I'm starting my long and perilous journey as a film/tv composing thing and I've had something of an epiphany.
I'm actually content with the samples I have. Not because I have them all (My main orchestral lib is EWQLSilver XP!) but because I've got so many sounds and plugins and instruments that I should theoretically be able to make an unlimited amount of decent-sounding music using it.
However - I've been thinking about getting another instrument to play with, and I've found a whole load of electric violins for around the £100 mark. Now I'm aware that 'you get what you pay for' - especially in the music domain - but some of these things seem to have relatively positive reviews.
So would anyone have any advice for me regarding electric violins? I'd love a nice acoustic one, but it'll take me ages to learn and cost a hell of a lot more. If I can get a cheap electric for £100 and start learning now, plus being able to make some crazy sounds for my composition stuff, then I'm sold!
learning the basics of playing a string instrument will probably change a lot in the way you use samples. If you have the first hand experience what the difference between an upbow and a downbow is, or how doing a glissando feels and how to avoid it ... your renderings will probably be much more convincing.
On the other hand I personally do not know of any good violinist (not to speak of a professional level) that is self-taught - but I have met very many good self-taught guitarrists and pianists. So the know-how seems to be a big part of violin playing and looking for good teaching is unavoidable.
And, sorry to say, on the average it will take about five years until it sounds agreeable ... . My ovservation is that mostly kids have the patience to bear up this phase - provided the parents also have some patience ... adult beginners mostly are too critical to themselves and give up too early.
Nevertheless some training of it could vastly help you to understand the instrument for composing and rendering better music.
FYI: I have been playing guitar for about 27 years. I am by no means a great guitar player, but I can definitely play, and I know my instrument really well.
About 1 1/2 months ago, I took my first violin lesson. I said, "eh - it won't be easy, but I already play the guitar, so..." Well, I was in fact expecting it to be a challenge, but not this much of a challenge. As stated earlier, I can't imagine anyone who plays well being entirely self-taught. The little nuances with the bow are enough to warrant a year's worth of lessons. You have to know where the center of the bow is (hint: it's not halfway inbetween the heel and the tip) you have to hold your hand in a certain position - depending on which string you are bowing, your elbow as well, your wrist as well, your arm as well, your fingers have to apply different amounts of pressure depending on which string/downbow vs. up bow/closer to the tip/closer to the frog/volume desired/etc. - and not your fingers as a whole - but each finger applies different amounts of pressure, depending....sometimes fingers get taken off of the bow...you have to know when to rotate the bow on the strings, as you do not simply bow up and down....and I am not even going into the left hand and intonation.
It is a big undertaking, and requires alot of patience, practice, and A TEACHER. But, if you can learn to play a note or two on your own, more power to you.