Thoughts? Keep violin or buy different one
Hello, violinist community!
I am looking for your advice and experience.
5 years ago as a younger adult I decided to finally properly learn to play violin.
I bought a violin from a local music store. I bought from them and trusted them because they were local and the only music store around within a two hour drive.
5 years and two kids later, I now have the time to properly learn.
The violin that I bought was an Eastman Giuseppe Galiano student violin outfit series 2. I paid $1800 for it. It was sold to me as a student step up model that should suit me for years, possibly forever.
I became suspect when I had the same or better sound and definitely a better feel from a $220 Franz Hoffman Prelude violin setup. I looked up my violin and couldn’t find anything online so I called Eastman Strings. They wouldn’t give me a price but told me they quit making my violin “a long time ago” and it was replaced by a series 1. I found that series 1 outfit online for between $500-$800.
I’m concerned that this violin isn’t set up properly and isn’t worth any more money put into it besides what I’ve already done (new $100+ strings, new bridge). I seem to have an easier time making correct tones on the Franz Hoffman violin than on my own - I have to press down much harder on mine and it makes my hand very tense.
I stumbled on a used violin made by Peter Paul Prier and sons. They’re asking $600 for it used. It could be evaluated by the luthier of my choice before I bought it, with needed repairs driving the price down.
It’s a “C” model from 2003 and Prier Violins told me it would have sold for between $900-1500 new.
What is your advice? Should I stick with the violin I have now, or look into this one that I stumbled across? I can’t seem to get it out of my head but I can’t find any sound clips online. Have any of you ever played one of these violins?
I appreciate your time.
I’m definitely a beginner. I have a violin teacher but have only had two lessons and they’re thirty minutes each - not a whole lot of time to go into this in any detail.
I wouldn't necessarily assume that your existing violin isn't worth the money. The fact that you're getting a better sound from something that's barely a VSO suggests that your technique is such that a super-forgiving beginner instrument is making you sound less bad given that you have no idea how to play.
I'm with Lydia, at the very beginning the instrument doesn't matter as much as the player. Wait until your teacher says, "This instrument can't do what you want it to," and then start thinking about changing. A luthier could probably help with comfort areas such as string height, etc.
Thank you, Lydia and Ann! I appreciate your insight and I am definitely going to ask about an hour long lesson.
If you have to press down harder on the strings of your current violin it might just mean that the bridge is too high or you're using strings with very high tension. Your teacher or luthier should be able to advise you and make recomendations. Having a luthier adjust the setup and/or putting on softer strings is not a big deal.
I agree with Lydia and Ann. The violin won't matter that much until you reach a higher level to where you start to be able to make your own opinions about what you like and don't like which won't be until later when you're ear starts to develop. As long as the violin is playable you'll be fine until like Ann said, your teacher says your violin is holding you back.
I would suggest to have different people, your teacher, a luthier etc. play your violin and one you find better. Listen to the sound and also ask them their opinion.
I agree with the others that at this point it's more about your technique than the instrument, it takes time. If there IS a problem with the setup then it may actually be capable of a much better sound than you can tell at this time. At the end it's up to you, but since you've spent so much already, talk with your teacher and a luthier from some other place than where you bought it before you make a decision.
Regardless of whether you're a beginner or advanced player, action that is too high can injure your left hand and make good intonation difficult. The distance of each individual string to the surface of the neck is not simply a function of the height of the bridge. The neck angle, nut height, and fingerboard scoop and shape are also all critically important. Most music teachers are not capable of evaluating this. Please take your violin to an experienced luthier for evaluation. As Lydia said, "proper set-up isn't really all that big a deal," but it needs to be done by somebody qualified to do it.
Another issue may be your bow. The common wisdom is that you get more bang for your buck by upgrading your bow rather than your instrument. So, you might want to at least try out a few bows and see what sort of difference that makes.
There must be a whole lot of professional players injuring their left hand, because professionals often prefer a considerably higher action.
I wonder why pros often prefer a considerably higher action? Any clues?
I'm not a player so I'm not sure, I just know a lot of them ask for higher action, so I tend to set strings higher and then lower them at the request of the customer, because you can't raise strings without replacing the whole bridge.
If I were to guess I would think it makes the notes sound more clearly by pushing down more????
There is "action that is high" and there is "action that is *too* high." An experienced and well-trained luthier knows the difference. An experienced and well-trained player will feel and hear the difference.
i usually aim for 4mm e clearance and 6mm G string clearance but it often ends up lower, like 3.5 e and 5.5 G
4 and 6 mm respectively is rather high for almost all players. 3.5 and 5.5 are fairly standard. However, opinion among professional players is divided. I have a number of professional customers who prefer heights more like 2.5 and 4. I have found that preference for string height sometimes corresponds to age—older players may prefer a lower setup that they find more comfortable. Younger players may seek the feel of a bit of resistance under the finger tips.
Well I checked with a respected top expert who actually works on real Stradivaris sometimes. He said he was setting them 3.75mm for the e string and 5.75mm for the G string but that lately he had been setting them a bit lower, but he still gets some people that want them even higher, and then of course he has to fit a new higher bridge.
Mine is at E 3mm and G 5mm measured at the top of the string. With Dominant strings it is easier for me to play in the upper positions with my previously injured hand.
I try my best to never go lower than that, but you can go slightly lower without buzzing sometimes. But you always measure at the bottom of the string, not the top, so that is really on the low side
I think all the comments above are excelllent advice, I would say though, that before you start spending vast amounts of money check out fiddlermans instruments, even his cheap ones are great value for money, and I think they let you try them out first.
So a strong vote for cheap Chinese junk, wonderful
Not everyone has twenty grand to spend on a violin, especially when they are learning as the op says.
At my shop 100+ year old antique violins with a bow and case start at $500, not $20,000, all this Chinese crap I have compared to is overpriced by comparison and makes a huge profit for the dealer as they are buying them from China for next to nothing.
I can get a 100 year old antique german violin for 100 quid of gum tree. Like I said everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Yeah but they take several hundred to set up properly, almost always need new strings, bridge, soundpost, leveling fingerboard, new pegs and any crack repairs needed, and 90% of them aren't good enough to bother trying to fix up, and you cant get them for 100 if theyre any good
its ok you dont need to defend your profit to me, I am not ar..d how much you make.
Its not an opinion, its my job!!
Not really interested what your job is to be honest, like I keep saying you are entitled to your opinion, which is all it is to me.
Restoring antique violins is not an opinion, it is an art, people like you prefer cheap factory made junk from China, that is an opinion.
I have not the remotest interest in what your job is sorry about that, by the way you have no idea what I prefer. Thats my opinion lol
This is where the fun begins.
Here we go.....
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and gave me your insight. I appreciate it!
haters gonna hate.
I'm just gonna shake shake sha...
Don't worry Mike, no one here is going to judge you for shaking it like a salt shaker.
Salt shakers are a quick way to ruin a nice meal at Denny's.