rainebowserpent
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Dec 1, 2005

Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Hi, i'm a singer and a songwriter, but i want to learn to play an instrument too. I'm twenty years old, but dedicated.
I'm torn between acoustic guitar which everyone tells me is the logical choice (the cliche is my reply), or the violin which i love the sound of.

Could you tell me the pros and cons of learning each?
How long on average can i expect to take to reach proficiency if not pro in either of these?
I can only afford a half hour private lessons a week, but will practice about two hours a day.
Which instrument is the easiest to handle? (especially for a left hander).
22 REPLIES 22
duanesmith
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Aug 8, 2004

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Hi Rainbowserpant.......

The guitar would be much easier to master than the violin and would seem more logical for a singer, provided it is an instrument that you are interested in. The violin is considered one of the most difficult of the stringed instruments to master. Also depending on the different opinions you hear, there is a disticnt difference between playing violin and fiddle. Two different techniques and sounds involved.

If as you say you are going to practice 2 hours per day as well as take lessons you should do reasonably well in whichever instrument you choose.

Good luck in whichever you select.

Dewey
Steve-at-Bose_3
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Oct 2, 2003

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

quote:
How long on average can i expect to take to reach proficiency if not pro in either of these?


A short-time and a life-time ...

I'd pick guitar as well if you want to sing. Also, violin may make you deaf in your left ear over time. It is VERY loud up that close.

You can learn the basics of guitar in a half-year and be proficient within a couple. But I've found that you can grow with the instrument for your entire life. Les Paul, is a famous guitar player and inventor. He's 90 this year and according to him "still learning". how cool is that?

Steve
colandy
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Dec 5, 2004

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

I recall an interview with Chet Atkins ,after he was already a legend, where he said that he was taking guitar lessons. Who could teach Chet?
Making music seems to be a passion that few ever "get over".
Due to limited dexterity I don't get much better, but at 63 I am always learning new stuff about guitar and music.
Respect
Col. Andy
Tom Munch
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Jun 30, 2004

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

My experience with the violin is that you're either very good or very bad, & it takes a lot of playing to get to be very good.
noelincaliforni
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Oct 12, 2005

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Tom’s right on with this one! I tried picking up the Violin many, many years ago after playing the guitar for about 15 years at that time! There is no obvious frets, so if you get lost, It’s much harder to recover from then with a guitar. I too love the sound of a good violin but I recognized right off that I had no talent for it… You should try renting, and trying out both for a while and see which one lands with you….

Oddly enough one of my favorite instruments to play is the harp. Back in the early 70s I thought it was just a back ground instrument until I saw Harpo Marks play take me out to the ball park on one. Well I just had to have one after that. I was surprise on how easy it was to learn to play.

Try not to limit your self to just one instrument… you are young… just imagine how fulfilling life would be if you could master one every ten years!
robertrc
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Oct 7, 2005

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Good question: violin or guitar? I started the violin at 26, played the violin for 5 years and quit to play classical guitar for 5 years, then back to the violin, which I have been playing as an amatueur for the last 15 years. I'll break my answer into categories:

Musical need: Do you need to play melody or rhythm? You can do both with each instrument, but if melody is your desire, violin it is. A violin sustains a pitch, like the voice, and produces a melody that a plucked string can't.

Cost: guitars are way, way cheaper than violins. You'll need a decent violin to start and a better violin in two or three years. A better violin is critical, because it makes the pitches easier to hear and find.

Left handed: It will be easier for you to learn the fiddle as a lefty, because beginning and intermediate fiddlers struggle with the left hand. It takes years to realize that it's the right hand, the bow hand, that produces the sound, despite the fact that you know this and everybody tells you.

Lessons: critical to violin playing. It is so much easier to learn something new and correctly, than take years to eliminate a bad habit. Because the violin is held the way it is (or should be) there are a lot of long-term bad things you can do to yourself if you don't hold it and play it correctly.

Time to get good: This is of course, subjective, but it took me three or four years to be an intermediate guitarist and six to eight years to be an intermediate violinist. But I've met fiddlers who astonish me that have only been playing five years. The violin was a lot harder than the guitar for me -- I was actually shocked at how much easier the gross finger movement was than the subtle left hand on the violin.

Violin vs fiddle. If your goal is finely played classical violin, you're too late. I've never met a fine classical violinist who didn't play in junior high. You can, on the other hand, be a great fiddler if you are patient. (I gave up on classical violin and became a fiddler five years ago. Never regretted it for an instant.) Fiddling is growing in numbers and importance. Search for "fiddle camps" and explore. I play for contra dances and just love it.

There are lots of opportunities for guitar players too, but I am not familiar with them.

Musical Styles: the violin can play all musical styles, and does. I play with an English Dance band that plays music from 1650 to 1850. I play with a contradance band that plays contemporary music.

The violin/fiddle is a lead instrument -- do you want to be a leader? (Now, however, I'm learning rhythm fiddle and second fiddle, and I love it.) Most string bands have fiddle leads, not guitar. Most rock bands have guitar leads, not fiddles -- but that is because the fiddle is harder to play.

What to choose? I'm patient and I love the ability to move the pitch around of a sustained tone. The fiddle is a lot harder than the guitar, but if you choose it, you'll love it.

Robert
captacoustic
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Dec 14, 2003

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

I'm curious Col., because I no longer rank as a spring chicken, do you still play out? Have you found any major problems performing as you've aged? Jagger still struts around and Sir Paul is hitting the road.

Wayne

quote:
Originally posted by Col. Andy:
Making music seems to be a passion that few ever "get over".
Due to limited dexterity I don't get much better, but at 63 I am always learning new stuff about guitar and music.
Respect
Col. Andy
colandy
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Dec 5, 2004

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Well, I can't strut like Jagger (never could), but I do still play bars, parties etc. I used to be a 6 night a week solo/duo player, but I don't want to work that much now, maybe 25 or 30 gigs each year. I do depend more on my notes and lyric sheets these days, but the voice still seems to hold up OK. Setting up my old PA was getting hard on my back, and along comes Bose with the PAS and solved that problem. I don't plan to stop until either my show or my body quits working. Smile
Respect
fingerstyle
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Jan 6, 2006

Re: Help! Should i learn Guitar or Violin? Pros and Cons of Both?

Hey lets look at this, you can learn one key on the violin in a year, or you can learn how to play the guitar very well in a year. Lets face it Carlos Santana's father started him on the violin, now he is a guitarist........