Is there a legitimate use for a Home Depot violin?

September 27, 2022, 10:58 PM · I see videos of people making violins out of non-traditional wood bought at Home Depot etc.

They go through what looks to me to be the exact same painstaking process to make them as other luthiers and they look pretty but from what I hear based on YouTube audio they have an odd, honking tone. That just seems like too much of your life to invest in something that's doomed. If they derive satisfaction from it, okay I guess.

Do you see a legitimate use for an instrument like that? Is my awareness too limited, have you heard an instrument like that, that you thought sounded great?

Replies (15)

September 28, 2022, 4:44 AM · I recently read of someone trying to make pvc instruments (flutes, "bassoons," etc.). Like the cigar box guitar, they're probably playable, but it's likely almost always cheaper/more acoustically pleasing to just buy a 2nd hand instrument. Do you have a video of the type of instrument you saw? I think some people also enjoy buying violin "kits" that one can assemble/finish, but again they seem to be primarily a labor of love rather than a way to produce a cheaper or better violin.
September 28, 2022, 5:30 AM · Artwork!

I despair constantly for all the people who buy these instruments and give up playing because it's just to hard to learn on them, especially because these c are often purchased by people with kids in extremely basic school programmes or adults trying to teach themselves.

A students' dad saved up for months to buy her violin of this sort for Christmas. She arrived proudly at school the following year to ask me to set it up. Hopefully they never read this, because I substituted it for a cheap second hand but much more playable instrument.

The one she gave me is sitting in my shed in an old broken case awaiting some student who needs a vso for her graduation art project.

September 28, 2022, 5:30 AM · Artwork!

I despair constantly for all the people who buy these instruments and give up playing because it's just to hard to learn on them, especially because these c are often purchased by people with kids in extremely basic school programmes or adults trying to teach themselves.

A students' dad saved up for months to buy her violin of this sort for Christmas. She arrived proudly at school the following year to ask me to set it up. Hopefully they never read this, because I substituted it for a cheap second hand but much more playable instrument.

The one she gave me is sitting in my shed in an old broken case awaiting some student who needs a vso for her graduation art project.

September 28, 2022, 6:46 AM · Perhaps it makes for good practice for an amateur maker. Good tone wood can be expensive and easy to ruin.
Edited: September 28, 2022, 9:14 PM · A good luthier can bring the beauty out of bad wood. Plenty of people have made good scrapwood guitars, although it's not as common for violins—I suspect just because of appearances.

But if you give an amateur nice wood, they can still make a honky firewood fiddle. I know from firsthand experience. And there's your answer: such a violin is good for firewood, bad wood or good wood.

September 29, 2022, 8:33 AM · Maybe people are enjoying themselves doing this? If it's just a hobby and they aren't pawning them off as Italian antiques, I don't see the harm.

I'll bet a wooden box with holes in it is naturally inclined to make a honking sound and the first thing you learn in luthier school is how to keep that from happening.

September 30, 2022, 12:38 PM · Upon reading the title of this thread, I thought that somebody might have actually purchased a violin from Home Depot.
My next thought was, "What Isle might one find this in? The plumbing isle? Certainly not in the "home improvement" section! Maybe in the "home security" section? :-)
September 30, 2022, 1:00 PM · It’s not bad to use what you can to make an instrument as means allow. When you use wood that’s intended for construction, you don’t get the same quality in the cut of the wood as well as its appearance. The wood that’s fine for home projects isn’t usually seasoned the same way as tonewood and may be treated with chemicals to deter bugs in storage. In other words, there are more variables that can affect the wood itself or the results you’ll get with it. If you know wood well enough to be able to pick out good pieces from among the rest, you might have a better chance; the problem is that when you’re new to the craft, it’s hard to know what you need to make the call.

The way I see it, making an instrument is a significant investment of time and care. I’d hate to devote so much to it and then have the materials hinder the success of the endeavor. The most sought-after wood may be quite expensive and impractical for a beginner, but plain tonewood doesn’t cost all that much.

October 1, 2022, 1:40 PM · I played a pretty decent plastic trumpet at the NAAM show in Moscow, Russia. From a British exhibitor, if I remember correctly.
Edited: October 1, 2022, 11:12 PM · The Landfill Harmonic: Recycled Orchestra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYbORpgSmjg

October 2, 2022, 1:20 AM · Then there's the Scrapheap Orchestra. I bought a violin from one of the guys responsible for the string section but not one of these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT11xz6L-YI

October 2, 2022, 6:57 AM · The strings instruments sound at least a good as most "proper" VSOs!
October 5, 2022, 1:29 AM · David Burgess
October 1, 2022, 1:40 PM · I played a pretty decent plastic trumpet at the NAAM show in Moscow, Russia.

Lol - you played a plastic trumpet that would produce sounds recognizable as specific tones, there's no such thing as a pretty decent plastic trumpet unless it's as a lamp or doorstop.

Can you tell it's a pet peeve of mine?

Alison Balsom did a shill video for pTrumpet - the one thing she never comments on is the sound - or if she did they edited it out.
The only plastic trumpet I've heard that sounded worse than an injection-molded plastic trumpet was one that was printed.

The larger plastic horns like trombone can sound okay.

October 5, 2022, 4:58 AM · The Alison Balsom video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLAHSgZaMU0
Edited: October 5, 2022, 7:44 PM · David Burgess
October 5, 2022, 4:58 AM · The Alison Balsom video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLAHSgZaMU0

Gaaaah - yup that's the one - lol. I hope they paid her a lot of money to insincerely fawn over an instrument she would never play in a performance situation that mattered. I wonder who approached who - I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear the negotiations over it. See if you can find a photo of her playing or holding one outside of that video. Notice that she says she's going to compare it to the sound of her normal trumpet...and never says another word about the sound - .snicker

Alison has a fantastic sound on any *real* trumpet she plays - if she can't make that plastic toy sound good, nobody can.

Plastic trumpets are the approximate equivalent of a cigar box violin.

I see they've turned off the comments since the last time I saw it. I betcha I know why.

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