Set up for a cheapo violin for toddlers worth it?

April 29, 2018, 5:08 AM · I bought it online from China 1/8 size for my toddlers. The sound post came loose, bridge not installed.

Asking a violin luthier here in Israel wanted $150 to setup my old meisel violin. Not sure if I can find a cheaper setup from a more generic music store. I read tensioning the strings with out the sound post will ruin the violin. It's only $30 fory twin 2 years old to play with. If it was only like $20 for a sound post installation I'm okay with that, not more. Advice?

Replies (23)

April 29, 2018, 6:27 AM · If you were to come to my shop (several thousand miles away, unfortunately) I would stand things up for you for free (and have done so many times for people), but with the understanding that what you would have would probably not be a fully-functional violin. However, a violin "toy" is a concept I can support as an introduction to music.

I read the other day on the BMI (music licensing) site that they don't pursue elementary schools, because they feel that introducing kids to music is more important than squeezing a few pennies from children. That's the way I feel about it, too, in situations like yours.

But if your child gets serious and really wants to play and take lessons, I hope you will then get a proper violin, correctly set up--it makes all the difference!

Edited: April 29, 2018, 6:52 AM · Michael, I'm curious - what tools do you have that will set up a sound post on a 1/8 size violin?
I have tools (S and scissors-type) for full-size violin/viola and for cello, but I suspect they are oversize for very small instruments - are they?

Another question: Is it likely that tuning up a 1/8 size violin without a soundpost would actually damage it or would it just make it easier on the ears of the rest of the family?

April 29, 2018, 6:53 AM · Why don't you just find a luthier who isn't such a jerk? Or a violin teacher who has the tools and is in the habit of helping his or her students with occasional setup issues.
April 29, 2018, 7:38 AM · If you've got 2-year-olds, try a foam violin and fake bow. They come in proper sizes. An eighth is giant on a 2-year-old.

Like this: LINK (Foamalin 1/32nd)

April 29, 2018, 8:33 AM · Buy a sound post setter and do it yourself.
April 29, 2018, 9:20 AM · If you can't find a non-jerk luthier you'll have to do it yourself. Make a tool from a coat hanger or a setter from China's only a few dollars.
April 29, 2018, 12:16 PM · My son's first 1/16 violin was from china. When the soundpost fell off, it started sound significantly better. ))))))

April 30, 2018, 7:08 AM · What did your toddler ever do to you?
April 30, 2018, 6:14 PM · Is a real violin safe for a toddler?

It may take a few years for a parent to catch on that they're a year or more ahead of the child's development.

April 30, 2018, 7:20 PM · Andrew, I have a tiny setter for tiny violins, but my full size one would probably fit, too.
Actually, the lack of a post probably would not be structurally dangerous!
April 30, 2018, 7:23 PM · Even though my little guy (also 2 years old) keeps asking for a violin (and tiny bow! he emphasizes), I've refused to give him one.

This is because I do not want him to get into the habit of treating a violin and bow like a toy, rather than the fragile objects that they are. Until he's capable of being careful and gentle with him, he can't have them.

I did get him a little Foamalin violin and bow, which he can play with under supervised conditions. I also enforce that they have to be treated gently, even though they are cheap and pretty hard to damage.

May 1, 2018, 1:22 AM · Lydia, wow. I never saw this before. What it is ment for?

Why do you think foamalin is better start than chineese vso? The prise is the same, and the feeling how to hold violin and the bow is closer to reality in case of chineese vso. As well as child can see a direct effect of the different postures, holdingd, bowings etc on the sound.

May 1, 2018, 5:32 AM · Foamalin, box violins, etc. are intended to teach a child proper posture before they are able to handle a real instrument.

This is a matter of personal preference, but I don't want my son to treat a real instrument like a toy. Nor do I want to give him bad habits by having him play with the thing. I don't give him free access to the Foamalin, either.

May 1, 2018, 5:40 AM · Hmmm. Actually, my son's teacher told us, that she started violin lesson from a piece of wood in form of violin, before she got a violin from her teacher.
May 1, 2018, 6:10 AM · It may or may not be relevant here, but when I was a kid I asked for and got virtually every toy musical instrument I saw. I was more interested in some than others, but fascinated by all of them. Look what happened. . . .

Maybe an actual violin might not be specifically necessary. There are some very nice cheap ukeuleles for kids.

May 8, 2018, 8:28 PM · Michael on that note I plan on buying my son (1 year old) a Hape Ukeulele when he’s a little older. Right now he has a small one with plastic strings my dad bought him while on a cruise that he loves to strum while I practice. We want him to continue to enjoy making music and the ukeulele seems like a great starting point.
May 9, 2018, 8:58 AM · Lydia, thanks for the suggestion. My son is 2.5 and he likes to dance while he watches me play and is interested in the violin (because I am, of course;)

I think a foamalin for some structured time might be a nice introduction to posture. What size should I get? 1/32 or 1/16? My son is average or slightly below average size for his age.

May 9, 2018, 5:20 PM · Does the foamalin make sounds? If not, what's the point?
May 9, 2018, 7:59 PM · Probably a 1/32, but it depends on his arm length. Long arms, a 1/16 will probably be better.

No, the Foamalin doesn't make sounds. (My son has a Korg TinyPiano for that.)

May 10, 2018, 12:06 AM · I would guess that for most children the attraction of instruments is making sounds. It was for my children. I have a small violin that they could play on with me. We played piano together and they had a number of percussive instruments that they could play on unsupervised. A silent violin would probably not have interested them very long.
Edited: May 10, 2018, 1:01 AM · That was the story or the legend of Menuhin, wasn't it? He fell in love with the sound of violin after a concert and a friend of the family gave him a toy violin. After some minutes he threw it to the wall because "It doesn't sing!!" after that, they gave him a real one...
Early children education... Always controversial in every chapter... When, how, by whom and with what...

We just do our best.

May 10, 2018, 6:20 AM · My son has the Melissa & Doug band-in-a-box percussion sets, but he was far more interested in them as an infant, than he is now. He is intrigued by making a sound on the violin during those "instrumental petting zoo" things and whatnot, but having the Foamalin is more along the line of having, say, a pretend phone.
May 14, 2018, 6:43 AM · Make your own sound post setter from a coat hanger. It's tricky, but since you don't really care about perfectly placing it, you can just jam it up there. Use a dentist's pick tool to stabilize it. Now if the post is wrong size (possibly why it came down), you are going to have to get one cut and that will cost you because the time involved is significantly more than just setting one.

Not all these China violin's are junk. My kid's 1/8 size showed up with an uncut bridge for a 1/4 size. We got a local luthier to cut a proper one for about $40 USD and that instrument has been used by her and her sister to play some very nice sounding stuff.

YES, you will crack it if you apply tension to the top without a soundpost. If you don't plan to tension up the strings, then you should just go with a foam violin, cause all the kids will be learning is posture and biomechanics.

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