Help me purchase a violin, I keep getting scammed
I purchased my very first violin from an online store 2 years ago. It costed me $80. Back then, I knew nothing about violins. Seemed decent to me at first until I started to get more advanced. The string clearance is so high that they dont produce good sound even in the fourth position. If I play at 6th position, I wont be able to press it all the way down without breaking the strings) . When played at 4th position and beyond. they sound like I am playing artificial harmonics at the wrong spot. (in other words, they dont 'ring' at all)
I get really discouraged when I attempt to play in higher positions and so I am forced to limit myself to 1st position, which pulls my learning curve down.
In my country, violins are super rare. I've never come across a music store selling violins. So I went to ebay to purchase a second hand violin, with a budget of $300. I did not want a Chinese violin (my first violin was Chinese), and therefore after failing at several bidding processes, I finally won one. A beautiful violin with a lionhead scroll with an antique case. I was well over my budget and I ended up paying $450 for it.
But then when It reached my country, custom clearance charged me with another $180. I had exhausted all my savings. As a student who's mother is a widow, I had very little to start with. But I was really excited to play on it.
The seller had sent it to me without no strings, and no chin rest and so after spending hours, I got everything fixed. Fingers Crossed, I played some scales on it and was disappointed. The bridge was so low (or finger board so high) that when the strings were played, their free oscillation was being obstructed by the finger board and so they were producing a buzzing sound. I also noticed that the finger board was not in the center. It is tilted towards the left and the strings have to be bent at a horizontal angle at the bridge so that they can reach the tail piece (or the tail piece has to be shifted towards the left). And as if that wasn't enough, the sound post is installed at a wrong spot (it is at 3 finger distance from the bridge)
The country in which I live consist of no luthiers. So I could not have gotten it fixed. Installed the strings and chin rest back on my old violin. Been practicing on the old violin ever since.
Ive been trying to sell it on ebay for a loss. There dont seem to be any buyers.
Could anybody either sell their spare to me, or tell me how I can purchase one by means of internet. My budget is $400.
Yes I know its low by your standards, but thats a huge sum in a country in which I live. Given this budget, I dont expect it to sound like Stradivarius, but I'll be satisfied with it if it continues to serve me for atleast next 5 years. It only has to sound decent and not restrict me to 1st position.
YES, I am aware that one should try a violin before purchasing it, but sire! I dont have that luxury owing to where I live. How I wish I had.
Any Suggestions or guide would be much appreciated.
What country do you live in?
Does your capital city have a symphony orchestra?
No it doesn't have a string quartet, let alone a symphony orchestra. The culture is not conducive to western classical music. The country has its own instruments and its own system of music theory.
Here's some old wisdom: when you swim against the flow, you have to swim better. If you are doing an activity that it's not mainstream, you need to learn more skills than when you are surrounded by professionals who can assist you.
@Carlos I did try to fix the sound post. It fell. Spent quite some while trying to insert it back, but I could not.
The OP asks for a suggestion. I suggest fiddlershop.com.
For the first violin you got what you paid for, the second violin is unfortunately what you can expect from an unknown seller on eBay. You have some serious figuring out to do if you can't sell that second violin, which will be difficult given its lack of a proper setup. It might not be all that bad, but you just can't swap bridges and, oh my gosh, put cardboard under! One option for you it seems is to figure how to set it up yourself if you keep that instrument. Go on YouTube, and watch as many how to setup a bridge, soundpost, tailpiece as you can possibly find to educate yourself about what you are up against, and what it will take to set it up properly. Alternatively, find a luthier to whom you can ship it out to for a proper setup, that might be your best option. You already invested so much, and you may even have a half decent instrument that may just need a proper setup. If you told us what country you live in that would be helpful.
Can you send it back to the EBay seller? Isn’t there a clause if you are not satisfied (or get a product that isn’t quite what it was suppose to be?)
1. Was the ebay violin you received exactly as described? I mean, did the seller explictly stated that the violin would be sent without chinrest nor strings? Was the violin shown without chinrest and strings in the pictures? If the answer is no, start an ebay dispute if you still can. You should get your money back if the item was not as described.
I live in a remote part of India.
I wonder if you can spare a small part of your budget on a flight ticket. Sometimes the budget airline has promotion. If not, go on a very long bus trip. That will either get you to a big city or the capital, or another country that either has a luthier, or a violin shop.
@Sivrit There are no luthiers in this country. I can assure you that. 99.9% people here have never seen a violin.
They make violins in India, and Indian classical music uses the violin, maybe not where you are but in India.
Aditya wrote "I told him to not purchase it because it doesn't play well." ...
India is a very large subcontinent and for all intents and purposes the OP may as well be in a different country, but I googled and found luthiers and/or violin shops in Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Calcutta.
It is a large country indeed. But the OP stated there were no luthiers in the country...
Mumbai, aka Bombay, had a western symphony orchestra at one time, founded by Mehli Meta, Zubin' M. father.
@Joel : Yes there used to be a symphony orchestra. But it was short lived. It got disbanded.
Did it disband? I found this:
Using a price sheet from the linked
@Sivrit, it’s a Concerto for ‘tabla’, Haha
"@Sivrit, it’s a Concerto for ‘tabla’, Haha "
@J Ray: "Aditya I think you've made a mistake in denigrating local and Chinese instruments. At your price level, you should be looking to buy in the east rather than from the west."
A beginner I know bought a Stentor violin from our local luthier-run violin shop in Bristol, England, who had set it up for her (that's a very important point). She asked me to play it so that she could hear its real sound (hopefully!).
Even though your first violin was crap, they do make very nice student violins in China, the problem probably is that they go to straight to luthiers in different countries.
I produced a few concerts for Dr. Subramaniam here in the US, and I thought he was a skilled violinist in his tradition, which indeed does involve working up the neck. Your comment that "Indian classical music involves only scales" and your attitudes about music and musicians from your own country strike me as sad and uninformed. Good luck on finding a violin.
Re: "India is a very large subcontinent and for all intents and purposes the OP may as well be in a different country"
Now that the web is here, however, perhaps an exchange of photos or a Skype call to a luthier might clarify some options.
The violin is an expensive hobby. Trumpet, clarinet, or saxophone are cheaper.
I LOVE my Gliga violin, made in Romania. Excellent quality for the money.
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