Hello, all. I’ve been playing violin for about two years. I still have my starter, a Cecilio CVN 500. I’ve had to have the bridge lowered, changed to synthetic strings and had the grooves in the nut adjusted to get the strings lowered to be closer to the fingerboard.
If I could do it again I’d have looked for a better quality starter violin but knew next to nothing at the time.
I’m shopping to upgrade now and have read very good reviews on Carlo Lamberti Classic and Master instruments. They’re available from Shar on a trial basis I believe. Would anyone have any thoughts on the upgrade? Any thoughts on what I should consider?
If you are in an area that will allow you to do so, I highly recommend going to a music store, string shop, or luthierie, to find your step up instrument. Especially if you go to a place that specializes in strings, they'll likely have something that will be worlds better than your Cecilio instrument (set-up properly, real ebony fingerboard, real purfling, etc.) and you will get to play the instrument first. I highly suggest never buying an instrument that you've not been able to play first.
If you have a violin shop in town, start there. You'll pay a few hundred bucks more but the service is worth it. Otherwise, maybe consider SHAR, Southwest Strings, Johnson String Instruments and similar. They can mail you violins and you can try before you commit. Shipping is costly but the prices will be lower and will somewhat compensate.
For under $2000. I'd look at some of the instruments from House of Weaver, I'm pretty sure you can get them from Potters. Instruments like the Beck, Henson, Mastertone, and Kono are really nice sounding for the price. We are talking $1200-$3000 here and Joshua Bell has a Kono. Just give Potter a call, it looks like they don't have everything listed on their website. I've seen many musicians use these in a hall and they just out perform so many instruments. Check with your local shop and ask your teacher for guidance.
Just another plug for Carlo Lamberti series from Shar. I was able to try mine out when Shar came to my city (then Cambridge MA) and had an exhibition. I blogged about the search and purchase process here: https://www.violinist.com/blog/ravena/20094/10007/
I've seen some really shady ebay deals coming from House of Weaver, obviously new Chinese bows being sold as antiques
Thanks to all for the replies!
Lamberti violins I think are Chinese instruments. The Martin Beck and Mastertone/Jurgen Klier are Romanian and German Instruments. I think Shar carries the Ming Jiang Zhu, those are excellent Chinese instruments, there is even a model with European tone wood.
Lambertis are indeed Chinese instruments. Are the Romanian and German ones you mentioned higher quality violins?
I personally think they are higher quality and better sounding. I used to work at a shop and got myself the Romanian instrument. A lot of teachers and professional musicians locally would get them as second instruments to gig outside and teach. I'm located in Michigan so the shop I worked for would get a lot of Shar converts. Potters may be your best bet to find the Beck and Mastertone. Weaver gets these instruments in the white and finishes them here in the USA with final graduations, bass bar, and varnish. He only deals with up to one shop per state, but I think Potters has the online distribution and good customer service. I wish I could still get them for my customers.
Let me put in another vote for Potter's which has been my luthier for many years and has been very helpful, particularly when I bought my first (and only) viola. I do not have an opinion on particular violins, but I do have a thought or two on process. Make sure you play a good number of violins and do so with the bow you will be using so that you hear what the violin sounds like and feels like with your bow. And, make sure to have someone else play your top picks for you so that you can hear how the violin will sound to others.
I am currently trying out the Carlo Lamberti Master Series violin from Shar (the one listed at $1,500.). It definitely still needs to warm up. My other violin was a Scott Cao STV017 which sounds quite nice in my opinion for the price.
I've had great experiences with home trials from Fiddlershop.com (one of the v.com sponsors... see link on each forum page). I'm just a satisfied customer. I don't work for them :)