3/4 Size Violin

March 10, 2004 at 06:24 AM · am trying to find an inexpensive first violin. renting in my area is not really an option so was looking to purchase one for my 8 yr old to begin playing on. someone told me Gigli was okay but would like more input. I realize most of you are way beyond beginning but...perhaps you are the best people to help

Replies (10)

March 10, 2004 at 11:19 AM · I asked for advice ona 3/4 violin in an earlier thread; if you look up the threads listed under the different themes, I am sure you will find it.

If you can't, her's what I did for my 8-year old. I bought a cheap Chinese 1/2 violin complete with case and all, cost 97 euros, then changed the strings to Pirastro (32 euros), a new bridge (2.50) and a new rosin cake (8 euros). That seemed a really cheap starter for me (the violin was tested as OK by his teacher)...because starting out my daughter on the clarinet 2 years earlier had been much more expensive (900 euros, then the reeds and then a new mouthpiece), etc.

The reason was that although my son seemed to have a good musical ear and had done very well in his first year of music school (solfeo), I didn't trust him to stick to the violin,as he is a great one for complaining..I thought that in a couple of months he would lose his patience with the instrument. I turned out be quite wrong, and now this cheap violin is a handicap really and am looking for a better 3/4 violin, hence the thread.

But the point is that about 12+ 8 year old students took up the violin in that year, but the place they are in violin learning now has very little to do with the money spent on the instrument. And now that he is in his second year, I am in a better postion to judge how much I am able to spend on his next instrument (his ability, his interestin learning and practising, etc.)

P.S. I am assuming that you are a "normal" person and have limited funds at your disposal to distribute among all you family needs, like me!

March 10, 2004 at 02:26 PM · thanks. i will look up your thread. and yes I am a 'normal' person....4 kids, 5 cats, bills etc....

March 10, 2004 at 11:37 PM · Ho, I am relieved to know I'm not the only one "normal" person who pays bills, bills and more bills!

Anyway I recomend all my little student's parents to go with simple inexpensive violins to start, as they grow out of them fast and sometimes they decide to play something else. When they get to the 4/4 full size and are motivated them maybe it's time to shop for something better. My soon is 12 and he is still playing on a Palatino, made in china with Dominant strings. I have violins in the house from 150 to 50,000 dollars but I would not want to see an instrument (investment) of lets say over $250 going around school getting used and abused by a young boy. There are kids who are very good and responsible with their instruments (like I was, a tipical nerd) but my soon is not, I could only imagine the tortures to the instrument. Actually he already has a crack on the top of it. On the sound post side. Can you imagine that on a $1000 violin?

Just my 2 cents from the proud family "normal" father of 2 beautiful boys.


March 11, 2004 at 11:58 AM · Hey,

maybe we could start a normal bill-paying section...I only mentioned that because in another thread on shopping for violins under 10,000 (4/4 obviously), there were a few posts from youngsters who said that money was no problem, or had parents that were able to whizz around the US (have a read).

That frightened me, I can tell you.

Peter, the violin I mentioned is also a Palatino, glad that at least one other person uses it; and my son is very careful in using it; except when he can't get something right and then we here these awful sounds when he plays a few really hard bow strokes for his frustration. His dad and I are wondering whether to keep the Palatino for future use when he gets angry with his next (hopefully under 600 euros) violin!

Only thing, I took the violin we selected in the shop on the understanding that I would have to show it to his teacher and get it approved, otherwise change it. If you can get a shop that lets you do that with a 100 dollar violin, it might make it a safer buy.

March 11, 2004 at 06:35 PM · A shoddy instrument can make a tremendous difference in a student's development of pitch awareness. A cheap instrument can put out false overtones or not the right ones at all, thus hindering a student's ability to discern when they are in tune or out of tune. Instrument aside, if you have a very limited budget and would like to somehow upgrade your child's instrument consider purchasing a better quality wood bow. The bow that comes with the Palatino, for example, is wood but also warps easily. Good strings shops like Shar and Southwestern can guide you towards a relatively inexpensive but quality bow. The improved bow will help in the development of tone production and expression.

March 11, 2004 at 09:03 PM · Andreas Zeller student violins have a nice tone when Domninant strings are fitted in. 4/4 violins cost about £300-£500 so 3/4 may be slightly cheaper. They come with a case and fibre-glass bow.


March 12, 2004 at 11:37 AM · Dear All,

Thanks for your suggestions, will look up these things. However, there do not seem to have been any problems like what you described in the cheap violin. My son attends a conservatory, and three out of the four violin teachers there are members of out city orchestra, so I think they would be quick to point out any such mistakes. IN fact, he does manage to produce a very decent sound out of his cheap violin. Yes, the next one (3/4) will be the best we can afford, but have to still keep in mind to leave the real investment (within our means) for when he has to upgrade to a full-size violin.

What I meant was, he is producing much better music on his cheap violin than a lot of other parents who went in for more expensive stuff, or even one who had a really good one. So perhaps there is something to be said for the music-maker vs the instrument.

Of course, I think he would really benefit form a better violin, and his teachers and us are looking into that now.

March 12, 2004 at 02:34 PM · thanks all. I do agree that I will get the most affordable (not the cheapest) and hopefully he will enjoy it. I played double bass for 5 yrs in school and liked it.Of course the school supplied that instrument. he is just wayyyyy to small to ply a bass

March 14, 2004 at 04:00 PM · You don't say where you live, so my recommendations may not be logistically simple. However, it IS true, as previous writers have noted, that the quality of the instrument will directly impact the rate and level at which your child is able to achieve. Almost all of my students are purchasing instruments from one of two family-owned luthiers: The String House, from Rochester, NY or Reuning, in Boston. Both of these businesses have been in existence for more than 25 years, and were begun because of the need of their own children for fine quality incremental instruments at affordable prices. Both companies have wonderful trade-in policies, which allow you to guarantee that you will be able to sell-back an instrument when your child is ready for a new one, and you can add the amount of money that you are comfortable spending on the next instrument. They are very good with working with individual's budgets, and quality needs, to the extent possible. One final note - I hope that your 8 year old is the size of the "average" 5th grader. In my studio, the 8 & 9 year olds are all on 1/8 & 1/4 size violins. There are a couple of almost 10 year olds who are getting ready to try 1/2s. For the health of your child's body, as well as his ease of violin playing, PLEASE make sure that the sizing is done relative to all aspects of his body, not just that the tips of his fingers might be able to stretch far enough to reach the scroll (common practice at many music shops and in US public schools), but not the most important thing - his SHOULDER should EASILY be able to support the weight of the instrument, for comfort and success. Good luck!

March 15, 2004 at 11:40 AM · hello,

Well, I live in Spain, so do not have access to the companies you mention. I can only say what has been my experience. Yes, my son started at 8 on a 1/2 violin, and will need a 3/4 soon. All I can say is, that I don't htink I am able to spend more than a certain amount on a 3/4 violin (although it will be much more than on his first cheap Chinese violin) because he has shown interest, capability, and practised enough to show us he is taking it seriously (well, for an 8-year old). I would spend very serious money (for me, nothing in the range of some things nmentioned on this board unless I win the lottery, and even then)only on a full size violin.

Phylliss, let us know how you get on!

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