I've noticed something 'odd' with violins and other bowed instruments. They all seem to be considered 'precious' regardless of their quality/price point.
Is that because, regardless of manufacture, any violin has a potential be a superb soul-rending instrument? Or are we all hoping we find ourselves in possesion of a missing Strad?
Some of us are very price-oriented. If it costs a lot of money, it MUST be a valuable instrument, sound quality notwithstanding. Others seem to be age-oriented. If it's old it MUST be good. Some of us are brand-oriented (look! The faded label says it's a Strad!). Yet others are local-oriented. If it's German or Italian, it's inherently better quality than if it's made in China. If you happen to own an expensive, old Italian violin with a label in it, you've won the jack-pot!
But even being aware of all this I'm still surprised at what lengths we'll go to to defend, protect and repair cheap equipment - be it the violin or the bow.
I'm as bad as anyone. For fun and out of curiosity, about 3 years ago I purchased a $50 violin package. The other day I hauled it out of the closet. I laughed at the painted purfling and the oddly shaped bridge and then spent some time tuning it (which is probably a valuable learning exercise, because it's really, really hard to tune) before I played it. The strings are unevenly spaced making it hard to finger and it buzzes when you play it.
A beginner could never learn to play on this instrument. I have no idea who it's even made for.
When I had my fun, I carefully loosened the warped bow it came with. Put the violin back in the case, covered it gently with the cloth, zipped it up and carefully put it back in the closet.
I know it's not worth anything - really. Maybe the case has some value as a spare but that's about it. Yet I still treat it carefully. I wouldn't be this careful with an old computer, or an old car, or anything else that's cheap and essentially useless...so what is it about a violin?
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