Purchasing in Canada
Hi, new to Forum. By way of introduction, I have 10 year old violinist who is (relatively) advanced. Finished Suzuki, most recent solo Ten Have Allegro Brilliant And has been learning Mozart 3, and fist couple sections of Bach Partita 2. We live very rurally, which presents challenges.
My question today is, has anyone from US bought a violin in Canada?
We are beginning to plan financially to buy her full size. Her mom is Canadian with relatives in Ottawa and Calgary, and we are about 8 hours drive south of Montreal, 4 hours from Toronto. Any advantages with exchange?? After tax and fees possibly at border?
She is currently playing a 2.5K 3/4 German violin.
Thanks, I have been mining the archives here for awhile and am grateful for the info!
You told us where you live without telling us where you live. I don't understand how you can be 8 hours due south of Montreal and still be within 4 hours of Toronto. If we are a little more loose about the word "south" but close on the travel times, then in the US that would put you within a couple of hours of Cleveland or Pittsburgh or even Detroit. More information on your location would help folks recommend dealers. Many dealers will ship instruments for trial.
Finger Lakes, south of Rochester, east of Buffalo. The Montana of NY.
I would assume prices in Canada are pretty much the same as USA when you convert to US dollars, just because their dollar is weaker does not mean you get bargains on violins. Plus sales tax in Canada might be higher, I'm not sure.
I assume you've been to Sullivan Violins already then? That is, if I'm understanding your location. Nothing in Ithaca or Syracuse? But you're still better off driving to NYC than you are to Montreal I would think.
She purchased her first couple violins at String House (trade in).
Lyndon, people do cross border shop here. Canadians when their dollar is better? But with GST, etc. likely you are right.
Shopping across the border is fine, but what possible reason would the same violin be priced lower in Canada than USA, there's no reason for it, my small experience on ebay is that Canadian sellers ask premium prices.
Regular v.com contributor Elise Stanley lives in Toronto and I believe she shopped seriously for a violin around there, so she probably know the dealers and has a general idea what they are offering.
Missed prices on his website. Thanks, Not really looking for a ‘bargain’ as much as trying to get the most violin for what we choose to spend. I am assuming we have a year, possibly more depending on her growth, so asking and trying to educate myself.
These things take time, so don't delay contacting makers if you want such an instrument. You might be on a waiting list, or benefit from having made an earlier contact if the prices happen to go up. Also consider the bow.
A lot of shops -- Canadian or US -- will also let you try violins by mail. They typically send out 2 in your price range and you can buy or return. It may be a cheaper/easier option than driving there. This is what we did when I was a kid and we lived rural.
Thanks. I can’t imagine buying without her playing.
If your child is serious about the violin, the most important things are:
Yes, she currently loves her 3/4 violin, and it has been part of her moving forward. She’s a 10 year old, so she needs to be nudged to begin practice, but happy to do it once she gets started. Both here parents are visual artists
At that stage of education, investing in a high level hand-made instrument takes a leap of faith...
If you are interested in Guy Harrison's violins: I own one and have played a number of them visiting his shop. Guy is meticulous and keeps very detailed records of what he does. He has been attending and teaching at the Oberlin workshops for many years. From what I have seen his quality is very high and very consistent.
I didn’t realize Guy Harrison’s were quite at that price point,
If you get her a good violin in the few to several thousand dollar range for her first full size instrument, she can still get good use from it even if you get her something really nice as she starts high school. Kids orchestras, school, and camps can be pretty brutal on an instrument regardless of how careful someone is, so at least for us the Jay Haide generally goes there and the good cello goes to lessons and performances.
I have been very impressed by the Isabelle Wilbaux instruments I've tried.
Hermann Janzen is based in the Vancouve area, a bit of a trip but definitely worth it.
I had the sense when I first posted, from limited research, that there were more affordable contemporary violins out there. 10-12K. It seems like that
I don't mean to divert this thread into a discussion of wood vs. carbon fiber (CF) bows, as there have been many whole threads on this in the past. But, you can save money now -- and possibly some grief -- by buying her a good CF bow instead of spending $1000-2000 as Lydia has recommended, by which I presume she means an entry-level pernambuco bow. For a child you are better off (in my admittedly less-informed opinion) with CF which is more sturdy and, in that price range (below $2000) is likely to be a better tool in other respects too. A lot of people here have recommended the JonPaul Avanti bow which is probably around $800. My teacher likes the Cadenza "Master" (3-star) bow which is around $450.
Already camps (one I go with at her age, and preference) and 2 hours of lessons many weeks between the 2 teachers. We shoot for 2 hours a day practice but the reality usually ends up with 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes at night.
Janzen's best stuff is amazing, and he specializes in a small Guarneri model that goes well with young-ish kids and other short people. Not huge prices, all told. He trained with the same man who raised Howard Needham's game a lot.
You can find contemporary violins in the $10k-$12k range, but they are probably going to be younger, less proven-consistently-good makers. If you commission, that is more of a gamble, plus later resale value is also more dubious.
"John Newton on a viola thread recently as well - astonishingly reasonable pricing". Reasonably priced - and lovely instruments. I played on one for several years. Another way-underpriced luthier is Itzel Avila - unique, finely crafted violins.
Elise I looked at Avila's info and she has cross-referenced https://www.leforumdesfabricants.org which pretty much looks to be a whos-who of Canadian luthiers and archetiers. There was a Makers Forum in Montreal a few days ago which would be the ideal way to see and hear what these folks are doing.
I heard that Avila recently finished another violin but have not tried it personally. I believe she was at that forum - and, yes, it would have been fun to attend!
Out of obligation I must mention The shop Tutti Violini in Toronto-the owner is a soloist with 30 years playing PLUS does repairs and extremely knowledgeable (and a very nice man to boot!)
I have just the violin for her.I am a retired professional violinist.I have a 17c. violin what I played all my life...now that I have arthritis its just sitting here at home.I am in Toronto...send me an email...we can take it from there....email@example.com
You must be very proud of your daughter's acheivements!