A Five String Fiddle

[ January 6, 2018 ]

The motorcycle scene for me hasn't completely disappeared.  It's just been tapered down quite a bit.  I've been doing mostly curry and lobster runs.  Those day rides are fun but there's really not much to report.  So I decided to start writing about my other activities.

It's been ages since I picked up my violins and played with them.  I have a no-namer student violin and also the very first generation Yamaha Silent Violin SV-100.

Yamaha SV-100

By no means am I any good at playing the violin since I'm self taught (a lot of books and a lot of fiddling).  If you say, "Who in the world would teach themselves to play a violin?"  I say, "I did."  I can be a bit ignorant and rebellious like that.  I took a couple of lessons but the teacher was too flaky.  I did learn one thing from her, 2nd, and 3rd fingering positions.  Beyond that, meh... it wasn't worth the money.  So I went back to my books and fiddling.  Anyway, in the process of helping my daughter learn how to read music, my inner music ability got kickstarted once more.  What's more, when I went on-line to see what is up with Yamaha and their Silent Violins (I've been out of it for ages), I found this:

The Yamaha YEV105NT

It spoke to me.  I can't help but feel that this violin isn't just a tad rebellious (ever so little like me).  It has 5 strings instead of 4.  The 5th string is a Viola C string.  Now my violin has a bass string.  The price was right and the reviews all rocked (5/5).  Can't lose with a Yamaha instrument.

My own copy.

I really haven't had a change to play it much other than tuning the violin.  From what I can tell, the YEV is the way folks have mentioned in the reviews.  Yes for once Internet reviews that aren't garbage and full of troll hate.  The YEV has a really warm sound and it is easy to play.  The bridge is a little flatter than your typical violin so it's easy to strike multiple strings.  Since this is an electric violin, the YEV doesn't have built in amplification like the SV-100.  Playing the YEV is like playing the SV-100 with the power turned off.  It's nowhere near as loud as an acoustic violin, but at the same time it's also not very silent.  You can easily hear the instrument a couple of rooms away.

Time to drag Handle's Water Music out and start practicing again.

[ Update ]

Stupid me, I've never tuned a Viola C string before so I broke the string.  What frequency is it suppose to be at... anyway?  Something like 180Hz. Nothing like learning the hard way.  The replacement Viola C string was a pretty $55 a pop.  I bought two.  One as replacement and one as spare.  Expensive hobby.  But hey... who can complain about Dominant strings.  From my experience, Dominants are some of the best violin strings around.  At least I don't get calluses when I use Dominant strings.

Once again I tune the YEV.  I'm out of practice and my bowing technique needs some brushing up.  Playing a little bit of the scale has me woefully out of practice.  At least I can somewhat remember the finger positions.  whole, whole, half, open string, ...  Once the first finger lands on the right note, the rest of the fingering isn't too bad.  It's going to take a lot more practice to get back to where I was before.

I have two bows.  One is a Coda bow, made of carbon fiber, and the other is a natural wood bow.  The Coda bow is a little stiffer because of the material.  It's always a toss up as to which bow is better.  Sure, the carbon fiber is more expensive and isn't as susceptible to climate, but I swear the wood bow has a warmer sound.  Then again it might just be that the wooden bow just recently got re horse haired.

Written on: January 6, 2018
Last modified: January 6, 2018