Please help me choose a student violin! (I know nothing)
I am overhwhelmed by violin shopping! I need a 1/2 or 3/4 size violin for my 10 year old son. (I will measure, I do know how to do that.) I am going to buy from Shar. My budget is about $800, including accessories like string upgrades. My son is very musical and will want an instrument that has great tone. What's the best I can get within my budget (or close to)?
At that age and price range, rent, don't buy.
I'd prefer not to rent. Should I be looking at a lower price point? After reading more posts on this forum, I'm planning to go to the nearest luthier with him this week. Their instruments start at $500. They offer rental.
Potter's has a pretty good chart that shows their rental prices compared to the retail costs of the violins, which as far as I know is a pretty reasonable guide to industry rental-to-value ratios:
Agree with Lydia 100%.
Buy somewhere with a trade-up program for when your child grows.
Personally, I think it is much more worthwile to buy (and that's what I and many friends have done with anything after the very first fractional violin) because he has a younger sibling who will need the violin in the near future. You can keep the fractional after both kids are finished with it and loan it to friends, sell it through a local ad thing (e.g Craigslist), donate it, etc. In my personal experience, it is easier to find a nice fractional to purchase than a nice fractional to rent. Of course, this varies from place to place. I would personally try a variety of affordable violins, pick the fave(s), take them home, and ask his teacher if they'll serve him well or not.
I will certainly ask about renting towards credit to buy. I didn't know that existed, so thank you. As fare as getting value from a purchased instrument, I would also consider value from saving to give to grandchildren. (I'm still butthurt my parents sold my 1/32 violin when I was a teen.). My cousin is a violinist and orchestra teacher, and I would also consider giving a violin to him to loan or give to another family.
It would help to know where the OP is located, since there are likely to be some participants here familiar with the location and knowledgeable about nearby teacher and dealer opportunities.
The nearest city to me is Eau Claire, WI. The nearest metro area is Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Self-teaching the violin is a bad plan for children; you have no idea how difficult the violin is, and the train wreck that results if you don't establish good habits from the start. If you can't find a qualified teacher, wait until you can.
I live in Saint Paul, and there is a shop called cadenza music, and you can definitely buy some fairly decent violins there for a reasonable price. I don’t know about fractional sizes, but you can get a pre owned violin that is worth over a thousand dollars for less than half the price. It may not look beautiful, but the to can be good for someone starting out. I know that some people say that it is a terrible idea to give a child a cheap violin, and that it might discourage them. Personally I started out on a pawn shop violin that cost 50 dollars when I was five. Now I deffinetly would be discouraged from playing if I had a terrible sounding instrument. If your child is ten, it probably is a good idea to get a violin with decent sound.
It's so hard to find a qualified teacher but, that's probably for another thread.
Looks don't correspond to sound.
10 year old might even be ready for 4/4 full size, but not 1/2 size.
Depends on the size of the person.
I agree with Ella. I know a twelve year old that is still using a half size violin, so I wouldn’t make assumptions.
I second Lyndon’s idea in that if your son is on the verge of being able to play a full size violin, why not waiting for another year or so. That way you can save $800. boys of this age grow very quickly.
Losing a year of practice at an age where learning is so much easier, just to save $800 doesn't sound like the best option to me, on the other hand if your son is almost big enough for full size you might be able to start him now on full size if he already falls somewhere between standard 3/4 and 4/4 in size. Some famous violin players actually started on much bigger violins and did just fine.
I think you should never play an instrument that's too big for you, unless you can play it with ease and comfort. Otherwise, you could risk strain injuries.
Then how can any viola player play an instrument that is 20% larger, that's just nonsense.
Also as someone here has suggested, a balanced option would be to rent a correctly sized violin, and then to buy a full size one when the son is ready.
My daughter is 7 but she is really tall for her age with extra long arms. She is on a 1/4 violin and will not be going up to a 1/2 anytime soon. That is per her teacher's policy. Her previous teacher went up ASAP.
I contacted the teacher we're on the waiting list for. She gave me the name of another violin shop in the area - I'm happy to have 2 to compare. She said she has students renting from Shar Music too. She didn't prefer any particular violin or warn against either. She said to get him measured/fit at one of the local shops, and pick whatever sounded best within our budget.
I hear a lot of teachers recommending too small a size, anyone can size a violin if they know how, just hold the violin under their chin and there hand cupped around the scroll, there fingers should reach all around the scroll and well over the top, and not too much so,or the violin is too small. I can't imagine a large 7 year old with long arms on a 1/4 size, that would almost have to be 1/2 size. Playing too small a size is just as bad for development as trying to play too large a size IMHO.
I think it is definitely a good idea not to play on a violin that's too small for you, as you can feel quite cramped. I know this is a very controversial topic. In terms of viola players and the size of the viola, I think that it's not at all uncommon to use a 15-15.5" viola. I think that Lyndon is reasonable by saying that you could use a 4/4 violin if you're technically a hair too small for it.
I would find a place with a trade up policie, so that when your son moves up sizes he can trade in the old violin. Also, for the record I played a 1/2 sized violin when I was 10
It depends on what you want to do with the violin after the child grows out of it. In the OPs case, it could go to a younger sibling, so a trade-in option would be nice, but not necessary.
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