I went violin shopping today and came home with a beautiful instrument that I am totally in love with. Since I haven't been playing long, my husband and I invited friends along. Lynn has been playing the violin for 4 years. Her husband has been playing various instruments for over 50 years, including the violin. It was very interesting comparing the different violins.
First we looked on the wall and found my cut off on price (well, a little over). Then we backed up and went down the wall choosing the ones that we wanted to try. We took the first two on the wall. The first one was nice, but I didn't like the look of it. Very bright, shiny and orange. I know, looks shouldn't matter I really didn't like it.
Violin #2 was off the list before Lynn even got to hear it. It repulsed me immediately which was very shocking. When I bowed the open D it was as if all the sound came out of the f holes, surrounded my head and socked me in the face. I practically threw it at Lynn. Get it away from me!
Violin #3 had a better sound than #4 but was quickly replaced by #5 which was Romanian, workshop made and had a nice, bright sound.
#6 sounded very nice and mellow but #7 was nicer still (obviously going up in price here!). So we narrowed it down to #5 and #7. There was about a $400 price difference. I started playing each violin quickly back to back. I liked the sound of both but prefer a more mellow sound (I use to play the cello). The more I played one then the other, I started leaning towards #7.
So Lynn said it was time to pick out a bow. She picked out two - one carbon fiber and one brazil wood. My budget was quickly eaten up by the violin so I had been leaning towards a very cheap bow with the idea of upgrading later. This is about the time our husbands joined us by my husband was not allowed to look at the price tags. He was told to just listen. I played both violins several times with both bows and we all agreed the carbon fiber sounded good on violin #7. It also felt very well balanced and very easy to hold compared to my rental stick that I had been using. I was amazed at the difference the right bow makes (keep in mind I have only been playing for 3 months)
Lynn then played both violins one after the other. #5 sounded much brighter and crisp and on some songs I thought it sounded preferable. #7 was darker and more mellow and held it's undertones better. They asked my husband which he preferred to hear since he would have to listed to this daily. I told him to go to the other side of the door because that's how he normally hears me! In the end, we all agreed that #7 (the most expensive one!) was the best one for me. It sounded better to my ear when I played it. My husband knows the music that I enjoy and agreed that #7 would bring more enjoyment for me. Lynn said it was a joy to play and her preference as well.
From the tag: 1990's Chinese - workshop made - refinished and set up at Acoustic Corner summer of 2009. Purportedly a Samuel Shen imported in the White and unlabeled in the 1990's. Badly finished then refinished. All rosewood fittings (pegs, chin rest and saddle).
My violin is a beautiful dark bay color with nice flaming on the back. The refinish job was very well done. My husband is a woodworker and I admire beautiful wood in all it's art forms. The rosewood fittings really set off the color well. It's very chocolaty looking. It's beautiful to look at and (for me) to play.
Best of all, I got the violin I wanted, a better case than I could afford, a better bow than I could afford and a free set of strings and after a little bargaining I was within my budget by $1.36. What a happy day!
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