Toss up between two violins

April 30, 2020, 6:29 AM · I've been playing my Stentor Student 2 violin (about £150) for 15 years, and it has become a bit exhausted now that I've reached grade 7. Haven't had a lesson in 7 years but have got the violin out 3 times a week or so to practice tunes I like. Mostly into folk (jigs, reels) and rousing film film music (Lord of the Rings stuff, Last of the Mohicans, plenty of Hans Zimmer).

Want to get a more sophisticated sound from my instrument. Weighing up the Eastman Young Master Violin for £700, or the Hidersine Preciso Violin Stradivari Design, for twice the price.

Any advice as to the sound difference. I'm after something fairly mellow, having become a bit fed up with the brightness of my old budget violin. Also need to find a quality bow, but not really sure what to look for. The consensus seems to be that carbon fibre or pernambuco are the materials to go with if you're taking playing seriously.

Many thanks!

Replies (4)

April 30, 2020, 6:38 AM · Firstly, kudos to you for getting a Stentor Student 2 to grade 7! The best thing to do, if you can (once lockdown is over in the UK), is play these instruments in person, so you can choose the one that best suits you. Both instruments you have mentioned are respectable and decent. However, definitely consider other instruments in your price bracket, don't be taken by branded names etc. I expect you could find a nice older instrument/ pre-used instrument in that price bracket too. A visit to your local violin shop (if possible) is well worth it. If visiting a shop isn't possible, a few UK shops will do at home trials, both for instruments and bows.

The Eastman violins/violas are what I am most familiar with, and I really like them. To me they are bright instruments.

As for bows, depending on budget, I have found that I get more sound and response from a carbon fibre bow than a pernambuco bow, in bows under £600 or so. Again, this is worth trying out in person. I love carbon fibre for trad. music, responsive, easy to use and bouncy!

Often when shopping for the next violin, choosing a violin and a bow that complements it is the way people go. Not all bows suit every violin.

Good luck with your search, and enjoy it!

Edited: April 30, 2020, 7:44 AM · I was looking at the Eastman Master violas, and you can get them for only £1,050, so you may be wise to look at the Master violin, rather than the Young Master. I have a Stentor Conservatoire II, which I liked when it was new, but I fairly quickly bought a £700 Gewa, compared with which the Stentor sounds pretty echoey. I now have steel strings on my Stentor for Western Swing. I have a Hidersine electric violin and had been looking at their acoustics.

For the bow you can't go wrong with a Col Legno Standard (carbon). Best £150 you'll ever spend.

April 30, 2020, 1:17 PM · I hope you catch them safely when you toss them up :)
April 30, 2020, 1:41 PM · I know-- words one should be careful using around a violin shop!

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