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.