Introduction: Looking After Your Fiddle

Picture of Looking After Your Fiddle

Violin beginner? Here's a few starter's tips.

CAVEAT: This is the way I do it. It's not the only way. It may not be the best way. But it's my way.

(Which is code for: "Please don't leave comments telling me how stupid my way is and how much better yours is. If you've got a better idea, make an instructable. Thanks!")

Step 1: General

Picture of General
Always keep your fiddle in its case. Before putting it away, always:

  • loosen your bow
  • clean down the violin and bow of any dust or rosin with a duster
  • wipe the back of the neck where your hands have been (the acid in your hands attacks the varnish)

Step 2: Putting on the Shoulder Rest

Picture of Putting on the Shoulder Rest

(NB: This is a Viva rest: there are many other types)

Hold the neck of the fiddle in your right hand, face down
Hold the shoulder rest in your left hand, curve to the right
Tuck the feet over the edge of the violin nearest your tummy

Step 3: Putting on the Shoulder Rest 2

Picture of Putting on the Shoulder Rest 2

Hold the violin and feet against your tummy so it doesn't move
With your left hand, hold the other end of the shoulder rest
Hook the feet over the far side of the violin

Step 4: Putting on the Shoulder Rest 3

Picture of Putting on the Shoulder Rest 3

The finished position should look like this

Step 5: The Bow 1

Picture of The Bow 1

After playing you should always release all the tension from the bow, such that the hairs are loose. Here is a bow untightened.

Step 6: The Bow 2

Picture of The Bow 2

Before playing, you need to put the bow under tension by winding the knob on the end. Here is a bow correctly tensioned for playing.

Step 7: The Bow 3

Picture of The Bow 3

Notice that there is still a good bend in the bow. Do not attempt to "straighten it out". It should NEVER look like this.

Step 8: The Bow 4

Picture of The Bow 4

After tightening it and before playing, rosin the hairs. Unless the bow hair is very new, you need only rub the rosin up and down the bow hair three or four times.

(NB This is Dominant rosin. There are many different kinds, and despite the makers' claims, they are all much of a muchness!)

Step 9: The Bow 5

Picture of The Bow 5

The parts of the bow have names. The pointy end is called the tip, and the winding end is called the frog. The bit near the tip is called the upper half, the bit near the frog the lower half, and the middle is called... erm, the middle.

Step 10: The Bow Hold 1

Picture of The Bow Hold 1

How you hold the bow is crucial in getting a good sound, so it's worth working on this to get it right.

Take the frog in your right hand with your fingers spread out along the stick. Put your thumb under the stick, just ahead of the frog. Tuck your first (pointer) finger over the stick so the stick nestles in the first joint (near the palm, not near the finger tip). Stretch out the little finger to rest on the end of the stick just ahead of the winder.

Step 11: The Bow Hold 2

Picture of The Bow Hold 2

Relax your hand. In this position, the bow should be absolutely firm without your having to grip hard. You should be able to wave the bow around in any direction without dropping it. Now simply rest the middle two fingers on the stick: they play no part in gripping - they just add weight.

Step 12: Tuning 1

Picture of Tuning 1

We count the strings from the thinnest one to the thickest.

Step 13: Tuning 2

Picture of Tuning 2

And they are tuned to the following note names:

Step 14: Tuning 3

Picture of Tuning 3

You can tune them to the piano like this:

Step 15: Tuning 4

Picture of Tuning 4

To tune the fiddle we adjust the pegs and/or string adjusters. This is trickier than it seems, so if you're an absolute beginner you might want to let your teacher do it at first.

Hope these few notes are helpful - enjoy your fiddle!


mmoran1 (author)2011-04-25

Yes, I agree with how you take care of your violin... I have an additional tip though... please keep your violin or hang your violin in a not so cold or not so hot place because too much cold or heat can damage the whole violin. Lastly, I love your violin... blue is my favorite color. :-)

jpond009 (author)2009-03-16

Being an some-what advanced viola/violin player, I find that this is not quite helpful, for me, but this would have been nice to have when I first started playing, my bow hand was atrocious. Anyways, I would like to point out that, when tightening the bow, you want about a pencil's width of space between the hair and the stick of the bow (this, of course, will and may change due to your needs, your skill and the song set you play). Just thought I'd mention that quick rule-of-thumb. P.S.: love the blue violin!

pyro4ever (author)2008-11-15

great instructable, I;m in Detroit Symphy Orchestra, AwEsOmE violin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rimar2000 (author)2008-10-03

Really good for beginners, thanks.

About This Instructable




More by LDW:Fitting a T33 rainwater diverter and filter for water buttsSurround sound for free (it could save your marriage!)TRULY insulate your loft (or attic!)  - and save the planet
Add instructable to: