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CHRIS
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10/3/2004
09:08:30
Subject: different brands of violin
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I am looking to buy a starter violin and in doing some research I have come across the same Name i.e. Santi, but with a different ending. What does this mean? (Santi Bellezza or Santi Suono) (Helmke Strad, Helmke Reinhart)


natnot
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11/3/2004
23:08:45
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I can't say I've ever heard of the brands you mention. Have you come across them in shops, or online? Usually, the first part of the name will be the "make" and the second part the "model" - so maybe the "Santi Bellezza" is a higher model than the "Santi Suono", or vice versa depending on the asking price. But I tried Googling for all of the names you listed, and nothing came up.


Chris
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12/3/2004
03:20:38
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I got the names from a place on Ebay since that's where I started my research. From there I wanted to look up the names and compare prices, but I discovered the dual names. Then, like you, I couldn't find the names at all. The violins listed at a retail price of $699.95 U.S.


Sock
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30/3/2004
06:28:43
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I've been looking at the same violins on ebay lately. Does anyone have any information regarding the quality of these violins? (Other than the information posted by the seller).


wade campbell
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30/3/2004
10:07:16
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I'm in the same boat, looking for my first violin for bluegrass and celtic. Wade


chris
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02/4/2004
05:11:43
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I have been asking some people who have made purchases from people on ebay, and one person who is a violin teacher had this to say

"One of my students was in need of a basic 3/4 size violin for beginning. I got it for a great price and found great-tunes quick and
helpful. (I purchased the Helmke violin by German Engineering for $60 plus $20 shipping.) The violin is beautiful and I think very nice for the price I paid. It is low end quality but several of my other students have violins
of the same quality that they paid $300- 500 for. I really don't know how
they can do it for so little money! Even the very least expensive violin at other companies (I shopped around on the Internet) goes for at least $150. And I think this violin is at least the same if not better quality than
these for 1/2 the price. I think the sound is nice and it stays in tune well. It doesn't have that annoying high ringy squeek that so many
of the beginning violins do. I actually really like it's mellow tone. All in all
I would highly recommend them for beginning violins and think you will save money!"



tombo
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13/5/2004
21:38:04
RE: different brands of violin
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chris, Sock: I think I've been looking at the same ebay listings as you. "great-tunes" sells at least 2 violins, a "Santini Curvasi" and a "Helmke Strad", but all photos look IDENTICAL to each other, except where they show the label & serial # inside the violin body, signifying this as a sign of quality. Scam? Same maker for both the "Italian" & "German" brands? Still, I've been paying more to RENT one than this would cost to BUY, so I'd just like to find out if they're worth the price.


natnot
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14/5/2004
07:04:24
RE: different brands of violin
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Beginners rarely know anything about proper setup, which is one of the most important factors, particularly on low priced violins.

These violins, BTW, are *not* Italian. "Italian engineering" is a very vague phrase. The violins are most likely Chinese, which in itself is not a good thing, but the seller's description makes me cringe TBH. It seems the seller can't make up his mind whether the same violin is "Italian engineering" or "German type".

A few points:

Label and serial number - this means nothing. Some very good and expensive violins have no labels.

Ebony fittings - Many lower end student models do in fact have ebony - the stained fingerboards are becoming much rarer as overall quality improves. From the pictures, the ebony doesn't look to be particularly good quality, though this is better than a stained one.

Hand carved - Just about all violins are hand carved. Similarly, almost all violins are made from maple and spruce. "Select" is subjective, and the term "master luthier" is of course open to interpretation.

Brazilwood bow - If the frog on the bow in the picture is ebony, it must be very low grade. It looks brown to me. In my experience a fibreglass bow (P&H, Glasser etc) is a much better bet than a cheap brazilwood one, most of which are fit only for the bin (I've owned them!) and warp easily.

Case - The case on this one doesn't look too bad. Not really a big issue though, cheap cases are much of a muchness (they have improved greatly over the last few years though).

Purfling - Again, some very good violins (particularly some English 17th and 18th century instruments that sell for many thousands) have painted on purfling. Though to give the seller credit, it is generally a good thing to have inlaid purfling.

Tailpiece - Actually, many people (myself included) would much rather have a composite tailpiece than an ebony one with 4 tuners attached - the ebony one actually kills the sound more! I replaced an ebony tailpiece on my viola with a plastic one, because it sounded better.

He doesn't mention the bridge - the bridge in the picture looks fairly badly fitted.

I'm not sure where the list price of $699.95 comes from - I know I wouldn't pay that for one. Sure, for the price on Ebay, it's probably not a bad buy as something to mess around on, but don't expect it to be in the same league as a $700 fiddle.


Teema
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09/6/2004
17:24:57
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I bought a chinese made violin about 4 years ago, and it was ok
for a beginner, but the sound really was not good at all. I found
a local violin-maker who imports chinese violins and "works
them over". I decided to pay the extra money for the worked
over violin, because it sounds much better, and is easier to play.
Specifically, he made a new bridge for it, replaced the parts w/
ebony pieces, put a new sound post inside. Also, he gave me a
different wooden bow, because he was very unhappy w/the
basilwood bow it came with.

So, personally, if you buy one of the chinese violins online, I
would recommend factoring in an additional $100-200 to have
it "worked over" a bit.


alastair
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09/6/2004
18:32:36
RE: different brands of violin
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There is no doubt that instruments of excellent quality are now being made in large numbers in Eastern Europe and China. I have a Matthias Thoma violin from Romania, which retailed at £400 - so you could probably get it more cheaply if you found a good source - and is very good indeed, well-made from good materials with a good, even, attractive sound. I have also played a couple of Gewa violas (I think they are made in Mittewald) which have cost much the same and been well worth it. I believe there are also very good Hungarian instruments now on the market. Pick of the bunch for me is a Chinese handmade viola, a good bit dearer, but bought as a second instrument and in fact quite a bit better than my expensive Italian viola, of which I am very fond. I got it in the Violin Shop in Glasgow after trying every viola in the shop. It simply played better, and by that I mean better than instruments which cost three times as much. The moral of that, I think, is that if you try things out it helps, because no two instruments are ever exactly the same. If you do not play and are not in a position to trial instruments, perhaps a friend who does play can help. But it is a buyer's market - today's mass-produced instruments are of a much higher standard than those of 30/40 years ago.


Chris
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30/7/2004
04:16:22
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I finally got one of those violins online. The Helmke Leiht from great-tunes on Ebay. I like it. I know it's not fabulous, but at least I know it. I paid $80 total w/shipping. It sounds pretty good and when I took it to my local place to have one of the strings restrung after I broke it (I didn't know how to do it) he thought it was one of their 200 models ($300-$500). He said he had seen better, but he definately said he's seen worse.

I had no trouble setting up the bridge. It came with instructions, and I found a place online that gave me the right pitch for tuning. The only problem I have had was keeping the pegs from slipping. If anyone has some advice I would appreciate it. I keep shoving the pegs in so they will stick, but after a couple of days they have loosened again.

All in all, I am very happy with my beginner violin. Now, to find inexpensive lessons...now that's a challenge!



Graham Welsh Host
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30/7/2004
05:02:10
RE: different brands of violin
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Hi Chris,
Exactly the sort of problem that some previous posts pointed out in the type of violin for beginners. I have to do some set up work which includes reaming the pegbox holes so that the pegs have a proper fit. Usually a small amount of Hills peg paste (in the Store) is then applied to give the peg some barrier between new wood to wood usually helps. Slipping pegs are not always easy to solve without the correct tools.



Ed
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07/8/2004
16:12:13
RE: different brands of violin
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Chris, I'm getting the same violin you have. Just wondering if you could tell me what site you went to for tuning.


Graham Welsh Host
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09/8/2004
02:01:49
RE: different brands of violin
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Hello Ed,
I'm not sure if this is the one Chris found.....it does the job anyway.
http://www.violinonline.com/tuning.htm


Chris
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09/8/2004
02:15:23
RE: different brands of violin
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Ed, This is the tuning website: http://www.violinonline.com/tune.htm

I also like this website. They have lots of info and pictures. http://www.folkofthewood.com

I like my violin. I'll warn you, it smells like barbeque...

I haven't started taking lessons yet, but I have picked up how to play, I can already play some songs, but I am probably developing bad habits.


chris
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09/8/2004
05:46:26
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Graham - you beat me! I'm glad to see I have the same link. It make me feel like I'm catching on.

I'm surprised at how quickly I am picking up the violin. I am so pleased! When I read that people practice many hours a day, I thought, there is no way I could do that, but now I could easily do the same, I just don't have that many hours in the day. I would be up all night. To me the violin plays like a piano, except the notes go up the strings (and there is more fine tuning than with a piano), that is how I remember where the notes are. I hope I'm not learning the wrong way.




Mary
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16/8/2004
07:53:10
RE: different brands of violin
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Okay guys, my daughter started Orchestra this year. She is in the 4th grade. I was looking for a "cheap" violin to start her on. I wasn't too hip on the idea of buying a $250-$300 violin that the school was suggesting. Maybe after she decides she enjoys it.....Okay so my question is did I buy a half way descent violin? I bought The New Helmke 1/2 Size Violin on ebay from Great-tunes. After shipping and tax I paid almost $100.00. Was this a decent deal and will it be acceptable for a starter violin? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Teema
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16/8/2004
08:41:26
RE: different brands of violin
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One violin I can highly recommend is the Hondge violin that you
can buy on ebay. It has a beautful projecting sound - I was very
impressed! I have played the violin for many years, and my
children play, so I wanted to get a couple of full sized violins to
keep around different parts of our home so we would practice
more readily. I bought a Hondge Advanced violin for around
$400 - had new strings, bridge, and soundpost put on for about
$180, and the luthier I took it to told me that in a violin shop it
would be at least $2,000 because it has such a nice sound. I
bought 2 more to keep until my other children grow into full
sized violins. I'm sure there are others like it, but my experience
at least has been very positive with that instrument.


Bruce
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17/8/2004
05:15:37
RE: different brands of violin
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If pegs are slipping on the tuner you can often solve it with a pencil! Take out the peg (one at a time) and go over it with a pencil to put a thin layer of graphite in place. This will often solve the problem. If the peg is too stiff or won't move, coat it with a thin (and I do mean THIN) layer of Ivory bar soap.

About the Helmke violin, I saw one in a fiddle class a few weeks ago and the instructor said that it would have sold for $250 or more in a music store, the case was probably worth the $80 he paid. I have a nice French made strad copy from the 1890's, but I've ordered a Helmke to have as a practice and travel instrument.





Mary
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17/8/2004
05:42:17
RE: different brands of violin
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Ahh....thanks for the response Bruce! Now I feel a little better about the purchase. I hope it plays half way descent. Like I said before...My daughter is just starting the violin. I didn't want to purchase an expensive one and she end up not taking interest in it.


Bruce
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18/8/2004
02:37:38
RE: different brands of violin
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Mary, you are welcome. I am supposed to receive my Helmke next week and I will have my local shop give it a once over. My "main" fiddle is so, well, LOUD, that it makes it hard to practice. I'm not good enough to play softly yet.

Does anyone here have experience or ideas about "mutes" to help with practice?



Mary
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18/8/2004
04:04:10
RE: different brands of violin
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Okay Bruce...another question. What is a "once over?" My daughter should receive her violin by Saturday. Any suggestions would be appreciated on how to make it work well for her and easy on her instructors ears!

Feel free to respond at:

mary.oliver@ichotelsgroup.com


chris
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23/8/2004
04:47:30
RE: different brands of violin
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OK, now that I have been practicing without a teacher for a month, (still no luck finding/affording one), and can play songs, I just got a couple of books, and one of them says that to play each note, I am to leave all my fingers on the strings even if I don't need them i.e. for the g (3rd finger) I'm to keep 1st (e)and 2nd (f#) fingers on the string. Is that right? I haven't been doing it that way, but then again, I don't have a teacher.

Also, my g string doesn't sound as nice as my other strings when I play. I have replaced it, but when I press c, etc. it doesn't sound as nice. Do I just need more practice?

As to my pegs, I shove them in as far as they will go...and hope they stick.


Bruce
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23/8/2004
05:17:45
RE: different brands of violin
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Chris,

visit http://www.fiddleguru.com/index.html

He has some good basic lessons for free and so does

www.folkofthewoods.com

A little pencil rubbing on a peg will help it grip.




Lisa
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08/9/2004
13:29:32
RE: different brands of violin
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Can anyone tell me which violin on this site, www.music123.com, would be for a beginner student, but she is older (15), so would need a full size one, but we need it to be a reasonable price. They seem to have several that are supposably on sale for our price range...$250-$350. We are renting now, and the one is used and chipped and they still wanted $329 for it...it is a Selmer, Glaesel or something like that. I would rather pay that for a new one. Thank you for any help you can give me.


Graham Welsh Host
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08/9/2004
20:49:22
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I think it prudent to mension that I do sell great beginner kits and do the set ups on them myself. If you live in the USA postage is not that much of a problem as regards cost. Remember it's how the violin is set up that is most important. String selection is also vital. So come on.......Give me a try!


Graham Welsh Host
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11/9/2004
01:12:50
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I thought I would let you know my experience of trying to buy a Helmke violin on Ebay.
My particular seller has many negatives against his name. They sell Helmke kits on mass with no care to set ups or authentic pictures to what you actually get. I am still waiting for a shipping price to the UK and also the seller won't let me pay using Paypal. Only USA and Canada can pay by this method. I guess this saves them calculating the extra conv to Dollars.
So BE WARNED! If I find it hard to buy from this seller and others also have problems.....Is it worth all the hassle!





Bruce
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13/9/2004
01:32:33
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Graham,
Great site you have here. I bought my Helmke from Great Tunes, and they took Paypal and sent all info about the 1 year warranty. Seem like nice folks. I think $80 was a good deal for what I got, the bow is better than one I paid $75 for,




Graham Welsh Host
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13/9/2004
02:11:30
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Thanks for your kind comments regards site. Looks like I drew the short straw by picking another supply company. Glad your deal went through OK.


Theron P. Carson
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13/9/2004
14:49:45
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I just received my Santini violin outfit this afternoon, which I purchased on eBay for a total price of $79.85. Everything appears to be of good quality. The violin case is very nice. I saw another web site on the Internet where this very same violin outfit is selling for $175.00 plus shipping. I believe that I have good value for the price that I paid. The label inside the violin does not say "Santini Curvasi", it simply says "Santini". The label also bears a serial number, and says "by Italian Engineering". Has anyone else had any experiences, good or bad, with Santini violins? Please let me know. Thank you!


Lindy
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17/9/2004
02:59:36
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I'm very interested in hearing feedback about the "Santini" viola offered on Ebay by Great Tunes. I'm considering buying a "Santini" viola for my daughter who's a first-year student but have never heard, or heard of, one. Help....


April
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20/9/2004
12:47:24
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can someone fill me in on the ROTHENBURG violin? I am a beginner and just bought it off ebay. It sounded like a great violin for the money. Said it's German engineering and a copy of a Strativarius violin from 1732. Who knows if that's true, or if it's really a big deal....But the sellar said it retails for around 725.00, and I got it for 77.00. Anyone ever heard of these?


Lindy
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20/9/2004
14:51:21
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April,
It sounds like we both need the same kind of information. I'm asking about an online product, also. Great Tunes has sold over 12,000 instruments online. Has anyone out there ever heard one played?
Lindy


C Killick
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21/9/2004
08:23:39
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My daughter's teacher is recommending a Zeller but I am very tempted by the Gliga Gems2. It is hard to get independant advice as everyone is trying to sell their own brand


April
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21/9/2004
09:31:25
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I would just like to know about the ROTHENBURG.....I can't find info anywhere!!!??


Lindy
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21/9/2004
13:33:10
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Sorry, I know nothing about the Rothenburg. Are you able to play it or is it thru the internet? If you've called several large music stores and they haven't heard of it and you can't find anything about it thru Google my guess is that you should avoid it. I can find lots of technical information on the "Santini" I just don't know how it sounds when played.


mhinton
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22/9/2004
07:08:09
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i purchased a violin helmke on e bay it is beautiful 69.99 took to musicman who admired it.I wanted a violin after fiddling with my granddaughters. I am "older" and to make it worse left handed. the violin is a lefthanded one. finding teacher may be impossible. never having seen a naked violin before when it came yesterday and it had no frets like a guitar i was ready to send back. musicman said all violins are like that and your FINGERS make the FRETS..i got mine from a place in Idaho. It is a beauty.


Sharon Dee
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23/9/2004
14:44:51
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I have had these Italian/German "design" violins come into my shop on the advice of many student's music teacher. I usually have to replace the nut, the finger board on occasion, the bridge, the strings (for sure), the bow, and sometimes the pegs. Surprisingly, the sound posts usually seem to be in the right place. I think that possibly in a 1/8, or 1/4 size, these violins are not bad for a child, but I do not recommend them for anyone beyond 8 years old. They are Chinese, and not very good Chinese instruments, I am afraid. There are some very good Chinese products out there now, albeit with a different sound than the Eastern European instruments, which I happen to believe cannot be beat these days, except for some old German, Italian, and French instruments. I wouldn't mind this guy selling these instruments except for the deception of telling folks about the "serial number" and the "Italian design" ...it is bunk! If you are an adult, you should buy a good sounding intermediate level instrument even if you are a beginner. Message from HOST! "Sorry Commercial use of this community board is Prohibited unless prior permission has been granted".


Lindy
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23/9/2004
14:57:48
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Thanks so much for your helpful input. I'll check out your website.
Lindy


andy g
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25/9/2004
01:20:46
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i'm looking for background on Albert Kramling violins, only bows come up in a web search - help on quality and pricing would be appreciated, thanks


Sharon Dee
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05/10/2004
13:54:36
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Hello again. Sorry, I did not mean to get free advertising...was just trying to be informative regarding the internet scamming of unsuspecting beginner violin buyers. I would however, welcome questions from the folks on here who need an honest answer from an expert. (38 years in the business)


C Killick
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06/10/2004
07:48:44
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Sharon

As you are offering to answer questions
Have you any experience of the Gliga Gems violin?

How do you rate it?


Lindy
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06/10/2004
08:04:32
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I'm glad you asked about the Gligi Gems 2. I'm considering a Gems 2 viola and would also like to hear any feedback about it. Time magazine did an article on the company a couple of years ago. If you Google "Gigli" and "Time" you can read it. Sounds like an upstanding company.


Sharon Dee
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06/10/2004
08:43:27
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Gliga violins are very good products. They are Romanian and made under the supervision of Vasile Gliga a Master Luthier. If you buy one of these violins direct, you may have to do a set up on them and I know that you will have to change the strings, but otherwise, they are great! I would not recommend the lower end violins however, except for perhaps someone in a 1/16 to a 1/4.


Sharon
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06/10/2004
08:52:48
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I should mention that there are only really two major factories in Romania, Hora and Gliga. Hora was the government run shop when Romania was Communist. With the fall of Communism, other luthiers were able to open their own shops etc...so many are making Romanian violins in a cottage industry there and selling to people such as myself who do the finishing on them and set them up properly. The making is only half of the process. In Germany, there are also only two or three factories that make violins, one of them being Paesold, who I believe make Hoffner. Most student and commercial violin products whether they be Romanian, German, or Chinese come from the same factories and makers. Trade names are given to these instruments, and then they become, Hoffner, Paesold, Johannes Kohr, etc. The quality of these instruments depend largely on who does the setup.


Lindy
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06/10/2004
11:05:11
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Sharon,
Thank you for the positive feedback regarding Gliga products. I have yet to read anything negative about Gliga and will purchase one for my daughter. I hope I'm making the right decision; I'd like her to find an instrument that will make her happy for many years. I would really like to thank the person who established this website... its a great resource for newcomers like me.


Graham Welsh Host
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06/10/2004
22:21:32
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Hello Lindy,
Thanks for your kind comments about the site. I do enjoy reading the message board these days but find it hard to keep up with all the requests for info on all subjects. I will reply when it my workload allows.....meantime enjoy the community!


Martin
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09/10/2004
09:16:55
Your website and beginner violins
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Hello. I have just discovered your website and I'm particularly pleased to have found Viol violin cleaner/polish. We (my wife and I) discovered it while at College 30something years ago. We have always found it the best, but we always thought it was only available from Germany as nobody seemed to have heard of it. As far as beginner outfits are concerned, I am currently using/recommending Prima (Primavera) outfits - very good value for money, good bows and properly set up by my friendly violin dealer with a choice of standard or better quality strings. I'd be interested to know other people's experiences with them.


Sharon Dee
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10/10/2004
03:18:02
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If you go back to my post 6/10/2004, you will see what I wrote about the violin commercial production business. The Primo violin that you speak of is made by the same factory that creates the Palatino. Again, these are trade names. I would not recommend a Palatino. If you are looking for a good violin in this price range,I would look for an old European made student level violin. Make sure that you are getting, ebony fingerboard, ebony pegs, ebony tailpiece, "aged wood"...as little varnish as possible, good strings, a good bridge, a straight Brazilwood bow with horse hair, and preferably with an ebony frog. Make sure that the older violin is free of cracks and open seams, and that the neck is not too low on the top of the violin. Palatino instruments are the nightmares I speak of when I speak of the reasons for searching out my own products from Europe. Even though I do not prefer the lower end Gliga products, one of these would be better for you than the Primo which sells in the U.S. for around $200. If you live in the UK, why not consult with the "Violin Man"? I am sure that he can help you.


wendy
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12/10/2004
08:45:25
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my daughter's violin teacher recently keep pushing us to buy a violin from german. she said it is a hand made one and the company is gewa, but i thought gewa only makes violin cases. does anyone have ever heard of this manufacture? any openion?


Sharon Dee
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12/10/2004
10:26:23
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I have received several emails telling me that I have received questions or replies to my posts...however, when I come back to the board here, I do not know if the questions are for me or someone at random. If you have a question for me please just email me at sharondeestrings@aol.com, and I will be happy to answer, and if you would like to share my answer with others, you may do so.


Dane Sorensen
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20/11/2004
13:24:09
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Message response from 10/10/2004 is incorrect. Primo violins are made by Jinyin which does not make the Palatino violin brand. Palatino does not used naturally aged wood. Many of the Palatinos wholesale in China for less than $40.00 so even by Chinese standards they are very low quality. I suggest you look at the Primo violn web site.


Martin
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20/11/2004
18:57:40
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I find this interesting. I use a Primavera violin for teaching - I find it physically comfortable, with a decent finish on the neck (rare in cheap violins) and a good quality (hard type wood) bridge, unlike a lot of beginner violins which have very soft wood bridges which warp and break very quickly. The pegs fit extremely well and the bow is also quite decent. I have several elementary students using them and have encountered no problems. One has dominant strings which are playing in well, the rest have the standard strings which I agree are a bit thin in tone but can be changed when appropriate.


John
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28/11/2004
09:21:38
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A good test of whether a violin brand is real or just a fake private label is to see if the manufacturer has an Internet site. If you are looking at a Rothenberg violin, try www.rothenbergviolin.com or www.rothenbergviolins.com. If you get a real web site then you can at least read about them. If you get an error message then you know to BEWARE. You are probably looking at a junk violin.


BRUCE
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29/11/2004
10:09:55
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I just bought a Rothenburg also. I'll have it in a couple of days. It's my first violin so I don't know how to judge the sound when it get's here. The seller on ebay claims it retails at $825, I got mine for $89 with flamed maple back (looks real nice in the pics). Has anyone heard anything on these yet? April, has anyone given you info. on yours yet?
Thanks,
Bruce


Sharon
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29/11/2004
15:25:12
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First of all, I thought I would let you know that Dane Sorensen is the distributor for the Primo violins in the US. I was speaking of the low end Primos which are indistinguishable from the Palatino. Primo violins are not bad if you buy an upper level one, but then the uniformity is just not there....some are good and some are not, and this has been my problem with most Chinese products. Most violins now days are given trade names. The only time that you will receive a real violin made by the real luthier, is if you purchase a violin made by a Master luthier, and you will never buy one for under $2500. The Aubert lutherie in France has some violins made by a Master luthier. There are also fine makers in the US, and I would recommend contacting Shar music if anyone is actually interested in such a violin. Any violin that is made in China and is given a German or Italian name is a fraud, and you will never never never buy a violin that is worth over $800. for $89.....this is just not the truth.


aslana
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01/12/2004
06:52:15
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ok so i was feeling nostalic to my 3rd grade days, and bought a violin i admit i got taken for a rothenburg also, however, since it has been 30 years since i have played shouldn't that be ok?
That one on ebay has a 10 day return policy, if it ain't great it can get sent back,
Bruce, let me know what you think of yours..
I will be kind of starting over learning, although i feel i will really enjoy it, and hey if i get seriousand any good at it ill get a better one,
but i did end up here doing a search for rothenburg violin.and have found some good encouragement and excitement about playing again, at first i thought UH OH what did i do....what was i thinking getting to strat this again 30 years later???
would anyone have any good tips or resources for a 39 year old re learning an old passion?
such as how to start playing, general maintenance ect.? I would greatly appreciate it.
also how does one know how a violin is made in china or not?


Avery
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02/12/2004
07:27:05
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I also bought a beggining violin off ebay. It's a satini make
whatever that means. Over all I'm pretty happy with it For the
price it's great I payed $70 total. Both of my instructers have
said that for the price & for a beginning violin it's great. Neither
one of them has heard of this brand before though & they've
been playing for about 20yrs. I wan't to purchase a better quality
fiddle after I've been playing for about 1-2yrs. & don't want to
spend an un-godly amount of money any suggestions?


anon
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05/12/2004
22:14:27
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Several things need clarification.

First, when buying from a shop or online retailer you get what
you pay for. There's no way a new* violin that cost you $80-800
can be compared to an instrument costing over $20,000. To be
fair, I've heard this before. The only reason this rumor
continues is because most people know extremely little about
violins and what constitutes "good" sound. The violin market is
no different from the car market - there's some variation in
prices but you're not going to get a Lexus for the price of a
Lada. That's ridiculous.

Second, you can't get a "decent" violin for less than $1000.
$200-300 for a violin is cheap cheap cheap, comparable to
buying a $50 computer. At that level, all you get is an imitation
toy, really.

Third, in general (<-- this is important), older violins sound
much better than new ones, especially in this price range. Also,
many (perhaps even most) older violins hold or increase in value
over time. If you buy a new violin costing less than $1000, you'll
get just a fraction of your money back when you go to sell it.

Violins are just expensive, there's no way around it. If you're
serious about learning to play the violin, I'd suggest investing
somewhere in the range of $2000-5000 for your first full-size
instrument.


Sharon Dee
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06/12/2004
02:17:22
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Anon:
I do not agree totally with what you are sayng in your post. First of all, I have played on violins costing in excess of $150,000. that I would not have paid $200. for, secondly, the quality of sound does depend on the woods that are used. I have yet to hear a Chinese violin made with Chinese woods, no matter what the aging process, that sounds as good as a properly graduated, and luthier - made - with Carpathian wood (that has been aged over 5 years) violin....so I am absolutely sold on the Carpathian woods as were the great masters. Check out, Sharon Dee String's own line, on my website if you want further information. If the woods are aged properly and harvested from the correct elevation etc.,and then are made by either luthier, or master luthier hands...you have a good chance of getting a fine sounding violin that will improve with age. If you are buying for a child that has taken lessons for less than two years, a less expensive Chinese violin is fine, provided it has ebony trim and is set up properly. In answer to Aslana's question regarding how one would know where a violin is made; ask the dealer, and have it put in writing ...it should be posted on the label...if it is not...do not buy it.


Bruce
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06/12/2004
03:19:01
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Snobbery in the music world!? Hmmmm. Violins must be like wines, there are those of us who can enjoy a $10 Californian and those that think only a Rothschild will do. If your objective is to learn and enjoy music then buy an instrument that sounds good to you that fits your budget. If you are a professional musician, then by all means spend the money to buy the best tool you can find. I am an amateur wood worker, as well as an amateur musician, and I buy nice cheap saws because I make 20 or 30 cuts a YEAR. If I made 20 or 30 cuts an HOUR like a real carpenter, I would want and need a better saw. Same for fiddles, buy what fits your need and don't get too hung up on the cost. Most of us who play will never be able to hear the difference in a $200 violin and a $20,000 one anyway.


Sharon Dee
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06/12/2004
03:26:25
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I should have included fiddle players and casual players in the catagory that would do well with a cheap violin....however, one cannot compare a violin to a saw...although I did see a person play a saw with a violin bow once.LOL I just think that it is ridiculous to rate a violin on price alone...no snobbery here - I also fiddle as well as play classically...


Bruce
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06/12/2004
03:52:13
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Hi Sharon,

Well, saws are very much like violins. A good one is a work of art and must be used with love, and the range in price is surprisingly violin like, from $5 to thousands, depending on the maker. That aside, my comment was more aimed at the remarks from "Anon" that said one must pay in the thousands for a good instrument. I agree you cannot rate only on price, I have an older French Strad copy I paid @ $400 for and it is a rich, mellow and joyful instrument and I wouldn't give it up for any new $1000 fiddle I've played. And not because it is really a "better" fiddle, it just has a sound that appeals to me! Beauty is in the ear of the fiddler I guess.




anon
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08/12/2004
21:19:23
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I didn't mean to come off as a snob - apparently I did, so I
apologize for that.

Anyway, Bruce, your saw analogy doesn't work. You just can't
equate a complex, difficult to construct classical instrument with
a simple hand tool. Also, that's not true that most people don't
hear the difference between a violin that costs $200 and one
that costs 100 (or even 2) times that. When I was in search of a
new violin I ran into a beginner who was buying his first
instrument. Since he couldn't play yet I picked out all of the
violins between $300 and $800 that looked decently built and
had the proper dimensions. Then I played them each several
times and he identified the one he thought was best. Then I
picked up my $5,000 (mid to low-range by most standards)
instrument and he was so amazed at the difference in sound
that he ended up renting a similar violin instead of buying.


anon
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08/12/2004
21:33:57
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It is true that not all expensive violins have great sound and that
you can find very cheap violins with excellent sound, but not to
the extent that you seem to suggest. I'd say the odds of finding
a $400 instrument that sounds as good as you describe are very
slim - maybe 1/50. The more you spend, the better your
chances of getting a good sounding, easily playable violin...more
like 1/20 at around $2,000, 1/5 at $5,000, etc. If you know
what you're doing, of course, you can pick the best you can find
at those price points and guarentee that you get a good
instrument - of course the $5,000 violin will sound much better
than the $2,000 one. Upwards of $20,000 the difference in
sound is much less if any - not counting SOME very famous
antiques costing hundreds of thousands or even several million.


Bruce
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08/12/2004
23:56:42
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You apparently don't know saws. They are NOT simple hand tools. A good saw is a VERY complex creation, and without very good saws there are no good violins. I know saws, and I know woodworking. Look at a good woodcrafters catalog sometime, you might be amazed. Since you don't like my saw analogy, try this wine analog. One can spend as much as one likes for a bottle of wine, but there are LOTS of well crafted wines under $20 a bottle. Appreciate what something is, regardless of price.




Lindy
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17/12/2004
00:15:06
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I was considering one of the cheap violas off ebay but ended up buying my daughter a model Gems2 viola from Gliga, www.violinslover.com. Its a beautiful instrument with a beautiful sound and the outfit with an up-graded bow and nice case was around $450. The company has been a joy to deal with. Although it was more expensive than the $79. Santini it was cheap by most standards and I believe will be well worth the extra money.


Bruce
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17/12/2004
00:27:55
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I like the Helmke I bought on Ebay. It's a good enough practice instrument and I don't fret (pun intended) so much about carrying it around to practice at odd times. The bow was awful though. I spent about $40 on a good used bow and that made the Helmke sound much better.....


kim
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19/12/2004
02:51:11
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hi



Bruce
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20/12/2004
00:50:09
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Hi Kim


Moises
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20/12/2004
12:26:49
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Hi! I am an 8th grader who wants to start playing the violin as a freshman in high-school. I wanted to ask, "if i buy a violin, from, lets say a Helmke, will my instrument sound equal to the rest of my class?" I really cant buy a much expensive instrument as i will have to buy it with my own money. And at the moment, i am searching for a job! Right now i play the flute. I bought it on ebay also and i like it. Even though it is very old it still sounds good. So if i buy a helmke will i be satisfied or will i need a "toon-up"? Like a new bow or something like that?

(Hey if you could email me or IM me at moisesmatus45 at AIM that would be great!)


Sharon
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20/12/2004
14:18:45
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Hello Moises:
Why do you want another violin if you are a beginner, and if your old violin sounds good. I would wait until you can tell the difference in tones between violins and then look at purchasing at least an intermediate level instrument. As always, I do not recommend ebay...I would also recommend only European violins. The bows can be Chinese, as I have seen some pretty good Brazilwood bows made in China. Just make sure it is straight and has an ebony frog, preferably fully lined.


chris
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20/12/2004
14:59:15
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I bought a Helmke off ebay because I'm an "older" person who was taking the violin up for fun. I like my violin well enough. The price was right for me, and that was really what I needed. The pegs give me problems, but when I calm down and resist the urge to hurl the thing across the room, I can get them to stay when I need to tune. I don't know how to judge bows. It does the job. It's wood. I have an old viola in my closet that has a plastic bow with it. That one seems better to me because it is more sturdy, but what do I know...the wood one is brazilwood I think. So, if you don't have money to spend, but you really want to learn, then I would recommend it. I don't know if anyone else who bought a violin from one of the major clearinghouse places found this, but my violin smelled like bar-b-que for a least the first 6 months.


Lindy
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20/12/2004
15:22:19
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Yikes Chris, if you're trying to confuse the girl I'm sure you've succeeded. Moises, ask your music teacher, your local music stores or older friends who've played the violin if they know of any instruments for sale. I admire you for wanting to spend your own money on an instrument and think you'll be happier if you stick close to home. Good luck.


Moises
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21/12/2004
08:16:38
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Well let me start by saying im not a girl. I dont have a violin. And as far as I know i dont have any friends that play the violin. But guess what? They dont offer begginer orchestra for the violin in high school. so i plan on buying a helmke and learning the basics off a program, a book, or maybe online. what do you think?


Moises
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21/12/2004
08:17:41
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Well let me start by saying im not a girl. I dont have a violin. And as far as I know i dont have any friends that play the violin. But guess what? They dont offer begginer orchestra for the violin in high school. so i plan on buying a helmke and learning the basics off a program, a book, or maybe online. what do you think?


alastair
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21/12/2004
08:31:24
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Do you know anyone, friend or not, who plays the violin to a reasonable standard, Moises? If so, I would explain the position and ask her/him for a bit of help and advice rather than simply try to teach yourself from a program, a book or online. It doesn't need to be much - just how to stand, how to hold the bow, how to place the left hand on the neck of the violin, how to move the bow arm, and perhaps a few other things. Playing the violin is fine when you know how, but for a beginner it is a very unnatural and awkward combination of movements and if you do them wrongly and get into bad habits, they will be very difficult to break, and they really will affect your ability to play adequately at all. It's self-defeating ; the sound will be so difficult to produce and so poor that you will want to stop. Of course a good book will give correct advice in principle, but I really do think you need someone to show you the basics. I do hope you can make that happen somehow, because I think it will help a lot, and it is far more important, in my opinion, than the choice of instrument. Later on, when you are older, if you make progress and wish to do so, you will be in a position to buy a better instrument when you can afford to do so, and because you'll be able to get something out of the instrument you play, you will want to do that ; but if you learn incorrectly now, you won't want to!


Moises
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21/12/2004
08:31:29
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Hey i found these "good looking" violin.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=38108&item=3770617179&tc=photo

I think the second one is the best looking one. I really fell in love with the case. it is so nice! I was looking around the store, and in the F.A.Q section it says how can you sell these at so little prices? And they are like its so our brand name gets recognised by people and word of mouth brings people to our store. I guess that is pretty convincing. I really like the set of accessories it brings along with it! Has anyone by any chance bought one of these violins? The store is called the k.k.Music store and the brand name is cecilio.. I really hope i can buy this one cuz i really like it! And hey look at this http://www.kkmusicstore.com/ebay/faqmain.htm it tells you how to apply the bridge and how to tune it up! oh please tell me someone has bought from this store before!!!!


Moises
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21/12/2004
08:41:55
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Sorry i said the second one, nevermind there is no second one, i was about to show you a different one but nah! i like this one better. so forget about the "second" one!


ksabine
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21/12/2004
12:59:46
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Hi, I was just reading some of the posts about buying a Violin On Ebay..PLEASE BEWARE of anyone offering a Violin that is "Suppose" to be worth 600.00 for only 69.95 with shipping 89.95.
I unfortunately bought one of the "SANTINI" models, that the seller said was "Italian" made and had "REAL" EBONY fittings..well, sadly, NONE of these claims are true!! If they mean "EBONY" as "PLASTIC" sprayed black and of course the Violin isnt Italian!! I was very disappointed, and to top it off, I was out of state when the Violin arrived and I didnt get to inspect it right away. They had a 10 day return policy. so after NUMEROUS emails to the seller, they still havent replied to my emails!!! I thought out of common courtesy they would??
PLEASE ASK ALOT OF QUESTIONS, if you are buying on EBAY..I am VERY Disappointed. Check the Buyer Feedback, But PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS.
There is a really good site called Musiciansfriend.com, they offer a catalog too, and for the holidays they are offering "Free SHipping" on all their instruments, my Nephew recentley bought one from them, a beginner and It is really nice..I wish I would of known about them "before" I went to Ebay. I should of known it was too good to be true..and the kicker, I bought a Violin Made in China, for $20.00!! before I purchased the one from EBAY.
Musicians Friend also are selling, slightly used instruments or one with slight cosmetic damage.
They are really resonably priced..I wish I would of known about them before I made my purchase on EBAY, it would of been worth the extra $100.00 to buy a "REAL" Violin..
I do have some questions on a Violin that was my grandfathers. It is VERY old. Over 100 years old. I brought it home from my Moms, my gradfather was born in Hungary, and the Violin was one thing he bought with him when her came to America. I dont know much about it, but it does have a tag inside that says Chezcoslovakia(spelling) I have to take it out and look at it. This Violin has "REAL" EBONY, but it is missing the "sound Post".
I just wanted to warn everyone that is looking on EBAY for a Violin, My advice, if you are serious about the Violin, Invest the extra money and buy from a reputable dealer. One that is willing to take back the instrument if you are not satisfied with it. and will answer all of your questions.
PEACE..


Moises
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22/12/2004
13:40:01
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Ok, i have a big problem! Well not really a BIG one but i really need to know where (online) can i find how to play all the notes on the violin? I am so confused! Tired! Please help me! I searched google and nothing helpful came up! Just a bunch of websites that teach you if you pay! I cant PAY!!!


Sharon
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22/12/2004
14:37:52
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Moises:
You can get beginner books for about $5.00 and then a CD to go with it for about $15.00. I used Essential Elements for my beginner students....the pink one and not the brown. It will take you step by step through the strings and the notes, and then you can listen to the CD to see if you are on pitch.

Good Luck....and keep looking for that job because playing violin involves paying for lessons, strings, etc. It is not a cheap instrument to play, but then again, if you can learn to play the beginning notes...it will be easy to pick up some of the other pieces by ear and reading.


ksabine
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22/12/2004
14:39:18
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Moises,
I forgot to ask, do you know the finger placement?
If not, measure from the nut to the side of "tape"(I used regular, white, medical tape, until I learned. I cut it in half to make it small) measure to the side of the tape closest to the nut,
first finger tape 1 5/16 inches
second finger tape 2 9/16 inches
third finger tape 3 1/8 inches
fouth finger tape 4 1/4 inches
That is only the basics or first four finger placements. It's a start.
Also, you can find on EBAY some really good DVD's, VHS, Books and Cd's, for the beginner.
I wouldnt recommend buying a violin on EBAY!! but they do have some really good prices on lesson books, etc.


mike
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22/12/2004
20:05:28
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Bear in mind the received wisdom that the tone of a violin is 80% the player, 10% the violin, and 10% the setup(attrib.charles beare)...given that a decent setup costs £250-300 from a pro luthier my choice for a student would be a bohemian violin about 50 years old for around £200,theres a lot around,then spend at least an equal amount on setup....it helps if your dads a player!...cheers....mike


aslana
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23/12/2004
03:44:04
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ok so i finally got the ebay violin, and returned it back the same day.... great because there was a 10 day return policy
WHEN you decide to ask lots of questions on EBAY,be prepared for them to NEVER answer you back, i asked the simple question if they were chinese made,,(everythings chinese nowadays isnt it?) no one out of 10 questions answered me back.
So thats my expereience,
however if you are just starting off these are ok, why not use them? they are the same quality you'd get in a brick and mortar store any way,however you can spend less on e-bay, these violins are more pricey in the brick and mortar music shops,as well as rentals for orchestra, so why not go with a mediocre starter, pay some more money for a nicer bow, then once the player begins to really play and believe it is a longstanding interest that only then you may invest into thousands when you are then immersed into a professional playing
arena,
if you have rich mommy or daddy, then im sure they have money to blow for only the best things for their little "pookie" and pookies hobbies too,
but for the rest lets follow up with some sensibilities with our cash flow and equal that to our talent
yes it is true that a master vilionist can play a cardboard box with strings on it and make it sound like he spent hundreds on the cardboard, a novice can play a 50,000 violin and make it sound like a dying cow
spend money equal to your talent then you should raise the bar when you have the talent to match.
have a good new year


Moises
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23/12/2004
04:44:57
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WOW! I checked out folk of the wood and i felt so relieved! Its great help! Now i have a vague view of how im going to learn to play the violin. I think i will get the essential elements book. Maybe i will color code the violin and the music sheets as shown here

http://www.violinonline.com/fingeringchart.htm

I like that idea. I wouldnt really copy it exactly as they say it there, maybe change the colors around or something. im so excited i cant wait to get a job, then get a violin! AAHH!


ksabine
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23/12/2004
06:03:56
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Moises, I am soo happy you checked that site!!
You'll get it, it takes sometime, but if you learn the proper techniques of bowing and fingering, the Violin is a really Beautiful sounding instrument.
I grew up in a household of Hungarian Gypsy Musicians. The Violin always fascinated me.
I'm learning the Hungarian Gypsy Music now. Once you learn the basics, You can teach yourself anything. You'll know by ear eventually if it is the right note. But it's good to have a idea of where the proper positions are when you start.
I am soo happy for you!!!


Moises
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23/12/2004
07:01:04
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Yeah, I learned that with the flute, i barely started playing 2 months ago and I personally t hink im GREAT at it! I have alot of frieds that play the flute so we practice together sometimes after school. I feal odd sometimes playing the flute considering theres only 2 guys (including me) that play it. And i dont really get along with the other guy! Hes very annoying. But i have about 5 or 6 "girl" friends that play the flute. They are all in band 2 or 3. Im barely in begginng band but i find i can just about play what they are playing! I love my teacher dearly! Well until next time ill be searching for a good paying job so i can get a descent Violin! (And a new flute while I'm at it) LOL. I wanna get a Gemeinhardt 2sp


Moises
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24/12/2004
13:22:36
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Hey fellow violin friends! I just wanted to wish you a VERY merry christmas!!!! Come on let me hear it! WE GOT CHRISTMAS SPIRIT!! Yeah?!!! OK!!!!! Come on let me hear it!! WE GOT CHRISTMAS SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!YYYEEEAAAHHHH!!!!!!!! (Ok i got that put of my chest)


Moises
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24/12/2004
13:23:31
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That was a cheerleading thingy by the way....


Sharon
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25/12/2004
03:40:01
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This is to ksabine:
I just read your post about the Santini....those are precisely the instruments that I warn people about on my website. I have had many come into my shop, as well as others purchased on ebay. They are expensive kindling wood at best. You are right to suggest that people go to a reputable dealer. If a dealer does not have a physical address (store front or actual place of doing business), it is doubtful that they are professionals who know what they are talking about. I give much information on my website. Did you ever get in touch with Mr. "Santini" who claims all over his site to be a "Christian" also? Be very leary of these types, as I doubt that Christian principles involve deceit.


Sylvia
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25/12/2004
10:54:13
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Hi, I just bought a violin on ebay for my soon to be 8 yr old daughter. I did not want to spend alot of money for a violin she may end up losing interest in in a few months. I spent a total of 61.00 including shipping for a 1/2 Mendini. After reading all the positive post on the Helmke, I wish I had bought that instead. In fact I came across this message board when I did a google on Helmke because I was checking it out after I came across it on ebay. But too late, I had already bought the other one. Has anyone bought the Mendini? I know I get what I pay for but I want the best value for what I do pay. Thanks


ksabine
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25/12/2004
12:22:04
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Hi Sharon!!
You have to be one of the sweetest persons on this site.. You are soo honest and VERY HELPFUL..
You know they havent answered any of my emails yet!! I think they are selling the "Helmke" too. They are the sellers in Idaho. They do claim to be Christian, which really bothers me because I am a Christian and I would NEVER do that to anyone. All I get from them Is a Digital response to my emails, that says they have recieved my message and will reply in 24 hours and they never do.
I asked them how could they do this me?? or others?? all I wanted was an explaination and they havent written back yet.
What is the link to your web-site?? I would LOVE to visit it.
I have been looking for a good Luthier in my area and the only one that I have found is 5 hours away. But, he is the only one that I have spoken to that will let me Stay with him while he checks out my Grandfathers Violin and make the nesscessary repairs and tries to figure out how old it is? or who made it?? I have the original case it came in, Oh, it's old!! It's actually wood. and there is a metal plate on the side, but I cant make out the name on it. I wish the bow was still with it, but that is gone.
I really want to get a good quality Violin, I dont know I think it's in my blood???? LOL Being 100% Hungarian.. I play guitar too, but, the Violin comes soo much easier to me. Its something that I would really like to invest the money in and buy from someone who is honest.
I had a really bad car accident and my left wrist had to be reconstructed, and my neck(spine) was also badly damaged. So, I am really trying to relearn to play, but I need a really tall shoulder rest, because I cant bend my neck too good yet. and I need to get a really good brace for my left wrist so it doesnt get tired or start to hurt.
Please give me your web site. I really would like to take a look. If you dont want to put it one here??? you can email me, I put my email addy under my name. Thank you.

Oh, Moises, You are too funny!! LOL It sounds like you have GREAT Talent! It's soo good to hear you are getting interested in music, or have a love for music, and really cool instruments. That is soo cool!!

Sylvia, I dont know about the Mendini?? The same thing happend to me when I did a search on the "Santini" I did a google search too, and all that came up was EBAY and this site..


Moises
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25/12/2004
14:48:42
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Yeah! I really want to be a music teacher. Like a band or orchestra teacher type of thing. I LOOOOOVE music!


Sharon
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25/12/2004
14:53:19
RE: different brands of violin
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Sylvia:
The violin shown in the photo of the Mendini is not the violin that is described. The one in the photo has an ebony or painted finger board...it advertises a "rosewood" finger board and pegs...this is not the same violin in the photo.(be suspicious of this) This violin may serve the purpose for a very beginner violin student for six months or so, but when the student begins to pay attention to tone, it will not be sufficient. Even the earliest beginners can begin to develop tone, and so it is important to have a decent violin. An old Pfretzschner violin is better than one of these ebay items. You can usually find one at the Music Go Round stores, if you have one in your area, or a music store with old rentals for sale. These violins can usually be purchased for under $300. and offer a pretty good tone. The ebay violin does not have "varnish" as the seller mentioned...it is "painted" with a nitro lacquer...not good over the wood, although the wood is probably not the best anyway.


Kelly
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28/12/2004
13:25:16
RE: different brands of violin
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Hi all! I've so enjoyed reading the posts on this thread and wanted to add my two cents:

I have wanted to learn violin for a long time but grew up in rural North Dakota, miles and miles away from anyone who could teach me. I play several other instruments and have recently picked up violin as an adult, and I'm thrilled with it! Learning on a violin I purchased inexpensively from a store that was going out of business, but I was at least able to try it out myself and hear it before I bought it, which was nice.

Moises, a word or two for you: I'm also a flute player and I'm cheering for you in your efforts! Good for you . .. if you ever think about upgrading your flute, check out Pearl. Gemeinhardts are good too, but I recently upgraded and tried a whole bunch of different models, and fell in love with the Pearl. I can't tell if you've already found yourself a violin yet or not, but if you haven't, I'd suggest checking the classifieds to see if you can buy one direct from somebody rather than online. It's *always* better to be able to see and hear the instrument before you purchase, and if you're buying from the previous owner you can learn a little more of the history of the instrument, be reasonably sure it's already set up, etc. And you can maybe negotiate price, too . ..

Can anybody out there tell me anything useful about Josef Lorenz violins, by the way? I've looked online but haven't found much, other than some ebay listings. Thanks to all of you - and to the host of this site. What a great resource!


carol
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28/12/2004
16:28:02
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You have me all scared now, especially the snob. All I wanted to find out if it was okay to repair an old old violin, and if it could still hold a note. And if not what should I do?



Kelly
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29/12/2004
03:59:58
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Well, there's not really an easy answer any of us can give you over the computer, Carol - maybe yes and maybe no, and the thing to do is take it to someone knowledgeable who can look it over and tell you after seeing the instrument itself. As with any instrument, some well-made violins get better and better with age. Some are so badly mistreated and neglected that you can't really do much for them, especially if they were never that well-made to begin with, and it would be prohibitively expensive and not worth the effort to try. Your best bet is to take it to someone who will be able to tell. If they can help you, they will, and if the instrument is beyond repair, they will be able to point you in the right direction to find a replacement that fits your needs and price range. Hope this is helpful!


tresha
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09/1/2005
17:34:31
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I have recently picked my violin up after fifteen years to play with our church praise team. My instrument is a Lewis Dancla (at least 20 yrs old). I had it restrung and spruced up, but it still seems to sound "scratchy". (Granted, much of the problem is me, but not all of it...). I thought I was getting a deal locally on one of the Rothenburg models for $150.00 (w/ electric tuner and a really nice case). I now wonder if my old violin isn't the better quality instument, just in need of more work. Any comments...?


polka.
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19/1/2005
14:37:46
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Hi! I am new to this site-- just found it. I am in the same boat as most of you. My daughter has been playing violin for 1.5 years, and is beginning her second Suzuki book. She needs to move up to a 1/4 size, and I would like to buy her a violin rather than rent. We purchased her first one online through Chris B's music. Just a low end Cremona. $99.95- free shipping. She can make this cheap violin sound pretty good. Now that both our ears have been trained for a better sound, I cannot see getting her an instrument that doesn't have a MUCH better sound. She can tune her own instrument by ear. (She just turned 8)

Since she is still growing, would it be better for me to rent one that is a better violin, or are the lower end $200-$300 just about as good as I would get if I rent?

Also, my violin man says that you cannot always tell by the manufacturer. Let's say that you know that a particular manufacturer makes them well (they don't fall apart) but even tho' they are the "same" quality, they can sound soooo different.
He repairs & replaces for our city's Symphony Orchestra.

I have gotten some excellent info. from this site, and will visit daily.

Thanks!!
Polka.


Martin
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21/1/2005
07:29:19
RE: different brands of violin
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Hello Polka. I'm a violin teacher in UK and it sounds as though your daughter is doing really well. My suggestion would always be go to your (her) teacher first and ask advice, and if you are thinking of buying suggest an amount you feel comfortable with spending. If the teacher suggests a significantly higher figure then discuss it. I find it very frustrating (and disappointing) as a teacher to have a pupil arrive with a violin which I haven't had the chance to check for size, 'feel' (especially the neck), playing condition, quality of bow etc. Secondly, as your daughter gets older, I think it's really important that she likes the look and the feel of any violin you are thinking of buying. She is the one who has to play it. However much the instrument costs and however good it sounds, if she doesn't find it attractive and it doesn't feel 'right' there will not be the same excitement at taking it out of the case to practise (I speak from my own childhood and adulthood experience!). Good luck to your daughter and happy playing!
Martin.


Geoff
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26/1/2005
06:35:55
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Interesting site.I don't agree that "fiddle" players should go for cheaper models (like casual players). You go for the instrument that gives you the sound your after (and that will depend on what kind of traditional music you want to play)regardless of price. It could be cheaper or require a mortgage to buy !!

I have seen very little comment about the importance of the BOW. Any instrument can be rendered crap by using a poor buy. Most professional musicians will pay more for the bow than many others would pay for their instrument !

Geoff.


Peamom
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04/2/2005
05:51:19
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Anyone know quality of Josef Lazar Model 99 violin outfit on Musician's Friend website for $199 with free ship. My 10 year old son has outgrown his Helmke purchased from great-tunes on Ebay. I have to say, it performed well for 2 years. He takes violin in school and can play Old McDonald and a few other simple songs. I am between the Lazar for $199, and another Helmke for about $80. I just want to know if the Lazar is that much better than the Helmke for school use. He is in 4/4 size now, so I guess will not be outgrowing this one.


Bruce55
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04/2/2005
05:55:05
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Goeff said it well, a bad bow = bad sound. I had a REALLY bad bow and replacing it made my low investment in a violin pay off.


Donald Fernald
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04/2/2005
17:43:28
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This is a neat site! I entered ask jeeves i.e. ask.com 'Helmke Strad' and it led me to this site as well as ebay.
My son Tyler is in the sixth grade and has been taking piano in school in a beginner's class. Well, his teacher quit last month and now Tyler wants to learn how to play a violin.
I jumped on the band wagon and bought now what I know now as one of those Chinese knock-off version of a German made Helmke Strad from ebay. I received it today. I have to say they were really fast in sending it. It only took 4 day!
Ay ways I spent several minutes trying to tune this instrument. I would get G string tuned and when I start tuning the D string the G string would go off tune and so on. I finally figured out that if you get all the strings as close as posible you use can use tune the string with the fine tune screws and the previous string would stay tuned.
You get what you pay for. It actually sounds better than the violin my parents payed for back when I was in grade school(that's sad!). And back then you had to buy from a music store. My town more known for the being the first town to have an atomic bomb blown up near by than the instruments they sell.
Will a better bow, strings and bridge really make a difference? And if the answer is yes, where is a good place to buy them? My email addy is donfernald@yahoo.com.
Tyler won't start playing the violin til the fall. Right now he's still playing the piano but in the band class as an advance piano player. The band teacher heard him play the entire Beethoven's Fur Elise without a music score and ask him why he's in the beginner's class...

Thx
Don




sharon
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05/2/2005
00:46:18
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Donald:
And to all of those folks who still think that they are getting a deal buying the Internet violins....I have these violins come into my shop on a weekly basis. So I guess that the shops and the luthiers are not obsolete. I usually tell people: "Do not buy them" or you will be paying me for the next year to fix it up so that it is playable. Usually the $59. violins turn into $59. violins with $500. worth of repairs after I replace the bridge, the nut, the strings, the fingerboard and pegs, the bow, and sometimes the sound post. If people think that they are really getting a bargin when buying these horrible violins, than I guess it is worth it to them, but I know first hand that they are junk. If your son has as much talent as it sounds like....please go to a dealer who can offer you some expertise and who can help you choose a proper violin for your son. $59. sounds too good be true, and it really is in the long run.


Jim
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05/2/2005
01:24:36
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I have a violin with an oval stamp in blue.Only the makers name (top line )and last 4 letters of bottom line are readable.First letter is either D or O.No spacing between any letters.Top line reads DAPFRETZSCHNEER.Last 4 letters of bottom line OHEN.I can find lots of reference to PFRETZSCHNER but nothing with the double e.Would appreciate any help.My thanks.


T Bow
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15/2/2005
16:43:32
Bridge problems
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I just got my very first violin and as I was taking it out of the case, the bridge fell. I have moved it here and there and I now can get a good sound from the "tiny string" at the bottom but the rest of the strings sound, well, muffled or contorted. I don't know how to play but I love the instrument and want to! Do I need help (other than lessons) to make the sound come out correctly? Can I move the bridge around until I get good sound from all 4 strings?? Thanks for any help...I am sooooo excited to finally, after 41 years, to be learning an instrument and, the instrument I love to hear! Thanks!


Sharon
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16/2/2005
00:54:45
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Dear T Bow,
First of all, where did you buy your violin? If it is from a dealer, I would take it back to him/her and ask for the violin to be properly set up. If you bought it from one of the online dealers who sell the RMIs that I speak of on my website, then I will attempt to help you with this problem...first of all the bridge needs to go between the little notches in the f holes on the violin...but it sounds as if your sound post might be down, and in this case, you will have to take it to a luthier to have it set back up, as it is much to difficult to explain how to do this in a note. If you do have to do it yourself, you will need to purchase some sound post setting tools.

Good Luck!


Glenn
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16/2/2005
05:28:45
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I have a Strad- Milano 128 19 twenty eight.
Can you tell me anything about. I have been through the site and have not seen mention of this one.

Thanks, Glenn


F. Sanchez
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05/3/2005
09:56:46
RE: different brands of violin
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I have an old violin, The tag inside only says
Delitsch. Would you know anything about this?
Thanks Fernando




Sharon
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05/3/2005
14:50:18
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These violins are probably factory violins made from about 1900 to the 1940s...millions were made and all of them were Strads...or had impressive names after composers etc. Take your violins to an expert if you have one near you..this is the best way to have them evaluated. Be careful, because there are unethical dealers out there.


chris
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06/3/2005
12:56:00
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I have played one of the violins from the internet for about a year now, and for the price I am pretty happy with it.

However, my G string always sounds muffled. I have replaced all the strings, but it is always that way. Is it just me? My bow? Any help is appreciated.


sharon
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06/3/2005
13:37:39
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Chris,
Sounds like you may have a bad bass bar...if your violin is one of the $69. specials it will probably not be worth having it repaired, but my guess is that the bass bar is not right, if you have already changed strings etc. and still do not get a better sound.


Neo
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09/3/2005
10:35:55
Older violins...
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I'm a sophmore in highschool, started orchestra this year as I've wanted to play the violin since I was younger. The violins the school lets us borrow are chinese ones, I've played on a friend's german violin [not quite familliar with brand names yet...] and I have to say the sound is so much more "pure" then the cheep 100$ violins. I'm about 1st-2nd in my class, and for my skill level playing 1st Violin William Tell Finale / Overture [lovely song, really] I'm pretty well off in tuning and pitch and I feel as though I am ready to purchase my own violin [prefferably, not on the internet.] rather then use the cheap school ones as they really are awful, the sound is scratchy, the pegs bump repeatedly out of tune, the bow is heavy, the violin looks like it's made of cardboard, and even the case is big and bulky. My orchestra teacher [who is a proffesional conductor, has a son who plays in the Atlanta Symphony, and a wife who plays Violin beautifully after personally hearing her---note I say this to credit him he knows what he's doing]has said a friend of his is selling a fifteen year old german made violin [bow, case, & all] for two hundred dollars. I don't mind having a 2nd hand violin [considering I still am a beginner] but I was wondering if age effects the quality of the violin. Any help regarding my situation would be greatly appreciated.


Sharon
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10/3/2005
04:50:03
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Neo:
A fifteen year old German violin outfit for $200. is a good deal if all is in tact. It sounds like the people who are selling it know what they are doing also. I would just suggest that you make sure you like the tone because that is what is important, and not the age of the instrument. Make sure that your sound post and bass bar are good, and that it will give you what you want from a violin at your playing level.


Neo
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10/3/2005
09:11:33
RE: different brands of violin
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Yes, we're going to go for it. It is very well in tact and it turned out to be made in 84, but I forgot the brand...it began with Gio methinks...anyways, yes It's actually very well kept, very few scratches, sound post & bass bar postitioned properly. The pegs aren't protruding from the peg box as well. The bow is plastic and I plan on eventually buying a better one as I don't like it much but it's lighter then the wooden chinese one I was playing on it prior. It has a small chip on one corner of the plate but other then that I'm happy with it, in fact it seams the [inside] of the case is what really needs work lol

Thanks for your help, Sharon, I greatly appreciate it~!


josh
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30/3/2005
20:29:27
RE: different brands of violin
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is the brand of cecilio violins a good brand or is it just an other cheap brands


Sharon
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31/3/2005
01:21:57
RE: different brands of violin
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Dear Josh:
I hate to inform you that it is a cheap Chinese violin given an Italian name. Personally, I find this practice to be fraudulent. I do sell a good workshop Chinese violin occasionally in my shop, but I always label them: "Bejing Workshop" violins...I refuse to play that game of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear so to speak. If you are looking at a violin that costs less than $200., you are most likely looking at junk. If you are interested in a beginner violin that is European made for under $300., contact me and I will help you. Otherwise, buy an old European violin that has been set up correctly. Some of the cheap Chinese violins can be useable for a small child if it is set up properly, which usually requires an additional $150. at least...but it is not for an adult player, or someone who wants to achieve a good tone.

Sharo


Gordon
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02/4/2005
10:53:47
RE: different brands of violin
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Hi Sharon,

You obviously know your onions! I respect you for that, and for your ethics on selling instruments.

I will agree that personally I have never found a Chinese factory fiddle that is capable of taking the student above Grade 2, 3 at most (UK Royal College of Music).

My advice is to go for an instrument in terms of what you want to achieve, not so much in terms of current plying standard... let me illiterate... there are many old German factory fiddles out there that are capable of taking a student all the way to Grade 8... but there are many that are not!

Additionally, I must say that young players especailly do better on a better class of instrument. Give a young player a Chinese 'toy' and they will never achieve anything with it. It is quite OK to start them off with a Chinese factory fiddle, just to see if they really 'mean it', but having proved their dedication to the violin, the very best that you can afford is advisable (bearing in mind that anything less than full size should be treated with less importance, i.e. a 3/4 size does not need to be the very best, only a good one!)

As soon as anyone is big enough to play a 4/4 size, then consideration MUST be given to aspiration, as well as current achievement. Ethically, it is far better to provide a young player with an instrument that is 'too good' than with one that is 'adequate', in that the player can grow into a 'better' one, and the player's improvement will be recognised, whilst that is not possible with a merely 'adequate' one.

I make no apologies in this statement... I loathe and detest cheap Chinese factory violins (and that includes most of the Stentor range) and consider that most of them would make better 'fire wood' than they manage to achieve as violins.

On the other hand, quite recently, there has been an emergence of makers from China, building good quality violins, and these are worth considering as viable instruments. I must add, that these makers are, for the most part, trained at Newark Violin Making School, Nottinghamshire, England, and as such will definitely be making instruments worthy of any standard of player, including the professional.

Regards,

Gordon


Sharon
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03/4/2005
04:20:40
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Hello Norman:
The wood is also very important...yes, I am a luthier, and a player, and a teacher etc. You can have all of the wonderful luthier skills in the world and if you are not using proper wood, whether you be from Germany, Italy or China...you still may have expensive kindling wood, as I call them. Please visit my website for more of this type of information. In regard to the Chinese well made violins...yes, I have sold them, but some have come back to haunt me due to the poor wood quality, and glue. I am sticking to Carpathian aged woods.

Sharon


LeighAnn
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18/4/2005
17:44:04
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Hello ~ I have decided to start private violin lessons. I played the violin in Junior High for 2 years. After entering High School I never touched it again. I have decided to pick it up and start over! I need an instrument. My price range is $200-$250. Can you point me in the right direction?? Thanks for any help you can give!

LeighAnn


Alison
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25/4/2005
17:29:08
RE: different brands of violin
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Hi Sharon, what do you think of the William Lewis & Son Stentor Student II Violin Outfit on sale for $129 on the Musician's Friend website? I can see that the $59 Palantino is just a chinese violin and that the Silver Creek @ $299 looks more like one you might recommend, but what I'm wondering is whether this one might be a little better than the ebay ones. They don't really tell you where it's made or too much about it, but it's more within my budget. This would be my first violin. I've gotten my son interested in violin and taking lessons and he's enjoying it and doing very well. I love violin music but I can't stand just watching! I thought I was too old to start, but I just have to play it too! I've been playing around with his, But I can see I need one my own size--LOL!


T.J.
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26/4/2005
10:39:06
RE: different brands of violin
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I was also wondering if anyone had that Silver Creek model that Musician's Friend sells for $299.00? They claim it lists for like $800.00 or something, so I was just wondering if anyone had tried this and if it was worth the price??


Sharon
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26/4/2005
11:11:14
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Please contact me directly if you have a question for me, as I do not want to have to bad mouth other dealers brands publicly. Most of the violins that you all are talking about from Musicians Friend etc. are frauds. They are Chinese violins with European names, and do not really sell for $800.+ or you would find them online or in a store for that price. Look for the Gabriel vioin, the Casey violin or Vitagliano Nicotera violins for beginners. The Victorio Nicotera, The Giuseppe Nicotera for intermediate, and the Salvatore Nicotera and the Giovanni Stephano for professionals...you will have the best that there is at an affordable price. Enough said.

Sharon


Alison
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27/4/2005
11:38:47
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I too bought one of the Santini violins on Ebay. I should have read the posts on here first! I couldn't get in touch with the seller before he shipped it (although I e-mailed him 4 times!).

Now I guess I'll have to scrap it. If it's just a piece of junk that is going to fall apart, how can I justify selling it to someone else?

So, does anyone know of a good beginners violin that would be moderately priced ($100-250) based on personal experience?


Anne
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02/5/2005
13:34:22
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Hi..I am curious if any of you who previously wrote about purchasing a Rothenburg Violin on eBay were eventually pleased with the violin. I too have run across this brand for a low price and am unable to find much information. The sellers feedback rating on eBay is mostly positive but I am still a bit uncertain if the instrument is worth bidding on..any insights would be appreciated..thanks! Anne


JOSH
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02/5/2005
16:22:03
RE: different brands of violin
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have you heard of the "sofia amadeus" violas and if so are they a good brand please help me find a good but economic viola


Bruce
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03/5/2005
00:19:31
RE: different brands of violin
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Alison.....Wait, stop, don't trash that cheap fiddle! Even if the instrument isn't great you can always use it to practice fingerings and carry it with you when you don't want to risk your good instrument. The main difference between bad fiddles and good fiddles is the sound and resonance. (sp?) If it can be tuned and hold tuning then it can be a good practice instrument as you learn,

Good luck




josh
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03/5/2005
15:41:20
RE: different brands of violin
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i want to buy a good bass and I need to know what is a good brand for basses that I can buy. I need this bass so that I can play it in an orchestra. Also is it posible to find one for less than 5,000 dollars.


AdultBeginner
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03/5/2005
15:55:50
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I am an adult beginner. I went to a few local stores and they wanted about $20/month for the rental but can be used towards upgrade to a better violin if I buy later etc etc. U all know the drill. Most of these beginner voilins from the shops are also "Made in China" and are "setup" by the lutheir of the shop.

I took a chance and bought the "rothenburg" violin from Ebay as it was only about $100 including S&H. The violin looks beautiful and looks just llike what was in the picuture. I rosined the bow and tuned it and it played fine.

I took it to my violin teacher. She was really surprised with the quality of the violin for the price. The important thing to note is "FOR THE PRICE". She said, for a beginner this is more than enough. Once the ears get trained and if I decide to continue the violin lessons, I would look for a better one down the road. THe quality of the violin/sound is "better" than the voilin ( made in bulgaria) my friend got from the rental shop for $20 a month.

Then I took it to the local shop when I went to get my shoulder rest. The Luthier there was impressed with the violin and said it was a steal for the money. Again notice "FOR THE MONEY".

Just FYI, I am such a beginner that I really dont think there is much sound quality diff between my $100 violin and $5000 violin :)


Nancy
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06/5/2005
13:44:12
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Hello everyone. First time here, great site! I wanted an opinon on my recent purchase. I just bought a William Lewis & Son Dancla violin off of Ebay for about $112.00. It's used, but I'm not sure how old it is. I just got it today, and it sounds really beautiful! It has a nice, deep sound, very mellow. I love it so far, but wanted to know if anyone had experience with this model, and whether or not I got a good deal on it. Thanks!


Wiseley
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07/5/2005
09:50:31
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Hi, I am looking at the the Dancla myself. My daughter is 9 years old and play violin for 1.5 years. She started private lesson about 9 month ago and currently in Suzuki book 4. The violin she's using is a 1984 seidel, which I bought it 2nd hand. Her private teacher said the violin is not very good but she does make pretty good sound out of it. Now she needs to upgrade to 3/4. Her teacher suggests a violin around $500 range. Personally I really don't want to spend that much of money for a student violin. Appreciated if anybody can give me advice on what kind of violin I should get. I was thinking about buying a used German violin at the lower price, like Dancla. The newer one cost about $570 at music123. Probably can buy a used one from ebay less than 150. How about a Knilling Bucharest ? Any idea or Suggestion? Thanks a lot.





Dane Sorensen
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14/6/2005
14:12:20
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If you check the primo web site at www.primoviolins.com you will see that most of their models are higher end. Granted, every violin is unique(this is true for all instruments by all manufacturer's). The best way to buy a violin is to visit a violin store. However, if money is tight the Internet can save you a bundle. Not everyone has $2500 for a violin. Also, remember that new violins must be played a lot to season them and bring out their full sound. So the sound of a violin first out of the case is not giving you what it is capable of. Especailly, when you consider the strings and bow are not broken in, let alone the violin itself.


Shack
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17/6/2005
16:04:20
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most seem to have positive feedback on the cheap helmke violin, being left handed and not wanting to learn as a right hander(I might as well as learn to play with my feet) there are not many visible options, they may be cheap but with a good bow it will be an acceptable cost, some things are luck, others are patience


KCK
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17/6/2005
17:11:18
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Hi, Shack - just noticed your post and wanted to comment on something you said, the part about "not wanting to learn as a right-hander". I'm guessing you are talking about getting a reverse-setup violin and learning to play that, the way some people play lefty guitars? I'm not a lefty myself, so I'm speaking second hand here, but I have a couple of left handed friends who play violin (standard setup) and they just laugh at the idea of a left-handed violin. For one thing, they say, it puts you at a disadvantage if you try to play with other people - you couldn't play in an orchestra, for example, because you'd be bowing in opposition to everyone else and facing the wrong way. And since each hand needs to develop certain - different - skills and dexterities for violin, being a lefty is a trade-off but not necessarily a disadvantage. Sure, you'll have to work on your bowing hand a little more - but the fingering should come to you quite easily as opposed to the average righty. So, maybe you're not planning to play in an orchestra, etc, fine. But if they are charging you more for a left-handed setup, you are probably being taken for a ride. And if this is an internet purchase where you can't try out or even see and hear the instrument in person before buying, I'd be very very hesitant. I'd say you'd be better off buying a regular violin live and in person. Don't feel that you have limited options just from being left-handed.


DG
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21/6/2005
16:48:52
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I've been playing about 2-1/2 years, and have bought too many violins, all from eBay. Here's a little saga...

The first was a Palatino-- it sounded sorta awful and I knew I would not keep trying to play if I had to stick with this thing. The bow was cheap (and has since basically fallen apart) and the pegs kept slipping. It was a pain. Needed to get something better, quick.

The second was an antique Guarneri label, 3/4 size (listed as 7/8), probably actually German, circa 1900. It sounded beautiful, beautiful, but needed extensive, expensive repairs. I got the repairs done and am very happy with it...but it is, therefore, no longer an inexpensive instrument. A lovely looking and sounding instrument, and some days I prefer the smaller size.

The third was an oldish German Juzek factory instrument. Very nice instrument for $100. A steal, to my mind. My brother is now learning on it. I loaned it to him because I knew it would encourage him to play it.

At some point, I got a Rothenberg. Don't know why. (Oh yeah, the nice one was in the shop and this thing was so cheap...) I found it even worse than the Palatino. Very hard to get a nice tone from. Difficult to play. I've played it recently, though, and am finding I can now get a much nicer sound out of it than I could when I started. But the basic quality remains not very good, and I doubt I will ever really like the sound of it. (The same is true of the Palatino.) I'm keeping both of these because I would be embarassed to sell them, and because I occasionally want to take a fiddle somewhere that might entail leaving it in a hot trunk or getting banged around, and I don't worry much about these guys.

I also got a 1960's Ernst Heinrich Roth, the lowest quality model, but relatively easy and nice to play. Has a nice sound under the ear. This was about $400 on eBay. A very decent beginner instrument. My neice now has this one.

I also got a much better French instrument, for more bucks, that is my primary instrument these days. But we are now talking more money than most folks are willing to pay for a beginner instrument.

Then there are the two (older) instruments that needed repairs that the luthier didn't think were worth making, given the basic quality of the instrument. One of them I may spend the money on, anyway...someday...because I like its sweet dark sound. The other is just in the closet, a dead waste. I may hang it on the wall as decoration. It's a pretty looking thing, anyway. Beware: if you are buying on eBay, look at the pictures very carefully and ask a lot of questions. And, even then, the seller may be so uninformed, he just doesn't realize there is a real problem. That little tiny possible crack right above the soundpost or bass bar is major, for instance.

Don't ask why I bought so many. I don't know. Hoping for a miracle, I suppose. Obviously, I now have instruments that I can happily loan out to family and friends to learn on. That is pleasant.

Bottom line for beginner instruments: get one that is nice enough (easy to play, easy to get a beautiful tone from, decently made) that it will make you (or your child) want to learn to play so you can bring the best out of the instrument. A lousy instrument does not encourage you, does not inspire you. A better one does. A lousy instrument is torture. (Given the quality of many child's instruments available, it's no wonder that most kids give it up quickly. If you get a better instrument for your child, say a Scott Cao, there is a better chance the child will enjoy playing it...and if not, you can sell it for pretty much what you paid for it. This is not true of a Palatino.)

The violin is a difficult instrument to play, and it takes a long time to get the hang of it. The instrument itself should help, not hinder.

A final note: get a better bow than the awful ones that tend to come with most cheap instruments. Your local luthier may be able to help you out on that, or you can try for a cheaper Doerfler or Martin bow on eBay, both of which are nice for the money ($100-200). The bow is a very important element when it comes to making your violin sound good. I don't really understand it, since the bow looks like such a simple thing...but a better bow really helped.

Anyone else have stories to tell about the beginner instruments they bought?




Rod
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21/6/2005
21:21:04
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Hi

What a lot of interesting stuff! I have some experience in this, so I will comment on purchasing on eBay. As far as any musical instrument is concerned, proceed with extreme caution. I would never, ever, buy a new, cheap violin on eBay, but there is no doubt you can sometimes find nice old violins for really very little money, though they may look little "used" and will probably need a setup. You really do need to do your homework first-- remember you'll probably be buying from someone who does not know much about violins and you won't have a chance to try first-- caution! Ask lots of questions and walk away at the first hint of problems either with the instrument or the seller.

However there are lots of old German and Czech instruments on eBay for really very little and I think just about any of these is better than a shoebox like a Stentor. Pre-war Czech instruments are very nice, and you might look out for instruments labelled "Marcus Berini" which are workshop Czech instruments imported into the UK by B&H in the first half of the 20th C-- you often see these for £100 to £200 and the couple I've played were very good. However, buyer beware and if you can't afford to lose your money, DO NOT buy on eBay. (Bear in mind what happens to violins bought on eBay that the buyer does not like-- yup they go straight back on eBay.....)

Try to remember that you might pay a little more, but when you buy from a bricks-and-mortar shop, even if it has a web presence, you're buying a lot more than simply an instrument-- you SHOULD be buying long-term help and support, and if you ain't, go somewhere else.

On another point, somewhere up there someone recommended a site that promises to teach you the violin without learning to read music, using a system of tablature, fiddleguru I think it's called. To any beginner out there, please, please, please don't do this. You will be creating a block on your future development that will be far more difficult to remove than just learning to read RIGHT FROM THE START. Tab MAY get you going a little quicker, because superficially it seems more intuitive, but it WILL stop you in your tracks very soon and you'll have to start over. Violin is REALLY easy to read music for, no more difficult than tab. Tab has a place in lute and guitar music, but not for the violin. (Same is true for mando BTW--avoid tab like the plague.)

You'll do yourself more good learning a few tunes by ear than messing about with tab. And while we're here, these "position markers" people put on the fingerboard-- try to do without them. The violin is about HEARING that the note is right, not SEEING that it is right. Just practise the scales of G and D until you can literally do them with your eyes shut and you'll get there.

Best of all-- get a teacher!

Regards

R


Graham Welsh Host
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21/6/2005
21:49:34
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PLEASE HELP ME BY BEING MORE CAREFUL WITH YOUR DUPLICATE POSTING. I HAVE REMOVED 8 POSTS THIS MORNING FROM THIS CHAIN ALONE.
NOT HARD REALLY JUST REFRESH YOUR PAGE TO MAKE SURE YOUR POST IS PRESENT. IF NOT THEN PROCEED TO REPOST. THIS WILL SAVE ME LOADS OF TIME.....NORMALLY WASTED CORRECTING THIS REPEATING PROBLEM.
THANKS
GRAHAM WELSH


Sue
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22/6/2005
01:43:11
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I just got my violin yesterday...but how come my new violin did not have any sound?is it because i didn't tune it yet????OMG...i don't know how to do,help...please.


Rod
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22/6/2005
23:27:38
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This is for Sue. It sounds like you bought your fiddle mail order-- did you? Many fiddles are shipped "bridge down" and IMO should be, or if not with the strings slacked off. Try plucking the strings with your fingernail-- make a sound? I mean a note, not something like a limp elastic band going twang. If the answer is yes they do, my guess is you need to rosin your bow. New bows have no rosin and will just slip on the strings. If your fiddle is "bridge down"-- ie strings completely slack and the bridge off, or the strings fully detuned PLEASE DO NOT attempt to do any more yourself. Take the fiddle to someone who knows what they're doing. This is because the soundpost may have been displaced in transit and if you tune the fiddle without a soundpost you will probably damage the instrument permanently.

One of the things a dealer does is the final setup for the violin, checking the bridge, soundpost and often fitting new strings. You don't get that service mail order. So if you bought the fiddle from a dealer, go straight back and get them to show you what you have to do. They _should_ be happy to do so.

You will certainly need to tune the fiddle as well though, at least daily until the strings play in, then you need to check the tuning every time you play.

I really would not wish to seem presumptuous and I am not an expert on violin, though I do play fiddle. However I am a competent musician of many years standing-- fiddle is certainly not my first instrument. SO I hope you'll take the following advice in the spirit it's meant. It sounds to me like you don't have a teacher. Without one you are going to run into all sorts of trouble, of which this is just the start and you will probably give up. That would be a shame because the fiddle, or violin depending on your gait, is a terrific instrument, and very, very rewarding. The best investment any beginner can make is in lessons-- save money on the fiddle and put it towards the lessons. Believe me it is far, far more cost-effective. Very good luck.

R


Sue
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23/6/2005
03:00:57
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Rod,Thank you so much!
I gonna take my first lesson on Saturday.
I will work-hard on it.Thank you again.


Tim
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23/6/2005
03:16:07
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Thanks to everyone for all the intersting information about the different types of Violins: especially Sharon!! I did buy a Violin from ebay then I "rented" one from a local Violin shop and WOW!!!! what a difference! The sound and action with the Violin shop violin is exponentially better and more crisp! I didn't realize there was that much of a distinction between violins. Thanks again everyone; especially Sharon! Bye...Tim


scott
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09/8/2005
03:03:29
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My daughter is 5 and is interested in taking lessons. As a musician, I understand that importance of having an instrument that is of decent quality for many reasons. I have had guitars that you couldn't even tune! In my research the Cecilio violins appear to be very well constructed and better quality than most "beginner" violins. Does anyone out there own a Cecilio? If so please tell me what you think.


Jane
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21/8/2005
07:27:08
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OK, I've read all the postings... I now know not to buy a beginner violin on ebay... but I could not get a clear idea of names that are acceptable under $250. I went to the local music shops and they are renting the cheapest Chinese instruments for more than the $100 that online stores sell them for. I have no musical background. My son wants to start lessons. He's old enough for a full size violin. His school teacher said it didn't really matter.Is the one listed for $199 (Josef Lorenz) with 5 stars on Musicians Friends ok?
Thank you for any suggestions.


Rachelle
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30/8/2005
15:52:38
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I'm trying to learn how to play the violin. I went to a shop in North Hollywood, CA called Benning Violin. They told me to rent first to find out if I really want to continue. They gave me a good sounding violin, but I'm wondering if theirs is a good kind of violin when I do decide to buy one of my own. Has somebody ever encountered a Benning violin before?


Reza
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31/8/2005
02:20:44
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hello
please help me I am pretty confused .
I have an old german antonius violin. once I cleaned my violin with alchohol and it changed the color of my fiddle . I want to know that if I paint this violin the value is reduced or not?

thanks.
warmest regards Reza.


KCK
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31/8/2005
07:00:02
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Dear Reza,

Please do not paint your violin! It has already suffered, you do not want to cause further damage. Take it to a professional. They will be able to give you advice on if they can restore it (and what that will cost) or whether it's best just to leave it as-is, but definitely do not paint it. It will change the way the violin resonates and will definitely affect the value. KCK


Robin
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09/9/2005
02:39:16
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Hello,
My 5 year old has been interested in playing the viloin since she was 4! We now feel that it is the time to begin. I was looking at the Anton Breton Violins and was wondering if anyone has had experience with these. They do have a web-site, they have them in graduated sizes based on the students size, and they are very reasonably priced. I am hoping that she will like playing, but we can't afford a high priced instrument.
Also, I will be instructing her myself. I have looked at the Suzuki Violin School book series. However, I was wondering if there might be some recommendations on instructional books as well. We pay for piano lessons for my 7 year old, but will not be able to pay for violin lessons at this time. Since I have never played violin, I will need something pretty basic so that I can pass it on to my daughter. I would appreciate your feed back.


Eri
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10/9/2005
18:14:03
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Hi Robin,

You may want to consider renting a violin until your daughter is old enough to play a full-size - this will save you money in the long run, as you may need to go up violin sizes several times in the next few years.

Suzuki is a good method for young children, but is not (in my limited experience) a good method for teaching if you have no prior knowledge of the violin. It won't help you with the basics, although it does have a good reportoire. Try the Essential Elements series for fingerings, ect. And try to get her into at least one lesson with someone who plays to instruct her on proper bow hold, get them to put fingering tapes on, and so on. If you learn the wrong way first, it can be very hard to break the bad habits later! Pretty much everyone will recommend an instructor. It's not like the piano! Good luck!


Kris
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16/9/2005
06:13:09
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I'm looking for a new violin and am not sure which type to buy. I have taken lessons for 7 yrs, although I haven't played in sometime, and am looking for something that sounds good and isn't cheaply made. I'm not so concerned with cosmetic looks, just something that I can pick up and play when I want to. I'm not looking to spend too much, maybe under $100. What would you recommend and would buying from ebay be okay?


KCK
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16/9/2005
06:21:14
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Hi, Kris - for what you're describing, I would suggest the best place to start looking is at used instruments in your area that have been recently played. Ideally, you might find someone who is selling their violin because they are transitioning to a step-up instrument. Buying from a person like this is a good bet because you can be fairly certain the instrument is well cared-for and already set up in good playing condition, it will be less expensive than buying a new instrument outright, and there may be some room to bargain on the price. Buying on ebay is riskier because you really don't know what you're getting, and even if you get an inexpensive instrument you may well end up having to pay a couple of hundred dollars for a proper setup and adjustment before it's playable.


Kristi Doornbos
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16/9/2005
06:30:14
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Thanks KCK for your recommendation. I also should mention that I have a violin that I played while I was learning. It's about 15 years old and I'm sure it's a beginner violin. However, the pegs are whittling down through the holes on scroll and I can't tell if the peg is getting smaller or the hole on the scroll is getting bigger. It also has a broken bridge. Would I be better off getting this fixed or buying a different one. I have no idea how expensive it would be to fix the peg problem


KCK
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16/9/2005
06:43:24
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Hmmm, it's tough to say. The best thing to do might be to get an estimate on the repair, and look into both options and do a little comparing. If you like the sound of your violin and would be up for keeping it, it probably wouldn't be prohibitively expensive to get new pegs and a bridge, *if* the scroll is sound. If there is a problem with the pegbox in the scroll, though, that will probably be costlier to fix and maybe not worth investing that much in this instrument. You'd need to get someone more knowledgeable to look at it and tell you, and then you could decide if you'd rather put the money toward buying a different one.


Keith Campbell
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21/9/2005
10:18:51
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I recently took the violin back up again.Went to the local violin shop and the owner sold me a used Violmaster amati model.My teacher said it has a very rich sound to it.I emailed the company to see how much one retails for and they said $2,640 for the model I bought.I only paid less than $300 for it.Did I have a good day or did he know something that I didn't.


Gordon Burns
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21/9/2005
10:40:30
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Hi Keith,

You probably had a good day!

I have picked up many quite 'interesting' instruments from music shops who simply have no idea about the instruments they are selling, often on consignment, or as a way of getting rid of instruments they've taken in part-ex for new ones. I think it is quite near the mark to say that most 'corner shop' musical instrument outlets have really no idea at all about older instruments, and somehow have this inability or reluctance to follow up on what might be a good instrument. At the end of the day, the music shop will have made a tidy profit on the instrument they sold you (typically 100% markup) so they will be happy. You got a potentially nice instrument at a knock-down price, so that no doubt makes you happy, too!

Well done! Enjoy your new instrument.

Regards,
Gordon


Tracey
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24/9/2005
07:43:37
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Thank you to everyone who has posted to this site. Special and Hearty "THANKS" to the host of this site! I have seen a few posts about the Helmke violins on Ebay being good instruments for beginners (like me), but I am wondering what the difference is b/w the Strad, Adler, Raugust, etc.? Is there really a difference?
Any info would be great.
Cheers,
Tracey
*ps; Is it me, or are Great-tunes and A-deal4U the same people/sellers?


Gordon Burns
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24/9/2005
12:34:44
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I would guard anyone from buying a fiddle from a seller on eBay, unless you know what you are doing, or are willing to take a gamble. Most will come to you as they come from the factory, and so you will have the hassle, and further expense of having it set up properly. Bought from a specialist violin dealer, these factory fiddles have already been set up by the dealer, so the price you see is the price you pay for a playing instrument. Not so with most eBay purchases.

Caveat emptor!

Gordon


Beth
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25/9/2005
05:25:34
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Hello Victor. I am responding to your question posted of the Bonn violins. We have purchased 3 of the Bonn instruments for our children, 2- violins and 1-cello all at the referral of Mr. Jonathan May. A professional cellist in the Orlando Florida area as well as the orchestral director of many schools in Florida. He also ranks very high with all orchestral directors in Florida and has personally done business with store4strings for his schools and students. His word was good enough for us. The instruments are far better than described and the prices you can purchase for are 1/2 of the retail. They are not a music store, but rather a wholesale outlet that sells to us direct. I commend them on great products and service. I did some intense research on the Bonn line and found them to be a family owned company of the Bonn Germany region. The instruments, are built by workers in line fashion with limited machine and by hand from select hardwoods. From 1949 until present. Production has developed from 40-50 units to over 8500 per year to date. There, you will find no computers, no Internet and no public sales. With only a handful of wholesale buyers purchasing almost every instrument built. There are few and very limited suppliers world wide. Most sales going to Europe. Bonn is a welcomed answer to overprices store instruments. In short, I do recommend. A great quality instrument at an affordable price. I found this info at the library in a 1970's music magazine. Hope this helps you. Beth Starkey


PJBZ
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25/9/2005
19:48:24
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I am NOT a violinist, I play the flute. But, I have experience shopping for musical instruments (flutes) on ebay and have recently starting searching for a 1/4 starter violin for my son.

I am of the opinion that you CAN find a decent (for the price) starting instrument FOR A CHILD on e-bay. I just purchased a decent Gemeinhardt silver flute for a student and payed less than the going local rate for a good quality used instrument. I can't speak SPECIFICALLY for string instruments, but I can talk about e-bay in general and what I have observed thus far.

You need to be careful, but that goes without saying when you buy from an online retailer OR private individual on e-bay or anywhere else. Buying ANYTHING on e-bay is a risk. You can MINIMIZE that risk by choosing reputable sellers who have a good feedback rating and a reasonable return policy. You can also minimize that risk by following the auctions in your category for a month or two before buying. If you do this you’ll easily get a sense for how often a “decent” violin comes up, who are the volume sellers of instruments, and what you can expect to pay if you are looking for a particular item. Believe it or not, the chaos of e-bay DOES follow predictable patterns.

IN addition, READ THE FEEDBACK. Keep in mind that MOST people leave positive feedback regardless sometimes out of fear of reprisals. AND feedback is usually made within a few days of receiving the instrument. If the violin broke 2-3 weeks after the fact, this is not likely to show up on feedback. Look carefully at HOW a large volume seller responds to the inevitable negative feedback. I, as a matter of course, avoid any sellers who respond rudely to negative feedback, even if, perhaps, the feedback was unwarranted. How a person responds in these cases can be a clue as to how they will respond to you if you have a problem during the transaction.

So, specifically onto violins:

E-bay is AWASH in sellers of violins of many descriptions and sizes. I’ll group these sellers into four groups:


#1 Large volume sellers of chinese-made factory models.

The VAST majority of violins on e-bay are from volume sellers who make their money by sell LARGE quantities of cheap factory produced chinese instruments at extremely low prices. Usually the starting cost of the violin PLUS shipping costs equal about $60. When the starting cost is LOWER, the dealer usually artificially inflates the shipping. In the US, a small violin, appropriately packed, should ship for about $20. Shipping costs of $30-40 are purposely inflated, and should tell you something about the selling practices used by the individual in question.

Some of these sellers have more than one user name, but you can usually tell if they are the same “person” by looking at the description, the spelling, and the pictures. For example “greattunes” and “a-deal4u” are the same seller. Also, “learntomaster” and “easytolearn” are the same seller. Here are other usernames that also are volume sellers (violinsmart, kkmusicstore, casadolce_music, great-tunes, happybird, rose080105, musicwebe, easytolearn, edmwholesalers).

These volume sellers are pretty easy to pick out once you study the listings. They will have a LARGE number of listings up all at the same time, and the starting bids and BIN prices will be low, usually under $50. Also, if you look at the listings as a whole, you can usually spot the "high volume" listers. Their listings will be similar, using the same words, and the same kinds of subscripts and often the same starting bid.

All of these sellers probably sell similar violins, and may even sell the SAME violin. Do NOT be conned by an elaborate description that includes a massively inflated MSRP. No violin worth $550 is going to be sold on e-bay for $19.95. (If you believe that I have a bridge I’d like to sell you).

Most of these violins do not include a brand name, and when they DO a google search will turn up NO references to that name. These brand names are nearly always made up, and despite claims of “German engineering” or "Italian engineering" are pretty much all mass produced in China. Some will come “set-up” and some will not. If the instrument is NOT set-up, you will have to pay locally for this to be done which can run as much as $50-$100. If it IS “set-up” you will know nothing about the skill of the person who did so which may mean that your inexpensive violin requires $50-$100 of "resetting up" to be playable.

I definitely cannot speak as to the "quality" of these violins. But, I, personally, am concerned about the inflated shipping, and the deceptive advertising. I also wonder about the need for 2-3 usernames for the same person. All of these things would set off red flags in my mind in any OTHER category of e-bay sales. This is NOT to say, however, that you can't get a decent, playable, small child's violin from these sellers. But, I can tell you from MY perspective the flutes they sell are worse than worthless and I personally would not purchase a violin from them.


#2 Small volume sellers of “brand name” “factory” violins.

Some smaller music retailers supplement their local sales with e-bay auctions. The starting prices will often be higher, and the violins will often be rental returns with recognizable names. When you “google” these brands you’ll turn up a website. Right now, for example, there are quite a few “Scherl & Roth”, Glaesel, Knilling, and “Meisel” violins on sale from smaller retailers.

Keep in mind that nearly all of THESE violins are still mass produced and many are still made in China or Korea or the Czech Republic. The difference is, however, that most of these brand will have a website listing the product details, location of manufacture, model numbers, and local and on-line retailers. Does this mean these violins are “better” than the other ones? Not necessarily. But this at least give you the ability to check out the manufacturers website, to comparison shop the on-line to see what these instruments sell for at other retail establishments. In other words, you’ll know if the instrument you are getting is a “bargain” FOR that particular violin, but not if the violin is worth buying.

For example, if you do a google search on Scherl & Roth you will turn up not ONLY their website (they are a division of Conn-Selmer), but about 2 dozen on-line stores that handle their products. This won't tell you if the violin is a good one, or if it was properly set-up by the retailer, but will give you a sense for how much of a "bargain" the particular instrument is compared to what you would pay for the SAME make and model at another on-line or local retailer.


#3 Professional estate sellers, pawn shop owners.

These individuals will be selling violins that have shown up in pawn shops, or when they were liquidating an estate, or were brought into their consignment shop. These people can be identified because if you look at their other listings, you will see wide variety of other things for sale. Usually these people know absolutely nothing about the instrument they are selling. Because of this you have the POTENTIAL, if you are a gambler to pick something up at a steal, but they are often the riskiest buy. I would consider this “recreational” buying only for people who know a LOT about violins and know how to restore them on their own. Sometimes these sellers will agree to take the instrument to a 3rd party appraiser for a small fee, but that is a risk as well, and the turn around time on most auctions makes such a thing difficult.


#4 Private individuals

These are regular old people selling their personal instruments for various reasons. This CAN be the best way to get an instrument, but CAN be the worst depending. Usually private sellers offer no returns, but they generally know the history of the instrument and have used and cared for the instrument themselves. Certainly, you are NOT going to find a high-end instrument on e-bay, but a private seller might be a good place to look for a student model, especially in the sizes below 4/4. Kids grow out of instruments, or lose interest, and parents will look to unload these instruments.

Buying ANYTHING sight unseen is always a risk, and moreso with a musical instrument. BUT, I like e-bay, and have always had pretty good luck buying and selling there. I think if you are smart, patient, and careful you can get a good deal, even on something like a violin.

Incidentally, if you do an advanced search on e-bay you can exclude certain terms and certain sellers so you don't have to wade through so many listings. I am currently looking for a 1/4 size violin for my son and I set up my search to, essentially, exclude all the mass sellers of cheap instruments by excluding BOTH their user names (up to ten) and the terms that often appear in these kinds of listings (BTS, Teacher approved, Mint, high quality).

Hope this helps someone.

PJ


Graham Welsh Host
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25/9/2005
20:14:59
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I am reminded of a country song I like very much by the country star Alan Jackson......It goes something like this....
"Now the court square's just a set of streets
That the people go round but they seldom think
Bout the little man that built this town
Before the Big money shut 'em down
And killed the little man"
Remember these words when your local luthier goes out of business cause people didn't buy from the local guy with the small business, relying on bread and butter sales.
Come on folks! Never mind lining the pockets of the few Ebay Directors!!! Remember what monopoly Bill Gates ended up with in Windows.
Keep shiny windows on your local Luthier's shop. He'll be there for you to fashion your bridge when it breaks and string your violin when a string breaks.....not Ebay!
Enough said.
Graham Welsh
Luthier for life


Gordon Burns
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26/9/2005
10:42:29
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Well said, Graham!

eBay is a fine way of buying a fine instrument at a bargain price, and an excellent way of picking up a dud for a lot of money. I recently saw a listing from a seller in China, advertising an obvious SkyLark, saying it was bought from his local antiquities market in Beijing, with a starting bid of £0.99 (yes, listed in sterling). The lady who bought it, at the 'death' for £0.99 must think she got a real bargain... I take it she read the postal charges for the UK? Probably not! £135.00.

Before the war, there were over 100,000 craftsman cabinet makers in the UK, building fine furniture for discerning people. Now there are a just a few... this is mainly because there are no discerning people left, because MFI and Ikea have cornered the market on flat-pack, fall-apart-in-a-year furniture. If you want quality, then you have to pay for it! If you want something that can be passed down over generations, you need it to be made properly! If you want something that will be worth more in ten years than it's worth now, then you need to invest... if you're not prepared to pay a good price for a good instrument, then you end up buying rubbish, simple as that!

I read recently, that a violin 'factory' workshop in Islington, London, was forced to close in 1920, simply because the workers there 'inefficiently' made violins from start to finish, using traditional methods, and thus their prices were above those of the German mass-produced, production-line equivalent by just 30 shillings (£1.50).

By the same token, master luthiers are facing a similar problem, whereby people who think nothing of spending around a thousand pounds on a new laptop computer that will be obsolete in 2 years, object to starting their kids on what could be a lifelong interest, love and maybe a career, on anything other than some Beijing 'orange-box' that costs £50. By the time the child is old enough, or proficient enough to progress onto a good instrument, the local luthier has gone out of business through lack of local support.

I guess that one day soon, you'll see courses run at evening-class for owners of violins who need to replace bridges and strings, and mend the odd crack, stand the odd sound post, etc, as there'll be no-one left to do it for them! So sad!

My ethics are (and I have no doubt at all that I am shooting myself in the foot over them) that I do not work on 'toys', ergo I do not touch anything made in China - I simply tell the person to take it back to the place where they bought it. To be fair, though, when I point out that fitting a decent bridge and strings would cost more than they paid for it in the first place, they normally withdraw gracefully. This is not elitism, but personal preference and a refusal to prostitute my art for the sake of cheap foreign imports.

Regards,
Gordon


PJBZ
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26/9/2005
17:59:26
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Yes, people need to careful and prudent when shopping on e-bay. There certainly is no lack of stupidity out there, nor people willing to prey on that particular vulnerability. Anyone who buys a "strad" online for $250 thinking they found an expensive rare instrument is worse than gullible. BUT, I've read most of the questions here, and MOST of the people were asking about buying a reasonably priced starter instrument for a child or for themselves.

They were NOT asking if they could find the next "hidden" million-dollar violin.

And, as such, this is the frame of the discussion: CAN someone who is looking for a moderately priced starter instrument find one on e-bay? I think the answer is yes. And if someone IS going to buy an instrument from e-bay there is a reasonable way to approach this. I hope that my information helps such a person.

As to the question of SHOULD we buy on e-bay (and thus undermine our local economies and contribute to the "McDonaldization" of the world)? Well, that is a discussion for another time and place, perhaps. I WILL say that, yes, in an ideal world we would all buy handmade instruments locally made by craftspeople in our town. And, certainly, we lose something when such expertise passes from common knowledge. You'll get no disagreement here on how I think things "ought" to be.

Practically speaking, however, buying a used violin from my 2nd cousin twice removed isn't much different than buying one from a private individual on e-bay who has moved on and up to a better instrument. By your logic should we never buy used instruments from people who owned them before. After all, doesn't that bypass our local music store? We aren't supporting our local luthier if the violin is in playable condition and we don't need his services.

I DO think some perspective is in order. We are not talking about orchestral players here, or even good amateurs who have been playing for a few years. The thread started asking advice for someone who is STARTING the instrument for the first time or looking for an instrument FOR HIS OR HER CHILD.

I have THREE children, and although they are VERY smart and reasonably responsible there is no way in Hades I would entrust an instrument worth $600 (or more) to them unless then are OVER the age of 12, and dedicated to the instrument. Even very bright children are often careless, and, for many of us young families money is tight.

Trust me when I say an unsupervised 7-year-old boy with a violin will use the bow as a sword. And, the violin will be dropped, tossed onto the school bus, propped on the stand to fall, and otherwise abused. I TEACH children this age, so I can tell you that this is what children are like, even well behaved and otherwise careful children. Most rental returns look like they have been based, smashed, and abused for this very reason. Children are children.

Beyond this, I have to tell you that I find some of this discussion a bit elitist. Perhaps we ought to reserve the study of the violin to the few and far between who can afford to drop $1000 on a violin for a child?? (And, incidentally, the local music shop sells only violins from CHINA as starter instruments at a substantial mark-up. Hmm, so, are these the evil "violins from china"?? And, if so, why is OUR local luthier selling them??)

Music programs all over this country (I'm speaking of the US) are GONE in the elementary schools already, and parents are forced to take up the slack if they want their young children to learn an instrument. Most don't, and the families that do are generally wealthy. Around here "the rabble" are offered the chance to start an instrument at the age of 12, and in many cases this is WAY too late to foster any more than a passing interest in any instrument.

Not only does a younger generation LOSE the gift of music, but also you'll find a ripple effect in the entire industry. Already local orchestras go bankrupt as their core audience dies and no younger people step up to fill the seats. When you go to our symphony concerts the audience is decidedly gray and dwindling. Usually my husband and I are the youngest in the crowd by at LEAST a decade, and we are no spring chickens. I find this far sadder than the fact that skilled craftsmen like luthiers might be in decline. And, I certainly mean NO offense when I say this.

I love music. I want my CHILDREN to love music. But, if the choice is putting my family in debt or buying a cheaper and, perhaps, not ideal instrument as a starting point for a CHILD.. well, I'm going to do the best I can. And, that MAY very well include buying an instrument off e-bay.

Back when I started flute, I started on a piece of junk Bundy that my parents bought for around $50. Back then this was a lot of money for my working class family, and I was delighted to have any flute at all. The Bundy served me well, and when I proved my dedication to the instrument, my parents upgraded me to a moderately priced Armstrong when I went to high school. As an adult I treated myself to a VERY expensive high-end instrument. But, starting on the low-end flute did not "damper my interest". Rather, it kept me from destroying a quality instrument when I was too young to know better, and allowed me to "prove" I was worthy of something nicer after a few years. My parents could not have afforded anything better at the time, and the choice would have been "nothing at all". But, my parents had the extreme wisdom to realize that music is a LIFELONG gift. They bought what they could afford, and I am forever grateful.

Maybe some of those same people who have those cheap instruments at 7 will be buying the expensive ones at 35. But, I can tell you FOR CERTAIN that if music is priced out of the reach of the common person, it WILL die out. And I, for one, think society will be the worse for the loss.

Respectfully submitted,

PJ



PJBZ
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26/9/2005
19:46:23
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Let me add to this just to say that I actually AGREE with Graham in some respects. I don't shop at Walmart, for example, even if that means a few extra stops. And, when "extra stops" means lugging three children including a young infant in and out of several stores, you can hardly question my "dedication". Walmart would be far easier, but I don't shop there.

But, some of us who DO live in small communities, or isolated communities, ARE going to pay much more for buying our violins at our local shop. When you live in the American Southwest, and the next major city of ANY size is more than 300-600 miles away, local establishments esentially can charge what they want. Consider this the reality of supply and demand. If I lived in the UK, where the population density is large, and distances small, I bet I could and would find a local shop charging a decent price. And, in that case, I wouldn't even be looking at e-bay. In MY case I'd have to drive more than the entire length of England to reach another violin shop.

We have one store here that specializes in string instruments. All of their basic starter instruments are chinese-made, as are the introductory small instruments on this very website. Here, a basic Chinese starter instrument in a small size sells for $600. I can buy nearly the identical instrument, or a similar one, for about 1/3 the cost either on e-bay, or at on-line retailers. Most of these on-line retailers, btw, ARE local establishments in their own communities. They are not nameless, faceless, behemoths trying to undermine small town life.

Heck, even WITH shipping AND the exchange rate, buying one of YOUR (Graham) small violins would be cheaper than buying one here. So, does that mean I should "support my local shop" and pay a rediculous price for a starter instrument for a 7-year-old?

Gesh, I'd rather send my $400 directly to a charity to support displaced luthiers.

;-)

Yes, when the price difference is within a resonable range, I try to buy locally whenever possible. BUT, would YOU pay $600 for a chinese instrument from a local shop, when you can find the same thing on-line for less than 1/3 the cost?

Respectfully submitted,

PJ


Graham Welsh Host
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27/9/2005
01:49:16
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Hi PJ?, I'm glad this issue has been discussed at length on this chain......Only one thing I would like to add.
I do sell similar violins to that sold on Ebay, yes handmade violins from China. Only thing is, when I get them, I apply the same rigorous quality control methods when setting the violin up as I would when setting up a violin for a professional player. This nearly always entails some corrections to the original makers work in order to ensure the violin will function correctly. I add no extra cost to the violin outfit for this work. I cannot see why anyone would prefer to purchase a similarly priced violin direct from factory. Perhaps only to save a few pounds on their sale.
I agree there appears to be a minority of people who wish to save on an initial beginners purchase on the net, but I'm afraid they are getting poor product for similar outlay to mine.
Don't know whether you've noticed but my postal prices are fixed (UK prices apply) for worldwide sales!!!!!
So, take advantage before I can no longer afford to do this.
Respectfully in return
Graham Welsh


Jasmine
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29/9/2005
18:06:52
RE: different brands of violin
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I feel terrible asking a question that I know you must get so
frequently, but I too am unsure of the make of my newly
acquired violin. I began playing when I was a child, and picked
up playing again when I was half way through college. The violin
is my mothers, and she moved, leaving me with none to play. My
boyfriend recently surprised me with a Cecilio brand (so it
says) 4/4, and I have tried researching it. So far I can find it only
on eBay, and a couple of other sites that are in another
language, that I can't read.
I am guessing it was purchased off eBay, but since it was a gift, I
don't know what to do, or the quality of the instrument.
Any suggestions or ideas?



PJBZ
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29/9/2005
18:32:58
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Cecilio is a brand I have seen sold on e-bay, which is probably where your bf purchased the violin. These violins are made in China, and the quality depends a great deal on who did the set up work on this PARTICULAR violin.

These would not qualify as "good" violins by any standard, but they might be reasonable instruments for a beginner. The important thing is, do YOU like the way the instrument sounds and plays? Since the violin WAS a gift, and you are the one who is going to play it, your opinion is the only one that matters. If you like the way you sound when you play, then I wouldn't worry about it any further.

I hope that helps a little.

PJ


KCK
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29/9/2005
18:37:28
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My suggestions and ideas:
1) Give your boyfriend a big kiss. I wish I had a boyfriend who was such a music lover and so considerate!
2) Play the instrument for a while, get a feel for it and see what you think of its voice. Brand names and price tags are, ultimately, not the most important features of the instrument. If you end up liking its sound, wonderful! If not, explain to your boyfriend what a personal process choosing an instrument is, and maybe take him shopping. You will probably be able to trade the Cecilio for something that's a better fit - or sell it outright and then use the money to purchase an instrument better-suited to you. Tell your boyfriend you still consider it to be his gift to you - and keep giving him kisses. Or, if things don't work out, give him my phone number. :-) KCK


Lyndon J Taylor
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29/9/2005
19:15:57
RE: different brands of violin
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Maybe Graham should add online singles ads and dating service for violin aficianados


Jasmine
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30/9/2005
03:30:44
Cecelio
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Thanks much! So far I like it, but had a hard time finding
anything about it.
As for the bf- he doesn't know anything about music, and has
been learning quite a bit in this process. It's exciting when you
can turn some one on to something so classic. Anymore, it
seems people have lost the knowledge and love for the arts.


Lynne Henney
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06/10/2005
07:41:43
RE: different brands of violin
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Does anyone have the word on a Jean Baptiste Colin violin circa 1906? What would be a fair price range? I haven't a clue. Thanks so much! This site is awesome and amazing as well as informative.

Please respond to OneBziMom@aol.com. Thank you!


Graham Welsh Host
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06/10/2005
20:50:32
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Well all I can say is before you dive in and spend some money on any violin try to learn a bit more about them. Just knowing price ranges for a particular maker can get you into a dangerous buying mode. You exclude things like...does the violin play well? Sound good? Look good and most important of all is it the violin that it says on the label. My recommendation.....only buy from an expert!
Hope this helps
Graham Welsh


Mark
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14/10/2005
05:27:14
RE: different brands of violin
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I know this topic's been trampled to death, but I just need a
simple answer. I've been playing viola for about a month now,
practicing on a pretty decent Scherl & Roth that my university
owns. I'd like to get a viola for my own as I'm graduating this
year, but I really can't spend more than about $200 - in fact
there's no way I can spend more. I've looked on EBay and on
Musician's Friend, and the brands I keep seeing that are within
my price range are Palatino, Cecilio, Cremona, Doreli and William
Lewis and Son (the Stentor Student II). I know the Palatinos are
crap, but I keep getting mixed reviews on the others. Any
pointers? At this point I'm thinking either the Doreli or the
Stentor.


KCK
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14/10/2005
06:24:42
RE: different brands of violin
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Use your connections at the university for all they're worth and try to find a used one that you can buy direct. Your professors, conductors, and the other players in the string section (and probably the whole orchestra) are sure to have friends, who have other friends, who have other friends, and surely some of them know of violas coming up for sale, and with a little luck one of them will be within your range or the seller will be willing to negotiate. (This is good networking practice, by the way, for the whole "real world" thing you'll be facing after graduation!)


valerie
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18/10/2005
04:05:00
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I have a Cecelio violin ,that I purchased from my instructor, but cant seem to locate it online for more info on it. anyone know why? thanks


Willobie
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27/10/2005
02:08:56
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I have just bought a new Gems2 viola for £295 and I am delighted with it


Vanessa
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17/11/2005
14:51:12
RE: different brands of violin
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What type of violin that has good sound would
someone suggest for a advance student a
Cremona Violin or a Primo( with dominant
strings) or any other suggestions someone
has?


Graham Welsh Owner
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17/11/2005
20:54:33
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Vanessa in order to advance yourself. Please consider saving some money up and buying something with a bit of finesse. You'll not find any Chinese advanced violins do much for the ear. Buy something with a bit of age and light in weight. Set up is paramount, so if you wish to talk with me regards finding a suitable violin then contact me via email and I'll see what I could recommend.
Thanks for your post
Graham


raj07
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19/11/2005
12:49:21
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Many people have mentioned here that how the chinese violins ( cecilio, primo,etc) sounds depending on who set it up.

What exactly is setting up ? Is it tuning the 4 strings?

Thanks
Raj07


Gordon M Burns
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19/11/2005
13:59:02
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Setting up has nothing to do with tuning.

Setting up involves...

1 Making sure the soundpost is of the correct length and is fitted precisely perpendicularly, and in the best possible position in relation to the treble bridge foot (this normally means making a new one).

2 Fitting the best strings to suit the instrument (rarely are Chinese strings of any use whatsoever, I've found) and adjusting the tailgut to give the correct 'fore and aft' string length ratio.

3 Cutting and correctly fitting a new bridge, and setting the correct string heights and stop length.

4 Making sure the pegs work smoothly and progressively, without slip or rough snatching motion.

That's why setting up an instrument isn't cheap... it can take all day to get it JUST right. It's also the reason why a good vendor will never let out of his shop an instrument that has not been properly set up (unlike most eBay box-shifters, who supply as they received them, straight from the factory).

Regards,
Gordon


raj07
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20/11/2005
09:53:47
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Thanks Gordon for the info.

Raj07


bg
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23/11/2005
15:04:49
RE: different brands of violin
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What do you know about a Lewis violin with the model number as 126? When was it made, and how much is it worth? It has a really sweet sound.


Karen
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28/11/2005
16:06:49
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I am looking at a violin made by the Canadian Violin Company of Quebec. It is an ebay item.
Do you know anything about this company, their reputation etc. It has a highly decorated write up and big msrp. I've been reading many questions and responses here tonite, and are curious about this. Also what exactly is flaming all about? I've seen many hyped up descriptions lately describing this.

As for an ebay purchase, I recently purchased a full conservatory oboe. I'm an established player and really lucked out on this purchase. I am thrilled w/it. I guess you can find good deals if you look. I feel I did. Thanks


KCK
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28/11/2005
17:36:09
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Hi Karen - I'm not familiar with the company, and, as others have said multiple times on this thread, when dealing with ebay proceed with caution. About flaming: it refers to the light and dark markings of the wood grain on the back and/or neck of the violin. It's largely a cosmetic issue. Beautiful flaming adds value to an instrument, but it's definitely secondary to sound quality. You're much better off getting a plain-looking instrument with a wonderful voice than getting one with a beautiful finish but an undistinguished, mediocre (or worse) sound.


Dan
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28/11/2005
18:30:24
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OK, I am 62 and maybe getting a little off base. I am thinking of purchasing one of those pretty looking Black Pearl Helmke by German Engineering violins on e-bay at around 100 dollars from that deals 4 u or whatever the name is. I played a clarinet and piano 50 years ago and for some reason have a thing for Blue Grass music and want a violin OR a Banjo. I may not like either one when I try to learn to play but wouldnt it be better if I thru out a cheapie rather than a good one? Also does anyone know which I would probably have less trouble learning to play. Thanks, Dan


MrGuitardeath
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28/11/2005
22:18:28
HERE IS YOUR ANSWER
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Everyone is selling the exact same ASIAN manufactured violin as everyone else. The labels different, the manufacturer is the same. This is EXACTLY what major guitar brands have done for the last 20 years.

The wholesalers I will list sell the EXACT same violin that MUSICIANSFRIEND sells for $100 under an Italian name. Same deal. Name has been licensed and the product was built in Asia. Fender does it with some of their more expensive necks and no one knows, they just see Fender burned into the wood.

The guy selling it for THE most on Ebay says beware of junk sellers, STORE NAME IS a-deal4U, but then he lays it on thicker than a car salesman. He has licensed the Helmke name to be stamped on the lots he buys but his is IDENTICAL to most the other sellers I will give at the end of my post. He flat out lies and says his violin is ebony when I would bet the farm it is maple like everyone elses. Another seller warns that you shouldnt buy from this guy because he has his set up before being shipped to you and the violin could get destroyed. Another HUGE F'n lie. Musiciansfriend sends their's set up and they are identical in every way.

Now don't turn away because it's produced in Asia. Right now some of the best gear is coming out of Asia. The only bad thing I can say is your money is leaving OUR economy. I own a dozen Asian guitars that once set up, are superior to their American counter parts.
Here is the only problem with buying one of these off of Ebay, you'll need it set up
One of the posters on here is likely the guy from that store. He says OMG not made in Asia, stay away!
Get real pal, the asians reinvented the violin!

Buy from the ebay store ViolinsMart or The Frett Shop Discount Guitars they are the best deal for those violins HOWEVER, I found you the ultimate in quality, style, detail and price!
Look for the METALIC finish models from
EDM Wholesalers.
They are not only beautiful but a bit better than what everyone else is selling because they use guitar quality eurathane and just greater detail has gone into their finish and production.




Victoria
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30/11/2005
06:13:50
RE: different brands of violin
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Hola
I'm a freshman in highschool and have been playing the violen for maye a year and a half, but i need a new one :-( my old one is wearing out. The strings are popping and the neck is warping and stuff, you know, the old age thing. Mainly its happening bcause its cheap and old. But i need to know of a good brand thats not too expensive (say, um, limit 2,000 dolllars) that sounds very nice. I know several instruments and have a very toned ear to strings.


Irene
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30/11/2005
10:01:22
RE: different brands of violin
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I've got 3 old Stentors 1 Skylark, 1 London and 2 Berini violins- all old and scuffed. How shoulf I price them for sale. Could you indicate to...from...prices as I want to get it pretty close to real.


Gordon M Burns
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30/11/2005
10:52:22
RE: different brands of violin
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The Stentors depend on the model. In good condition, average second-hand prices are... Standard Student around £20, Student 1 around £30, Student 2 about £45, Conservatory, maybe £80 tops. The Skylark, you'd be lucky to get £10 for it. The London will be in the same range as the lower-priced Stentors. The Berinis between £40 and £70 for the student models. If the instruments are not in good condition, supplied with bows, in cases, and strung & ready to play from the case, then you should expect considerably less for them. This rough guide to 2nd hand violins assumes 4/4 full size instruments. Small ones command lower prices.

For the definitive guide on each instrument you mention, check out eBay and see what bidders are prepared to pay for them.

Regards,
Gordon


Lyndon J Taylor
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30/11/2005
19:10:04
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Victoria, quality violins don't have brands but rather the name of the maker or makers factory that made the violins, $2000US should get you a quite decent sounding, well set up instrument if you shop carefully, I wouldn't worry about the name, brand or label so much, go more by the tone and how the violin feels and plays in your hand, most of the bargains around $2000 are going to be violins without labels that are not cosmetically in pristine condition, go to a violin shop and play the violins available in the price range and pick your favorite not necessarily the one the store is trying to pressure you into, it may be simply the one they make the highest profit on. Try to avoid violins with fake or suspicious labels of famous old makers, they are almost all worth substantially less than $2000, also talk to your violin teacher about helping you pick out an instrument, or try to find a more experienced friend player to help you, don't consider ebay as it is a rip off if you don't know a lot about it and also stick to an established store with a solid reputation, any less than that and you never know if you are getting a poorly set up and unproffessionally repaired instrument that will soon end up back in the shop for expensive repairs, sincerely Lyndon J Taylor,, violinljt@hotmail.com


Michael Fernandez
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15/12/2005
08:22:59
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I haven't played since high school but now that I have an infant daughter, I want to expose her to violin music. I just purchased a 'Samuel Eastman' brand Violin on ebay. I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I don't know if I'll truly pick it up again. I know the Eastman Violins are made in China. The model I bought retails for about $350.00. Can anyone tell me if they are familiar with 'Eastman' Violins or they have had any experience with one? Thank you very much.


jim
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22/12/2005
23:01:24
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Can anyone tell me about a violin with the label Fried.Aug.Glass Vertertigt-Nach,Antonius Stradivarius Fies,Fabricat in Cremona,1764 with horse hair bow and case,the front is darker than the back.I need to know the value,this date tells me this is F.A.Glass the 1st,I know he had a son by the same name.Even an estimate would help,as i have been asked to find a buyer.


Gordon M Burns
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23/12/2005
01:00:39
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You are wrong... it's F.A.Glass (2), who worked in Klingenthal from c.1830-60. The 1764 is an erroneous date relating to the model, not the date of manufacture... it is erroneous because Stradiuari had been dead 27 years in 1764. The label complies with F.A.G (2) and not (1).

Valuations, even rough ones, cannot be given on a forum such as this, since the valuation will not only depend on its condition, whether it has been heavily restored or not, whether it has been revarnished or not (sounds like this one may have been) but a great deal of its value will be placed on tonal quality, something you can never assess in words. You should take it along to a luthier or appraisor, who will be able to shed a little light on what you could expect for it.

Regards,
Gordon


Aria Maxmillian
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14/1/2006
16:08:12
ANTON BRETON STUDENT VIOLIN OUTFIT
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I am looking at the ANTON BRETON STUDENT VIOLIN OUTFIT. Can anyone give me some information on this violin if possible please email me @ dreamhelix@gmail.com with ANTON BRETON STUDENT VIOLIN OUTFIT in subject heading. I can provide you witha link if you need further details.

THX
-Aria


Thomas
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22/1/2006
07:47:38
Great-tunes
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I'm looking into purchasing one of the Helmke violins from Great-tunes. I have little experience with violins, and was directed to this seller by one of my friends. Now it's all about choosing one of these Helmke violins. There's all sorts of types! Bauer, Metzger, Saltz, Reisend, Krieg, Reist, Raugust! All going for the same prices with the same pictures. What are the differences?


Gordon M Burns
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22/1/2006
12:01:53
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For a start, if you have no experience with violins, why on earth are you thinking about buying a Helmke from a box-shifter? Personally, if one of my friends pointed me towards buying from such a supplier, I'd question the depth of the friendship! I am not your friend, and I wouldn't point you in that direction. If you are new to playing, you ought to be buying from someone who will supply a properly set up instrument, and who will be there after-sale for customer support. You don't get this by buying online from Asian and Eastern European instrument stockists, trading online, whose sole purpose in life is to buy an outfit for less than $20 (yes, less than $20 USD) and sell them to the ususpecting without so much as giving them a proper setup, let alone after-sales service.

I was recently emailed by a Beijing 'orange-box' maker, who offered to supply me with an outfit comprising 'student' violin, bow, case and rosin for $18 USD each, and if I took ten, the price would be $14 USD each. Needless to say, in greater quantities the price was even more attractive, at $12.50 for fifty, and just $11.00 if I took a hundred. To say that, being a luthier, and knowing that decent quality wood alone costs me around £100 ($170 USD), I wondered just what quality of violin I would be buying for just $11.00.

If the seller is using the same photos for different models, perhaps it says something about the seller? Common sense really... in the violin world, you really DO get what you pay for. Believe me!

Wherever you are in the world, why not support your local luthier, and pay him a visit? Even if you buy a 'student' model, you may pay a little more for it than eBay box-shifters, but you'll be assured that firstly, it is set up correctly, and secondly, he'll still be there a few months down the line in case adjustments are needed... and don't forget... a newly set up violin is only set up for a few weeks, and invariably needs 'tweaking' after it has settled in, often needing a new soundpost, the pegs bedding in again, even a new bridge. Try to get THIS service from eBay sellers, I challenge you.

Regards,
Gordon


Russ
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29/1/2006
02:50:52
RE: different brands of violin
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Great Tunes direct, or a a-deal4u. These are actually the same company. I called and asked why the two different names. They stated they did that because of the way ebay used to be setup. They stated they could advertise more items that way, but it has since been fixed and they are going to get rid of a-deal4u.
Anyway I could'nt disagree more with the last posting. I bought one of their violins, and liked it so much I bought two more. It does'nt matter what the label says on the inside, there're all the same violin. These are chinese violins, but of all the chinese ones I've seen, I think these are the best! I threw away the bridge and the strings they sent with the thing and put on new, fitted the pegs, put some peg paste on them. I love them! They are a very clean instrument, the workmanship it quite good and consistent. All three of the ones I have are of the same quality. I gave one to my son for Christmas. The fingerboard, tailpiece and chinrest are fairly good quality ebony. Shipping was quick, and they even phoned me with a question about my order. For the price you just can't beat them. You have to tweak them abit, but for $50, ($80 total with shipping) what do you expect. A better bridge and strings are really a must, but a bridge is only $5. Two big thumbs up here!!!


Gordon M Burns
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29/1/2006
13:03:07
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A bridge may only be $5, but unless you are proficient in setting up a violin, a new bridge makes no difference whatsoever. You may well be quite able to fit a new bridge (whether you are doing it properly is another matter) but most people can't, so your last comment is spurious. A shop will charge anything from $30-50 to fit a new bridge properly - about the same price as your 'great' violin. Doesn't that tell you something? It should!

Gordon


Russ
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30/1/2006
05:47:54
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Relax there Gordon you're going to hurt yourself. If you want to give away your money go ahead. It's like most things, if you don't know a thing about it, you're going to pay someonet else who does to do it for you, car, computer, hair, ect..You're too passionate about your response. My guess is you must make money either selling instruments, setting them, lesson? You must feel threatened in some way by people setting up their own instruments. Alot of people who setup instruments try to make it out to be some sort of black magic voodoo best left up those wearing robes, and that the meager minded masses had best leave it up to those with bigger brains. At some point in playing alot of people start tweaking their own instrument to get the sound they're looking for. If you don't feel confident messing with your own istrument, then by all means pay the money to someone who does. However, there much information available to those who want to learn, books, internet, teachers. There's a whole continuum of abilities out there. And yes ebay does offer some sound violins! There some junk also.
Good Luck!


KCK
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30/1/2006
06:52:50
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I am on board with Gordon. It makes all the difference to have someone professional you can turn to when your instrument needs adjusting. (For any of you in the Chicago, USA area, I give Richard Biggs of Porter, IN my highest recommendation!) If you aren't spending a lot on top-quality instruments and want to tinker, fine, go ahead, you'll have some learning experiences and you might get to be decent at what you do, but instrument repair is a skilled profession. It's not about magic and voodoo, it's about learning the precise technical capabilities to do things right. These people study their craft as apprentices and/or at luthier schools and learn what to do and what not to do. It's like anything: if you're sick, you could try self-medicating or using home remedies. If you need a haircut and are pretty relaxed about your appearance, you could do it yourself or have someone plop a bowl on your head and do it for you, and you might be just fine. If your disease is serious, though, or you want a really good haircut, you are better off going to a doctor or a professional barber/hairdresser. You are taking a risk by doing otherwise. It's your call if you want to do that - but hey, there's a reason why one of the hallmarks of a developed civilization is specialization of labor ... let me finish with a little anecdote. We have a fiddle player here in town who is also an amateur repairman and restorer, and he is pretty decent. He can set a bridge or soundpost with fairly good results, etc. People have told me, though, that it's fine to call "Jack" about basic jobs on basic instruments, but when I got my 175-year-old rather delicate fiddle, no question, hands down, I should go to Richard Biggs. And exactly 1 week ago, Jack told us he had made a serious mistake working on an old fiddle he was trying to restore - he inadvertently split it apart. Maybe it doesn't happen that way most of the time - but on the one occasion when it does, you don't want it to be your violin that suffers.


matt
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30/1/2006
07:30:47
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setting up an instrument properly is not a trivial task, the bridge/soundpost cannot be properly fitted to instrument by an amateur... I tried it once and failed miserably, it takes a lot of skill and experience to carve a bridge to the correct proportions, and at the cost of $15 a failure, I quickly decided to get it done by someone who knew what they were doing. Do you really think professional violinists (many of which are by no means well-off) take their instrument to a luthier for servicing because they prefer to pay someone to do what they could easily do themselves, or do you believe every professional violinist is just an idiot duped into believing that they can't do it themselves by evil luthiers that protect their employment by lies and shrouding their trade in mystery? Furthermore, do you really think someone on ebay is going to sell a violin that should retail for over $1000 for only $79? Come on now, you don't get something for nothing. Do you think the Chinese factory that makes these provides them for $10-$30 if they could get $200 a piece? It's just simple economics, you get what you pay for, and businesses are into making a profit, these sellers on ebay aren't selling to you at a loss just so they can see someone happy with a first-class instrument. Would you trust a used car dealer that advertised a 97 mazda as in every way equivalent to a corvette or a ferrari? Why then do you trust some seller on ebay advertising these incredible bargains that can't possibly be true? BTW, I'm not a luthier, and have played the violin for 16 years. And no, I'm not an idiot who has been 'tricked' into paying someone to perform repairs I could do myself. If you don't care about your instrument go ahead and repair it yourself, but you'll have only yourself to blame when you slip up that one time, and badly damage or even destroy it.


Russ
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30/1/2006
07:38:57
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There's a big difference between setting up an instrument and doing a restoration. And by the way, I do my own mechanic work, (used to do it professionaly) build my own computers, built this house I'm living in, cut my own hair, I'm a registered nurse, fly a plane, scuba dive, amateur film maker, have made quite abit of money playing music, and yes I work on my own fiddle. I do all these things and many others reasonably well. And yes.... I've bought violins off ebay, and yes, I'm quite happy with that choice. I believe that was the context of this thread.


matt
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30/1/2006
10:40:00
RE: different brands of violin
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how is fitting a bridge or soundpost properly to an instrument a "restoration" task? Sure you can change your own strings, stick on a "one size fits all" bridge to your instrument, and get that jigsaw and drill after those rascally pegs, but it doesn't make it a proper setup. But since you self-admittedly are an expert on almost every subject, you probably knew this already...


Russ
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30/1/2006
11:17:58
RE: different brands of violin
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I am expert enough to know better than try and change sombody elses opinions. So Matt, for your life you are quite right! I respect your opinion. I know what works for me in mine. It may not be the best way, the right way, but it works for me, and I'm happy as a clam. I did'nt mean to be disrespectful to anyone.
Good bowing to ya!


Gordon M Burns
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30/1/2006
12:21:16
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Russ,

You are correct in assuming that I make my living through string instruments. I make them. I have undergone a great deal of training in lutherie (both making and restoration) and have been doing it for many years. That's what qualifies me to know what is a good instrument, and what is not, and what is a well set up instrument and what is a make-do-and-mend job. I see the latter (both badly made instruments, and badly set up ones) most days of my life. I also see extremely well made and well set up instruments, both old, and newly made. I can tell you that to fit a bridge properly to a nice fiddle can take up to two hours. Setting up a fiddle to get the best from it can take all day.

But don't worry, the kind and quality of fiddles you are advocating that people buy from eBay box-shifters are out of my league (WELL out of my league)! Now, if you'd like nice violin making to order, acoustically correct, properly constructed from the finest woods, carved by hand and not a CNC routing machine, set up to deliver performance that a professional soloist would be delighted with, then be my guest. You'll have to join my order book, and for my 'standard' model have at least $6,200 US (£3,500 - we deal in sterling here in the UK). Of course, like a Ferrari, by the time you hit the top of the list, the price will probably have increased, but you'd expect that, wouldn't you?

I was not hoping to sell anyone a fiddle here... merely warning them of the undeniable fact that in life, and especially relating to violins, not only does one receive what one pays for, but one must pay for what one receives! Do you deserve the violin you buy, or do you buy the violin you deserve?

My regards,
Gordon


Russ
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30/1/2006
13:38:26
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A $6,000 violin would be a waste of money for me. If I were a concert violinist, you bet I'd be knocking on your door. I was a working musician in Bars and Clubs on the west coast, 5 nights a week for years. I majored in music in college, with a secondary in biology. I play for my own pleasure at this point. The Fiddles I own, not violins are cheap, but they really do satisfy me. They're inexpensive so I don't mind adjusting the soundpost, or tweaking the bridge, trying any number of combinations to make the thing sound good to my ear, and I get a kick out of it. When I take a fiddle that sounds awful to me, and get it to play, I'm smiling. I'd be afraid to have an expensive violin, I might sit on it by accident. I drive a Ford explorer, live in a ranch style home, and play bluegrass music. It's simple, it's cheap, and that's me, (there must be a country song in there somewhere). And ya, I shop on ebay and Walmart. My jeans cost me $8 at BiMart. A Farrari would also be a waste of money to me; I drive 55 mph.
Gordon, I admire what you do. Anyone who specializes in something, taking it to the next level. I'm just not at that level. I'm good at alot of things, kind of that, jack of all trades, kind of guy. If I want to know about something I read about it. I'm good with my hands. I can fix the kitchen sink or read a 12 lead EKG. However, I'll never be a concert violinist. I'm am building my second airplane in my shop though.


Graham Welsh
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30/1/2006
21:46:12
RE: different brands of violin
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Sorry again folks but this chain is getting too long. Can we now start a new chain please.

LETTERS BEYOND THIS POST WILL NOW BE DELETED!!!


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