Violin – Opinions, Analysis and Buying Guide in 2021
The sound of the violin is for many one of the most beautiful heard in an orchestra, its ability to reproduce sounds of great brightness allows it to take a leading role frequently, and although in general it is not classified as an easy to play instrument, many consider the project of becoming interpreters. If you want to know two good options, the B by Bird EV10 WH is a 4/4 electric violin that will allow you to amplify its sound with ease. But if you are looking for something classic acoustic, the Stradivarius 1715 with its fir and maple soundboard can provide a powerful but sweet sound at the same time.
Analyze your needs
Not all people have the same goals when it comes to purchasing an instrument . While some just want to test if it satisfies them, others are planning to dedicate themselves to music in a serious way. In the first case, we could suggest that you opt for a quality but inexpensive instrument, in this way, in case the experience is not what you expected, you will not have invested too much money in the project.
But if on the other hand, your intention is to dedicate yourself to music in a committed way, in order for you to become a professional interpreter , then it is best to allocate a slightly larger budget with the intention of acquiring an instrument that has a higher quality. This way, you will also have a melodious sound and very surely a greater durability. It can even be an instrument that accompanies you throughout your life as a musician without major problem.
Types of wood
Although in today’s market you can find violins made with materials such as plastic, their acoustic qualities are still less than what you might expect in a wooden violin. Our recommendation is that, whenever possible, you choose a violin made of real wood or, failing that, one derived from wood, such as chipboards.
Now, if you want to know more about the woods used in the manufacture of this particular instrument, we will mention that among the most used woods are spruce, maple, mahogany, ash, ebony or rosewood. Spruce is typically used for the top, while maple, mahogany, or ash are used for the back. Finally, ebony and rosewood, due to their hardness, are indicated to make up the fingerboard, pegs and chin.
If among your goals is to get a violin that offers remarkable acoustics without worrying too much about how much it costs, maple wood can meet your expectations, as it is qualified as one of the most suitable materials for the manufacture of quality violins. In addition to having a pleasant appearance due to the natural grain of the wood, it also has great resistance.
It is also important that you verify the age of the person who is going to use the violin, since there are different sizes to choose from and that are intended to adapt to the body proportions of those who are going to use them.
The variation of these measurements will depend mainly on the length of the arm of the instrument and they are generally classified into 4 measurements. 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 and 1/4. On the ¼ violin the arm length is between 47-51 cm and is recommended for children around 6 years old. While a 4/4 will measure more than 60 cm and is the one that is specially designed for an adult. So in your violin comparison you would have to consider the age of the player.
To determine the right size, a technique that you can use and that is very effective is to go to an instrument store with the person who will use the violin. The next thing you should do is ask him to place the violin on his shoulder, as if he were playing it and to try to go around the scroll with that same hand. If doing this activity does not involve any effort and the arm is comfortably bent, it means that this is the right size for the person.
If, on the other hand, the hand cannot surround the volute or the person’s arm is too extended, then you have to look for a slightly shorter arm for the violin, that is, you must choose the size that precedes it.
Unlike the guitar for example, which could be played without any additional accessory, the violin needs some accessories that are considered basic, such as the bow, the pitch and generally the cushion. You should also consider these accessories within your budget, or check if they are included in the violin set you have chosen.
Keep in mind that if they are not included, purchasing them separately can mean a significant increase in the final cost of your violin.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to tune the violin?
As with other string instruments, to tune it it is necessary to get each of the strings that make it up to vibrate with the frequency corresponding to the note assigned to it according to its location on the violin. Violins are tuned with the first string, that is, the thinnest in the E note, the second will be A, D and G for the thickest string. To know if it is in tune, it is necessary to have a tuner on hand.
To achieve tension, two pieces are used, the pegs, which give an approximate tone, but there are also the tuners, which are small screws in the tailpiece, which help to achieve the precise tone.
Q2: What family does the violin belong to?
The violin belongs to the great family of string instruments, where the guitar, mandolin, ukulele, etc. are also found. But within this family, we can classify them within the category of stringed instruments, to which the viola, cello and double bass also belong.
Q3: How to put the bridge of the violin?
To perform this delicate task, you will have to loosen the strings enough so that the tension is released on the bridge and it is possible to knock it down, that is to say that it leans either towards the fingerboard or towards the tailpiece. When removing it, it is normal for the strings to lose all their tension.
Check that the soul does not fall inside the instrument, due to the lack of pressure in this area, and place the new bridge, placing it right in the middle of the small holes that are in the fs of the violin. Now, arrange the bridge vertically, and to do it more easily, it is best to place your fingers between each of the strings and pull evenly, always checking that the base of the bridge is in place.
Q4: When to change the violin strings?
In general, a string can last about 6 months if the violin is played with a certain frequency. However, expert musicians prefer to change the strings of their violins more frequently, because this gives them a clearer sound and fewer ups and downs in playing . Especially in the E string, which is the one with the highest tension. The recommendation in this regard could be that if you play about an hour a day, it is best to change the entire set every 3 to 4 months or when you begin to notice alterations in the sound of your violin.
Q5: What is a four-quarter violin?
This violin measurement corresponds to an instrument that has a full arm, so you can achieve the full range of sounds you could play with a violin. They are generally those used by adults. Violins ¾ or smaller, are generally indicated for children.
Q6: Why does the violin have no frets?
Many connoisseurs claim that it is because the violin is not itself an instrument of chords, as is the case with the guitar, but of linear melodies. In such a way that the absence of frets offers greater freedom of movement, to play midtones and allow the musician to perform effects that enhance the melody.
Q7: What violin does Ara Malikian use?
The same interpreter has commented that his favorite violin, the one he plays most frequently in his presentations and with which he feels most comfortable, does not come from a prestigious brand. However, for him it has great value, because it has been in his family for a long time. While on the other hand, it also has a history and has belonged to peculiar violinists before it was awarded. Likewise, he affirms that he has been his company during difficult times throughout his life.
Q8: Who invented the electric violin?
As with guitars, the need for the violin to be heard louder, especially in open-air performances where sound is easily lost, was what led Stuff Smith, a jazz violinist, to seek adapt a pickup to transmit the sound of your instrument directly to an amplifier. Subsequently, between the 1930s and 1940s, The Electro Stringed Instrument Corporation began to manufacture violins that can already be considered as electric and not simply as an acoustic instrument with an adaptation.
How to use a violin
The violin is generally a delicate instrument, which can generate a range of highly varied and striking sounds . For this reason we find many pieces of music composed especially for him. If you have a violin at home and you are looking for more information about its use, here we provide you with some that may be of interest to you.
Always check the condition of the violin before playing
Because there are several pieces that make up the violin, it is advisable that before proceeding to tune or play it, always have the habit of reviewing it. Among the aspects that you can verify are the state of the arch. Avoid playing with a bow that has few bristles. Also check that the chin strap is firmly in place, that no screws are missing in the tuner, that the bridge is completely vertical and that it has not moved from its place.
Keep the instrument clean
Since pitch must be applied to the bow for the strings to vibrate, it is normal for a fine powder to settle on the instrument. If this is not removed each time the violin is played, it often creates deposits that are difficult to remove. Therefore, it is better that you spend a few minutes to remove them with a dry cloth after each practice.
In the event that this tar has inevitably adhered to the instrument, you can wipe a cotton ball moistened with a little alcohol, but try to make this something that you rarely resort to, as it can damage the finish of the violin.
Decrease the tension of the strings and take care of your bow
If it happens that you have not used your violin for a while, it is best to decrease the tension of the strings a bit. They don’t need to loosen too much, just a tone or two less than they should be in tune may be enough, because if you release all the tension, the fingerboard could fragment or crack, and the bridge would lose its position or the soul.
Another piece that you should loosen every time you play is the bow. This will allow the sows to stay in good condition for longer. In addition, you should use a quality pitch according to the material of the bristles, which you should choose depending on whether it is a synthetic or natural material.
Store it in its case
So that your violin is not affected by weather conditions such as sudden changes in temperature or humidity, it is best that you always have a case for it, in which you can store it properly. This will also prevent it from getting damaged when you have to transport it. In addition, it will allow you to have all your accessories to play organized and at hand.
Always acquire adequate techniques in your practice
As with any instrument, the best thing to do when learning to play it is to make sure you have the correct basics. Aspects such as properly holding the violin or bow will prevent you from acquiring vices that are later difficult to correct. In this way, you will have a better chance of becoming a good player and of advancing more quickly in your studies about the instrument.