July 22, 2011 at 6:16 PM
I made a mistake that I think most people reading this will respond to with, "Duh, Stupid," but if my mistake can save anyone else from making a similar one, then it's worth humiliating myself enough with the post.
I decided to search eBay for an inexpensive violin to have as a practice instrument and one that I could take out and about without much worry. Well, I got it, but I can't play it.
I saw this violin's photo and thought it looked very lovely. It's a faux antique and completely handmade, at least the seller claims so. It was listed as the work of Liu Rong Guo, who has been hand making violins in China for many years. I did a search for the name and found a nice website listed as www.mastersviolin.com They have lovely faux antique violins for a very cheap price. For just $200 I thought I couldn't go wrong, but I was mistaken.
Upon receiving this violin, it was obvious right away that the quality had been grossly over-stated. But, considering the fact that 70% of student violins in the USA originate in China, I thought I could get it tweaked and ready to play without much problem.
The first and most obvious problem was that the sound post had fallen - no big deal. I took it to a local luthier who reset that for $20.
Then, he pointed out that the bridge looked like it had just been taken out of a package and not sanded down to fit the violin at all. The bridge was so high that this violin couldn't be played past first position.
He also showed me where the top was separating from the ribs in 3 sections. There was a horrible metallic rasping sound when the bow was drawn across the G and D strings, which he thought was an issue with the glue. The strings were so thin that we were afraid to tighten them much to play the violin.
But, I thought it was lovely enough instrument to go ahead and make the repairs to get it into playing condition. The quality on the maker's website was sung with such self-praise that I thought it was a worthy gamble.
Today, I picked up my violin after new strings were added, the top was re-glued, a new bridge at the right height was installed, for a total of $130. There is still a horrible metallic rasping sound on in the lower registers which makes playing really annoying. It was not fixed by patching up the loose glue so it's quite possible that the bass bar is also loose and I could have that fixed,
At this point I'm out almost $400 with this piece of junk that I cannot even play for practice. For the money I've spent, I could have purchased a quality student violin right here in town and been much happier. I'm trying not to dwell on it and realize it's an expensive lesson in making stupid purchases from China via eBay.
Still, it is pretty. I think I'll put it on my wall as decoration or maybe take it apart to see how a POS Chinese violin is made.
Stay away from Rui Long Guo violins and also from www.Melody-with-violin.com as she is the 3rd party who sold it to me praising it's quality. Her response to my complaints was, "Nothing will satisfy you." Can you believe that? Wow
Live and learn.
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles is in New York to cover the biennial event at The Juilliard School, including classes by Brian Lewis and Sarah Chang.
Julianne Heinen is from Pflugerville, Texas. Biography
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