Carlos Vadillo

How to choose the best violin outfit for a student?

August 13, 2010 10:54

 There are many things that contribute to the sound of a violin, and as a starting student I am baffled with all the different options. I have been reading several books about violins and violin making and I have several questions that hopefully some of you can answer. To begin with, it is my understanding the the violin itself is a sort of amplifier, the bridge is the interface between the strings and the violin, and the bow is most of the time the stimulus for the strings to vibrate.

What is the relatively importance of those components?

Do the quality of the hair of the bow matters? As a student I only have one bow, and a cheap one. I have not had a chance to prove several of them to understand what difference does it make.

Does the quality of the wood in a bow have a direct impact on the sound, or it has to do more with the way the player feels about using it? For instance if shape, frog and hair are the same, does it matter if the bow is pernambuco, brazil wood or carbon fiber?

I know that the quality of the strings make a difference. Immediately I bought my violin I replaced the cheap strings it had with a better quality (Pirastro Tonica) ones and I could hear that the sound was more intense and brilliant and at the same time less metallic.

Does the quality of the bridge make a difference?

For what I read the quality of the tone wood makes a difference in the way a violin sounds. After all we do not hear the strings per se, but the vibration of the wood. And I also understand that the actual manufacturing of the violin is important. The shape, thickness, varnish and a hundred other details in varying degrees allow or prevent a better sound.

To summarize, for a student with a limited budget, how can you get the most for your money? Do you spend more in strings, or a bow, or look for a better quality violin, all of the above? As you see it can be very confusing.

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