Ever Regret Selling a Violin?

April 22, 2021, 9:25 PM · Have you ever sold/traded in a violin to upgrade and regretted doing so? I upgraded about 2 years ago and purchased a beautiful sounding violin. I don’t regret purchasing the new one at all as it plays beautifully and has a gorgeous sound to it. However, I think about my “old” violin on a regular basis. At this stage, I wish I had kept it along with the new violin. My old violin was a 7/8 size violin by Gregory Sapp out of Chicago that had such a sweet tone to it. My complaint with it was that I just couldn’t get it to project much. It was a quiet little violin and I wanted more sound from it that I just couldn’t get. So I traded it in. And I’ve regretted it ever since. Anyone else have a similar experience? Did you ultimately forget it and move on or did you attempt to track it down and repurchase it?

Replies (18)

April 22, 2021, 9:33 PM · I've had three violins in my whole life, and each one was a pretty linear step up. I don't miss my first and I won't miss my second once it's sold. I guess it's comforting to know that someone else will always be getting use out of your old fiddle; it's not like it's destroyed once you pass it on.
April 22, 2021, 9:41 PM · Violins are like children. You should have multiple.
April 22, 2021, 9:42 PM · More streams of revenue once you retire?
April 22, 2021, 10:42 PM · When it comes to instruments, there is often an emotional attachment that grows from the experiences you've had with it. There's also that part where you've played it so much that your hands naturally know every inch of the instrument and how to extract the most from it. That being said, you were not satisfied with this violin when you owned it and you will likely not be satisfied with it were you to play it again. Probably more so since your hands will no longer be accustomed to it. I have instruments that I've played for years, but put aside as I've upgraded as I couldn't bear to part with them. There are still many memories of how amazing and perfect that old instrument once was at this or that time, but I've found that going back and playing these instruments of the past has always made me realize why I upgraded. Most likely it's the sweet tone of the memories you had with this violin rather than the violin itself.

Now if you are missing an instrument of the past because you're not satisfied with your current one, it may be a sign that it's time to search for a new violin.

April 23, 2021, 12:43 PM · "Ever regret selling a violin?"

Sure do!
Five years after I inheriting my father's Stefano Scarampella violin (and years of having my ears "pierced" by its E string's sound) we needed some money to pay what insurance did not cover of the costs of our first child's birth. I took the Scarampella to a Washington D.C. dealer since I had read that one of that maker's fiddles had recently sold for the mighty sum of $2,000 (this was 1959). The dealer acknowledged that was true and added "but not this violin." So I accepted about 1/5 that amount since it would cover the money we needed.

Early in this century I spotted a "S. Scarampella" violin on ebay (in GermanY) going for about $14,000. It looked identical to my old, long-gone violin and that brought it back to mind. There was a lot of controversy over whether or not it was the real thing - but still it brought back regret.

Now I find that a Stefano Scarampella violin has sold at auction for nearly 500 times what I got for it. That and all the new strings available that I never got a chance to try on that violin - there is not a day I don't think about it.

April 23, 2021, 1:51 PM · Andrew, I notice you talk about money all the time in this intervention. How can you regret "so heavily" selling a violin for $400 instead of, I don't know, $3000?

I know, it's $2000, but at the end of the day it's money, you can work harder or do more lessons weekly to get $2000 in a few months. It's not that you sold a $1.4M strad for $2300.

I thought this heavy "regret" would come to a violinist from the sound of a violin and its playability, that you miss it since there are some things it had that you can't find anywhere else.

Edited: April 23, 2021, 3:31 PM · The violin could have been a fake too, and you got overpayed for it!! Stephan Scarampella fakes are dime a dozen.
April 23, 2021, 3:42 PM · I remember a violin dealer nicknamed them " Scaryfellahs" since there were so many fakes.
Edited: April 23, 2021, 3:45 PM · Paul N., I do see what you mean, my last few posts have been about the money, haven't they?

It's not $2,000 vs. $400 it's that I sold it at all back then or didn't wait until it could become a heritage item for my 3 kids and theirs like the rest of my music stuff.

Maybe it's that I didn't wait to see how that violin seemed to me 70 years later as my hearing deteriorated - maybe it's just what I need now. There was more too: My father bought the Scarampella violin and two good bows (a Voirin and a Weichold) for $125 from his teacher in NYC, Mario Antonio Frosali, in the early 1930s, around the time I was born. Frosali who had been concertmaster of the La Scalla Opera orchestra before moving to New York as well as a violin maker apprentice to Guiseppe Scarampella (Stefano's older brother). I remember hearing about "Mr. Frosali" often when I was very young. In NYC he taught violin and worked at Sacconi's shop. I "found him" again in an article in the Southern California AAA magazine around 1965 about his move to LA, living in Beverly Hills and his continuing to be a violin maker there (in the Wurlitzer shop). And of course it rang that old bell in my head. Mr. Frosali recommended my first violin teacher to my father in 1939.

That violin just kept popping back into my mind if not my life. It was that photo in the ebay ad that really brought it all back again in this century.

April 23, 2021, 4:06 PM · A Voirin for $125, with free bow and violin to boot? Those were the days.
April 23, 2021, 5:35 PM · Andrew that is a rather bitter story. But I image you all those years ago as a young hero sacrificing your beloved instrument for the birth of your first son. You made the right choice.
April 23, 2021, 6:03 PM · First daughter!
April 23, 2021, 7:33 PM · John, I DARE you to say "That changes everything!"! Although one well known sixteenth century English composer would have agreed.
April 24, 2021, 7:25 PM · I’m not gonna take that bait
Edited: April 25, 2021, 3:28 AM · I have not posted here in ages but this thread I have to reply to!

I started learning violin as a very mature adult approximately in 2008/2009...I started on a 'factory' violin (an Otto Jos Klier), then as I progressed and developed my ear and my playing I started getting a 'taste' for what a good/quality violin can do not just to your ears but also to your playing.

in 2014 I was blessed enough to find 'the violin for me', it was a Laura Vigato (contemporary italian maker). This was a brand new violin which I bought directly from her and funny enough I bought it 'blindly, never saw or it or heard it, she agreed I could have it on a 2 week trial.

I fell in love with it each day more so I kept it.

After only 2 and a half years my life was not 'great', I had not been playing violin for nearly a year (lost my father to lung cancer, was caring for him full time at home for a few months, financial problems etc).

Due to me not having played my violin for nearly a year, feeling rather depressed with the financial problems etc I decided to sell it as

1) I needed the money
2) I 'thought' I would not go back to playing
3) I had no one to pass the violin on (no one I knew who could 'borrow it') and felt that such a nice violin DESERVED to be played not to sit in a corner gathering dust

I have regretted selling it EVERY SINGLE DAY from winter 2016 when it sold, the regret just grew stronger each month/year...

It felt like I sold my own child!

Fast forward to Sept 2020 I took the plunge to go back to playing/learning, I found a decent violin and bought it (by an english contemporary maker) and started learning again.

All this time I was still missing my Laura Vigato violin, despite having a decent violin to play on....

That feeling of a lost child has only grown over the years and now that I was playing again it turned into a 'torture'

I remembered I had some 'email' communication between me/the violin shop and the person who bought my violin so I went to search for the emails and thankfully still had them in an archive...from there I tracked down who bought it (a teacher and professional player) and I contacted him.

I first apologised for contacting him, that I did not want to impose but I hoped that as a professional violin player he would understand how I felt...

Explained my regret in parting with my violin (which now was his violin) and that if he still had it and he did not feel 'as attached' to it as I was would he consider selling it back to me?

To my surprise he replied within a week and we talked on the phone...He still had my (his) violin, it became his 'main' violin and has played it daily/in orchestra etc since he bought it, he loves it but he admitted that he did not have the 'emotional' attachment to it as strongly as I had it.

I did not know initially but he went out of his way and found another Laura Vigato violin (made in 2018) and went to get it on trial..he said it was of course different as it was new-er and its tone not as matured but he loved it just the same so he said if I wanted 'my' violin back I could buy it off him and he would buy the other Laura Vigato and he'd be just as happy.

So we went ahead and did just this (only 3 months ago!!!)

I cannot believe I have my child back!!!!

The minute I took her home and played it all came back.

I was in tears!

I vowed not to part with her ever again, no matter how broke I was and the joy I get from playing her every day hopefully will help me never to feel as worthless again as if life gets as bad (or worse) than before to make myself not 'give up' but keep playing even if only a few minutes a day (so far I can't put her down...if I am not at work I am home playing)

Only one thing gives me relief: that she went to a professional player who played every day and helped her mature its tone. At least she was not 'abandoned' for those 5 years.

I feel so very blessed I could track her down and be reunited!

PS the violin in my profile photo is not 'her' by the way...I tried changing my profile photo but I failed, have to try again :)

April 26, 2021, 8:52 PM · Jo - amazing story!! I have contemplated many times whether to track this former violin down to see where she resides at this time. I’m so glad you were able to find your violin and get her back and so happy to hear of the renewed joy it has brought you!
April 26, 2021, 8:52 PM · Jo - amazing story!! I have contemplated many times whether to track this former violin down to see where she resides at this time. I’m so glad you were able to find your violin and get her back and so happy to hear of the renewed joy it has brought you!
Edited: April 27, 2021, 12:01 AM · Thank you Melanie, I know I have been 'very' lucky to be able to reunite with my violin, I feel like I have been given a 'second chance' and that tells me this time I 'really' ought to never let her leave my side ever again ;)

If you feel that the violin you let go is 'the one' then I'd say do your best to track it down and try to reunite, at the very least you will feel better that you have done so rather than 'keep wondering', at least that's how I feel about mine...I think that if I could not track her down or get her back at least I'd feel better I tried.


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