Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

36

When you lower the pitch by releasing tension, there might be slack in the gears in the tuning machines, which might make the string go below the intended pitch. By going further down and approaching the target note from below, there will be force applied to the gears and when you've reached the correct pitch the gears have less potential to move. So your ...


17

The wood type in any stringed instrument matters a great deal, especially on acoustic instruments. Some parts of the violin contribute more to the overall tone quality than others, but all the parts make a difference. A stringed instrument is a case study in engineering trade-offs. After all, how does a violin produce its sound? To begin with, note that ...


13

Guitarists especially are known for putting on fresh strings just before a performance. Orchestral strings generally do not, but they do make sure to follow good maintenance practices and change strings when they are due. If the instrument is in an appropriate playable condition, you shouldn't have strings breaking totally at random. Perhaps in your case ...


13

This technique is called Pizzicato. It's usually notated by just writing "pizz." above the notes that you are to play that way. The opposite off Pizzicato is Arco which simply means to use the bow.


12

Strings can break for several reasons: Excessive force: Often times playing live results in playing harder. You may be digging your pick in more than normal and therefore applying more force than usual, resulting in breaks. Improper string installation: Strings should be stretched during installation (just bringing them into tune doesn't stretch them ...


12

Just to elaborate and clarify, there are a few different types of pizzicato: There is the standard "pizz." which is done with the flesh of the finger on the bowing hand; A pizz with fingernail, which gives a more crisp attack; A "Bartok" or "snap" pizz where the performer pulls the string away from the fingerboard and releases to produce a harsh snapping ...


10

The simple answer is to leave it to the experts. Strings are sold in packs, with a sensibly chosen set of gauges, for most common instrument configurations, whether you have a 4 or 5 string bass guitar, a 6 or 12 string guitar, a mandolin, or whatever. Even if you don't want to buy a full set, you can look at the gauges supplied in a set, and buy an ...


10

Any answer to this must be opinionated, can't help that. Whilst there are many good basses out there, $500 for your first is more than enough.There is no need to spend that sort of money.I've said it loads of times, but why buy new ? My first bass cost me £15. O.k., I had to mend its broken neck, but it kept me going for the first 8 or 9 years. I recommend ...


9

A loose hair won't vibrate the string in any useful way, and it may catch at unwanted moments. Remove it, just as you would a broken hair.


9

All pianos benefit from being in very stable environments, not too dry, not humid, and a static temperature. This will help to keep it in tune for longer. Realize though that playing the instrument will knock it out of tune and the more you play the faster it will happen. Also, if the pin block is shot, it will go out of tune fast no matter what you do, ...


9

I know a balalaika and domra orchestra where almost everybody holds their instruments in place using cut pieces of a common type of non-adhesive non-slip rubberized shelf-liner material, like that in this photograph. You can buy a roll of this for a few dollars in any grocery or hardware store. I have used this material myself when I was learning how to ...


9

MattPutnam's answer covered technical aspects very nicely. Here I have some further thoughts that are often overlooked. String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three (there are two violins in the quartet) instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: they respond differently to dynamics; ...


9

In playing string instruments, the term "Position" refers to the placement of the left hand along the fretboard/fingerboard. Different instruments might number them differently, but with guitar, I think its the number of the fret that your index finger is would be stopping. So when your fingers are in the "usual" place, at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th frets, you ...


9

One effect that is relevant for the wear on metal cored strings is work-hardening -- the repeated bending of the string through use causes microscopic changes in the crystalline structure of the strand of steel, affecting its stiffness and ultimately leading to breakage. Similar to bending a paper clip back and forth until it breaks. This affects the tone ...


8

That's definitely not the sound of a real violin (to me it sounds more like an oboe!), which may cause some confusion. It also has some kind of vibrato which will make tuning even more difficult. It should be able to help you get close, though, since the pitch is the correct E. Now, if your instrument has never been tuned before (or in a long time), it may ...


8

There isn't too specific a rule, most of the time. I see your point, but my response would be that the all fretted notes means that each note is muted when done, while yours leaves a potentially sour A ringing, unless you mute it. For some music, and the example that comes to mind is Segovia and classical guitar, switching strings changes the tone of the ...


7

You won't find anything with a short neck that plays guitar notes, because the range of available notes is a function of the length of the neck. I would suggest a mandola, a mandocello or a bouzouki but they are not necessarily designed to offer as much sustain as a guitar- if you listen to music designed for those instruments it tends to be based on very ...


7

The screw plays several roles: The hair can (and should) be loosened when not playing so that the bow is not constantly subjected to hair tension. It's the same reason some people recommend loosening guitar strings when storing a guitar for a longer period of time, except a guitar neck has the advantage of a stiff metal rod inside it, which the violin bow ...


7

I think this would be opinion based up to a point, but anyway. I think you should get a decent one. That doesn't necessarily mean expensive. On Thomann you can find some decent Squier or Mexican Fender basses from 100 to 300 Euros. Generally Fender basses are good. I had a Mexican one for a couple of years,and I did enjoy it and it also helped me develop. ...


7

When starting out, the key issue is that you need two things which the very very cheapest instruments don't have: (1) it needs to be 'tunable' - i.e., with a bad instrument you may get issues that at some fret ranges you'll be out of tune no matter how the instrument is adjusted; and (2) it needs to have a reasonable physical quality - for example, I've seen ...


7

The crucial difference in this regard, between guitars and bowed strings, is in which direction the strings vibrate. A bow causes vibration in the plane you're moving (it moves the string by friction: the string sticks on the rosin and is "dragged along" some way; perpendicular vibrations are strongly damped by the bow-hair). Because you can't vary the ...


7

I believe the effects are: The oil & muck from your fingers getting into the string :"A third effect is the build up of fatty/gummy gunk (oils from your skin mixed with dust from the air), either on the surface of the string or in the grooves of the wound strings. This has the effect of adding additional internal friction to the string (sort of like ...


6

The man at the store is right: the smaller violin can play all the same notes as the larger violin. The difference is that the smaller violin won't be as loud and it will be better suited for smaller hands and fingers—if you are a normal-sized adult, you'll find a smaller violin to be more challenging to play simply because your hands will be too large for ...


6

If you are a new violinist, your ear is the the weak point. Part of what you'll be doing is training it to recognize pitches, because you aren't there yet. Get it out of the loop. Use an online tuner that uses your computer's mic, like this one (Not really a an endorsement, because HTML5 programmers are starting to write these things as an exercise, so ...


6

I would also add that the species of woods used is only part of the equation. The quality of each piece of wood makes a huge difference. A builder will go through many pieces of maple or spruce from a lumberyard to select only the logs or planks of wood with the highest quality for making instruments. They will reject the vast majority of the wood as only ...


6

The guy who rehairs my bows once advised me that I shouldn't completely pluck out the hair, but to leave a little bit on both ends. This is so that the other hairs don't become loose and fall out. He said it's not generally a problem since most people don't break ridiculous amounts of hair, but it makes it easier to rehair your bow and is best for your bow ...


6

My guess is that you neglected to stretch the strings properly. That would account for the general difficulty you're having with getting and keeping the strings in tune. See the answers to this question for how to do this. There is an important point made that quality strings don't actually stretch when you do this, but the action pulls the windings tighter ...


6

I remember breaking my first string :) Almost hit my eye.. And I was super afraid to tell my parents.. (I thought I broke the whole instrument because I believed that the string was as much a part of the instrument as the neck or fingerboard) I'd like to address your question by answering a few you didn't explicitly ask.. 1. Why do strings break? Obvious ...


6

Not only would your fretted notes play flat, but as you go further up the fretboard, the flatter your notes will get!


5

If you just have one or two, remove it. The best approach is to cut it at the loose bit, then pull the hair away from the rest of the bow and cut it carefully at both ends, right up against the frog and the tip. You can do this many times before the bow needs restrung. Remember, using rosin diligently reduces breakages, thus increasing the lifespan of your ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible