Is Fiddle the Right Instrument for you?

March 25, 2016

The fiddle is one of the most difficult instruments to learn. It requires a good ear and quite a bit of dexterity. Many people choose the fiddle as their first instrument; however, it is much easier to learn if you already have a musical background with other instruments.

Right from the start you need to realize that this will not be easy. Of course very few “easy” things are as rewarding as playing a stringed instrument.

Someone that has played other stringed instruments can learn basic tunes on the fiddle in a couple of weeks. If you have spent time playing Guitar, Banjo, Bass, Mandolin, etc., the fiddle will not be all the hard to pick up.

Next in line is the musician that has played instruments, but not tried stringed instruments. This may have been Brass, Woodwind, or Piano. Here, you have good musicianship and pitch but have not spent time playing stringed instruments. It will take a bit longer for you to pick up the fiddle. Maybe a couple of months to sound presentable on basic songs.

Now lastly we have the beginning musician. This is someone that has never played an instrument and may not have good pitch. This is nothing at all to be ashamed of. We all start out as beginners. The beginner will have to learn pitch, rhythm and develop their dexterity all at once. It can seem like an overwhelming task and many players give up quickly thinking they are just not meant to become musicians. This is far from the truth. While some people are naturally more talented than others, we all have the ability to play instruments. It just takes time and dedication. A beginner that practices daily should expect to sound pretty bad the first few months. It generally takes about 6 months to sound ok playing basic songs on the fiddle. If you do not have the patience to stick with it that long, you will not make it to the point where it begins to become enjoyable. The first few months are not always fun. Your pitch and timing have to be developed regardless of the instrument you choose. So the 6 month estimate can really be applied to any instrument.

If you are still reading, you must not have been scared off yet. Great! You are a fiddler in the making. Let`s move on to instrument selection.

Good quality instruments are expensive. The fiddle is no exception. Yes you can buy them for under $100, but you really should spend more. $250-$400 (our prices) gets a nice instrument that will still be adequate once you learn to play. Spend less, and it will only be suited to learning the basics. We have a lot of specific information about violin and fiddle selection elsewhere on this site so this will be brief.

Playing the fiddle is not cheap. If this is something you plan to pursue, figure out a realistic long term budget. The fiddle will need replacement parts and repairs from time to time. You may take lessons or buy books and videos. The better you play the better the instrument you will need. This can quickly get you into very expensive upgrades.

Still reading? Once again, we have not managed to scare you off. It sounds like you are serious about learning.

Get your self a nice fiddle (make sure it has a good setup done on it) and do not give up! Learning an instrument is well worth the time invested.

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