Equipment Testing

On Tuesday, Teacher brought a new violin to my lesson – a loaner she is trying out as she decides on a new one to buy.  She wants a violin she feels comfortable trotting around with to bars, where she plays with others sometimes – she’s into Irish fiddling.  She told me she’s trying out violins in the $5,000 range, quite a step down from her regular instrument.  She said they should still sound pretty good.

She took it out of the case and handed it to me to play, which I did for the duration off the lesson, while she played mine (we’re working the Bach double concerto).  I have almost no experience playing another instrument, so it was a fun and interesting change.  The two instruments are different in color, and mine is slightly heavier.   I also used her newer bow, a carbon fiber bow, itself lighter than my own bow.

Teacher thought the violin sounded pretty good, but she doesn’t think it’s the one she’s ultimately going to buy.  I was the first person she heard play it who wasn’t herself.  I didn’t say anything to her, feeling like such a novice at making these types of evaluations, but I felt like the sound was a bit muffled compared to my own violin.  I think my violin has a bit of a warmer sound, as well.  My lack of experience playing on other instruments had me doubting my observations – I don’t really know what part of my meager comparison was due to the instrument itself, and what part was my inability to play it as well as I play mine due to familiarity.

I am considering getting a new bow – I need one for the rare occasion mine is getting re-haired, and I also have some interest in seeing if a new bow would make a difference in my playing.  I do have a nice Pernambuco wood French bow, but I haven’t really played with another one, and I do think a bow switch might help me make some productive modifications.  After playing with another violin, I am more grateful than ever for the one my father-in-law gave me way back in the beginning.  As the luthier I’ve taken it to said, “This is a nice instrument.”

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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