From Antonio Munoz
Posted December 30, 2008 at 05:46 AM
Hi everyone. I've been thinking about buying an outfit from wwbw.com. Its brand is Florea. I would like to know if anyone here has had any experiences with these violins especially the Prodigy model. I am also looking into a Palatino VN-950. Any info on these violins would be great.
heres the link for the Florea:
I will say, at this price point you're better off shopping at a place like Woodwind/Brasswind than the Amazon.com Violin Shaped Objects...that being said-for $150 I would not expect that much.
I bought one when I first wanted to get back into playing. Big mistake. The quality was not good. The chin rest was not ebony - some other wood painted black. The tailpiece was out of line with the center line of the instrument and was of poor quality. The end button was displaced upward because a chunk of wood had come out of the block on the inside. You might be better served going to a local shop where you can see and play the instrument. If you have to use the internet try pahdah_hound on Ebay. He is a reputable supplier.
The name "Florea" would seem to indicate that the instrument is of Romanian origin, perhaps from the former state run violin factory in Reghin. I don't know about this brand, but if you are going to buy a Romanian violin, the best value for money is most likely a Gliga (google for Gliga USA). Although I would recommend to spend a little more than 150 USD.
Don't buy it. You can probably get a better instrument from Gilga, Eastman, Jay Haide.
I think the problem lies in the price range ($150), not the brand. I have florea limited edition and it actually sounds quite decent. But then again, it cost a lot more than $150 retail. I have real doubts about a violin at $150 retail can have any chance of sounding good unless you buy a Chinese-made online or a lucky eBay find. By the way, I just put almost $1,000 into repairing/restoring an eBay violin + bow. The violin sounds very good, but because the luthier is my friend, who gave me discount on the repairs. At a violin, the repairs will certainly cost more than $1,000. The extra expenses should also be factored in when you try your luck on eBay violin.
ok thanks guys for all the replies. I was also thinking about buying William Lewis & son. any thoughts about that manufacturer? Right now I am actually looking into buying a student violin to see if I should keep learning. If I am able to advance and learn how to play advanced music pieces, then I will most definitely buy a gliga, but that will not be very soon due to the current economic crisis. I have also found a Florea on eBay, since it the description states it was from a shop, is there a possibility it may be of good quality?
Heres the link: cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll
Once again thanks.
"Right now I am actually looking into buying a student violin to see if I should keep learning. If I am able to advance and learn how to play advanced music pieces, then I will most definitely buy a gliga, but that will not be very soon due to the current economic crisis."
In order to progress to play advanced music you are most likely going to need a better violin than you can get for 150 USD. There is a high risk that the violin will make it difficult for you to progress. On the other hand, a better violin generally helps you to progress.
At the lower price levels, violins are often set up badly. For example, the position of the strings over the fingerboard is often such that playing is awkward. Not only does this make it very difficult to advance but it may also lead a beginner to develop bad habits.
At the very least I would recommend that you budget another 50-150 USD to bring the instrument you are going to buy (whichever) to a local luthier and have it set up properly. This would likely involve a set of better strings (say Dominants, which may be about 50 USD) but also recutting the bridge or cutting a new bridge (which might be 50-100 USD), further adjusting the soundpost. Also, the pegs may be problematic on such a cheap instrument, so you may want to get one with a tailpiece that has four fine tuners.
This would bring your expenditure up to about 250 to 300 USD, for which you could get a better instrument, but even with an instrument in that price range you might need to get the bridge recut. In any event, if you do get started on such a low budget instrument, always keep in mind that the instrument probably makes it hard to play, so when you get frustrated don't doubt yourself, doubt the instrument, keep going, don't give up and save up for a better one.
One thing you should not do though is buy from a shop without a return policy, so if you do end up with a total piece of trash, you can send it back. You need to find somebody to check it out for you though, for example your teacher.
You didn't state what your needs are. Are you just starting violin, or have you studied for a while? You also didn't state where you lived. Are there any violin shops within driving distance you could visit, and talk to the folks?
If you are just beginning I would shy away from buying a cheap outfit from the internet, but instead visit violin shops near to you, or withing traveling distance. It's much better to rent an instrument the first 6 months or so. You will be renting a better quality instrument than you could buy for $150, plus an instrument that is set up properly.
After you study and play for a while it will be much easier to find a nice violin in a given price range.
If your buying online only you can't really try the instrument or see it in person. Like Ben said buying an instrument at that price range may need some repairs. But from my experience an instrument from Shar less then 200 USD isn't that bad. Just change the strings and it's fine. Maybe you should visit your nearest violin shop and see if you can rent. Renting an better instrument they buying a bad one is better because you could experiment and not worry about poor setup as much. If you could spend more then I say go ahead because you could atleast sell it back for a fraction of what you bought it for.
I have played the violin before, but to say that I have much experience with the instrument would be a lie. I have only gotten trough the book "Essential Elements vol.1" in the past . I also do live in a fairly large town, but there is only one violin shop in which they sell and rent horrible quality violins. In other words, there are basically no violin experts in town that I know of. I only have the choice of buying a violin online, and eBay does not seem very trustworthy to me.
I visited WWBW's retail store in South Bend, Indiana yesterday. One of the instruments I played was a Florea -- actually a lower-priced one than the one you mentioned. I'm just starting out in violin, but have listened to many over the years -- I thought the Florea sounded and looked remarkably good for the price! If you're playing in an ensemble, it would probably be good to visit a shop and choose an instrument that will blend well with the rest of the group. If you're playing for your own enjoyment, I wouldn't be afraid of purchasing a Florea. In my experience, the WWBW folks are very knowledgeable and great to work with. If you have concerns, call or e-mail them. By the way, I'm "walking the talk" -- I'm going to buy the instrument I mentioned above!
I need to revise my overly-enthusiastic report on Florea's Recital II violin. I purchased one ten days ago. I had played it a little in the store, but with music playing in the background over the P.A. system, (and being nervous about playing when anyone else could hear me!), my analysis of the violin was a little too hurried.
When I got it home, I was having trouble (pretty consistently) with an out-of-control E-string. Being a total beginner, I figured it was probably something I was doing wrong. But when I played the same scales/songs on another violin, there was no problem. Yesterday I took the Florea to a repair shop to see what an expert would have to say about it. The news wasn't good. Upon a relatively quick examination, he came up with a list of major flaws that set my head spinning (twisted neck, lump in the fingerboard, wood filler used to fill gaps between the neck and the fingerboard -- a chunk of the wood filler fell out while he was looking at it! -- slanted sound post, nut too high). I could go on -- too depressed to.
The violin is still under the store's 45-day trial period, so I'll be returning it. Now my problem is that the only other violin I have access to is a full-size one. Due to my stature/short arm length, I really need a 3/4-size violin in order to be able to play comfortably. Last night I practiced with the full-size violin for the same amount of time as I had been with the 3/4-size, and I'm SO SORE today! Guess I'd better keep the ibuprofen handy!! Being unemployed, I think it's going to be a VERY long time before I'll be able to afford any of the better-than-the-one-I-have 3/4-size violins that I see advertized -- probably YEARS!!
If anyone in the Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan area knows of a good used 3/4 violin that's functional, but not necessarily pretty (my full-size violin came to me looking like a battle-scarred veteran, and I treasure it!) -- hopefully with a bow and case -- for around $100 (yeah, I know -- "in your dreams, lady!"), please send me a message through Violinist.com. I REALLY want to keep playing, but these old joints aren't cooperating very well with a full-size instrument.
I haven't seen Stentor violin outfits discussed on these beginner outfit threads, but my experience of them was good. When my son and daughter learnt, I purchased a 3/4 and 4/4 outfit for them from the Stentor II range. Ihese were purchased from the Australian distributor sight unseen. Yes I did spend $50 to get each of them set up with dominant strings (these days would use corelli crystal), and have them checked over by a local luthier. He stated that they were both play worthy, no twists or warps, openings were open, closing were closed, sound post needed a position adjustment but not shaping, the provided bridge was able to be fitted (sent with bridge down) properly, and they tuned well and held their tune (4 fine tuners in witner tailpiece). The wood bow that came with the 4/4 outfit was able to hold its own against some much more expensive bows when I was trying them out and I continued to use it right up to last year. in other words, a very cheap but apparently consistently bearable instrument package that would get you started OK.
I notice the 3/4 are avaialbe on ebay (US) from a british distributor for $148.00, although more with delivery.
Thanks for the response, Sharelle!
I've definitely got to check into this -- it would considerably cut down on the amount of time that I'd have to build up my savings before being able to buy a violin!
THANK YOU!! :)
If you plan on continuing to play, renting is probably a better option at this point. Maybe from a local luthier of Johnson String. I wouldn't buy until it's expensive enough to where it at least holds its value... imho
That's from an investment pov too
Update on my Florea dilemma: Today I returned the Florea to the store where I'd purchased it. This wonderful company (Woodwind & Brasswind) fixed me up with a very-much-better Bellafina violin at no additional cost to me. I never dreamed I'd ever be able to own such a fantastic violin!! I've really been blessed!!
I responded to another post with a similar slant.
The Bellafina 50 is the violin we recommend in our music school because the wood is decent, the setup is generally good, the pegs are stable, and the sound is much better than other offerings in this price area. $200 may seem like a lot to some people, but the value is there far beyond the price. And it is much easier on our nerves as teachers to work with real instruments, and not just "instrument-shaped objects".
Woodwind & Brasswind has a great return policy of 45 days no questions asked, so if you happen to get a lemon, it can be returned or exchanged for full credit or refund.
Hope this helps.
Hi to all of you. In regards to the Palatino VN-950. I'm 62 and have never played violin before and decided to try and learn as I sell musical instruments and thought I should be familiar with what I sell. I've started taking lessons and now my desire to learn the instrument has changed from wanting to know more about it to falling in love with the instrument if that makes any sense. I am hooked on it now. I purchased a Palatino VN-950. My teacher says it has potential. It is a beautiful instrument to look at but am told and have read on this site that if I really want to learn the violin I am going to have to invest in a better violin as well as a good bow. Would some of you "true violinists" please share your thoughts with me on this. Thanks
PS..please excuse me, I'm new to violinist.com and didn't mean to impose o n the original discussion here. I thought once I submitted this it would post as a separate discussion. My sincere apology if I imposed or offended anyone
People have had a lot of bad experience with the palatino from the front plate collapsing over time from faulty wood being used. I also noticed used ones don't sell on EBay.
If the front plate has strength problems, I would suggest keeping lower tension gut or perlon strings on the violin. I am not certain it would make it last forever, but would probably at least delay any problems from occurring, if it is inevitable.
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