What do you use when your violin is in the shop?

April 16, 2018, 4:38 AM · Unfortunately, my violin is in need of a repair. I took it to the shop for an estimate this weekend, and while the cost seems reasonable, they've told me that they might need to keep the instrument for 4-6 weeks!

Since I don't plan on taking an extended break from practicing, I'm wondering what people generally use while their violin is in the shop. Do people typically rent or borrow a violin from the shop while their's is being repaired? Or do most people have a second (or third) beater violin to use while their precious is in the violin spa? Should I take a European vacation and see what used 18th c. violins are hanging in shops in Paris and Vienna? Thanks for any advice...

Replies (14)

April 16, 2018, 5:36 AM · I bought a $105 picnic fiddle for that reason. It's also a good time to test drive some potential upgrades.Some places will allow you a week or two to try one out.
April 16, 2018, 5:54 AM · My luthier has two violins of his own making that he uses as "loaners" for regular clients. It's a good business practice that I believe has resulted in some sales for him. I have more than one violin, though, so there's always a backup at home for me.
April 16, 2018, 6:13 AM · I have two violins, which are both well set up, and each can be a stand-in for the other if necessary. However, my local luthier would loan me an instrument if I didn't have a spare.
April 16, 2018, 6:25 AM · Most shops will loan you a fiddle, for free, if you're going to be without yours for more than a day or two.
April 16, 2018, 7:30 AM · I have three fiddles that I play on each day. None are "beaters" -- if I need to have one in the shop, I rely on the other two.
April 16, 2018, 10:31 AM · I have 4 very different inexpensive violins, one is designated for outside use, for sun and rain. Every violinist should probably have a back-up instrument. Some major soloists will have a custom-made replica of their very valuable primary violin, for travel and practice. You don't need to do all of your practicing with your best violin and bow, you can save them for the performance.
Edited: April 16, 2018, 11:10 AM · All my violins are in the shop, I live in the shop!! I also offer to loan an instrument of similar value when a customer brings in their violin for work.
April 16, 2018, 1:35 PM · My first full size violin, kept for sentimental reasons, is well set up and ever ready to be a stand in.
April 16, 2018, 5:02 PM · As Lydia said, my experience with reputable luthiers has been that they are more than happy to give you a free loan violin while working on your fiddle. Same with bow rehair. It's not uncommon sometimes a loan becomes a new purchase.
April 16, 2018, 5:35 PM · What everyone else has already said, but you really should check out the Violin Shops of Paris, and if you can't find something there Vienna or even London might do at a pinch!
Edited: April 17, 2018, 8:58 AM · I have two violins, a modern violin made in 50s', and a 18th century antique violino, which is not in good condition and needs to be maintained and repaired often, so I do not play the antique one, for studying and practice I use modern one.
April 20, 2018, 9:19 AM · My luthier will loan out a violin during the period they are working on mine. It is not as good as mine, but it is not a beater.
April 21, 2018, 2:47 PM · I used to have 2 backup violins when my violin was in the shop. Now I just use the electric violin. It still works
May 1, 2018, 2:31 PM · I use my mandolin. Sometimes the mandolin player in our bluegrass band can't make it to jams.

But seriously, I still have the old fiddle I started out on, and it could tide me over.

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