How to get used to a new violin?

November 20, 2017, 10:13 PM · I have just bought my dream instrument & would like to play it at a concert in exactly 1 week. My other violin really is quite crappy so it'd be really nice to use this one.

Do you think this is long enough to get used to it/break it in (it's almost brand new) and if so, what kinds of things should I do?

It sounds pretty good already but the intonation/finger placement seems slightly different.

Thank you :)

P.S. didn't know which forum to put this in - "instruments" didn't seem quite right...

Replies (4)

November 20, 2017, 10:23 PM · Personally, I tend to get used to the feel of an instrument very quickly (usually 5-10 minutes of playing time, and I get a good image of the violin's sound, too). It takes me a few days to actually develop a good mental relationship with an instrument, however. If you pay close attention and correct all of your mistakes, you should be able to play the concert on your new violin.
November 20, 2017, 10:37 PM · It doesn't take TOO long for me to get used to a new instrument (I had to play Schoenberg's Transfigured Night on a borrowed instrument after cracking it the day prior).
As long as you can figure out what you may be doing incorrectly in terms of intonation and overall tone fairly quickly, you should probably be able to play a performance on a new instrument.
November 20, 2017, 10:40 PM · I agree with the above posters that it shouldn't take very long to get used to a new violin. Just do all your playing on it from now on.

Occasionally in a lesson I will borrow my student's violin and bow to demonstrate how much sound they should be getting from their instrument...switching back and forth is not a problem.

Edited: November 20, 2017, 10:44 PM · A week should be fine.

I find that the major problem with learning the geography of a new instrument is any unusual placement of the bouts, and sometimes issues with a thick neck. The former can cause a change in the reference point for the hand touching the bout in shifting into higher positions and can occasionally cause issues for reaching the very top notes (especially on the G string). The latter can do weird things to your hand placement in general.

Otherwise your hand should automatically adapt very quickly.

Tone production takes a lot more time to learn, since you need to learn the new instrument's quirks. It took me weeks to adapt and improve my bowing technique for my current violin. It took me months to really acquaint myself with this violin, and two and a half years after I bought it, I'm still finding new things it can do, or better ways to achieve the sound I want.

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