I guess I am what you might call a serious neophyte. I began playing violin two years ago when I accepted a strings position in a few states away from home. Having been a band teacher in my previous years, I could not imagine trying to teach something that I could not play. Thus I purchased a Samuel Shen SV800 violin from a local music shop and began learning it. I basically spent the next year learning violin, viola, cello, and bass. Yes, I am that guy. I try to play everything and do well enough to stay beyond most of my students.
I have upgraded my viola recently, about two months ago. I changed from a 16.5" Klaus Mueller Etude Viola to a 16" Rudoulf Doetsch. It was a significant upgrade in terms of tone and playability. I thoroughly love the new viola.
Recently, I was helping my top violinist at one of my schools tune her instrument. Normally I tune it while she plays if she has trouble, but I decided to play it myself. My first thought was, "Boy this is pretty junky!" Then I got to thinking, I have never played a really decent violin. What might I be missing?
Even though I'm not a great, or even a good violinist yet, I still practice for a few hours a day typically. My viola is dark and rich in tone, and my current violin is bright and projects well.
Given the fact that I teach in some "rough" schools, the idea of having school instruments and home instruments are becoming more appealing. So, I'm thinking my old 16.5" viola and my current violin could fit that bill pretty nicely.
Lately I've been poking around of the internet, local shops, and asking advice. My current price range is between $2000-$3000ish. Currently I have four main options: 1. Be cheap. Use my 16.5" viola for school only and get top notch strings for my Shen violin. 2. Purchase a Rudoulf Doetsch violin from my local shop (also my school's repair man and a very nice guy) 3. I recently contacted a shop near my hometown that has a 1937 Oskar Meinel and a John Juzek Master Art for both around $3500. The seller tells me that they are both worth $6000-$8000. 4. Research anything that you may tell me.
So, any advice is appreciated! By the way, I do not believe that I will ever return to being a band teacher. I love strings way too much!!!
Pete the Relentless
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