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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Are you still looking for the violin of your dreams?

April 18, 2009 at 8:25 PM

This morning I was talking to someone who was not completely happy with his violin, but as an adult beginner, he's a bit daunted by the idea of looking for one that he likes better.

Karen Allendoerfer has been writing about the same thing: The Big Search.

For some of us, the search is over. I bought my Gagliano three years ago, and I've never looked back. I love the my violin completely. But I'd also been through a number of others, a German violin, a modern American...and nearly 30 years of playing...before I met my match.

There are big-name violinists who have found their partner and stuck to it: Hilary Hahn springs to mind, with her Vuillaume, which she has played for some 15 years. And there are others who love to look, who are constantly trying out something new.

Where do you fall, when it comes to your main violin? Are you happy together? Or are you still looking? Or are you just always looking? Vote, and then tell us about your journey, finding a violin.


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on April 18, 2009 at 8:43 PM

I am not lucky for physical/practice conditions but if there is one thing that I am very lucky and that is way more gifted than me, it's my violin.  It has all the qualities I wish for and its charming effects are irrisistible on me!  Even if I would want quit one day, I couldn't because I always hear its sound in my head and want so much to be able to work with this super instrument.  Yes when a violin sound like scrap, you suffer because you want a better one and when you find the one, you suffer because you know you can't exploit all the potential of this jewel...  However I wouldn't sell it even for 1 000 000! Call me crazy if you want!


From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 18, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Guido will do, but I still play Powerball.  

From Graham Clark
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 12:09 AM

Haven't found a fiddle I prefer to my old German, but am always looking.


From Rosalind Porter
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 12:47 AM

I am very, very happy and content with Johannes - at least until I win the Lottery and go looking for a del Gesu!!  (But don't tell Johannes that, he'll start sulking...!)

From Eitan Silkoff
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 3:14 AM

my first violin was an OK violin. this is the violin that i learned to become technically good on. Unfortunately, i had gotten used to such a bad sounding violin (and able to play well ON it), i was unable to make a healthy sound out of some better violins that i was trying.

This is where i was thankful that my violin dealer let me try the instruments for a long time. After trying about 15 instruments, i came across what ( now, is my violin) i had been waiting to see and hear for a long time.

Its sound was so deep, and thunderous yet so gentle and calming. It immediately said "Here I am, looking for a master to play me once again" it literally found me. I didn't even choose her! She came to me, and i wouldn't let her go.

I bought a 90 year old French violin. It has all the characteristics that I look for in a violin... at least for now :)


P.S. keep in mind, I was fortunate to try a 1736 del Gesu the other day, and i hereby warn you of the dangers of being SPOILED!


From Casey Jefferson
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 3:21 AM

Call me crazy but...

I've yet to play my violin in a concert hall in a concerto setting. I probably will never play in such situation, but I do want a violin that's capable of that, namely the ability to project above an orchestra.

Other than that, I'm satisfy with my violin, and will not look further even if I'm not because I don't have that much money to spend. ;-)

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 3:50 AM

I bought a violin in Shanghai early last year chiefly because I wanted to play for my dying father and didn’t want to risk my beloved strad copy through international travel. This Chinese violin is sounding better each week so I’m not actively looking for another one.

Last fall I went to Cremona, heard a few great violins and saw a lot more. I know my current violin is no comparison to those ones but then it has all I’m currently looking for: responsiveness, balance, power and potential. I’ve never been so convinced that I have a violin that it can do anything I want it to do as long as I am doing it right technically and musically. 

I know a couple of good luthiers in town and I could spend some money to keep fine-tuning my violin to make it sound even better. But again, I think the money is best spent on lessons and concerts, or maybe another bow?

Posted on April 19, 2009 at 3:55 AM

I suppose it would be nice to be  VIO-DAD. I guess if my initials were A.I.G. instead of S.A.M. this might be a possibility and  thus far powerball has only given me numerous book marks. I am very fortunate to have the instruments I do own; 1947 R&M Millant and a 1900 William Atkinson.

nopity.gif No Pity image by TGrosjean

From Adam Clifford
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 4:06 AM

 Laurie, perhaps you should post a poll about having the bow of your dreams!

From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I'm very happy with my violin, a 13 year old Italian that I inherited when my sister switched primarily to viola. It has a wide range of colors and a powerful range. I'm sure it will serve me through grad school and beyond. Maybe, someday, if I actually have money, I can upgrade. But before I even think of that, I need to own my own viola. Right now I'm borrowing one through my school, which has been great, but if I'm serious about pursuing both instruments, I need to invest in my own instrument.

From Ray Randall
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Around 1970 I received a phone call at 2:00 A.M. Connecticut time from Pierre Vidoudez,  President of the worldwide violin dealers association. He had a shop in Geneva, Switzerland. He said "come to Geneva today, I have a violin for you." Pierre knew I was looking for a good instrument, but couldn't afford the Guarneris and Strads he had. As an airline, we could fly to Geneva for almost free, plus I had the time off.

Pierre, without much fanfare, handed me a violin and said play this. It was made in 1919 by his Father, a world class maker and used to belong to Joesph Szigeti who used it frequently while concertizing. I loved it at first note. I found out about it's history later. The cost, back then, was about $3,000 for a superb concert violin which I still have and play everyday. A few months before we almost bought the "Soames" Strad from a friend for $25,000, but after getting a new house we couldn't quite get a loan to cover it. However, as I said to my wife just yesterday, if we had bought the Strad, or an Amati I knew about, we would have sold it by now and I wouldn't have this one. The point is superb instruments at prices we can afford are out there, don't give up looking and network like crazy.


From Matt Groters
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 8:47 PM

While I may end up with a fine wooden instrument at some point in time, for now, I can't afford it. I recently purchased a Luis and Clark carbon fiber violin, and am very very pleased. It's really unfortuneate that these instruments are not readily available for anyone to try, because I really think others would feel the same way. Whatever. I've tried really fine instruments before, played them--played on a borrowed one for my university auditions. They are awesome--I would play on one any day.  But I won't lie... I'm getting really attatched to this black beauty (wow that's corny)    ;).


From Kim Vawter
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 10:37 PM

I am a beginner. I have a nice violin. I also think that if i keep buying and saving old violins that I may find a diamond in the rough and if i could just fix it up.....Not a good idea. Collecting old violins.

 I realize that I have the same 'disease" that guitarists have had. They think if they could some how buy that '57 Stratocaster then they could play better (?!?) How many guitars do you have to hang on the wall until you become a better guitarist? What does a guitar cost and what does a violin cost? Wow-the costs are all over the board.

I need to realize that I do not need a better violin. I cannot buy the time it will take to teach my mind and my fingers to b work in concert with each other. Maybe I will reorganize my financial situation to purchase the "dream" violin but for now I will use the one I have and probably find a new home for the "fixers" that I have collected. Now that I know why I collected these "VSOs" I can stop it.

(Thanks for pointing this out to me)  

From Pamela Schulz
Posted on April 20, 2009 at 3:16 AM

I'm playing a very old, battered German Mittenwald violin that was given to me by my parents.  (mid to late 1800's).  I have sunk several hundred in repairs into it (hey, the edges were so worn it was snagging sweaters at one point!).  It's O.K.  It has great, deep tones on the lower two strings, but it doesn't have that sound quality in the A or the E (I have later found out that this is typical of Mittenwald violins).  I have heard quite a few out there that have worse tone.

I'm hoping to be in a situation in a few years that I can afford to upgrade.  Then, we'll see!

From Samuel Thompson
Posted on April 20, 2009 at 4:30 AM

I own a Guadagnini model violin  made in 1996 by Marilyn Wallin, and it's been a wild and wonderful journey.   In December 2007 I had the instrument "overhauled" - neck raised, new fingerboard/bridge/tailpiece, higher soundpost (not sure what else), and the results were amazing:   the instrument became much more powerful and more resonant, which was just what I needed.



From Karin Lin
Posted on April 20, 2009 at 9:31 AM

My violin is far better than I deserve, so I imagine it'll be a long time (if ever) before I decide I want a new one.


Plug for got this beauty through my friend Clare Chu's contacts with dealers, and I wouldn't have met Clare (who lives only about 5 miles from me) had it not been for this site!

From sarah salmi
Posted on April 20, 2009 at 1:49 PM

I Own a Jonas Borgmästars violin from 2007 and have played it now for about five months, and i really like it.  I'm one of those who are happy with my violin but still looking, and i think that a great new instrument is the only thing to keep people like me satisfied, because a new instrument can always promise me that it will become better,  and i can keep telling myself that for atleast 40 years!

From Royce Faina
Posted on April 20, 2009 at 2:39 PM

I have an Eastman VL 305 that my mother bought me from J. Mijares in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I have posted about this violin before, so here I go again.  It was made in 2007 and Mr. Mijares set it up, I believe it was his son's if I remember corectly?  He had dominant light guage strings on it which I have replaced with Pirastro's Passione strings (one of the best sounding E strings I've played!  Better than a Wondertone!)  For a $695.00 violin it's easy to play, it sounds violicious like ritch dark chocolate!  The overtones with synthetic core strings ring out like little bells!  They have toned down with the passiones, but they are there......if the violin is tuned absolutely to 440 A!

I will soon be looking for something in the $3200-$4500 by next year.  The Eastman is very, very, good, but it's not a pro level instrument.  It doesn't feel or sound as good as a violin can, it's just not "there". I will keep it and cheerish it since it was a sacrifice to make this gift on my mother's part and it'll remind me of her, it's something of a part of her that will always live when I play it.  It's gorgious too! Like my Mom!  I look forwards to the next violins that will come and maybe go, untill I have a solid Pro Level Model!



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