Printer-friendly version weekend vote: Have you ever borrowed a violin or bow for an extended period of time?

The Weekend Vote

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Published: May 31, 2014 at 10:16 PM [UTC]

A good violin or bow can be expensive -- VERY expensive.

In the most extreme cases, an antique stringed instrument with impeccable provenance and in pristine condition can fetch $ millions. For example, that 1741 "Vieuxtemps" Guarneri del Gesù -- reportedly purchased for more than $16 million -- that Anne Akiko Meyers plays.

del gesu

So what is a violinist or string player to do? Very often, string players borrow an instrument, and not only for violins valued in the millions. A student may borrow an entry-level violin from his school or from his teacher. A professional soloist may borrow an instrument from an investor or patron of the arts.

Have you ever borrowed an instrument, for an extended period of time?

From Kevin Keating
Posted on June 1, 2014 at 3:07 AM
With the exception of an archtop guitar, I've never borrowed an instrument myself for any great length of time. However, I let a friend of mine borrow my backup violin for his grand daughter to use while she was up from Florida visiting over Christmas.
From Matthew Dakoutros
Posted on June 1, 2014 at 12:15 PM
I have not borrowed but I have given my bow (mostly) but not for more than a month. Once I borrowed a friend's violin, but only for about a week, until mine was ok.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 2, 2014 at 2:33 AM
I voted no, and then I realized that I have borrowed a school violin for my daughter for over a year now. She has back issues and carrying the instrument to and from school every day was exacerbating them. So we borrowed an instrument that a friend's son had left behind when he went to college. She leaves it at school and uses it there for orchestra, and brings her good violin to lessons and concerts.

But I've never borrowed a violin or bow myself for any significant length of time.

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 4:26 AM
Twice before, I have lent out entry-level instruments to friends of friends for similar reasons - transportation hassles, high school storage, children complaining of back pain. And that was the last I saw of those instruments (which I had used as back-ups myself as a kid). The families moved away after a year or so and couldn't be reached. Someone told me that in certain circles, to "lend" actually means to "give permanently." Is that true? Maybe it is petty for me to feel this way over cheap items that I wasn't using anyway. Alas.

From John Pierce
Posted on June 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM
I have a policy of buying, rather than borrowing. (Exception: I'm sitting with someone who says "lets trade for this piece.")

Having a backup is great. I've been playing my backup fiddle for about a month now, just to make sure I can get used to it, if needed. I don't like the way it sounds compared to my main instrument, but it's starting to grow on me: the fingerboard is not as worn, so there's less to compensate for.

I can't bear the thought of accidentally bashing someone's treasure -- so no borrowing for me. And no no borrowing from me, either.

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