Please help in getting starter violin

November 6, 2010 at 05:08 AM ·

I am shopping for a beginner violin for my 3rd grader.  I have 3 choices but don't know which one to get.  I know the 3 choices I have are not the very good one in the market but right now I only wanted to get a starter violin.  So please can someone here give me some suggestions for the following 3 violins?  Thank you.

1) Cremona SV-130

2) Helmke Viotti

3) Palatino


Replies (5)

November 6, 2010 at 06:08 AM ·

I would not buy any of these, especially off of Ebay.

Go to and search for their Hoffman "Amadeus" model, a decent starter instrument that comes properly set up.

November 6, 2010 at 06:16 AM ·

I recommended that Hoffman model to a student who was absolutely in a pinch, and though it smells of sawdust and produces a similar sound, it's at least playable.  Shar never sends out anything that isn't playable.  What you find elsewhere is questionable, and quite possibly a complete waste of your hard-earned money.

November 6, 2010 at 06:42 AM ·

Here is the shar website they have them in different sizes not sure what size your child would need but they do have a video on if you scroll down the page a bit of this link and will tell you how to determine the right size plus if your child does decide to stick with it shar has a trade in program were you can trade it back in for 50% credit towards a new violin or you can rent as well for very little money a month if you dont want to make the full upfront commitment right now.


November 6, 2010 at 06:44 AM ·

Ditto. Check out Shar. Rent rather than purchase, if budget dictates.

The Palatino lists 'ebonized' fingerboard; cheaper wood that is dyed black, It will not be as durable, and any defect there will affect your child's playing. There are some decent violins in the Palatino line, but not this one.
Helmke is specific to Great Tunes Direct. Their products are the 'discount store' variety; not durable or quality.
The Cremona violin line has some decent violins in their product line also, but I notice the first review they rationalize the reason for the poor sound quality. Don't accept that! The violin can produce quality sound, or the musician will learn they cannot make good music. End of career.

November 10, 2010 at 10:53 PM ·

My wife and I operate a private music school, and have never been favorably impressed with either the Cremona or Palatino instruments, and to date have not seen one of the 3rd alternatives listed (thankfully).  We have never been disappointed with instruments that students have acquired from either Southwest Strings or Shar.

A third alternative which we favor is the Bellafina 50 violins available at  Under $200, well set up, and play easily.  We are very impressed with the fractional sizes and how they perform (they don't sound "fractional").  And if for some reason the instrument arrives unplayable, they simply replace it in a matter of days.

Spend a little more. Good student instruments are available under $200.

 You won't be sorry you did.

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