Seeking for advices about the right setup of Chinese Yitamusic Violin

October 12, 2017, 10:41 PM · 5 month ago I purchased Stradivarius "Dolphin" copy for 220$, from Yitamusic (Luthier Liu Xi) in T20 level (1-2 level lower from Master Violins if to believe them). Actually I got shocked that the sound is almost same as the Dolphin violin which I heard in Youtube when Akiko Suwanai was playing it (not sure if that's original one or also copy).

In general I'm glad, but there are feelings that it's not the best my violin can show, plus some cons I've noticed so far.

1. When playing on A and E strings the extra sounds, like scratching, or deaf sound when you're playing in mF already. Only when you're playing in F or FF it sounds almost without that deaf sound, though this is the main problem which makes me a bit insecure.

2. I feel like it's not loud as it could be, but can the violin be louder if I make some setup changes, or change the bow?

3. Though the oil varnish shines so so bright, it's obvious that the violin was varnished with 1-2 layers, seems so slim, that the wood texture is too embossed and like swallowing the rest of the varnish like sand. Is it good, or not much?

Actually this is what I'm concerned the most, now I'll explain what I'm using also:

A) The strings are Thomastik Infeld, new, but which I was saving 15 years with black ends, no idea if those strings are good enough as other Infeld models.

B) The bow is heavy Bergner model, but I don't know what kind of wood is used, though that's definitely not pernambucco. It costed 45$, I'm mentioning the price to know whether that's original Bergner, or just a beginner one.

C) Should I replace the ebony tailpiece, chinrest, pegs which were attached to that violin when I bought it, or is this set is good enough because of ebony material?

D) Will the sound change slightly or a lot if I also replace the normal bridge to Aubert one, or whatever else is a better option?

Though I'm playing violin maybe once in a week, or a month, coz that's just my hobby, but I'm very sensitive to the sound. On Summer I checked my playing quality in ancient master violin, the sound was clean enough.

Looking forward to your opinion and advices ^____^

Here's the link of the violin (I hope it shows the photo and description)

P.S. Sorry for some grammar mistakes I might have made
in English

Replies (14)

Edited: October 13, 2017, 12:00 AM · Ah, a Yita post! Hadn't seen one in a while. ;)

My experience with them is that yes, there are reasonable improvements that can be made from the setup they come with, but it's going to cost you!

The Liu Xi one I have is incredibly sweet, but it's very quiet. I have heard from others that those from that maker tend to have that 'problem'.
I have tried solving the quietness while upgrading myself from a 'kitchen table' luthier to a 'garage luthier', doing some advanced stuffs like making new soundposts and cutting my own bridges (supervised by real luthiers who checked my work and approved of it, so I got a passing grade on the 'craft' side of things), but the violin remains quiet, so it's something that could not be simply replaced by something better. A luthier who checked it out thinks the quietness could be either varnish related or simply the wood they used.

I suspect your $40 bow can't be helping with making the violin sound better, so you might consider checking that out first and foremost. Once you have a bow that you know isn't causing problems to begin with, you can start looking into soundpost adjustments and replacing parts.

On your point 'C', I found that the tailpiece mine came with was dreadful, but the pegs were surprisingly good! I replaced the tailpiece and that made the sound a bit more brilliant and direct.

On 'D', on both my Yitas I disapproved of the way the bridges were cut, so having a good luthier who knows what they're doing with bridges replace yours could help, but it's not guaranteed. Mine that I made a bridge myself became easier to play because I adjusted the strings action to my liking, and it may have got a bit more responsive maybe, but did nothing for the volume.

If you're having noise in the sound I would check the bow first, and then go for soundpost adjustment, and then start to replace parts.

...make sure to replace one at time! I made the mistake of changing a few things all at once and ended up not knowing what improved what later on. ;)

And the strings could be a problem too, whether they are new or old. I find Tonicas work well with Yitas; they are rather neutral, and cheap, so maybe put some Tonicas on it and see what it sounds like.

October 13, 2017, 5:24 AM · I would change the strings, reposition the bridge or fit it, and depending on its tone, re adjust the soundpost.
October 13, 2017, 5:24 AM · That's what I usually do to my Chinese violins
October 13, 2017, 9:26 AM ·

I made a crude comparison on my 15.75" Yita viola in the clip above. Even through my rather poor playing, I think the difference in tone is apparent. By installing a new bridge (like Fox, I do it myself at the kitchen table..), and a soundpost adjustment the viola was definitely improved.

I loves me some Yita violas!

October 13, 2017, 1:15 PM · Thank you all for the reply, especially Fox Mitchell for so detailed answer. I'm planning long time to buy Thomastik Solo with titanium E, which I heard in YouTube and got into a decision that it's obviously better, hopefully it will sound on my violin clean without additional noise at least. What about the deaf sound, I think it's because of mostly wood, rather than the varnish, because the wood is a way too thick.

Still I didn't see any opinion if the slim layer of oil varnish is good or bad, also Craig First, probably because of your privacy the link can't be open, if you make it Public, I can check, I'm really so curious to hear other Yita instruments *____*

October 13, 2017, 1:43 PM · "I have tried solving the quietness while upgrading myself from a 'kitchen table' luthier to a 'garage luthier', "

Oh, that's really good. Seriously.

Kamran, a thin varnish probably isn't hurting anything, other than resistance to wear. Wood texture showing through the varnish was a feature of almost super-expensive violins, before people messed with them.

October 13, 2017, 2:55 PM · Oh, that's great to know David! O__O Actually the violin really looks too attractive by appearance, I just hope to make sure that the sound will improve with the upgrade. I have one german luthier who restaurates violin up to it's highest level I suppose. I'm thinking what if he will make the wood more thin, so the sound will change in an instant, because in description of almost all violins of Yitamusic, they are making the wood a bit thick to make them last longer as possible, something like that, so I think making the wood a bit thinner will not be so bad, at least all other professional violins I've seen so far really have much thinner wood! :D
Edited: October 18, 2017, 3:22 AM · Since I don't know why I can't create a new discussion, I will ask here if anybody might see this comment - I checked Yita violin deck, it's 4mm thick, while the old German violin was only 2!!!! I'm pretty sure that the sound lack is because of the deck, now I'm wondering if it's possible to make the sound much better if make the deck thinner, of course from inside, without touching the varnished surface?
Edited: October 18, 2017, 1:20 PM · I recently had a 2014 Yita T-20 "gone through" by a pair of luthiers to prepare it for sale. The fingerboard had developed a hump or two so that it needed to be planed. The soundpost was a bit too long, so it was trimmed and adjusted. One of the luthiers recommended a new bridge because the string spacing was a little bit too wide, but I/we decided that wasn't cost-effective so we left the bridge just as it was. I think the total bill was about $75 or $85. So my response to the OP's question is that what needs to be done probably depends on the individual violin.
October 18, 2017, 5:25 PM · It's easy to make a cheap Chinese violin sound like a priceless Italian antique. All you need to do is take it all apart, regrade the top and back, put in new bass bar and blocks, then put it together again, put in new sound post and new bridge, and new strings, probably cut a new nut as well, install gear pegs, a new tail piece, button, and the most expensive strings available. If that fails paint it green, install a Fishman V300 pickup, grow your hair into dreadlocks, and join a band that plays World Music.
October 18, 2017, 5:34 PM · A good friend/luthier recently did all that, well not the geared pegs, I did that a long time ago, but he did also reset the neck and put a new fingerboard on my Lanini. I really like this violin now. What a transformation. I'm returning the green paint.
October 18, 2017, 8:08 PM · Or you could just buy a quality violin that was made right in the first place!!
October 21, 2017, 4:59 AM · Hi Kamaran,
your violin needs just a bit tuning and change few things (maybe even open top and do some surgery). From my experience with a fast builded istruments I could say that is not everithing lost. For sure most of the time soundpost on this instruments is very poor and not right quality. You need master bridge carved from wood 20-30 years old (for your level of playing). Fingerboard need to be checkt. Pegs, tailpiece also need to be checkt if neccery changed.
I would like that you try to put on a side your old strings and try something else (15 years old strings are not the best choice to hear real sound of your instrument). As I heard you playing, I can say that your performance of playing violin is on the top level and you need to open your mind and bit explore other strings. I recommend Pirastro Evah Gold for your new instrument, think that this strings most suit to you, expecelly if you wanna keap this violin for your self in the future. Pirastro Evah Gold is also nice for you as a solo performer. Kamaran, as I told you once "the most expencive violin will sound bad without right sound adjustment".
For your old german violin I would like to recomend you gut strings - Eudoxa Pirastro. Of course after some of work on violin. I think that fingerbord is to low (probably due to increased humidity) and some other things what need to be done waht are of topic now.
I recommend that you try to find nearest Luthier and tell him what you want and need from this violin. It would be perfect if he could also help you to find your perfect strings. Or Kamaran when you next thime visit Germany, visit me and I will help you to make perfect sound as it could be from your violins.
October 21, 2017, 3:27 PM · Here in my country I will never ever trust anybody :D I already decided long time and won't change my mind in any case, I will send the german one to you , it's just a matter of time

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