December 29, 2007 at 07:41 PM ·
December 30, 2007 at 04:10 AM · Yita makes very good instruments. They are made in China, but are not factory products, but made in workshops by skilled luthiers. Yita makes good instruments in the intermediate level range. The T20 models are good advanced student instruments, but no professional level instruments. Several of my students play on Yita violins (T18s) and all paid no more than $200 for them. For that price, who can complain?
December 30, 2007 at 06:55 PM · Bought a snakewood baroque bow from them. Very satisfied.
January 1, 2008 at 12:21 AM · i got one of the m,19 violins from them for 320 with shipping.i liked it better then ones i have bought for 3,000 lol but i think you play better on a violin if you belive you like it.they said they can special order violin out of better woods takes about 5 /8 weeks
January 18, 2009 at 07:37 PM ·
I bought a Yita 17-inch viola (an x19 model). I had it restringed with Obligato strings and reset a bit. My teacher said it sounds like a $2500 instrument. All in all, I paid about $500, including case and bow, for it. Other violists just love it. It was one heck of a deal.
I also bought a 15.5-inch viola from Yita (also an x19 model). But its sound is far inferior. I would say that I got about the same quality for this instrument as it I had spend the money locally...But the 17-inch one is another story.
January 19, 2009 at 12:31 AM ·
I've got a 7/8th size Yita violin - I like it alot. It's not my favorite violin (I've also got an old German) but for the $300 or so, including case and bow, I don't think you can beat it. (FYI, it's a shorter body size instrument with bouts that are almost full size. I did have to have the neck taken down a bit since it was a full size width neck.) My teacher has bought several instruments from them, including a viola and 5 string violin, and always been very satisfied.
January 19, 2009 at 07:39 PM ·
Just wanted to add that I got my Yita fiddle on ebay.
January 21, 2009 at 01:06 AM ·
My violin teacher bought a couple of them and I got one, for me is a very nice instrument and also for a lot of people that have heard it. Something that may say something, is that the concertmaster of the National Simphony said to my teacher that the violin was pretty good even better than his and I think he was trying to get one.
January 29, 2009 at 08:57 AM ·
Last November I purchased a extremely beautiful T19 violin with birds-eye back. Sound is very powerful and rich, but of course it needs to be played. I am very satisfied. I also got a 1/16 violin set for my 3 years doughter for 50€. Enough for her first Suzuki lessons. Yesterday I won an auction for a Snakewood baroque bow. Lets see how it does. Also purchased a set of pernambuco parts (pegs, talipiece, pin, etc...) for one of my violins.
Definetely, these instruments are good for the price you pay.
July 18, 2009 at 10:37 AM ·
I think they're excellent. As an ex-professional player, my "main" instrument is probably worth around £5000. I bought a Yita T20 and everyone tells me it sounds better - it's very quick responding and beautifully even. Also have one of their top grade bows which I use in preference to my James Tubbs. It's the best bow I've ever tried! I currently have one of their "master" violins on order.
July 18, 2009 at 03:57 PM ·
May I know what is the difference between the M models and the T models?
Also do they make better (as opposed to beginners') fractional sized violins?
July 19, 2009 at 11:25 PM ·
From their ebay comments
"Yitamusic has three violin workshops ( Liuxi workshop, Ma Zhibin workshop, Xuxin workshop, named by leading violin makers), one bow workshop (Yin Guohua Bow Workshop)"
The "T" range appear to be Liuxi workshop, the "M" range Ma Zhibin. A colleague bought an M20 and I bought a T20 - both agreed mine seemed and sounded better. The 18,19,20 is the quality with 20 being the best. Additionally, there are the "Master" rang - the one that's on its way to me is made by Liuxi, not Liuxi workshop. Really looking forward to it - if it's better than my T20 it'll be quite something!
July 19, 2009 at 11:48 PM ·
July 29, 2009 at 05:42 PM ·
Well, my violin arrived. It's absolutely beautiful, and had two hours of playing that night in a string quintet. My colleagues described the sound as "brilliant", and there seems to be a lot of power there and a very quick response. I know I can't judge (and shouldn't try) after two days, but I'm absolutely delighted so far.
To be more technical, the instrument's beautifully built - everything's smooth - the pegs seem perfect for instance with no sign of any "notchiness". I think that at something like 5 times what I paid it would still be a bargain.
October 31, 2009 at 02:52 PM ·
An other more than happy customer here ! Just received a Liu Xi, T19, I thought it was too good to be true but took the plunge and got one! It sounds just amazing, light as a feather. The only things I replaced are the strings and the bridge of course. I couldn't spend money better than this, their brazilwood bow is the best I have ever tried. Now I am gonna order a pernambuco one.
November 2, 2009 at 06:51 PM ·
Well, as I have two of their violins, I have two "free" bows. One is playable, the other pretty appalling. My first purchase from Yita was actually one of their top-of-the-range bows. Cost me £300 but worth every penny. My previous "best" bow was by James Tubbs - I prefer the Yita one. I also bought one of their top carbon bows. Took a bit of getting used to, but not bad. Pretty responsive. They are maybe a bit variable - a colleague bought two of them, and all three feel different. Still, for £80 (and free postage when I got it) fantastic value.
November 3, 2009 at 03:11 AM ·
That's so impressive what you get paying so little. I think it's a great seller, the pictures are very detailed, not many websites show pictures like that. I think people buying Gliga don't know what they are missing....
November 4, 2009 at 01:14 PM ·
Yes, Yita violins are well made and excellent value. The cases are good value too.
November 4, 2009 at 03:41 PM ·
I have heard many praises for Yita.
I would like to try one - the next one I need is a 3/4 size in maybe 6 months time. The problem with Yita is that they don't make many fractional violins (T and M models, not the start up outfits)..
November 7, 2009 at 06:14 AM ·
Depends on how picky you are. I bought one of their master gold mounted, tortoise shell pernambuco bow a few years ago just out of curiosity. While the appearance/workmanship for the price is good, the way the bow played/sounded was pretty forgettable. Maybe their quality has improved since... For bows, I would at least try the Arcos Brasil out. You can at least try them before you buy them and the price is similar. This will give you a chance to "match" the bow to your violin.
November 11, 2009 at 07:47 PM ·
My Yitamusic "M20" viola arrived yesterday and I've just started experimenting with it. It is a 17" instrument and I paid around $400 including shipping. Based on the reviews here and elsewhere, I asked them to keep the bow and case in exchange for a lower price. They accepted my offer without comment. The instrument arrived without a bow but in a standard nylon-covered shaped case of extremely modest quality.
The setup is below average. The bridge grooves aren't cut quite right and therefore tend to grasp the strings, the strings are of anonymous Chinese manufacture, and the pegs while operable lack the smooth feel that would come from a carefully worked pegbox.
The instrument is heavy. I noticed the extra weight right away when playing and put the instrument on a scale - 733 grams. At this point, the tone is dark and rich, really quite pleasant but not especially powerful, and the instrument lacks the almost cello-like depth in the bottom octave or so that I have encountered on fine 17" violas. With time and playing, and with some experimentation with strings, it may improve.
It's a pretty instrument with some light antiquing on the back and a satin finish, and lives up to the photographs Yitamusic provided.
My initial impression is that the instrument represents an excellent value for the price paid. It is not, however, comparable to the $2500 instruments sold by local dealers.
February 8, 2010 at 10:12 PM ·
Thankyou for an objective and factual review, devoid of the oft seen "better than a $x,000 instrument" ranging through to "it's a piece of firewood!"
After a couple of years of watching the auctions and the feedback, I bought a basic carbon fibre bow (#57) which I'm very happy with. After waiting another year, I've recently bought a T19 violin based on a 1715 Strad and I'm quite impressed. I can confirm most of your observations.
I had it set up by my luthier with a set of Dominants and a replacement tailpiece and bridge. The pegs had to be fitted more carefully. I noted that the linings look a bit rough and that the saddle looks like it's some non-descript timber which has been painted black which may even be an integral part of the top. Also the fingerboard scoop may need to be reworked but I'm leaving that for a while to see how it goes. It's been no problem so far. Once the Dominants are finished with I'll consider putting on a set of Evahs. We'll see.
I've been playing only one instrument since 1974 so having a new instrument is quite an adjustment for me. The neck is a little thicker than I'm used to but I'm learning to appreciate the slightly wider fingerboard.
Cosmetically, it has to be described as quite beautifully antiqued and impressive looking.
Case and bow were just as you described and I could have done without them. I've already given the bow away but I ordered a double case from Yita to carry the T19 as well as my Yamaha silent. The double case is quite good although not as sturdy as my Bobelock single.
Sound-wise, the T19 is impressively quick and responsive with a rich warm tone and is very much louder than anything I've played previously. To be honest, it puts my old German trade Bergonzi to shame in that regard. I haven't heard it played by anyone else at a respectful distance yet, but under the chin it's comfortable and resonant. We might experiment a little with the post, but so far, it's going well.
Overall, I'd have to say that the value for money is hard to beat. Including the setup done by my luthier and shipping, the whole thing cost AU$392. Considering that I had a AU$6-7,000 budget, it wasn't much of a risk, but I'm happy with the result.
Now that I've gained a bit of confidence dealing with Yita, I've ordered a T20 Strad with a one piece back and their best carbon bow. I'll let you know how it turns out.
April 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM ·
I have an advanced Yita cello in the strad form. It is very well made and beautifully polished. It was very shiny and 'bling' at first but it has toned down with carefully controlled neglect over the past two years.
All in all, I'd say it is fantastic value after the bridge, pegs and strings have been replaced and the fingerboard replaned. It works very well with gut strings as the cello is fundamentally warm. The down side is the bass which doesn't seem to boom. I haven't been able to improve this despite playing with strings, bridges and soundposts.
It won't be my final instrument.
April 14, 2010 at 03:35 PM ·
Hi, am seriously considering buying a Yita T20 violin or maybe even a master model made by Xiu Ling...as I've read on here the postiive reviews.
Some other people tell me a Yita T20 wit a 'good set up' (sorry don't know what that means am only a beginner but they say it may cost £200 UK money or £300) can happily take me up to diploma level..
as I am considering upgrading my violin/changing, some people tell me that no violin is guaranteed to 'get me trough my diplomas', that the only way to know is for ME to play on such violin as violins respond differently to different people/playing styles...if this is the case, how can one say: such such violin will be good up to grade 8? or up to diploma??
Maybe I am 'picky' but I would like to know if the Yita T20 'will' take me through a diploma with no problems (of course considering I play well too!), I know a basic stentor I violin will not do me any justice at diploma and may even mean I don't pass, but how about a Yita T20???
Also some people say that the difference between a Yita T20 and their master instruments is not worth the extra money, that the Yita T20 with a 'good set up' is as good as the master model
As this violin will come all the way from China to the UK and I can't play it before-hand I'd like to try and find out as much as possible before I commit...
thank you for any opinions (the opinions of teachers/professional players will be greatly appreciated!!! as you can imagine :))
April 14, 2010 at 10:13 PM ·
I have both a T19 and a M19. I like the M19 better, although both are bargains relative to the price. I do not have any feedback for the Master or T20, but they do have a guarantee posted, so your biggest risk is the shipping cost.
NOTE: Check where you purchase to make certain the guarantee exists; there may be other shops carrying the Yitamusic violin that does not have such a guarantee.
April 17, 2010 at 09:11 AM ·
I have a T20 (Liu Xi workshop) and a Liu Xi Master violin. There is a huge difference. The T20 is very good and I played on it for a couple of years. That gave me the confidence to "risk" buying a master violin, and it's amazing. A friend of mine is a full-time professional viola player who also plays violin. He also bought a similar Liu Xi master violin and uses it as his main violin.
April 17, 2010 at 06:26 PM · thank you Malcom, did you have to change any of the set up on the master instrument once you received it? or did you just put on the strings of your choice? I wish I waited another day and read your message before I ordered a T20, yesterday I've ordered a T20 and it's already been 'dispatched'. After reading your post I am tempted to order the master model and then try the 2 and keep the one I like best and return the other. Only if the master needs any set up done then I wouldn't be able to do this before I decide if I am going to keep it....
April 18, 2010 at 11:55 PM ·
I didn't change anything except the strings. The master violins come with Dominant - I've got used to Evah Pirrazi, so I put a set on. I'm not sure the bridge is perfect, but it's not far out. My colleague who bought at the same time as me had his bridge adjusted by an excellent local maker, and said it made his a bit easier to play.
Maybe it's just me, but I'd only return something if it's faulty. Have you thought of trying both and possibly having them set up if you feel either of them need it and then selling on the one you choose not to keep? I think tou could justifiably ask more than you paid for it as you're the one who took the risk of buying unseen, paid the postage and maybe paid for setup. ANy buyer from you can see and try the instrument, and that has to be worth something.
I actually kept both of mine - The T20 makes an admirable back-up instrument.
April 19, 2010 at 04:54 PM ·
thank you once again Malcolm for sharing your experience.
I have already ordered the T20 as mentioned.
Have not received it yet....I am in 2 minds whether to get a master instrument now or not.....I might just try the T20 for a while and take it from there.....if I am truly 'impressed' for now with the T20 I might wait a little for the master, after all I am not a very good player yet, am only at grade 5 abrsm standard so could wait a little before upgrading. But if the T20 is not a major change from my Otto jos klier 72 (the violin I have now) then I might go ahead and try the master.
Thank you once again.
ps I take it the T20 'will need' some 'set up'?
April 19, 2010 at 08:27 PM ·
Maybe I'm not too fussy, but I only changed the strings on that one as well.
I think the T20 will come with Dominant strings. It's probably worth just trying it "as is" first and only changing what you have to. If the strings are "generic", put some decent ones on - I'd suggest Dominant, Evah Pirazzy or Vision. Also, I assume you have a teacher you trust? See what he or she thinks as well.
Let us know what you think when it arrives please.
April 19, 2010 at 09:20 PM ·
Ok Malcolm, will keep you updated when the T20 arrives and if I am going ahead with the 'master purchase'!
At the moment I am 'stuck' in Italy waiting to fly back home (UK), stuck because of the 'volcanic ash' and all the banned flights and the T20 who knows, maybe still stuck in China...was shipped on 16th but is stuck somewhere 'en route' until flights resume to UK (which should be in next day or 2)!
April 21, 2010 at 02:05 PM ·
Interested to hear about the impressions of the Carbon Bows and look forward to the review! I've been looking at several and am curious about theirs. I'm most likely going to purchase a Codabow from my local luthier, but a good back-up is in order in any case.
April 21, 2010 at 06:01 PM ·
I have decided I will definitely try one of their carbon bows, am just in touch with Yita discussing possibly buying a master series violin, whether I go ahead with violin purchase or not I will buy a carbon bow off them, at the cheap price I assume I can't lose anything, I need a 'spare bow' to use now and then (I have a more expensive roderick paesold which I am happy with at the moment).
But I am not an experienced player, am still learning so don't know how much of a good judge I can be for the Yita carbon bow...but will let you know what I think of it when I do eventually receive it. I will order the 'top model one'
April 21, 2010 at 10:36 PM ·
I'm currently playing on one of their "top" carbon bows. A couple of colleagues also have them. They're not totally consistent, which surprised me. However, at the £80 I paid including postage, you really can't go wrong. I do have one of their gold pernambucco bows, which is really good. It cost me £300 when I got it, and I think they're more than that now. But still a real bargain.
April 29, 2010 at 06:46 AM ·
Ok, since my last post:
I have also ordered a master Liuxi violin AND the top model carbon bow.
Both the T20 and the Master Liuxi (with carbon bow) will be delivered today (am home waiting for parcels). Give me a couple of days and I'll post on here my 'thoughts' on these violins and the bow.
So far I am well pleased with the seller, the good/prompt communication, willing to help, despatching quick etc
:) I now will have 3 violins (far too many for me) so once I have played the Yitas for a while I will decide which one to sell as I don't think I want to keep 3 violins, 2 will be more than needed!
OH, I haven't mentioned, I also play the double bass and I have ordered a top level 4 star pernambuco double bass bow too so I can't wait to try that one too!
April 29, 2010 at 08:34 PM ·
ok, it's 'early days' yet so I don't think I can give a 'proper full judgment' right now...
T20 violin is 'ok', I don't think it's 'great' but I don't think it's not either, maybe with some 'nicer trimmings' (pegs are cheap looking so is chin-rest and tailpiece) it would look much better and with a proper set up (as some people told me it would need) then it would sound even better (it sounds good anyway don't get me wrong, it's just not surpassing my present violin at the moment, an otto jos klier 72 worth £800 UKsterling)
Liuxi Master model is DEFINITELY better, nicer looking but still 'cheap pegs/tailpiece/chinrest' which is not a problem. Sounds better too but still needs proper set up (bridge is too high and slightly not cut in shape well/not thin enough, it's a proper 'auber' bridge though), needs a new soundpost and better placed too.
I don't really want to keep 3 violins so I will pass on/sell one, I have a feeling it will be the Yita T20 and I will keep Otto Jos Klier and Liuxi Master.
The carbon bow is really good! it plays just as well as my £450 roderich paesold but Yita sold it to me for £70! My luthier was quite impressed by it too :) It's easy to draw a nice loud sound out of it :)
ps I don't do any 'advance bowing technique yet' so take my judgement with 'a pinch of salt' as they say....(I am only grade 5 to 6 standard)
August 18, 2010 at 08:28 PM ·
Would you mind telling us how much you paid for each instrument?
August 19, 2010 at 08:41 AM ·
Hello for the T20 I paid approx $450 inc of shipping
for the Master I paid approx $950 inc of shipping
I have had the bridge reshaped and soundpost adjusted and changed strings to the T20, the Master I have changed the strings (to passione solo) tail-piece/chinrest/pegs and had new bridge and new soundpost put in which costed me quite a bit but it's been done to a very high standard and has improved its tone, but when I played the master instrument I knew it had potential and it was going to be worth it to spend money on it to upgrade it and am really happy I have done so :)
August 25, 2010 at 08:31 AM ·
I recently lost my eBay vriginity winning an auction for a Yita Liuxi T20 "Baroque-style" violin for a $270 bid. My bank statement tells me that with carriage the whole thing came to £208. Delivery as efficient - in the UK in 3 days, 4 days in UK customs, one day on the delivery van.
It's very lightly built - so much so that when it first arrived I was afraid they'd packed the case and forgotten to include the violin! It appears to be very well made (I have made lutes but not violins; I cannot fault the craftmanship). I like the antique-effect of the varnish which brings out the gorgeous flamed maple used - it looks at first like an old instrument. I suppose if you were being picky there are slight imperfections in the finishing of the varnish, but I don't really care about that. The fingerboard is more heavily (clear) varnished that I'd have expected, except for the very end of the projection, which still has a workshop number in pencil, and whch I will probably seal. There was no upgrade option for a baroque bridge and gut strings, and it came with a basic modern bridge (though one that was made of what seems to be very high quality maple) and Chinese strings. I checked it out with these, and was immediately struck by its power and an amazing "ring" when plucked. I've had it set up with a Fiedler Stradvarius-style bridge and a set of Chorda strings and it sounds and feels wonderful to play. The tone is very even across the whole range (or as much of it as folk fiddler and early musician whose performing interest stops before Purcell needs - the stratospheric positions on the e-string don't matter to me). Yita's website describes the tone of all their baroque violins as "due to the short bass bar ... clean and rich but not loud". I'd say full and rich (slightly lacking in the lowest partials possibly) and noticeably louder than any modern-style violin I have had. The pegs look good, fit well, and don't either slip or stick (though a touch of peg paste won't do any harm). Knowing about the bridge and strings, I'd assumed that the bow that came with it would be basic post-Tourte pattern, but no, it's a brazilwood baroque-style bow, recurved, a little heavier and not quite so well-balanced as the David van Edwards bow I normally use, but perfectly serviceable, and an ideal spare. The website does list a hand-carved chin rest, which, being quite inappropriate for the period is(fortunately) not included.
One slightly odd design decision: having gone to a lot of trouble to get the body absolutely right, and the fingerboard and fittings looking so good, they set the neck at an angle, instead of the true baroque style of straight neck and a wedge to tilt the fingerboard. This may make it easier for a player accustomed to modern instruments but could put off real specialists as it sits differently in the left hand.
I'm not going to get into meaningless comparisons of value against other instruments. I can say for certain that it is much the best violin I have had in 40 years of playing, for much less money (in real terms) than I have ever paid before. In fact I like it so much I have successfully bid for a 16" baroque viola from the same source, currently in transit from China.
August 28, 2010 at 12:54 PM ·
I'm new to this forum- what a great place.
I own several nice student vioins in the $1,500- $2,000 range. When I used to play guitar I got into the bad habit of collecting and I've carried that over into my interest in violin and cello. People often ask me "why don't you put all your money into one better instrument instead of having a collection?". My answer is that I'm an amateur player and at my age (59) I'm unlikely to ever get good enough to really appreciate the finer nuances of an really expensive instrument. (really expensive for me that is) It's entertaining to me to have a variety of instruments to play on.
Anyway- yesterday I received a Yita T19 Maggini copy and I have to say I'm REALLY impressed with the quality of craftmanship and sound for the amount of money I spent. The wood used is very beautiful, both the spruce and the maple, and so is the finish. There are a few little places where the finish isn't absolutely perfect but you have to look very closely to find them and they're not significant enough to bother me. After putting the bridge up and tuning it I can tell that it's going to have a good sound- nice and full and pretty even across the strings. Lots of volume.
It will need better strings, of course, and I'll also install a wittner tailpiece and it looks like the soundpost is a little far back from the bridge and might need adjustment but that's about it- the bridge isn't bad at all and the action is comfortable. The pegs could use a little work but are functional.
Considering that you could hardly buy the materials to make a violin for what I paid for it I'm really satisfied. I can hardly wait to see how it sounds and plays with new strings and a few tweaks.
August 28, 2010 at 10:51 PM ·
I'm just waiting to get my yita purchase back from my (self taught but careful) luthier type friend. I was specifically looking for the instrument dimensions, wanting the narrow bouts and smaller end of the body length. I w as pleased when I ended up getting it for about 80US via Ebay auction. New buy it now they were about 300Us If I recall..
the finish is really good, bit antiqued but not overly so. Luthier says that the internal construction, fingerboard planing, neck etc are very well worked. the pegs were okayish except for the G string which slipped liked crazy, and they didn't feel strong in rotation. The sound post was a bit wonky after being shipped to Australia with bridge down, but was well carved. The bridge was well fitted and shaped, just not brilliant quality. I had already decided to have new bridge and strings, so factored that cost (acutally, had a free set of eudoxa's, so no cost there). I've decided to get wittner geared pegs as well, since I've decided that life is too short for slipping pegs.
It was a really easy and pleasant instrument to play even without the changes. Looking back over different forums and results, it seems the company will offer pretty reliable customer service if the instrument does have a fault - some people have experienced peeling varnish (mine was still soft and smelly as when it arrived, but no problems with it), I think there may have been reports orf a couple of other faults also, but those that have approached the company have had good response. It seems like such a pain, to arrange return to China, but my instrument could have been easily repacked in the box + case it arrived in had it been faulty, and the cost of return delivery would still have made it worthwhile if a replacement was needed.
we have a few Yita's (19 and 20 models) being played by community orchestra, and the guy who sits behind me sounds great. Its a really nice sound coming out of his (newly purchased while on a tour at the factory a month ago).
January 3, 2011 at 02:37 PM ·
The Baroque-style viola duly arrived, and was everything I'd hoped, though the bow was modern, and I've separately got one of their Baroque viola bows.
However, a fellow member of my early music group was so impressed that she asked me to get her a similar violin. I duly won an eBay auction for much the same price, but the instrument that was delivered was not the one I had purchased. It was a "Master" classical style violin by another of their makers, Ma Zhi Bin. When it arrived the packaging was undamaged, but on opening I found the chin-rest (which of course would not be a concern for a Baroque instrument) was broken. Give the condition of the package on arrival I assume the break must have happened before the goods were ever dispatched.
I'm currently in the process of trying to arrange for its return, and for them to send the instrument I actually bought. Presumably whoever actually bought the one sent to me will be equally hacked off at receiving something quite different from what they had ordered.
January 3, 2011 at 02:42 PM ·
Perils of buying on-line!
January 3, 2011 at 03:36 PM ·
I was recently in the market to upgrade from my beginner viola to an intermediate model. I was corresponding with the Yita people about a 15.5 inch X20 model. I ended up getting an instrument from someone else (another Chinese seller: Violin Sound Studio). I must say I was really impressed with the high level of care and concern they showed in our interaction ( lots of emails back and forth including photos) and also their high ability with the English language. I plan to get a Master instrument from YITA in a year or two.
January 24, 2011 at 08:33 PM ·
It turned out the shipping company had mixed up the label. Mine had gone to Spain, and vice versa (despite Yita's own label on the container, which were as they should be. YitaMusic immediately took responsibility for sorting it out, asking me to send the one I had back to them so they could fix the chin rest before sending it to its real buyer. They immediately refunded my airmail cost, and when it transpired the other violin was still stuck in Spanish customs offered me another baroque style violin rather than have me wait while the bureaucracy was being sorted out. That's now in transit.
So far I have to say this is a very professional and customer-focussed response.
January 24, 2011 at 09:16 PM ·
I bought a T19 violin Guarneri copy. I paid only 89 bucks for it. I must say it sounds like an instrument that costs several thousand dollars. I'm very much impresses...so much so that I bought a T20 violin. I may but several more of the T19s since they're so inexpensive.
January 25, 2011 at 02:37 AM ·
I bought four Yita violins - all T/M19.
Two were okay - nothing special. Not worth more than a couple hundred retail. Too nasal for me to use.
Another had a horrible varnish job (like someone painted on artist's oil paint with a brush). Opaque and sloppy. I demanded a refund.
The fourth was something I might actually use myself.
However, even the Scott Cao STV-017E puts them all to shame.
I definitely do not think they sound anything like a thousand-dollar violin.
I have not tried the T/M20 model or the Master model.
They also claim that each violin is made by a single luthier from start to finish, yet the labels are not signed as such. The Certificates of Authenticity and labels state that the violins were made by Liu Xi, but how could that be? He's the guy who makes the Master-level violins.
Also, on all four, the chin rest cork is stuck to the varnish. You can rip off the chin rest, but cork remains. You can scrape off the cork, but then you're left with a nasty-looking blemish.
Bottom line: you get what you pay for.
January 31, 2011 at 07:47 PM ·
The re-sent or replacement Baroque-style violin arrived today, and it's absolutely as described and desired - a super piece of work.
A lot of western companies could learn a great deal from Yitamusic's attitude to their customers.
April 23, 2011 at 06:49 AM ·
Scott, do you have the promised feedback on your T20 Strad? I came across this thread yesterday while searching for a first/intermediate viola for my son who is outgrowing his starter violin conversion. There is a nice looking T20 15" on sale just now. Or for less money a 'flame maple' instrument from violin--shops on ebay. How to know which is better value? No doubt either would be a big step up for him.
May 25, 2011 at 08:35 AM ·
Bought an M19 viola for my son, put Helicore strings on it, very impressed with the tone quality and astonished at the price (under £250 with bow, case, delivery, strings).
June 13, 2011 at 01:28 PM ·
Just out of interest.. anyone from the UK buying from China, did you incur import customs fees? I have ordered a Cello from Yita which is on it's way and just wondered if I will get stung by customs?
I'll review the instrument here when it arrives.
June 13, 2011 at 03:25 PM ·
June 13, 2011 at 04:42 PM ·
Don - Always check with your local customs. In my country, importing musical instrument will need to pay 10% import duty of the declared/insured value if the value is above certain amount (around $500 and up I think). That really discouraging local musicians to own a fine instrument.
June 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM ·
Casey, you are lucky!
In Spain you have to pay from the total price including shipping (if the guys at customs catch you):
18% VAT + 26% import duty + 35€ (+ or -) for the customs agent fee.
If the value INCLUDED SHIPPING is higher than 20€. As you can see I always save a prayer when I buy a violin from china.
June 14, 2011 at 02:02 PM ·
Nicolas - Well I guess so! Compared to other countries, we're definitely more lucky. However, our earning power isn't really anything spectactular, and average parents in my country will have problem spending something in the $2000 range and up without installment plan. Even our average professional musicians (except Malaysian Philharmonic players) can only afford some $10k +- fine violin IF they save a lot for 24months maybe. So anything extra on the import duty is really hefty for our spending power. We don't even dare to think about importing any instrument if out customs charges tax and duty like Spain. :(
June 30, 2011 at 08:32 PM ·
Well I promised an update here... my cello has arrived from Yita in China ( to the UK) ... It left Yita in China on the 13th of June and arrived at Heathrow on 15th. June (2011) It then sat in what I presume was UK Customs for 13 days and has just arrived on my doorstep on 28th. June. Not bad really considering it's epic journey. The good thing .. there was nothing to pay on tax duty.. not sure why.. they just handed it to me and got me to sign and that was that !
Ok the good news is.. WOW its beautiful.. no I mean really beautiful. I went for the Gaspar da Salo copy, same as my Violin although my Violin dates around 1880 from France. It is really nicely made, beautiful colour and the attention to detail is stunning. I took it to my luthier as the sound post was down, it is shipped without strings or bridge installed (although provided) . Even he was a bit impressed !! I am impressed he is impressed. He fitted a new tailpiece, bridge and strings and boy, I am not a cellist (yet) but open strings BOOM! nice :)
Are the Chinese the new Italians? If you look back then even the Italians back "then" were mass producing but with pride and craftmanship. The Chinese obviously pride their work and , I hate to say it their labour is cheap. You just have to witness the Olympics and the attention to detail to appreciate just how much they value their work.
I am seriously , seriously impressed.. Even the bow is lovely, better than my £300 violin bow, and the case is awesome and I paid.. wait for it ... £400 ( 650 USD) for everything, cello, case and bow ! including shipping !!! door to door OMG ! thats .. just ... madness !!!!!
July 1, 2011 at 07:38 AM ·
November 27, 2011 at 03:19 PM · I got my Yitamusic violin back in Summer 2007. I don't know what model it is because I purchased it from my local music shop (in London UK). I part-exchanged it with a 3/4 violin so I paid under £300 but they were selling it for £500. At the time I was using it as a second violin but now I use it interchangeably with my 1776 Richard Duke violin. It's a wonderfully built instrument, with great projection and a wonderfully rich tone and a very quick response. The G is wonderfully resonant and the E string sparkles in the higher register. It was set up when I bought it to a professional standard but I had the bridge changed and the tailpiece swapped to a Pusch Hill pattern ebony one. I am now seriously considering buying a viola from their eBay site and am eyeing a Maggini copy violin which to my eye looks exquisitely made. My only concern with my current Yitamusic violin is that it seemed to scratch quite easily when I swapped the chinrest to a Wittner and accidentally knocked it against a door. All in all, though, a wonderful instrument.
August 21, 2012 at 02:36 AM ·
February 24, 2013 at 01:45 PM · I ordered a T20/M20 Yita music violin made in their Liu Xi workshop. It was well made and the sound was comparable to $400 to $500 violins available locally. By well made I mean it had real purfling, the corner blocks were installed, the wood was nice and graduated well, the dimensions were correct for the Stradivari pattern, and the fittings at set-up were acceptable except for the bridge that was predictably too high. The sound was improved with better strings (Dominants)and I opted to install French boxwood fittings, mainly for looks and personal preference. The Dominant's are OK but I think Obrigados or Infeld Reds would have been a better choice as the instrument is still a bit brassy for my taste. It has a powerful tone and is ringy but I understand that's not uncommon for new instruments. The tone is improving as the violin is about three months old and played daily. I posted a sound clip.
and here are some pics:
February 24, 2013 at 02:53 PM · It's very pretty and sounds very good!
Congrats...and thanks for posting the pics and the sound clip! :D
September 2, 2013 at 04:13 AM · Now, Yita's T20 bidding prices are aound 300 USD. Including shipping, new setup and strings, import tax will make the price up to >400.
Price of T20 at Yitamusic's own online store (not ebay bidding) is 350. Any comments?
September 3, 2013 at 02:18 AM · What sort of comments are you looking for Richard?
Auction prices are quite variable within a range, and depend on supply and demand as usual. The start of the fall season and perhaps mid-winter / Christmas seasons might be the worst times to buy and mid/late summer is likely to be best.
September 3, 2013 at 10:11 AM · With reference to the comment above, "I ordered a T20/M20 Yita music violin made in their Liu Xi workshop. It was well made and the sound was comparable to $400 to $500 violins available locally."
If Yita T20 violin sound comparable to $400 to 500, it seems not much advantage in buying violin online without even trying it. So the comment as asked for was "is it really only worth $400 after taking all the risks and additional cost such as new set-up in local shop, new strings, import tax and shipping?"
September 6, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Certainly, if all else is equal, then picking a violin you can actually try out, assuming you buy it and not an "upgraded" model, is the better choice. (While an upgrade might be a better choice, by changing the parameters, the equality of comparison is invalidated.)
But all else is never equal. Even the included bow could be a significant factor if you're going to use it.
The statement "sound was comparable to $400 to $500 violins available locally" is easy to over-generalize and over-emphasize, but you don't know if it would be true for you.
What's available in your area at a comparable price, and whether they do or do not sound comparable to whatever sampling of Yita's instruments you would get is an open question, and independent of that, there's no certainty that you would have the same opinions on sound as that person.
The limiting factor in sound for a violin in this sort of price range is probably the player, not the violin. That could be true for violins in all prices ranges, but the odds are greater that someone choosing a violin at a student price level is at a skill level which wouldn't really be limited by the violin's sound quality.
Of course if you were to ask a store this question, their answer would be that they set them up better, have selected better sources, etc. -- that theirs are to be preferred. I don' find those claims to hold personally, but I suppose in the above case, with comparable prices, the claim is valid for some.
Often vendors have no qualms about selling student violins with inferior sound, as that isn't the limiting factor for the purchaser. In this case, a good setup (which doesn't happen unless someone expends that time and effort, whether in China or locally) can be the more important factor, and a good store with in-house service will rightly make this pitch. Personally, I haven't found Yita's setup to be as poor as is claimed for Chinese/eBay sourced violins in general -- good enough out of the box, but it's also something that can be improved upon in every case for personal preferences.
September 6, 2013 at 01:51 PM · I purchased a Yita music 5 string fiddle about three years ago on a fluke - it was on eBay, and I bid $100 - and then went looking for some used golf clubs that I really wanted. Dang it if I didn't win the auction for a hundred dollar fiddle. Anyway, I optioned for a double case (to fit my old one) and in two weeks it arrived - and I have loved it ever since. After trying different strings, I put some dark Obligato's on to counteract it's tight nature, and they work marvelous - with a Helicore C string. I cannot say how much I love this fiddle - it has a reedy, powerful treble, a solid middle, and a great G tone - the C is what it is. I can't recommend Yita highly enough.
And I forgot to mention, the bridge came wrapped in the pocket, and when I set it, the feet looked as if they grew out of the top of the fiddle - just brilliant. I shaved the C and the E down a bit (I'm not the most accurate bower) and I've been sold ever since. Yita!
January 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM · I have bought from Yita a 16 viola , a M20 best model, oil varnish, 400 US dollars for viola case and cheap brasilwood very well done bow (60 euro in my usual italian shop) my impressions are very much positive, it's a fine instrument , very well done, very deep tone, I have still not changed the strings and tailpiece, there is a sort of noising vibration of all instruments in low strings C and G ( tailpiece particularly) Is this a bad problem or is possible to fit easily changing string and tailpiece? Thx Mauro
January 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Nice looking instrument!
It looks like you are missing a piece of the A string fine tuner. Perhaps the fact that the tension screw is missing from the tuner is causing the vibration sound you are hearing.
January 2, 2014 at 06:36 PM · thanks for the review. I have a teacher friend who has gotten consistently good-to-excellent instruments through Yitamusic over several years. I've just started viola & if I stick with it, I'll be asking my friend to get an instrument from them for me.
January 3, 2014 at 05:34 PM · I have bought also a t20+ Liuxy violin, 450 us dollars with case, brasilwood bow and Aubert deluxe bridge and Dominant strings, very well done, very good spruce and back wood, good varnish, sounding better days after days, G strings perfectly playable from beginning to the end ( it's not easy to find )
If these Yita violins were also well finished and professionally smoothed in the skroll, they could be worthy of 3-4-5 thousand dollars european master violins :-)
January 4, 2014 at 11:49 AM · That looks beautiful. As I said earlier in this thread, I have a T20 in a very dark colour, and bought a Master violin made by Liu Xi himself. Another colleague bought a similar Master violin recently, and she's also delighted with it. And yes, the sound will develop rapidly with playing. Enjoy!
January 4, 2014 at 07:35 PM · Thx Malcom, what's your opinion, my viola has still original chinese strings and chinese tailpiece, it's my first viola, sound is absolutely not bad, very deep, would it be necessary changing strings and tailpiece for a really better performance? Thx again
January 4, 2014 at 08:52 PM · Aren't those Dominants on the viola too? What's the problem with the tailpiece?
January 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM · The only thing I changed on mine was the E string tuner which was very poor quality. On a T20 I would think the strings are Dominant, which should be fine. If you're happy with the sound, that's what matters. I'm currently using PI strings, but as we all know from the many threads on here, strings are very much a matter of personal preference
February 20, 2014 at 08:55 AM · Does anyone know an internet source of sound sample of Liu Xi or Ma Zhibin's master violin? I am interested to get a master hand made violin and found these violins are within reachable budgely.
February 21, 2014 at 02:05 AM · Don't have any performances on-line. (I'm mainly an orchestral player) but as I've said above, I have a Liu Xi master violin and love it. In our quartet, our leader also plays on one, and another violin teacher friend recently bought one, and also loves it. So that's three nice instruments out of the three I know of.
Quite honestly, at the price they are, you can't go wrong. If you don't like it, you could probably sell it at double the price and it would still be a bargain.
July 30, 2014 at 07:26 AM · Hi Guys,
The Yita violins are really good. I did a recording here recently using my left handed t-19. My playing is terrible but it should be enough to hear the proper tone of the violin in several positions.
I ordered a Master violin but because Im a lefty its custom, so will be another few months before its ready.
July 30, 2014 at 09:11 AM · I don't know how much of it is your recording set up but on my pretty good stereo speakers the violins sound kind of grates on the ears, which is a characteristic I often hear on cheap violins whether they be Chinese or 20th century German.
July 30, 2014 at 01:57 PM · Play your Yita to a yellow yeti eating yogurt in a yurt.
July 30, 2014 at 02:42 PM · Aiden: That was pretty darned good! Don't say otherwise! :D
Whatever "grating" Lyndon is hearing...I'm not hearing it on my laptop...
July 30, 2014 at 03:31 PM · Aiden, nice playing. To my ear the violin is okay sounding for a student type violin but the sound lacks any of the richness and tonal complexity that I would expect in a fine violin. Also the high end seems very thin. It's awfully hard to know whether these things are because of your recording, and brilliance on the e-string might require bowing closer to the bridge, etc. But if you're happy with your violin and you feel you've got a good value, then that's really what matters.
I noticed on the yitamusic web site that for $279 you can get a Strad or Steiner copy, but $289 (yes, just *ten dollars* more) you get "speical [sic] processing and carving craftmanship" and note that these "speical" violins are "For advanced players and collectors." And, are you ready for this? The package includes a case and a bow!! How on EARTH do they make a playable kit for under $300 without it being a complete sweat shop? The mind boggles.
July 30, 2014 at 05:59 PM · Lyndon - What is your problem? It sounds great for a $200 instrument! My first violin costed more than twice that some 20 years ago and that one sounded horrible metallic and was ugly to look at.
This is a great instrument for a beginner violinist to fall in love with.
Of course it is not a "great" instrument, but well worth $200.
July 30, 2014 at 09:12 PM · Hi Guys. Thanks for nice feedback. Unfortunately I know very little about good violins, so I have nothing to compare with so your feedback on sound quality is appreciated. My previous/first violin was a right hand re-strung and it was really bad. As a lefty, I have no opportunities to try other violins :-(
July 30, 2014 at 11:15 PM · Actually Paul, these violins are all made in sweat shops.
July 30, 2014 at 11:52 PM · Sweat shop perhaps.
Or perhaps they simply employ a different approach to making violins than the traditional "one at a time, by a single luthier" method.
More like the Henry Ford way of revolutionizing auto manufacturing applied to violins. Sure, you end up with a plain, dependable Ford instead of a hand crafted Rolls Royce, if you catch my analogy.
August 7, 2014 at 07:09 PM · Hi there, I just want to ask about the difference of the master liu xi violin and the other models oft liu xi workshop. My Violine is labeled with liu xi Workshop,made by liu xi,the liu xi is written by the hand,Malcolm maybe you would be so kind to post the picture oft your master violin,thank you
August 7, 2014 at 07:09 PM · Hi there, I just want to ask about the difference of the master liu xi violin and the other models oft liu xi workshop. My Violine is labeled with liu xi Workshop,made by liu xi,the liu xi is written by the hand,Malcolm maybe you would be so kind to post the picture oft your master violin,thank you
August 7, 2014 at 11:22 PM · Luna, I'm not at home at the moment but I'll respond early next week
August 12, 2014 at 03:34 PM · We want pics!
We want pics!
August 12, 2014 at 09:25 PM · Hope this works!
From the original pics on Yita site, but a pretty good representation
The label says "Liu Xi Workshop" but adds
"Made by Liu Xi"
April 13, 2015 at 03:46 AM · Yita Music Violins: I am on my 5th Yita violin and have mostly been impressed with their tone. I have had a T19+ that was loud but not very clear (sold it at a great price to student) . I had another T19 that just opened up with bridge and sound post adjustments ( get the Setter/inserter - it changed everything for me!) It worked with Corelli crystals and I have used them again.
My T20's have been more clear, focused and responsive. Dominants are questionable, you have to hunt if the violin is not a real ringer.
Always get the Aubert DeLuxe upgrade, always!
My M20s, both Strad Models, really have great tone. I have one in particular that is rich and clear - with possible hints of sweetness.
One of my M20s (Still sounds good, like well set up german trade good) came with the G string neck taper shaved way inboard - to almost 1/2 a string thickness to the G String at the E position. I knocked it about with Tao at Yita and he comp'd me a fair bit of gear on my next order, as the violin was not really sellable.
In summary - look at the violins in the picture very very closely. You can get a pretty good price form Yita. Sometimes the antiquing or purfling may not be up to your standards - so look closely. Soundwise I am going to say, as a class, the M20's sound better $ for $ than the OVH Master Masters, as good as the Dieter Sun Soloists but have more character in their looks and sound. Less precise craftsmanship.
I have been pretty happy with Yita's responses to any of my concerns and continue to buy from them.
June 19, 2015 at 02:10 PM · Thanks to everyone who participated in this thread. I decided to find a second fiddle for outdoor and other situations where I don't want to put my No.1 violin at risk.
After a bit of research, settled on a T20 (Liu Xi workshop), the "Cannone" style from Yitamusic. Found one with oil varnish that I thought would be, at least, an intriguing and low-cost experiment.
I've had it a little over a week. After changing strings and futzing to find the exact right bridge location, the violin is really, really good. Shockingly good. It's a joy to play, warm, sweet, open, very resonant. Just lovely. Opening up and improving by the day.
It may be even better than my No. 1 fiddle which is by a well regarded American master and would cost a lot to buy today. I can't quite believe it.
I will post in more detail when I have time. But a violin that sounds this good for that kind of money (under $300) -- that is almost beyond comprehension.
It's almost sad, many of these Chinese workshop violins will never be played by people good enough to fully appreciate them.
But on the other hand, it means for advancing students, serious amateurs, semi-pro players -- a quality instrument is in everybody's budget. There is simply no requirement to spend $10,000 (or even $2,000) as soon as your kid becomes concertmaster of the high school orchestra.
As someone who's played a lot of violins over 45 years, I have no doubt this Liu Xi would compete really well with very expensive violins in blind auditions. I'm tempted to try it with my friends.
Sorry if this sounds like a promotion -- it's really not. Who knows if they're all like this. But the carving and workmanship, while not super refined, is very competent and conscientious. It's not an accident this violin sounds the way it does. It's clearly from a workshop that knows what it's doing.
June 19, 2015 at 02:50 PM · I have a theory that the fact that these guys crank out 100's of violins a year, the craftsmen get to be quite competent at what they're doing.
I have two Yita violas (17" & 17.5") that sound very nice. I had a 15.75", and sold it to my teacher at cost. They are quite pleased as well.
I did have a rather major issue recently with one of the previous violas--the back seam was quite noticibly not flush, somehow there was some sort of offset. It played fine, but I couldn't live with that sort of issue.
I contacted them, and was able to return it no problemo (had to pay the $70 return shipping, and the $70 for the replacement). The replacement (17.5") is my current favorite.
I'm a fan of Yita.
June 19, 2015 at 05:19 PM · Yes, the same thing occurred to me. The Cremona masters cranked out thousands and thousands of violins, and that allowed for a lot of experimentation.
My sense, having read an awful lot of Ebay listings, is that while these Chinese workshops are making lots of violins, they are working from lots of different patterns, sourcing their woods from lots of different places, experimenting with lots of varnishes. That gives them a lot of data about what works and doesn't work.
Meanwhile, unlike the Europeans, they don't have the burden of traditions to uphold, they're not expected to do things in the "German" way or the "French" way, let alone a family tradition, so they don't have to be chained to any way of making violins -- they are free to try different approaches.
Plus some of the Chinese workshops have quite a long history now. In the description for my violin, Yitamusic said Liu Xi workshop has been making the Cannone pattern for 20 years so they've experimented with plate thickness and the arching to get the sound where they want it.
That is what good violinmakers have always done, but perhaps sometimes the factories got so standardized they weren't allowing their craftsmen to experiment. All I know is this is nothing like any factory violin I have ever encountered.
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