10 Most Common Mistakes Beginners Make

Avoid the 10 most common mistakes beginner/aspiring violinists make! Have you heard people say that you are too old to start learning a new instrument? Or that you should stay away from Chinese instruments? Read Fiddlerman’s 10 common misconceptions and mistakes taken from talking to customers.

1. Regarding that you are too old to start playing a string instrument

There is a common misunderstanding that you can’t learn to play a string instrument if you are older than 10 and I hear people say this often. This is not true unless you aspire to land a job in the New York Philharmonic!

On my website www.Fiddlerman.com, there are hundreds of people between 50-95 that started to play the violin and other strings instruments late in life. Many of them are even posting their progress in videos on the website and it’s amazing to watch. Above all, learning to play is bringing so much pleasure and relaxation in their lives. Many new adult learners say that playing the violin clears their minds.

2. Buying the least expensive instrument/wrong instrument

Don’t assume it’s a sales gimmick, it’s actually true: It’s hard to find a great instrument if you pay too little. And this doesn’t only mean better wood and craftsmanship. The fittings will be of a higher quality, the sound is better and the instrument is also easier to play. This is important to consider, especially when buying the first instrument for a child. It’s much easier to give up and quit if you are trying to play on a difficult to play instrument.

3. Assuming that all Chinese instruments are of poor quality

The market is overflowing with Chinese instruments and there is a good reason for it. Labor in China is inexpensive. But many Chinese violin makers have loads of experience and some of these instruments are outstanding! There are some extremely good Chinese instruments on the market, but how do you find them? Find a reputable American dealer that puts a lot of work into and also tests and adjusts the instruments, after their arrival in the USA. The workshops that Fiddlershop work with have been carefully selected and vetted. We travel to the workshops and do our own quality control as well as a continuous communication with the makers.

4. Assuming that just because you are an adult, you need a full size (4/4) instrument

If you are petite, or if you have short arms or small hands, you might be in the market for a fractional size instrument without even realizing it. We have several customers that play on smaller instruments. The best way to find out is to use our sizing guide: https://fiddlershop.com/blogs/fiddlershop-blog/the-ultimate-sizing-guide-for-string-instruments

5. Buying an instrument that hasn’t been well adjusted

Most string instruments that are sold online, have never been adjusted. This can make it very hard to play. At Fiddlershop, we follow an extensive 10 point adjustment checklist before shipping our own instruments. This is one reason that we have very few returns. We want our instruments to sound as good as possible.

6. Thinking that the cold automatically is bad for your instrument

Are you scared of buying a string instrument online during the winter months? Well, there is no need to worry. Fiddlershop’s instruments are very well packaged and only on the road for a few days. During this time they are kept inside or in a truck for the most part. Just remember to wait 2-3 hours for the instrument to acclimate after opening the box, before opening the case and playing!

7. Forgetting to put rosin on the bow

Most new bows are sold without rosin. Customers contact Fiddlershop every week
 to tell us that there is no sound coming out of their new violin. That’s exactly what happens when you don’t rosin your bow.

8. Breaking the E string

Some beginners don’t realize that the thin E string can break fairly easily if you aren’t careful while tuning. You might be able to avoid this by tuning slowly to the right pitch with the help of a chromatic tuner. Luckily, the E strings are inexpensive to replace. A Fiddlerman violin E string only costs $2.99. So it might be a good idea to buy an extra E string while you are shopping.

9. Not checking on the bridge placement regularly

Over time, and with normal wear and tear, the bridge will start to warp and lean forward toward the fingerboard. A change in temperature, humidity and also changing the strings, can make the bridge move out of place. If you neglect straightening the bridge, it can break or fall down. Listen to Michael’s advice on how to do adjust the bridge:

10. Forgetting to loosen the bow hair after using it

Adjust the bow every time you play. Tighten the hair when you start, and loosen it when you are done playing. If you forget to do this, your bow might start to warp.




Hi Marcy!
First, I’m so sorry to hear about the accident and your injuries.
Picking up the violin again, sound like a great idea.
I have two links that I will include, that might be of help. First I would like for you to double check that you are measuring correctly:

Secondly, there is a way to move the arm underneath the instrument, that might make it easier for you to reach:

I hope these tips might help you. Please feel free to contact us at support@fiddlershop.com or 954-530-5999 otherwise.
Hugs from all of us to you 🤗


Hi Eric!
Wow, that is so nice to hear! Thanks for sharing. Happy playing!!

Marcy Hoke

I started to learn to play the violin when I was 12 yrs old, but soon after I was in a major car accident that caused a major head injury. I never picked it up again until now at age 53. I get discouraged though because I find my left arm gets tired quickly. I have a small hand (I am petite) and I find it hard to reach all the notes with my left hand also. My arm measurement is 25", but I am wondering if the next size down violin would be better and more comfortable for me. Any thoughts?


I started playing viola at age 39. Im better than i ever thought i would be and have a lifelong journey of improving to look forward too!


Hi Karen! Yes, it can definitely be hard to get a great sound from an electric violin. Fiddlerman prefers an acoustic instrument with a pickup, to get the best sound possible. This option is also lighter than the Glasser acoustic-electric violin. But both are good options, especially if you put more money in to an electric instrument. Good luck!


I played the violin throughout my childhood from 2nd grade until I graduated high school. I stopped playing because I didn’t own my violin. Twenty years later, I bought a cheap electric violin and started playing again. The pickup is in the back of the violin and because it’s so cheap, it doesn’t give me the sound I am looking for. I have my heart set on an acoustic, but I really like the electric concept. Is it better to buy the Glasser AEX Carbon Composite Acoustic-Electric Violin where the pickup is in the chin rest or should I buy a good quality acoustic and buy the pickup separately? I live in a climate with extreme temperature fluctuations. If I’m going to spend the money, I want to make sure I do it right. What’s your opinion? Thank you.


Hi Dean!
That is such wonderful news! We are so happy to hear that the violin could help with your recovery! And also exciting that you and your wife now have a violin/viola duo.
Thanks for praising our instruments. We have received such great feedback on the Fiddlerman Artist instruments, feeling so grateful. One of Fiddlerman’s goals is to sell instruments that are easy to play. That’s why Fiddlershop puts so much time in the setups of each instrument.
Thanks for sharing and happy playing!

Dean Pannell

I started playing violin with my wife (who started playing viola) when I was 63 years old as part of a wonderful Parent’s Orchestra program originated and run by the orchestra director at our daughter’s high school. He had memories of playing with his parents and wanted his students and their parents to have the same experience. We rented instruments the first year, but moved up to an Artist violin and viola last year. We love them, btw. Sound great and play easily enough that even I can sound OK. Not like my daughter, but OK. That’s a very big deal because I used the violin lessons as physical therapy to retrain my left hand after it had been left largely paralyzed the year before. Happy to say it works well now, as does the violin!


Welcome to the club of adult beginners, John! Wonderful to hear that you enjoy your Fiddlerman Master Violin! Yes,
music certainly makes wonders for both body and soul.
Are you familiar with www.fiddlerman.com? There you can chat with other musicians, get free lessons and sheet music. Fiddlerman actually has made a tutorial on Orange Blossom Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRrS4a7wWks&feature=youtu.be
Thanks for sharing, John!

john finney

I started playing august of 2018 at the age 75. I figure it will keep me alive until I reach 100! Will take me that long to learn Orange Blossom Special! Bought the fiddlemaster fiddlle kit. Love it! Makes a good companion for my Martin Guitar!

Asa Holstein

Hi Peter!
Lovely to hear! I wish more people had the courage to follow in your foot steps. It’s for sure never too late to learn a musical instrument. Thanks for sharing! Celtic music is amazing by the way :)

Peter McDougall

I started playing the violin as my very first musical instrument at the age of 71, and I have daily pleasure playing Celtic fiddle music every day.

Asa Holstein

Hi Brian! How nice of you to share, we are so happy that you are satisfied with your instruments! Interesting that you started as an adult and also started playing the viola. This instrument is becoming even more popular nowadays, I for one love the dark, deep sound from the viola.
By the way, are you familiar with www.fiddlerman.com? There you can meet fellow musicians and also get free tutorials, sheet music, etc.
Have a great day!! :)


I started to play the violin on my 52nd BDay. Always was a dream to learn to play. I practice usually 2 hours a day. Recently I also bought a viola and started playing that also. I may never make a career out of it but the enjoyment and peace I get out of playing is worth every hour of practice. Violin and viola were both purchased from Fiddlerman and i am so pleased with them. My forever violin will be ordering soon, Ole Bull I have decided on and believe it will last me the rest of my life. Thank You

Asa Holstein

Hi Kenneth!
No, never give up your dream! I’m pleased to hear that you always loved the violin also. Music makes such a strong impact on almost everyones life.
Fiddlerman says thank you back! Happy to hear that you are using www.fiddlerman.com. Such wonderful people on the Forum also, in case you haven’t checked it out yet.
All the best – and thank you for writing!! :)

Kenneth l Benson

Always loved the violin , the thing is finding a place to work . going on 70 this August 16 hope by then i hope i will inprove somewhat by then, thank you fiddleman for my Violin. Never going to give up my dream . i am going to use your free lessons . KEN

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