Recommendations, anyone?

September 30, 2014 at 05:10 PM · So after breaking my wrist a year ago and having sold my violin to cover the medical costs of patching up torn tendons and the such, I've an insatiable urge to play the violin again.

--But this time I don't have my violin anymore. Just my trusty dorfler bow that was by my side since I paired it with.

Are there any recommended violins under $1000 on the net that are known to be playable and rewarding in tone? I've recently heard the Mezzo Violins and those have killer tone...

Replies (21)

September 30, 2014 at 11:04 PM · Use extreme caution when buying any violin online. I'd highly recommend buying from a reputable shop that does good setup work. They can even play the instruments over phone or skype for you so that you have a better idea what you are getting. Also, buying from a reputable shop gets you a trial period with hassle-free returns.

Sorry, no specific recommendations, merely cautionary advice.

September 30, 2014 at 11:06 PM · I would advise against bidding on antique violins on eBay like the plague. You might get lucky and find one that is playable and with decent tone, but in general the condition and setup will be bad and the winning bid will be at an inflated price.

You should find threads on the forum where experienced teachers talk about various online shops that have money back guarantees, rentals with option to buy so you can try out the violin, and a trade up policy where part of your original purchase price is applied to a more expensive violin.

For $1,000, you should be able to get something beautiful, new, playable and with a lovely tone.

September 30, 2014 at 11:08 PM · I have bought two violins from Old Violin House on ebay. Both were good and one is great. But buying online is a bit of a lucky dip ; you are far better off buying from a good violin shop that has already set up the violin. This way you can also try it before you buy it.

The only reason I bought online is because there are no violin shops within a thousand miles of where I live.

October 1, 2014 at 12:38 AM · I've had good experiences with Old Violin House as well.

The Yang Weis ai have ftom there are quite capable. The Opera models have also been pretty consistently good.

Shoot them a line. The owner is also from Singopore

October 6, 2014 at 08:11 AM ·

I've won one! At a cheap price too! Though I'm not so sure if the tone-gauge is spot on. The last time I bought a Gasparo Da Salo 5 string from them, it sounded quite dead even though a new set of strings and a bridge was on though. Unfortunately, a tumble down a long flight of stairs broke it into pieces. Will this violin need some tweaking as well?

October 6, 2014 at 08:33 AM · In this world many people do crazy things. In the violin world buying a violin unplayed on line is one of those crazy things.

October 6, 2014 at 01:19 PM · Congrats! Hope it works out for you. Whether or not it will sound good...or need a question no one can answer. You have to wait to see it and play it in person. Then you'll know.

I've bought 4 instruments now, over the years...on-line. Two from reputable shops and 2 from eBay. They are all fine. The one that came with 'cheap' strings needed better strings...that's the only thing I've needed to do to make it playable...

October 6, 2014 at 04:28 PM · @Peter Charles

I wholly agree with your statement but it is only through doing crazy things, that a person will be able to find a great deal. I quote Robert Anthony Salvatore: 'Sane is boring.'

@N.A Mohr

That is actually pretty reassuring. I think I'll have my luthier pimp my new buy out within reasonable means!

Thanks for the help, everyone!


October 6, 2014 at 05:13 PM · Yes, you are probably right. It is something I would not do myself. I would want to see and hear it before even considering it, but that's just my caution with such important things as a fiddle, or any instrument.

Good luck and let us know the outcome.

October 6, 2014 at 06:26 PM · I was going to bid on that one....

She's a beauty!

October 12, 2014 at 08:48 AM ·

The violin sounds great! Now I just have to get my bowing back...

Thanks guys! Link to sound is above.

October 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Did you put new strings on it, or are those the ones that came with it?

October 12, 2014 at 01:45 PM · That was fast!

So far...sounds good! What's it like in the upper registars?

October 12, 2014 at 02:30 PM · I threw on my old tonica strings. The strings that they came with were really hard to play on. Metal core strings I think?

The violin has a really round bottom. But a rather weak A/E so they are pretty tame. I would saw mellow but that's just my taste. The A and E is lacking but can be resolved by a trip to the luthier's!

Again, thanks for all the recommendations. One can certainly get a deal at the $150US level these days..

October 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM · It's interesting; you can get a decent violin for $150, but then you have to go out and spend $50-75 for a set of new strings.

If the Chinese could make as good knock offs of strings as they do violins we could really get outfitted on the cheap!

October 13, 2014 at 08:01 PM · Peter said

"In this world many people do crazy things. In the violin world buying a violin unplayed on line is one of those crazy things."

Well, I must be crazy - but that's probably not news to anyone here. I took a chance on a T20 violin from Yita. It wasn't very much, and I felt I could afford to risk the outlay. It turned out to be a nice violin from the Liu Xi workshop. Later, I bought a "Master" violin made by Liu Xi himself. After my earlier gamble, I didn't think this was much of a risk. I have been playing on it now for nearly 5 years as my main instrument, replacing a quite nice newish English violin (1933). Two colleagues have bought similar instruments, and both are pleased with them.

Something about nothing ventured etc.

October 13, 2014 at 09:34 PM · How much was the 1933 violin ?

October 13, 2014 at 10:30 PM · It's never been sold!

It was made by a guy called George Hemmings who worked for Rushworth and Dreaper in Liverpool. He made it for a friend of his and the label says "for Arnold Cowell Esq".

He later passed it on to my Dad's uncle, who was a violinist, and when he stopped playing, he passed it on to me when I was in my mid teens.

I was lucky to have such a good instrument and because of its history I could never conceive of selling or trading it. I used it through my full-time professional career.

As I said, I now use my Chinese instrument and love it. It's nicely even - especially up the strings, and responsive.Seems to make a nice noise too - at least, nobody's complained! And, as I said, a couple of colleagues have bought similar Liu Xi instruments and are pleased with them.

October 14, 2014 at 12:32 AM · ARE a cheapskate!


Or, have the Midas touch more likely

October 14, 2014 at 07:29 AM · Probably right on the first option. I certainly don't have any Midas touch. But I HAVE always been lucky!

October 15, 2014 at 09:09 AM · As Malcom Turner said, 'It's one of those crazy things to buy online!'

Well I did this some years back when I asked a Beijing (China) luthier to make me a copy of the Lord Wilton Guarnerius Del Gesu of 1742. However before doing this I needed some insurance so I contacted several of his customers for some information. In general they were all very pleased but did moan a little about the varnish being easily damaged due to it's soft texture. As it happens I have to agree with them having now played on this instrument for some time. Yes it is a very accurate copy complete with antique appearance, but the varnish is way too soft. I am guessing he did this for tonal reasons using a higher than usual amount of linseed oil.

Buying online is a little risky so just try to make a few enquiries before you pay.

Incidentally my instrument was made by Bai Li Xing who has now recently retired.

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