Does louder mean better?
Okay, last question I promise! I have it narrowed down to two violins and would appreciate your input as you all have been very helpful so far.
I am deciding between the Klaus Heffler 703 from David Kerr in Portland or a 1914 (or 1917 can’t tell) Markneukirchen violin with the name Paul Do’rfel? Written in side of it from Schuback violin in Portland.
The Markneukirchen has a really great sound, It’s very “clear”, easy to play but it is not as loud as the Heffler. I feel like overall it has a better sound than the Heffler except the G string, it is definitely not as loud and deep as the Heffler. I really enjoy playing it though.
The Heffler is very loud, so loud my husband goes up stairs and closes the door now (which he never used to do when I was playing my old violin). I have also started to notice my left ear has started feeling a little “deaf” after playing it all this week. So maybe it’s too loud? Or is that not such a thing? I think it has a good sound overall, but It’s a little more touchy (maybe because it amplifies all my mistakes, due to it being so loud) but I think I will be able to adjust.
My instructor likes the Heffler more, but said they are both nice. I have gone back and forth repeatedly all week and can’t seem to make up my mind. They are the same price and both from local luthiers. I tried the Ming and Lord Wilton from fiddlerman and they don't quite compare.
I understand that volume/projection is a big deal in a violin. If we say the the Heffler is a 10 on the projection scale and the Markneukirchen is an 8 does that automatically make the Heffler a better violin? Is it possible that it can be too loud and end up being obnoxious?
Thanks for the input!
You've got a teacher! Ask your teacher to play both violins for you so you can see what they sound like from a little distance. Perhaps that can help you decide.
In my opinion, louder does not equal to better. Buy a violin whose tone you really like, because you are going to be the principal person listening to this thing, and a good instrument can really help motivate you to practice. In your circumstances, I would pick the Dorfel and tinker with the string combination and/or soundpost placement.
I've run into a situation like this before. My teacher advised me to spend lots of time with each instrument to get to know it well, which you are. I used to not do that because I've never been in a "can't choose between violins" situation before this one. Are the violins similar in characteristics and playability, or are there some noteworthy differences between them? In your case, I think it has a lot to do with what type of sound you prefer. Louder doesn't exactly mean better, but if there's no other reason to choose the Markneukirchen over the Heffler besides projection, the Heffler may be a better choice.
Loud doesn't always mean better.
Right, dont need to be a violinist to know what is better for you, its the Markneukirchen. Because you say you like the sound, its easy to play and your huspand likes its better too and you have ear problems with the other, so that is then out of question obviously.
Louder might be better for a soloist, but its not really better, its just louder.
I would choose the one with better tone over the louder one, but then again most of my playing is in a small room in my basement, where even a quiet instrument would seem loud.
Swap the strings of both violins to confirm that the "clarity" and "loudness" of each one comes from the instrument and not the type or the state of the strings.
Please get permission from the shop before making any changes to the instruments, including experimenting with strings. You don't own the violins yet, so it's just the right thing to do. They may prefer to have you come in with the instruments so they can put a number of different strings on for you to try while you are there, and verify that the string switches aren't throwing anything else out of whack.
good point!! I was thinking that too.
Please, please, use ear protection before it is too late!
I feel like it depends on whether you're a soloist who needs to project. If you have no intention on a serious career in solo or chamber music, it's probably better to ignore the volume to a reasonable extent.
There are loud violins that are only loud. In my opinion, what is most important is the range of expression and voices that you have with a particular violin, and volume is a very important part of that - but not just loudness.
In addition to loud not being equal to better, loud doesn't always mean the violin will project better....
No advice to offer, but I just wanted to say I feel for Crystal (the OP) having to make this decision as a relative beginner...it’s just that I think some things are much easier to do when you’ve had certain experiences to inform you. And while it’s wonderful that so many in the forum community are trying to help her by sharing knowledge from their experience, words sometimes cannot convey all the nuances of meaning and understanding that having done something yourself will. Whichever instrument she chooses though, I’m sure it’ll be an opportunity to learn and I wish her every enjoyment of the new violin. All the best!
The player is supposed to help any projection issues. Of course this is made easier with the right instrument. Make sure with your teacher that it projects decently well, even if the other is "louder."
"easy to play" is not a quality I would easily brush aside. The more violins and violas I have tested, the more I am convinced that this, hard to describe, element of playability is one of the most important. Why?
This is my personal preference, but I will choose Heffler based on your description. I always love violin with deep and boomy G-string. Although I play violin, I sing bass in the church choir and my ear is naturally attracted to lower sound.
Additional things to consider, given two instruments you like equally well. Which shop do want to have a relationship with afterwards? Are the trade-up and after-sale service policies the same? Does one shop have a significantly better selection of step-up instruments? Will one violin have a significantly better resale value than the other, in case you buy your next violin elsewhere? Did you get to hear both instruments with some great bows played by great players in a larger space?
Personally, I would not worry about resale value unless you want the value in the violin. Trade-in policies are nice, but not necessary. You can find uses for your old violins (loan it out to a friend, donate it to a public school string program, etc). It's okay to change the strings on a trial violin, but if you decide to turn it down, please place the original strings back on again. I would follow the advice of your teacher. If your teacher has no exact preference and leaves the choice up to you, think about what type of sound you prefer, playability concerns, etc.
Many shops have a policy that say that you cannot change set-up for an instrument on trial. That includes changing the strings, even if you put the original strings back on afterwards. If you're unhappy with the set-up or the strings, I would ask the shop if they'd be willing to consider alterations. You might or might not have to pay for it. If the strings on a violin are old, they'll often willingly change the strings anyway, and as long as you choose a reasonably-priced string set, they can usually put on what you want.
I've never heard that you can't change the strings on a violin on trial (sometimes from a shop, sometimes not). I remember taking violins on trial (sometimes paying for them), changing the strings, and if necessary, put the originals back on again. It depends on the circomstances of the shops. I remember buying a violin from a music store with a 1-month trial policy after purchase. They never said you can't change the strings. Thanks for putting it out there.
I think a violin that you have actually purchased, but where you have a grace period for a return, is a very different case from a violin that you don't own. In a purchased-with-return-possible situation, I'd expect you could change anything that wouldn't affect their ability to sell the item afterwards.
It sounds as if you are not too advanced, yet. One thing to look for at this stage, more than anything else IMO, is honest response. Can you play easily in tune? If you adjust tone with your right arm, will you get quick results? Obviously, you don’t want to limit output too much in volume, but until you know exactly how to play the thing, that won’t be so much of a problem within reason.
1) The loudness and other qualities can be a factor of the strings and setup as much as the violin itself. A fiddle outfitted with Passiones (gut) will be basically unrecognizable if someone puts on Evahs or Vision Solos.
I think the difference that strings make tends to be more apparent to the player than to the listener. There will be some strings that are really bad on a violin (at least with a given set-up), but strings don't really fundamentally alter the character of a violin.
Wanted to add, without wanting to debate, "stir the pot", or being contrarian for its own sake, that gut-core strings can sound bright, powerful, open, and wholly "unfuzzy" with many players and violins. While people often think of Eudoxa as the epitome of that "rich, warm gut tone" (ironically, often without having even tried them) there are many other string options that sound powerful and clear while still being genuine gut-core products. A regular Passione A and a Tricolore pure gut A are very different, for instance. This is why, in my humble opinion, one should be wary of misconstruing gut in general, "Eudoxian" terms, as if they were not up to the musical task for the "modern" musician (too dark/unfocused, too light tension, too pitch unreliable, too weak, etc.)
Okay, thanks everyone for all the valuable input. I appreciate it! I brought both of them back to my instructor and had her play them for me while standing a bit far off and they both project very well. The Heffler was a "10" and the Markneukirchen an "8.5-9" but there is something about the Markneukirchen that I really enjoy listening to and playing.
So glad to see a comparison where the antique wins out over the moderns on this forum. I've been recommending comparing antiques to new for ages to almost deaf ears.
An adjustment could give you the oomph you want from your G and D strings.
Notice the OP ended up choosing an antique instrument that was out of her budget limit, which was under $3K? AND if she was to buy it from a dealer, it would be $5K.
Not at my store!!
You never know. The modern, under $3,000 instruments I have played sounded loud, but lacked character. While it's not entirely satisfactory (in my view) to have a poor projecting violin that has "character", there must be some older value instruments with decent resonance out there.
like I said, not at my store!!
Congrats on buying an instrument that you like, Crystal.