From Michael Czeiszperger
Posted March 26, 2008 at 06:02 PM
My budget is around $3000 for everything, and I'm hoping to get a nice sounding instrument for that, with the understanding this is at the low end of the price range. The problem is how to narrow down the selection to the type of sound I like
For example, on guitars I know exactly what a dreadnaught should like compared to a concert design, what the effects of different woods would be on the sound, etc. For example, if I were looking to purchase a dreadnaught, it would be a waste of time to try out nylon string guitars.
With violin I'm pretty much in the dark.
Yes, I am going to play dozens of instruments, but there's a huge variety out there. And while I will ask my teacher to play them before making a final choice, I can't have a teacher play all the violins.
So.... I thought it would help to identify recordings I like and figure out what type of violin would create those sounds. In this price range there's lots of copies of famous styles and shapes, but I have no idea what a violin in the various styles is supposed to sound like.
For example, someone recommended I try out violins from Jay Haide, but the model in my price range comes in a "Stradivari", "Guarneri", "Guadagnini", "Balestrieri", model. The same can be said of other shop made instrument lines.
There are comments posted on violinist.com such as Gliga's are "dark" sounding, but what does a dark violin sound like? Other violins are described as "brilliant", but again what type of violin shape would produce such a sound?
Its frustrating because guitar makers are putting recordings of the instruments on their websites so you can hear approximately what they sound like, but their appears to be nothing like that in the violin world.
Although I'll be playing classical pieces, with some gypsy thrown in for fun, and jazz should my playing progress that far.
As far as players go my favorite violin sound is Stephane Grappellii, who I think of as having a "sweet" sound, and not at all dull as most jazz violinists.
Sorry for the rant, and I'm sure you get these types of questions way too often.
In fact you'll find that those who deal regularly with very fine violins that certain examples of X have a similar sound to examples of Y when played by the same player.
You're on the right track with trying to define what you like and put it into words. Tell that to the suppliers you're dealing with and let them figure out whether their version of an 'X' or a 'Y' is more suited to your taste.
This is a useful thread:
Basically it isn't like guitars (like the sound difference between a "martin" dreadnought and a "gibson" SJ vs an archtop vs a Taylor acoustic-electric etc.
The only problem is: to my untrained ear most of the top-tier violinists sound very similar in timbre. Its easy to tell players styles apart, but the violins themselves, well....
I was wondering if people could recommend recordings of archetypal sounds, like someone who is known to have a "dark" sound, "sweet" sound, "bright" sound, etc?
Really, you just have to live through it to get the understanding. That's why you go with what feels good at the time, regardless of what someone else says. As you mature in your playing, you will become more discriminating and you will start to hear what is different.
That's the fun of it--you have to live it to get it!
Were I in your shoes(and I have been, recently), I'd just look for an instrument that had good response, a balanced sound, and as wide a tonal and dynamic range as I could find. There are instruments in the $2500 range that would probably meet those requirements for you. With a decent instrument, you can get a good range of sound with different strings.
I prefer instruments that are rather better than I am, so if I don't sound like I want to, I know who's to blame. I don't see a better instrument as an easy way to better sound - only as something that makes it easier to learn.
By the way, I did find what I was looking for online, a music store, Whitehorse Music, put a series of videos online comparing different violin models in different price ranges.
Here's a link to the $1,500 price range comparing a Gliga Pro and a Paesold 800.
Here they have many good violins and most of them have a sound clip so you can find out how they sound.
The West Country people are on to something though, I really appreciate that they put the sound clips on their site.
If you are interested in their website it is:
Richard plays in the videos and he is a luthier.
If you order online, sound sample or no, be sure a return is realistically feasible. If you get a violin which doesn’t really satisfy you, you don’t want to end up stuck with it because sending it back is an expensive or risky chore.
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