Yitamusic T20 vs. Master model

Edited: December 6, 2017, 11:43 AM · A couple of months ago, after reading every review and post about Yitamusic violins I could find on the internet, I decided to buy one myself. I ended up with a T20+ violin, which I payed $230 for on Ebay.

I took it to the luthier, who set up the included bridge (Aubert), changed the tailgut and the fine tuner for the E-string and of course put on a new set of strings (Pirastro Obligato).

What an instrument! The sound is beautiful and warm with a nice reverb on the D- and A-strings, responsive and beginning to open up (especially the G-string).

After having such a good experience with the T20+ violin, it didn’t take long before I started glancing at the Yita Master violins. I therefore wonder if anyone has any experience of the Yitamusic Master violins. Is there a big difference between a T/M20+ and a Master (apart from the price tag)?

Replies (17)

December 6, 2017, 9:30 AM · Now you know what it feels like to have a del Gesu and then a Strad goes up for sale ...
December 6, 2017, 2:55 PM · If you're looking for a new violin, try a variety of afordable violins and pick your fave. Violin reviews are extremely controversial due to differences in human perception.
December 6, 2017, 3:31 PM · My own take on this is that every one should try to find a way to play some of the BEST violins they can get close to. This then becomes part of your baseline for selecting an instrument. In addition to sound over the entire range it will also give you a sense of "playability." By the way these tests are best done when YOU (or someone who goes with you) have some range of playability - especially a couple of octaves up the G string.

Having down this you are now in a position to grade other instruments that you try in relation to this unaffordable goal and the instrument you now play (delta = $0) and decide when to make the move and how much it is worth to you.

December 6, 2017, 3:51 PM · How skilled (by ABRSM grade or Suzuki book number) should one be before one can expect to recognize quality in the $1000-$2500 price range? A couple of octaves on the G string, that sounds pretty advanced to me.
Edited: December 6, 2017, 10:52 PM · Usually, rich and round sounding violins are preferred over plain and simple sounding ones. This is the main reason why advanced players spend more money on violins than beginner-intermediate players.
December 9, 2017, 4:14 PM · While Andrew Victor's recommendation is an excellent one, it can have undesirable repercussions.

As an intermediate student living in a relatively rural area, with the nearest luthier or violin shop hundreds of miles away, I've not had the opportunity to play a truly exceptional violin much nicer than my current violin, which in itself is considered a very expressive,rich and projective violin by several accomplished violinists that have played it.

That being said, last year while on a trip to Spokane I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit a luthier's shop I had heard much praise about from members of our local orchestra. Long story short, while appreciatively browsing his small but exquisite inventory, he suggested I try a violin I had just watched a customer and member of the Seattle Symphony fawn and drool over. After hearing him share the story and value of the violin to the other customer, that being over $90k, I asked him was he sure about that, having previously discussed my skill level (or lack thereof) and my budget. He said "Why not, how often do you have the opportunity to play a violin of this quality?" So I did. I stopped in mid stroke after the fourth or fifth note of an arpeggio I chose. OMGosh! Such pure and clean notes have never flowed from my bow strokes! So smooth and effortless compared to other violins I've played. I looked at my wife and she remarked with a smile that she had rarely seen such a look of surprise and pleasure on my face before. I could only imagine what it would sound like in the hands of an accomplished or more talented violinist than myself.

I then proceeded to play a few bars from a couple of my favorite pieces, with similar results and joy. The luthier was watching with an amused look on his face. I suggested to my wife a simple home equity loan would make my home practice sessions much more enjoyable for her, but alas, the look I received ended that dream.

Due to that experience I fear I will never be satisfied with anything less, so my only recourse is to work harder at improving my playing skill to make up for playing on lesser instruments.

Yes, while trying out much more exceptional instruments to establish a measuring stick for determining the quality of potential acquisitions is a good suggestion, it is not without the risk of abject disappointment for some of us. Like shopping for a Toyota Corolla after test driving a Bugatti Chiron. ;)

December 9, 2017, 6:43 PM · In my experience with Yita violins, their grading system has more to do with cosmetic/finish quality than tonal quality.
They also say the wood used is different, usually fancier, more aged woods are used on their more expensive models.
I found the instruments themselves to have pretty decent tone, once they are set up properly, regardless of them being -19 or -20 or -20+ or 'master' quality. The setup seems to be where they are least proficient at, at any level as far as I can tell.
Edited: December 9, 2017, 8:10 PM · *Such pure and clean notes have never flowed from my bow strokes! So smooth and effortless compared to other violins I've played.*

That's somehow the feeling I had from playing my teacher's instrument (she is in my country's national orchestra). So warm and extremely responsive. It could tolerate to a great extent my technical inadequacy, and still managed to produce a sweet mellow tone for every grossly imperfect bow stroke that I had. It was a German violin handed down to her from her father who was also a noted national musician, kind of a family treasure.

Later moving back to Australia, I had the opportunity to try some violins from $3k - $10k here. But none ever held a candle against my teacher's violin. It remains a mystery to me as to how much it would fetch in the hands of a connoisseur, but I suspect it should equal a fortune.

As for the OP's question I don't know the direct answer. I own a left-handed Yita violin (MV5700) which I truly like. You probably can't go wrong with something from Yitamusic - for that value and that price.

December 9, 2017, 8:07 PM · @Fox Mitchell I would agree. YitaMusic, a Chinese company that I've known for a while, usually calls the difference in their standard and master violins is the wood used and the finish. Sometimes the master ones kinda sounded like the model versions or vice versa. But either way their quality has improved a lot since I since saw them start.
December 9, 2017, 8:19 PM · Will wrote, "That's somehow the feeling I had from playing my teacher's instrument ... So warm and extremely responsive."

Must not have been a truly great Italian antique. Those are supposed to be difficult to play and you need to spend several months "getting to know it" etc., even if you're a top soloist.

December 9, 2017, 9:31 PM · Paul you made me all confused ... Did you mean that truly great violins are not easy to play, not responsive?

Let me describe it again. My uneven, imperfect bow stroke could never produce any good sound on any other violins but this one.

Also, I noted that my vibrato at that time was not that good. But with that violin I only need to move my finger just a little bit to produce big wide rounded vibrato. I thought that's one indication of a great violin?

December 9, 2017, 10:22 PM · Skip, I totally get your story. That's why I would think long and hard before trying unaffordable violins. It depends on how greedy you are personality wise.
December 10, 2017, 8:18 AM · Well eventually you would have to get a really good upgrade in the end anyways
December 10, 2017, 9:36 AM · Will, I think Paul forgot the sarcasm tag.

See the "Paris double blind" megathread. I don't intend this sidethread to escalate, but I'll take the risk. :) According to some, the true greatness of an old Italian often only appears in the hands of a master who has taken the time to know the instrument. Some skeptics think that a truly great instrument will appear so right from the first time you touch it.

December 10, 2017, 11:12 AM · Violin Kiddu it depends on what level you reach and what you want in your violin.
December 10, 2017, 11:58 AM · Paul is joking, of course.

I would say that it does take time to know how to coax the best sound of a great violin, though. Two minutes will give you a decent first impression, but that's all. If you're comparing one great violin against another great violin, you will need more time. (That is the case with the Paris experiment, for instance, where all the instruments were apparently of high quality.)

Not all great instruments tolerate technical inadequacy. I think there may be a sweet spot between response and forgiveness, as well.

Edited: December 10, 2017, 1:13 PM · Thanks Han and Lydia for clarification, thanks Paul for sarcasm :-)) Had I followed that Paris experiment thread, I would have understood it better.


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