How important is it to have a new violin set-up by a professional?
I currently play a Gliga Gems 1 that I purchased two years ago from the manufacturer. I never had the instrument set-up professionally and my teacher never mentioned it as something I should do.
I have no complaints with my instrument (other than the bridge which I'm not too crazy about), but I have been looking at higher priced/more advanced instruments recently and wondered if having my instrument set-up properly might be a better investment?
P.S: I'm beginner player (approximately 2.5 years of lessons).
Regardless of what Cotton may tell you, violin set-up is not a DIY thing.
Violin set-up is most definitely a DIY-thing, but you can't just jump into it headlong. You will break something, yes. If you're too scared to work with your hands, take it to a luthier. If you're a obsessive like me, you will do yourself a favour by spending a few hours learning everything you can about the violin on Youtube and other sites. Carving, making strings, fitting bridges, etc. Everything. Then you can carefully start practising.
Violin set-up CAN BE A DIY THING, but if you don't know what you are doing, don't do it!
Sound post cracks are a DIY thing.
Phil, I wouldn't know what sort of setup work might benefit your violin without examining it, and maybe carrying out a few experiments.
"Sound post cracks are a DIY thing."
Get it set up with someone who knows their stuff. My bridge fell and the sound post shifted slightly. The change in my violin was profound and awful. My luthier spent five minutes with it and brought it back to its usual, roaring self.
At the risk of offending our forum experts, I would say you may consider DIY for cheap violins (<$500) if you have plenty of free time. IMO it makes sense from an economic standpoint. And you learn a lot from fine-tuning the instrument.
Matt, I am not offended. If someone wants to learn, I would also recommend doing it on low-value instruments. One of my first jobs had mostly to do with servicing low-value rental instruments, and I learned a lot from that, before moving on to higher-value instruments, where screw-ups could carry major consequences.
People say DIY is a bad idea because you'll make mistakes.
Some people learn mostly from their own mistakes, and others have already learned a lot from other's past mistakes.
“There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation.
A very good setup can do miracles to how your instrument plays, and those able to do “a very good setup” are rather rare unfortunately. There is a reason why (other than good build and time) master instruments sound so good... centuries of the best setup humanly possible where no details are spared, but even so, an average setup on a factory instrument is still worth every penny. It takes hundreds of instruments setups to be really proficient at it, and even many makers don’t do enough setups to be good at it. A quick look at your current setup may be all we need to advise you on what to do. A bad setup is generally easy to spot, can you post some photos?
As amazing a luthier as you are, Burgess, I'm sure you'll agree both kinds of experience are important. You can read books all you want, but you'll never learn until you mess something up for yourself—just like playing the violin!
@Cotton, no one was saying making mistakes aren't necessary. But why reinventing the troubles if you can learn it from someone? Some mistakes are too costly to make.
I am a fanatical DIYer by nature and due to vocation and practical life experiences have a pretty varied skill set, master of a few but definitely not all.
I learned a lot from tinkering with Lark VSO's. No luthier here would touch them.. I also had a dad who was very skillful with wood, and made me my first soundpost setter. But I certainly do not tinker with decent instruments, mine or anyone else's.
Gliga Gem 1 falls into the category of a low-end student violin. If your instrument is basically playable with no obvious difference in response across the strings, then a professional setup will do little to change its tone, its responsiveness to the bow, or its loudness. Practice is the best investment you can make.
Mr. Mather wrote:
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