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Violin First Aid
music
saxifrage00
I picked up my violin to practice some after neglecting it for the last month, only to notice that the G string was really, really flat. The peg had come loose while it had been sitting in its case and the string was all but flopping around on the fingerboard. Adjusting the peg, I found that it refused to stick where I turned it to and ended up just making the string more loose.

Now, I don’t have much experience with maintenance of musical instruments, so I wasn’t really sure why the peg wouldn’t stick or what I could do about it. So, I did what comes naturally—I took it apart.

Once I had the string off and pulled the peg out I could see that it was worn where it contacted the wood of the head but I couldn’t tell if it was atypical without removing another string to look at its peg. I noticed that the peg was tapered though—I could string it back up and make sure that it was pushed in tighter and the taper might hold it in. So I did.

Having restrung it and proved right, I could see that unstringing it was completely unnecessary. However, I learned that I can and not completely screw it up, so it was a good thing after all. I also learned a bunch about how the string is attached that I’d never paid any attention before. I’m just thankful for darthmaus’s loan of a keyboard and having a good ear for pitch or I would never have gotten it back in tune...

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Good job on getting it tuned up! I have problems with that on my Clarinet as well.. when it's put together properly it's always sharp, so I have to pull the barrel out a bit to tune it. Good job on figuring it out though! I would have been scared stiff of taking it apart.

I still have to hear you play, as well! What songs can you play now?

I can play (badly) The Munster Cloak, A Kerry Polka, Fáinne Geal an Lae (The Dawning of the Day), Níl sé ina Lá (It Is Not Day Yet), and a welsh folk tune I can't remember the name of that I learned from the sheet music that came with dathmaus's tinwhistle.

Oh, and Frère Jacques. :-)

Violin is an instrument I always wanted to learn, and harp and saxophone and flute and... says the person who didn't put a finger on her piano since four years.

(I even heard you playing once on that audio post you made :D )

I was planning on doing more of those phonepost of playing, but the quality just isn't very good and I have to put the phone about ten feet away or the violin is too shrill.

I want to get a good mic for the computer and record them to ogg files that I can keep on my website. That'd better show my playing mistakes. ;-)

When storing a stringed instrument, it's best to loosen the strings. Of course, you were not aware that you were going to be storing it.


I didn't know that; thanks for the tip.

Of course, you were not aware that you were going to be storing it.

Too true. :-)

There's a violin store by the Lougheed Town Centre mall (by big Al's) that is... well, a store with a bunch of violins in it. Made me think of you.

Is that anywhere near Lougheed Mall? 'Cause I know how to get there from school easy enough...

I don't know. It's in that building that has the big, round cutouts along the walkway, you can see it from the Lougheed. Looking up Big Al's should get you an address. Cool to check out the oriental supermarket while you're there.

<insert G-string joke here>

When I was 15, I walked into a store and bought a G-string and a leather strap.

I was a precocious child.

;-)

Good job on the fiddle maintenance and tuning.

While it's true that you could loosen the strings if you were going to store your fiddle for years and years, loosening all the strings will result in the bridge falling over. (That's right, there's nothing holding that sucker up except string pressure.) You would need a professional to set the instrument up again when you were ready to play it.

When travelling with guitars, I loosen the strings, since there's no bridge to mess up.

Loosening the bow when you're not using it is definitely a good idea though.

Happy Christmas, there!

Thanks for the tip (and the praise :-) ). Now that you remind me, I remember reading that bridge is unattached and I can see how that would cause trouble if I loosened the strings. I know it sits on a sound post and the bass bar—is getting it right on those the hard part that needs professional attention?

I think loosening the bow was the first thing the Fiddle Book I have covered, and a good thing too. What happens to a bow that is kept taught for too long, anyway?

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