Guitar Lessons: How Difficult Is It To Learn To Play Violin?

(Pt 1 lesson) Intro section of Under Cover of Darkness – The Strokes guitar lesson

I already play guitar, which I realise probably doesn’t have much bearing on how quickly I’d pick it up. I’d be teaching myself, as I don’t really have the time or patience for lessons.

So to people who already play, how hard would it be, and is it even feasible to teach myself?



  1. italian_gurl says:
  2. Sharon M says:

    I actually have heard it said that the violin is one of the hardest instruments to play because it takes so long to be able to produce a sound that doesn’t sound like a cat being murdered.

    I don’t remember it being that difficult. There are many people who have taught themselves to play. I think learning to read violin music is actually quite easy and there are a number of beginning books that will teach you the basics. The only problem you’re going to have is proper handling of the violin. You need to wipe it down after every play, you must rosin and tighten the bow each time and release the tension before you put it away. Also, when you put the violin under your chin, it’s the pressure of chin and shoulder that you use to support instrument, never the hand that holds the neck because it needs to be loose to finger the notes properly.

  3. pinkribbon says:

    My son has been playing since he was 6 (he’s now 11) He wanted a violin for his birthday, and my husband pays for him to have lessons private.We pay £10 for a 30 minute lesson every week.He also has lessons in school.As you already play guitar you have your foot on the ladder.My son has to practise often or he gets rusty.Get yourself a pre-owned violin first, see how you get on.Give it a go, I hope you have fun.

  4. Camillionare says:


  5. Snagelfritz says:

    I not think it hard. They not have frets, so, it more of a learned finger placement. Well, the violin I have not have frets. I been learning and must be pretty good, as people want to get up and move. 😀

  6. myrmecophyte says:

    Time and patience – and aptitude – are really what are needed to improve.

    Learning the guitar does help with training your ear to hear harmonies and some other music theory, though not too much else :)

    I’d advise getting a few lessons to start yourself off, being aware that you could get into some habits that really wouldn’t help you. I had lessons at school, then taught myself. I’m still learning, over a decade later!

    It’s great to try it, and can be incredibly worthwhile if you keep at it. Have fun!

  7. rn777 says:

    i started playing when i was in year 4 and it took me about 2 years to get it okish much harder than guitar as guitar the necks nice and big, frets indicate where notes are etc, but once you grasp it, its just as easy as anything else once you understand it

    for violin best getting a teacher for a few lessons

  8. sylvia says:

    It’s HARD, dude!

    I played from 5th grade through the end of my 9th grade year, after which I promptly quit and picked up the oboe. It was easier to learn to play a double-reed woodwind than the violin.

    Without lessons? No way….you need to take at least a few to get a feel for the basics and a solid foundation. Starting with poor form will make it nearly impossible to improve your technique down the road….

  9. ♥pink_chik♥ says:

    i had a teacher that taught me when i was 8 until i was 12, if you can already play the guitar you should be ok learning yourself once you no the strings

  10. asnplayer5 says:

    Violin is probably one of the hardest instruments to play. Any strong instrument – violin, viola, cello, bass – are considered to be the hardest instruments to learn. That is because they don’t have keys. Pianos have keys, all wind instruments have keys. Having keys allows you to at least get the note right by pressing on it (in wind instruments, you still have to adjust your breathing technique) but for string instruments, it is very difficult to get every note correct – only after years and years of practice.

    You can try to teach yourself – but I would recommend just getting a private teacher and save yourself countless hours and wasted money on books. Good luck

  11. DAOR says:

    It depends on your dedication; it takes time and you have to be patient. To play the way it should be played, its gonna take maybe a couple of years of daily practice.

  12. MachPen*´`*•.¸¸ says:

    I haven’t played since I was 13, but the only challenge honestly was memorizing the notes, and becoming familiarized with how they correspond on the neck. My teachers allowed me to tape tiny letter decals (AGBDF) so that could memorize these notes on the frets, lol.
    Playing pizzicato is easy, but note vibrations are difficult if you aren’t professionally trained. good luck!

  13. iainscottclark says:

    Its definately harder than the guitar as there are no frets whatsoever, and the spaces between each note arent even. However, it is an amazing instrument and i thoroughly recommend playing it. Dont be put off if you sound bad at first and if it seems hard (grade 1 violin seems to be the same standard as grade 2 of any other instrument lol)
    I was in the same postition as you 3 years ago. Although having a teacher would be better, some DVD saying learn the violin! and a decent book of tunes (i recommend Abracadabra! violin or Eta Cohen’s books) should do you till the more difficult stuff starts coming in. One thing you will definately need to put in is time and effort.
    Hope this helps!

    EDIT – also your hardened fingers will come in handy. You have to push HARD to get a nice sound :)
    The most difficult thing on the violin is learning how to hold it, and how to hold the bow.

  14. Patchouli049 says:

    Well if you’re musically inclined, (which it sounds like you are, as a guitar player) it should help. That said, it’s going to be hard. I have a teacher, but according to all advice I’ve heard about learning to play an intstrument, it is important to listen to a lot of music. Buying a book of music would probably help too; when people learn with a teacher, they usually use the Suzuki books, so I’d recommend them. Have fun!

  15. cherylperk224 says:

    Actually, it isn’t the easiest instrument to doesn’t have frets on it like a guitar you have to rely heavily on your ear. Also, the strings aren’t tuned the same as a guitar either. In any case, you can find instruction books and cd’s in most music stores….My father taught himself to play and wasn’t half bad.

  16. ianbrightman1975 says:

    it is difficut to learn, and even as a professional violinist with the LSO i’m still learning stuff even now, and ive been playing for 27 years where i am up to diploma standard, and have a degree in violin studies from the Royal College of Music. as you already play a string instrument, that will help. the biggest hurdle i found when learning was that i could’nt grasp the idea that the notes become higher in pitch the further up the fingerboard i went. the other hurdle is bowing. i found that up to about grade 4 i was hitting strings incorrectly. so in respect to left/right hand co-ordination, that for you would be sussed to some degree, and the fact that you will use a plectrum, and will be replacing that witha bow. with bowing the hardest bit when you begin is the “strangled cat” effect, but given time that will sort itself out. can you teach yourself…the short answer is no. there are so many techniques you will need to master, from bowing, fingering, vibrato, pizzicato, martelle, spiccato and more. you could not learn these from books alone. then there is the problem of fingering. on a guitar, you have frets, which help in positioning your fingers, whereas with a violin you have 92 notes on a fingerboard that is smaller than the guitar and no guidence for your fingers but memory, so it easy to make mistakes. the best way is to use the internet, as there are some really good sites here. of you need any more help please feel free to ask

    good luck

  17. ღ lovethemusic ღ says:

    No offense, but you will never be very good if you teach yourself. You need the mastery of a professional teacher for this instrument. If you want to play, get a teacher.

    However, if you do insist on teaching yourself, you’re looking at a good 5-6 years before you have a nice tone/technique.

  18. Sugarplum says:

    VERY HARD! I’m still a musician, but it will take you more than 20 years to master the violin; it also depends on how hard you work and how much you can learn to understand the violin. Good luck! You have to have the most patience, perseverance and you can’t learn to play it quickly. It takes time and practice.

  19. brian777999 says:

    It is very difficult. you Will need a teacher…at least for the first 12 months.Anybody who says it is easy probably sounds like crap and does not even know it.

    DO NOT PRESS HARD as somebody has said . You press as lightly as possible on the string otherwise you will never be able to do vibrato. Everything must be kept “loose and light”.

    It is a great instrument and very challenging.I love it…GO FOR IT

    PS have a look at for some good lessons which might give you an idea of what is involved.

  20. tennisplayer777 says:

    well, the main differences are the bow and no frets. It’s feasible, but I would recommend taking lessons. Start out with a crap violin, so that if you decide you hate it, you can drop it without much loss. Also, you will want to buy fingertapes and an easy level book.

  21. ~Leslie~ says:

    Teaching yourself is hardest. You could but it would take a lot longer to get beyond beginer skills. I’ve played for 9 years and I’m still learning how to fine tune my tunation habbits. The guitar is so different from the violin in how you actually have to be able to play. You would be better off having a part time private instructor to help you along so that they can know what you need to do to improve and learn to play. A lot of playing is how well was the instrument made. My violin was hand made back in the 1930s but before I got it I had a factory produced violin. A good instrument, usually hand made and high quality, stays in tune better and plays easier. Cheaper, lower quality will have to be tuned more often and take more effort to play well. I’ve had both and would not go back to the manufactured instrument if my life depended on it. Have a good instrument, put in the time and find someone who knows what they are doing to help you with the technique skills.

    -Light touch on the string because lots of pressure makes the string stretch and then retighten and that can make it go out of tune. There is a lot to playing well and you can never stop learning how to improve yourself.

  22. techfiddle says:

    If you don’t “have the time or patience” for lessons, you certainly don’t have the time or patience to teach yourself, which is much, much more difficult.