Violin recommendation for in intemediate/advance student
I am the parent of a violin player. My son has been playing for 5 years through the school program. He is also part of the school chamber orchestra and plays in the first violin group. We have been renting the instrument through the school program. Recently his teacher recommended we upgrade to an intermediate/advance violin. My son has also told us that his violin is not sounding as it should, especially for few notes. The store which rents the violin , through the school program , gives parents the option to purchase the instrument. I called them to ask his he can purchase a instrument better than the one he has (mathias thoma 401 4/4). I was told that all the model they have are student violin, which I understood as meaning they do not offer intermediate violin. The best option would be for us to go to a violin store have him play some instruments and pick the one that fits best. The caveat with that is that he, given his ear, most likely will pick an instrument way above our budget of $1100 max. I read a few threads which suggested that in order to get a great sounding violin at a low price an option is to get it from a luthier in china. Can anyone recommend good luthier in china, from who you have purchased instruments and are happy with. Another option is to buy a used instrument but this is also tricky since I don't have enough knowledge to evaluate an instrument.
thank you for your help.
I don't think it would hurt to visit a real violin shop and have your son try a lot of instruments to gain experience. The last time I bought a violin (it was for a remote family member more than 15 yeas ago) I visited 5 shops and played a couple of dozen instruments.
At $1,000, you are already buying a Chinese-made instrument in all probability.
Well, the price/quality ratio depends very much from where you live, i think.
Ah, one more thing: dont save on the bow.
@Bruno, I am in Boston.
Yup. The $2-3k instruments are generally also Chinese-made unless you buy an older instrument. Don't worry about the origin at this price point; the only thing that matter is playability and sound.
Can you afford anything more than $1000? If not, you could try a bunch of affordable violins, as price-sound ratios are not that exact. You could also ask to borrow a violin.
@Ella, No I cannot go higher. He needs two instruments. One for school of one for home so he doesn't have to carry it back and forth as he has lessons everyday. I still need to pay a little in order to but the instrument he is currently renting and then get another one.
After trying out some affordable violins and choosing some favourites to take home, I recommend that you show them to the teacher and get some comments.
That's true, though I can understand the inconvenience.
Although terms such as "intermediate" and "advanced" violin appear to make communication easier, they, in my opinion help only the dealer.
Rocky is right on the ball. Ratings like "intermediate" or "advanced" are used in such subjective ways that you must find things out for yourself.
I disagree that "buy what's affordable" is necessarily a good solution. A teacher that says a student needs a better instrument almost certainly feels that the student is being held back by the lack of a better instrument. Buying something that is "affordable" but only slightly better may not actually solve what the teacher is concerned about, and it may actually be better to wait and save, or for a more serious student, to borrow to afford something appropriate.
Meet him at "what is affordable" is not the same as "affordable" by all means.
I am reading this as the teacher is the school orchestra teacher. In my area that means the teacher may or may not be a string player. Without more info on that, I am not sure that going by the teacher's recommendation as to which violin best suits the student's needs is a good idea.
I totally aqee that buying an affordable violin that's not a whole heck of a lot better than his current violin isn't a great idea. I do think that it is best to find something that's noticeably nicer that his current violin that's affordable, or wait a bit. If you end up purchasing an outfit and are happy with the bow and case, I don't see the point of looking further.
Thank you everyone for you responses. I am sure that getting a better violin will help my son improve. It is just that given his ear sensibility, I am anxious to take him to the shop. I will take him and see how it goes.
I will note that it's worthwhile for a player to try things that they
It does sound like a lot of money, especially to the uninitiated. I sometimes have to contextualize it. People out here sometimes spend $300 on concert tickets (not classical, unfortunately). Plane tickets to Europe or Hawaii? $1000+. A trip to a Disney resort, similar cost.
PS: I know others said not to skimp on the bow. I would say the same...and/but/also I have a carbon fiber bow that cost a lot less than decent wood bows and it is serviceable and sturdy. If I had a teenager and was spending $$ on an instrument, I'd probably go CF for the bow and hold off on a nicer wood bow.
Please keep in mind that the OP may be in a difficult financial situation, so we shouldn't push them to buy something they really can't afford. I think it is great to try some expensive violins to get a feel for a great violin, but then again, there's the chance that you'll really want that expensive violin and not want to buy anything else.
Every player runs into the practicality issue. I really want a Strad. :-)
I remember the old adage, "Pay me now or pay me later."
I have several good sounding antiques in the $1000 range, while they may not be good enough for the prodigy soloist type, they'd be quite adequate for high school orchestral work. Which is what we are talking about, isn't it??
@Lyndon, I don't know how good he is. Not being a musician it is hard for me to judge. But I know he ears notes and can play a melody just by ear.
For $1000 at my shop you can get a violin that sounds good on every note, just maybe not incredible or super loud, that's the trade off.
A prodigy is someone that would be playing violin concerto solos at 14, for example.
I also feel that even a thousand dollars might not be much of an upgrade from a rental though I haven't played violins in that range in a while. Might just have to wait until a higher range will give your son multiple jumps in quality.
You'd be better off to work with a full service local store that offers 100% trade in value for upgrades.
Not only what Lyndon said, but: The OP is in Boston, which has so many shops, with such a large inventory of instruments, that there's no point in going through the pain of trying a handful of online instruments when the OP's kid can go to a shop and probably play two dozen violins or more in an afternoon.
I'm of the opinion that "rent-to-buy" is just a clever mechanism to guilt-trip people into buying a violin that they don't want, at a shop they don't like, at a price that's artificially inflated. Same reason a "large" fries is only 5 cents more expensive than the "small" fries at Mcdonalds. "Well, I don't really want a large fries, but I feel like it's just money down the drain if I don't get the larger size!"
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