Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Bit of An Unexpected Project

Back around the end of April, I told a story about finishing my kit guitar and getting that great offer from a friend who has worked as a professional Luthier to come and have him walk me through the process of doing a really good setup on it.  What I didn't mention then was that there was string attached.  A horrible price.  He made me take this home.
Although it's clearly missing some major parts, this really is a violin (or fiddle if you're from the south). To be more specific, it's kind of a generic student violin in 3/4 scale (apparently violins come in a lot of different scale sizes - who knew? (answer: anyone who knows anything about them!)).  He insisted on giving this to me, clearing out some room in his shop in exchange for helping me.

I've never really touched a violin, but I have played guitar, bass, ukelele and mandolin - at least in the sense of figuring out how to play different scales on them.  Mrs. Graybeard, on the other hand, took lessons on the violin for some time when she was a little girl.

Trying to ignore a naked half of a violin sitting around started getting to me, and just as my friend figured, I couldn't resist gathering the parts to make it playable.  I don't want to spend too much, considering student violins can be had pretty cheaply online, so I spent a couple of hours running down prices and ordered this morning from Amazon.  Since some parts are coming from around the country it won't all be here in the dependable two days.  But I'll have them within a week or so, and then I'll put it together and go onto phase II: ignoring a complete violin.

This isn't a project in the sense of machining things or cutting wood.  It's really something any student of the violin will know how to do after a little while.  We'll just start there.  I'm under no delusions that it'll be easy to pick up, but the direction will be more like Charlie Daniels and less like Itzhak Perlman.  Ironically, I've actually seen Perlman in concert but not Daniels.      


  1. Enjoy it!

    I've never had the skills, but my ex-wife played cello to symphony standard! Sadly, she sold her cello to help pay student loans.


  2. Wow...good luck! Violin is a tough nut to crack. I played guitar and mandolin on and off for a while and decided I wanted to try something different with the violin. Im a few months in to learning it and its kicking my ass. You can spend a lifetime learning technical skill with the instrument and only come out half-baked as a musician.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the tuning is the same as a mandolin, so scales are the same fingering...just without frets. It really helped me when I started by giving me things to go after initially before I really "knew" how to play.

  3. Thanks, GFA, Taylor. I think the thing about playing an instrument is that for most people, we can play our entire lives and always be learning. I guess I don't know that anyone considers themselves as good as they want to be. As long as I'm a working dude, I'll be lucky to get in a half hour of practice a night.

    There are patterns to scales that just move up and down the neck, changing the key, but using the same fingering. That's a good start, but I really know nothing the mechanics of playing the violin, stuff like how to hold it, how to hold the bow, how to move the bow, all that. Maybe an instructor would be good, too.