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I agree with Mr. Woodhouse on this. I also play violin and guitar, though probably not at your level. However, the point can be generalized to this. Some instruments are easy to get good sound out of- guitar, piano, but others are difficult to get good sound out of- violin, flute. Being a longtime player of guitar (43 years) and violin (23 years) I can tell you this about the two instruments.

The guitar is very easy to get moderately good on. Anywhere you play on the fingerboard, you are guaranteed good intonation, if your instrument is set up well. Many common chords are easy to form and finger. However, at an advanced level, it is extremely difficult to find your way around, especially in improvisation. The guitar is laid out in an illogical way- 4th, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th (low to high). To know where you are in a particular scale at any one time is extremely difficult and requires a very deep knowledge of the fingerboard. Arranged music, like classical guitar can be worked out, fingered for convenience or timbre and practiced until memorized. I did this many years ago when I played Scott Joplin rags, then later when arranging swing and jazz music for fingerstyle guitar. Keeping horizontal lines flowing smoothly is a fine point at a high level. See 'Parkening Plays Bach'.

The violin on the other hand is difficult to get a good sound, initially. Later, it can even be difficult to get consistently. As you play in different areas of the fingerboard, good intonation is not guaranteed without a tremendous amount of practice. Also, the further up the neck you play, adjustments must be made in bowing to achieve a good sound. However, the violin is laid out in a very logical way, ascending 5ths. This makes finger and knowing where you are in a scale very easy. I am amazed that there aren't more accomplished jazz and blues violin players. See Darol Anger and Heather Hardy.

Just my $0.02

John Mahony

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