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New affordable violin for a child

Instruments: I really don't want to spend too much but I also don't want a toy. Any advise would be appreciated.

From James Van Dooren
Posted September 9, 2005 at 04:46 AM

My son is interested in learning to play the violin. As with most things, children have a tendency to lose interest if things get tough. I really would like for him to play the violin and I would support him throughout. Can someone please give me some advise on an affordable violin for a child. He is now 13 and fairly big for his age. I really don't want to spend too much but I also don't want a toy. Any advise would be appreciated.

From Cindy Drechsler
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 05:04 AM
My daughter plays a 1/2 Gliga Gems and I wouldn't think twice about buying her the same violin in a 3/4 size. It is very well made and has a beautiful tone for a small violin. But, you would probably spend a little bit more than $300.
From Cindy D
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 05:17 AM
Oh, sorry, I actually meant to post this to a person in another message who was specifically looking for a 3/4 under $300. But, I would make the same recommendation to you - I actually started my lessons playing a Gliga Gama and it served me quite well while I had it.
From Joseph Galamba
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 05:31 AM
13 is hardly a child. He will be playing a full size, most likely, and you will not want to upgrade for a while. Also, at 13 he should be old enough to make a commitment, I was already in LOVE with the violin well before 13. That being said, I understand that not everybody's musically inclined, so it would make sense to purchase a relatively inexpensive violin until you know that he'll continue.

The staple violin for new students has been the Suzuki Nagoya violin, but there are some very cheap violins made in China and some parts of Eastern Europe that are pretty good quality. I'd suggest asking his teacher for a recommendation, and help choosing one.

From Jiji Goosby
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 02:32 PM
I spent last 6 months looking for a 1/2 size violin for my son. I looked through internet, went to a couple of violin shops. My son wanted a brand new one. We tried three that he liked. One was Wilhelm Klier which he liked best of the three until his violin teacher contacted a local luthier and brought an old violin which is probably 75 - 100 years old. It looks really beat up, but the sound was no comparison. Even with a fractional size, it sounded so mature and high register sounded very clean. He just fell in love with it despite of its appearance. Wilhelm Klier outfit was $1500 (which is still a very good violin) and this old one was $750. You might want to check a local violin shops and try to find an old one. A lot of times, not always, the older the violin, the better sound it will produce. I think it is so important that violin has a capability to produce beautiful sound from the beginning of your son's violin study. You might be able to find reasonably priced one if you take your time.
From Jay Damm
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 06:14 PM
Six months to find a half-size violin? Sounds like quite a search. I've seen some students outgrow a violin within that time period! Plus $750 -$1500 seems like an awful lot to spend on a fractional size violin. True, some do sound more rich and mature than others, but you shouldn't have to spend near that much to find a violin that won't frustrate the student. Also, it's the lower registers that really suffer on fractional violins, more so than the high. Older does not necessarily mean better either, there's plenty of old junk out there that was junk 100 years ago...
From Jeff Burnett
Posted on September 9, 2005 at 07:36 PM
Renting a decent instrument may be a better choice right now than buying. Plus, most good shops will allow you to apply some if not all of the rental fees towards purchase. Good shops also have a broad selection of rental instruments so that just because it's a rental doesn't mean it can't be good sounding.
From Jiji Goosby
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 01:06 AM
Jay, I know six months sound long, doesn't it. I started to looking into it before he was even ready to move up. Unfortunately, my son's arms are shorter than average (He took after me:)). So I guess he will be using 1/2 size for awhile. Well, the price really depends on what a person wants to spend on his/her violin. Just because he's playing a fractional size doesn't mean he is playing twinkle. I am not saying that my son is exceptionally talented, but I think he deserves to have a violin capable of giving him more color. He worked hard and still does. You can't really judge the quality of violin without seeing it. Most important thing is that my son loves his newly acquired old violin. I know he didn't choose from its appearance, but the sound he fell in love with. Believe me. His teacher played all four violins for us and he played them. The difference was appearent. His violin seems like a junk to you, but it is not to him. To me, spending $700 was way better than spending $1500:} And Jay, I agree, not all the old violins sound better than new ones like I mentioned in my previous post.
From Jay Damm
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 03:57 AM
If your son gets $700 worth of enjoyment out of it, then that's great. I wasn't insisting that because it's old that it's junk. I'm trying to dispel the myth that older always means better. The main point I was trying to make is that spending that amount of time and money on a fractional instrument isn't necessary or practical for many people.
From sharon lee
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 03:12 AM
jay- i agree with you- it's not practical to spend much money on a fractional instrument.
my 3/4 violin was like $175 that was advertised on a ymca bulletin board or something.
it served me just fine! i used it for about 3 years- i'd say i definately got my money's worth.
i never planned on making violin my career, but i don't think my less-than-fabulous violin hindered me in any way.
From Joseph Galamba
Posted on September 10, 2005 at 05:44 AM
I'm playing the Mendelssohn on a 600 dollar instrument. ^_^

anyway, sometimes old violins are inferior. I heard from somewhere that the techniques that were used hundreds of years ago are sometimes almost crude by modern standards. The effect seems to be the stiffening of the wood and the "playing-in" effect, but older isn't always better. Of course, this doesn't mean that old instruments are crude. Del Gesu, Strads, Vuillaume, Guad, the works...they're hardly crude. ^_^

From Jiji Goosby
Posted on September 12, 2005 at 03:55 PM
Brian, my son didn't play Florea, but it is from Wood Wind Brass Wind(was it the other way around?), isn't it? He played 1/4 size Karl Wilhelm model which cost less than $300 from the same company, and for the price it had very nice sound. Some of his friends got the same model and to my surprise, each was slightly different including varnish. So even if it's a same model, you probably won't get exactly the same as your friend's since every violin is different. I think you can ask to try a couple of the same model for a week or so if you are interested. Jay, I understand your point. Old doesn't necessarily mean better. You just have to find what best suits you musically and financially. Thank you for your input. I guess I didn't know how much was too much for fractional size cause my son is the first one to play violin in my family, but I am happy that he is happy with it. This fractional size violin search was good learning experience for me. Hopefully, it won't be so time comsuming next time around:)
Ilya Gringolts

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