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NYC Beginner on a Budget - need to find violin, case, and stand!

Instruments: Does anyone know where I can get a violin, case, and stand for really cheap?

From Thomas Karlin
Posted October 25, 2008 at 07:20 AM

I live in New York City and I am seeking a beginner 4/4 violin, case and portable music stand. Price is a major issue so I know I have to compromise quality. Does anyone know where I can get a violin, case, and stand for really cheap?

From Jerald Archer
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 10:05 AM
Asking a question of this nature could open a can of worms in this forum. Therefore, in the interest of peace-keeping, I will refrain from giving any advice of an opiniated nature.
You did not mention how much your budget was. This information would be helpful in helping you in the right direction and there are qualified members that will be happy to help in the choice. Make sure that you know what you are getting before investing and be certain that you are given time to play the instrument (with a return policy) Good Luck!
From Tommy Atkinson
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 02:19 PM
you might want to try an online vendor - Johnson Strings, Southwest Strings, or Shar Music.

Alternately, you could probably rent an instrument from a local shop at a reasonable monthly payment.

From Sue Bechler
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 02:40 PM
As with most things, you get what you pay for. You pay for a really cheap violin with time wasted trying to make it function in the way a violin is supposed. Renting is a good way to start. The instrument you get may be older, but it will be well-adjusted if it comes from a reputable shop. Are there flea markets in your section? Stands are available used for a few dollars at such. You can make do w/o a stand by propping your music book in an open dresser drawer. Or if you happen to have one of those racks for holding recipe books (also commonly seen at flea markets) they work just like desktop stands for sale for $$. Try craigslist and freecycle if you are really wanting to buy instead of rent. Sue
From Michael Dowling
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 07:14 PM
Try renting from either an online vendor like sharmusic.com or stringworks.com or a local shop if you have one accessible. this way you can use anything you pay for a rental towards the purchase of your first instrument if you want to continue playing the violin. Buying like a $100 piece will just make you frustrated and make it more difficult to learn the instrument.
From Joy Laydbak
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 08:59 PM
I am currently renting a very nice violin. It's only $80 for three months, which I think is a steal. The first 9 months go toward buying anything in the shop. I think you'll find a lot of shops in the NY area do the same thing.
From Ron Gorthuis
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 01:35 AM
http://store.musicbasics.com/chineseviolins.html

$79 for a violin, bow, case. !!

From Allan Chu
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 02:29 AM
I wouldn't recommend paying $79 for a violin sight unseen. The problem with starting the violin is that you don't necessarily know if you will stick with it, so you don't want to spend too much money. The other problem is that it's a hard instrument to learn and can be pretty frustrating. Cheaper violins tend to be poorly made, not well set up and hard to play, which can lead quickly to discouragement. I think the best advice is to rent a good quality violin for the first few months, and reassess the situation then.

If you're set on buying an instrument, then have someone who plays go with you to help find an instrument in your price range... It'd be even better if you had your teacher pick it out personally for you. I'd really advise against buying online unless there's some sort of trial period.

Good luck!

From Roland Garrison
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 07:36 AM
When I started, I found a place to rent that did not require a long-term contract. I then began browsing ebay & craigslist. Knowing what I do now, I would also add Elderly Instruments vintage section (http://www.elderly.com/vintage/cats/110U.html) as well.
I found a fairly good student violin on craigslist for much less than 1/2 what I would pay if I bought it new; In the process, I also bought a few that were worth converting into tennis rackets (add a few more strings, and there ya go!).
I would suggest rent, then make certain you can try before you buy. There may be some ebay options that ship fom overseas, but even if they have a guarantee, you will have to pay shipping both ways (getting close to $100 right there), and possibly a restocking fee.
Short version, every VSO (Violin Shaped Object) is not playable or makes sounds comfortable to the human ear. Make certain the investment you make you can afford to throw away, or try it first.

Additional note: Do not try to buy a violin for a lifetime; get one that will get you to the next level, but not one that sounds so poor that you never get there.

From Carol Cook
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 03:41 PM
Well said Roland, that about sums it up;>)
And beware of garage sale orphans with no strings. A pro setup is not cheap, and it may then prove to be a dog, however pretty. You might guess how I know...
Best of luck, Carol
From Thomas Karlin
Posted on November 4, 2008 at 01:02 AM

Thanks everyone for your input - mighty helpful! 


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