Is Cello the Instrument for You?

You have decided to break into the world of stringed instruments, but you are not sure where to start. From violins and violas to guitars and a host of other instruments, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

Today we will look at the cello, which offers deep, warm, brilliant tones that are singularly arresting. The cello can access a range of musical emotions, allowing composers to feature it in … Read more

Why Do Violinists Have Multiple Violin Bows?

Ask a group of violinists why they have more than one bow, and you’re likely to get a variety of responses. Most will reply that they keep a backup bow in their case in the event that one breaks or if there is a concern that their primary bow may sustain damage at a particular venue, especially at outdoor performances.

Other responses as to why violinists use multiple and/or different types of bows include:

  • To
Read more

Forming Your Own String Quartet

If you’re a string player, you’re probably familiar with a variety of famous string quartets. There are classics such as the Busch String Quartet known for its performance of Beethoven quartets, but you can also find more modern groups like the Vitamin String Quartet who play instrumental covers of popular songs. The success of such groups may have inspired you to think about forming your own string quartet. After all, string quartets are one of … Read more

Cello Recording Tips

With a rich, emotional sound that has often been described as the closest approximation by an instrument to the human vocal range, the cello is a favorite stringed instrument for many musicians. Known for its versatility, the cello is a worthy addition to any production, from classical and pop to folk, soul, metal — even punk.

Getting the sound you want when recording the cello can be challenging, however, especially when it comes to things … Read more

Cross Tuning Your Fiddle

Many fiddle players have only experienced playing their instruments within the standard tuning format of GDAE. Each tuning is used to achieve a different key, and trying alternative tunings can allow you to coax new and different sounds out of your fiddle, including the open string drone. (A drone is a string above or below the melody that vibrates throughout the piece as you play.)

The great majority of fiddles have friction pegs, the connection … Read more

The Beginning Musician

Have you (or your child) recently decided to take the first step on a musical journey by learning to play a string instrument? If so, congratulations!

Learning something new can seem overwhelming at first — but take comfort in knowing that many others have taken up a string instrument with no prior experience, and while some go on to have careers as musicians and teachers, many others have found ways to incorporate occasional string playing … Read more

How Often Should You Replace Your Cello Strings?

When it comes to string instruments, maintenance is key to producing your desired sound. The strings will wear out over time, and may even break in the course of playing. As a result, regular string replacements are necessary. Some string instruments will need updated strings sooner than others, like violins or violas. By contrast, instruments like a cello can go a little longer without replacing the strings.

Most cellists find themselves replacing cello strings roughly … Read more

Music Makes You Better At …

The benefits of music have long been a subject of intense study and debate. For centuries music has been a well-known form of artistic expression. Musicians and audiences alike often discuss the transformative power of music. But can music really affect human behavior? Can listening to music really make us smarter, affect our moods – both happy and sad – or even help us with sleeping?

Studies do suggest that playing music can help improve … Read more

The Best Violin Strings for Beginners

When new to playing the violin, you are not just learning to read and play music, you are also learning the instrument itself. To start with, you will gain a basic understanding about how to properly hold the bow and violin, how to tune it and what accessories to have on hand. Violins themselves are small and easily portable, but they do require extra gear, like a case to protect the instrument from temperature changes … Read more

What Are the Cello Strings in Order?

As a beginning cellist, properly tuning a cello is one of the most important skills you’ll need to learn early on. If your cello is out of tune, it is practically impossible to practice or improve your playing. In order to learn how to tune your cello, you’ll first need to become familiar with the pieces of your instrument and how they function together as a unit.

The cello has four strings which are tuned … Read more

Helping Kids Develop a Practice Routine Isn’t Always Easy

Learning to play music is an incredibly enriching experience for young children, but getting kids to practice their instrument can be a difficult proposition. Like homework or any other compulsory activity, there may be days where they’re tired or simply not in the mood. Sticking to a set schedule, with specific parameters like what time and how long the daily session will be helps by setting their expectations.

When your children are very young, it’s … Read more

Potential Problems You Can Find with Cheaper Violins

If you’re the parent of a young child who is interested in learning to play the violin or an adult beginner, you’re going to need to rent an instrument or purchase a starter violin. For some parents or adult beginners, purchasing an instrument is important, so they go online. Once there, they’re going to find a variety of inexpensive violin outfits on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers — and they may be tempted to … Read more

Living Our Values

It often comes as a surprise to customers and friends of Johnson String Instrument when they find out that most of our employees are string players. Many studied at conservatory or majored in music in college and are now weekend gig players who appreciate a 9-5 weekday work schedule and the benefits it provides. Many others are amateur musicians who play for the sheer enjoyment of making music and the relaxation it can bring.

We … Read more

New Year, New Goals

A new year typically brings with it a desire to “wipe the slate clean,” and start the year fresh with a new set of goals, both personal and professional. Here at Johnson String Instrument, we’ve published a host of articles on various topics over the past few years, some of which you may find helpful in solving a longstanding problem, or even pointing you in a completely new direction. We’ve broken them down into … Read more