Violin sound

February 24, 2019, 2:30 AM · Morning all,
I've recently been down about the way my violin sounds. So much so that I have been practising my viola exclusively.
The problem is its not as full and projecting as I would like it to be. Is this somethiing a luthier could help with? Or do I go out and get a new instrument?

In advance, I bought it from eBsy for £500. I was happy with it when I came. Just in the last month or 2 I've been growing increasingly displeased.

Thanks muchly in advance for your help!

Replies (13)

February 24, 2019, 3:00 AM · His it changed, or is it you?

Certainly, it’s setup might have changed for the worse. Bridge wandering around, strings past their best, etc. A luthier might put you back on track or suggest improvements.

February 24, 2019, 3:04 AM · Did it once sound good?
When was the last time you changed your strings?
Is your bridge in good condition?
How's the groove? Has it fallen down?
Sound post? Bow hair?
I think a luthier will be able to find it out for you and give you a quotation.
February 24, 2019, 3:13 AM · As I say, it sounded okay to my ears when I bought it just over a year ago. Was loud and sounded a lot better than my previous violin. Its still loud, just doesn't sound as good. Last time I changed my strings was ages ago. I have some, just not put them on yet
February 24, 2019, 5:05 AM · If you were happy with the sound when you bought this instrument then it could be a case of just having tired strings that need to be replaced. I think it is a good idea to have your violin looked at at least once a year by a competent luthier. A few open seams which you might not have noticed can drastically affect the sound.
February 24, 2019, 7:41 AM · Change. Your. Strings.

And then give the strings time to break in.

February 24, 2019, 7:48 AM · A common issue with violins is that the bridge tends to slant (forward) over time. See if it's done so and tilt it back gently (loosening the strings) if so, and check that it doesn't slant forward (too much) when tightening the strings. This is a routine adjustment that would be done during service / string changes / etc., and can make a significant difference to the sound.
February 24, 2019, 8:55 AM · Take it to your luthier. Let him/her help you diagnose the problem. As you can see, there are a number of possibilities, and we can only guess.
February 24, 2019, 11:29 AM · Any violin, no matter how expensive, will sound great when first tuned up to tension. Then, over a period of a week or so, the resonance and response can diminish. I have experienced this countless times when either trying new violins or receiving a violin back from the shop. This is why one must try a violin for at least a week before purchase.

And it may well be why shops keep their violins tuned down. The customer tunes it up a third, and it sounds fantastic in the shop. For a while...

There is also a psychological effect here as well. The violin "sounds great" for a while until the new owner gradually "discovers" its faults and peculiarities. It's the same for practically anything we acquire, including new relationships. Just call it the Honeymoon effect.

Finally, I'm not sure what one can expect for that price level except something that makes a sound when bowed. Beyond that, all bets are off. There's lot of advice about changing strings, taking it to the shop for evaluation etc. Rather than buy a cheap, Asian factory-made violin and then having to spend more to try and get it to sound good, save your money and buy something better.

In general, I've found that people have very unrealistic expectations from cheap instruments. I find this also with piano customers who lug a "bargain" piano home, only find it has multiple problems and just really will never sound good or sound in tune. Decent musical instruments are NEVER cheap. You get what you pay for.

February 24, 2019, 4:53 PM · How about a video?
February 25, 2019, 11:27 AM · Jake, sorry to break this news to you, but you may be preferring playing the viola because at heart you ARE a violist!

February 25, 2019, 7:34 PM · I have no issue being a violist aha
February 25, 2019, 9:08 PM · Embrace the Viola Jake.

One of us. One of us.. one of us..

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