9:46 AM · Yes, it's a good idea, Barbara - posture alone is surprisingly intricate. If your teacher is good, they will be poking you here there and everywhere with their bow or a finger getting you to change your stance, lol! (I guess you might prefer a female teacher if you think that would be too intrusive)
February 23, 2021, 10:30 AM · aren't teachers all online because of Covid??

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