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Should a middle aged beginner buy used cheap or just go for the best one can afford.

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Published: September 10, 2013 at 7:49 PM [UTC]

I'm newly interested in learning to play music after years of having my first guitar sit in a closet for many years. I have begun practicing farly regularly and I also picked up a another guitar and a mandolin which I love playing both equally as we'll. My second guitar a nice Martin and don't regret what I spent on it. I love the way it sounds. So now I want a violin and I either want to go cheap and use and up grade later if im loving it, or just go ahead and buy the best that i can afford which is looking like a 2,500 for the violin and bow.

I learned that the violin and the madolin have the same string setup. Therefore, if I can learn the notes on a madolin I should be able to do the same on a violin or a least have some transfer of knowledge from one to the other where notes and cords are concerned, or that's my thought anyway!

I've always loved the sound of the violin and I simply want too have a violin in my hands now, period!

Here is the question. Should I buy a $150-$300 for a used beginner violin and just see if I take to it? Or just go ahead and spend $1,500+- for a violin that I think I will like and possible not out grow and spend $500-700 for a nice bow.

Either way, I will be at the mercy of a violin shop's advice and description of the quality of the product, due to not having any knowledge but violins. One violin shop asked my price range before setting up the appointment. Then I read on this site not to give your price range, unless the violins are already have price tags to prevent any hiking of prices that might otherwise be different if the seller didn't know what one was willing to spend. I don't know if his violin are tagged or not , but it the closet violin shop within a 3/12 drive?

So do I go Craig's list and spent very little for a poor quality set up, and check it out for a while? Or take a leap of faith that the pleasure I think I will get from a violin won't be short lived and therefore making the more expensive purchase and spending my hard earned saving for better quality be best?
Thanks for any advice


From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 8:59 PM
Congratulations on pursuing what you would like to do!

I definitely have an opinion on this matter....I would advise that you are much less likely to "take to" a cheap violin. Here is why!

From Eugenia Fielding
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 9:57 PM

From CJ Hughes
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I would, if I were you, rent a violin of good quality. I started with a cheep violin. I enjoyed playing so I bought a nice violin. I have progressed faster and enjoyed playing a lot more and think you would to. So the bottom line is go with a quality product.
From di allen
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM
as an adult beginner, i started with a $200 fiddle and about a year later purchased
a better one. i think this was a good decision.
and playing a mandolin, i fear, doesnt really
help with playing the violin. but go for it!
From Eugenia Fielding
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 11:29 PM

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on September 10, 2013 at 11:46 PM
This may sound surprise and counter-intuitive to you, but I would recommend you not to buy anything but rent one instead if you can. Best yet, find a teacher first. She or he should be able to direct you to the right place.

A cheap violin is a total waste of money and may even ruin your ears. A violin at $2,500 is a lot of money to risk for someone doesn’t know much about the instrument. And if you don’t like it after all, you will have a hard time to get the money back by selling it, as there are tons of violins at this price range out there to find a home.

If you are serious about trying violin, the best investment is to get a teacher, even just for one lesson. Then we can continue discuss about what instrument to get if you like. Good luck!

From Michael Nelson
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Craigslist is the worst place to buy a violin unless you know what you're doing. A reasonable ad pops up every now and then. But the rest are either sharks hanging out the same way-overpriced factory fiddles for sale, month after month, or people flogging cheapo VSO's for what they are worth. It's much worse than the market for other stuff on Craigslist. I don't understand it. Forget it.
From Krista Moyer
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 1:58 AM
As a middle-aged individual who has taken up the violin, I strongly recommend that you rent until you know what you want. Most shops will apply at least a portion of your rental fee to an eventual purchase, which does not necessarily mean you are locked into what you rented. Two grand is too much to gamble with.

Best of luck to you!

From Michael Latham
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 3:08 AM
Adding to the chorus of rent first to see if you enjoy the violin. Also, make sure they add in a decent bow.

About the mandolin, in my experience playing the mandolin helped me find the notes on the violin as when I started I was playing strictly by ear.

From Zina Francisca
Posted on September 11, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Twenty two months ago I started taking lessons on my daughter's violin. Within 6 weeks I knew I was going to stick with it and wanted my own. Against all sensible advice, I went looking for a violin at the maximum budget I could afford at the time, which for me was serious money which I had saved up for many years. I could hardly play, but after listening to my daughter for ten years I did know what I sound I liked.

Reasonable precautions I took: I went to a respected luthier, took my daughter on the first few try outs to play for me, and when I had almost decided, my (first) violin teacher came with me to see about the instrument's quality.

Bottom line: I never regretted my decision for one moment, love my violin!

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