A few questions after some research

Edited: November 27, 2022, 12:48 PM · As total beginner with my wife and daughter starting Suzuki lessons I've had my first lesson this week, with the idea playing together. It's a remote past desire fulfilled.

My interests are on folk music, but to play together we will need two instruments.

So far testing on my wife Stentor Student I, I have tested on shop €5-700 violins and noticed the difference.

Researching on Thomann I noticed shop violins are normally twice more expensive than online.

A Stentor Student I is sold for 300 in shop. General advice I get and read was to start in renting an upper beginner/low intermediate violin in the 500-1000 range, so to have a better sound and more options to resell it later. I have some doubt

Purchasing online I can have a better value for the money, paying Stentor I 150 and let's say a Yamaha V3 300 (equivalent to 600 in shop). There is a difference at this low level?

A Yamaha V3 can be considered an upper beginner/lower intermediate?

Apart the sound, a better violin (in that cost range) will have us progressing easily?

Purchasing online I cannot test (me or the teacher) neither rent. Better settle on Stentor I or a little better Gewa Allegro level but in shop?

Replies (16)

November 27, 2022, 12:49 PM · Can you not rent your instruments?

My husband and daughter started together, he bought his instrument, and he ended up quitting because of time commitment problems. When my daughter got old enough to play a full size, she needed a much better instrument than that, so we ended up having to sell it anyway.

You can probably think about buying instruments once you’re sure that it’s worth the investment. And seek the help of your teacher, who should be helping you with these decisions.

Edited: November 27, 2022, 12:59 PM · Thanks for your answer.

I can rent only in shop for six months and after need to decide if to buy it or not, with previous doubts applied.

November 27, 2022, 1:35 PM · With beginner-level violins, where you buy may actually matter more than what you buy. If you buy at the shop, what you're paying for is proper setup, which can make a huge difference in playability. Reputable online violin shops will set up a violin properly as well, but I'm not sure Thomann does because it's a general musical instrument retailer and not a specialized violin shop.
Edited: November 27, 2022, 2:10 PM · When I was teaching (violin & cello) I had my beginning students rent their first instruments from a shop that allowed monthly rentals (no long-term commitment). This was especially good for young children, because at a certain age they grow so fast that with purchases they quickly end up with useless wood. I always went with my students to select their rentals.

My granddaughter was one example, she started at age 6-1/2 and I bought a cheap imported 1/2-size violin for her and it had all kinds of troubles - so we started the rental process, I went with her to choose it at a well-known local violin dealer shop. Within a year she graduated to a 3/4, which we also rented. (By going with her I could chose the best available violin and bow.) In another year she was ready for full-size (she grew fast when she was young) and I let her use one of mine until she was about 12, when I let her chose one of mine for her life-long instrument That was about 21 years ago and she still has it plus a more recently inherited 1845 violin made in Germany by an ancestor (on my wife's side) and brought to this country in the 1890s by one of my granddaughter's great-great-grandfathers - who made his living on it in New York City until my wife's father (as a small boy) sat on it - and it had to be replaced. It was repaired fairly recently (and well done) by one of that boy's granddaughters.

I had one adult cello student who came to me with a cello she had bought on line for about $250. But by the time she came to me for lessons she had already more than doubled her cost with new strings and a new bridge. By the time she got a better case and bow she was already up to about $1,000.
I recall an old English adage from my young days,
"Penny wise, Pound foolish!"

Edited: November 27, 2022, 2:53 PM · Thanks for your comments too.
My daughter and wife are already all set with rented violins, it's only me needing one for myself.
I will probably rent one from one of the local shops, following my feeling about how much I like the sound, the costs and the teacher opinion.
After six months will decide if investing in the same one or start with a new.
Reading here are there seems world brands like Yamaha are setting them up well from the beginning, so in theory purchasing them online might have sense.
The most important variable is my ability to actually proceed, so renting will be the safest bet anyway.
November 27, 2022, 3:31 PM · Davide, i suppose that you live in Italy.
If you do, maybe i can help you with violins that can be bought online in Italy.
Write me: marcobrancalion@duck.com
November 27, 2022, 4:12 PM · Thanks Marco, but as written so far I will rent locally, next will see.
November 27, 2022, 6:07 PM · I understand the OP has decided to rent, which is a good option. For others who might be in a similar position: I'm in England and when I decided to start the viola to support my son on the violin we found out that except one, all local shops had closed down the strings section. I got to talk to a couple. All of them and the one that still has strings said they had almost never rented full size violins or violas. They used to do smaller sizes but not 4/4. They now offer one of the lowest quality (Stentor I) full size outfits for roughly £130 more than online, and if you want something else, you have to wait while they order it in. My guess is they order where I'd order too, but add a good amount to the purchase price. I was quite unhappy with the options I had available. I ended up buying a used Hidersine Veracini for my son for £185 locally. It's in perfect condition, set up with Larsen strings and has a lovely sound. I purchased myself a Chinese viola and violin for a really good price on eBay and am very happy with what I received. My local music shops are no longer what they used to be. Sadly.
Edited: November 27, 2022, 7:33 PM · AZ perhaps not individually (not yet, anyway) but collectively your local shops are getting destroyed by losing their customers to e-businesses.

A good option for a full-size violin is to find someone in your town who gave up violin because of age, too busy, etc., who might be willing to LEND you an instrument, possibly even at no charge or very little. For this I would imagine social media and outfits like Craigslist (or whatever equivalent site there might be in Italy) could be helpful. I have unused 4/4 and 3/4 violins that I would not hesitate to lend to someone who seemed responsible and trustworthy but with limited means.

If money is tight, may I respectfully suggest that you set aside your "remote past desire" of performing as the Trapp Family and concentrate your limited funds on your daughter's needs. You'll be twice as happy when she's twice the violinist that you initially envisioned.

Edited: November 28, 2022, 1:40 AM · Local shops here are renting, so it's not a problem, I need to check the cost for better violins than Stentor I but this one coming out at a very reasonable cost. My idea to get a better one might end to rent the very same so we are aligned, and in six months decide what's next.

My wife is already using all his ability to help our daughter, we noticed in fact that she seems more interested seeing also the papa that's "playng" and listening too.

Also on my side will be not only an opportunity to expand a bit my personal life aside my work - love my work but very demanding in term of time - but also enjoy more beautiful moments with my wife.

November 28, 2022, 1:49 AM · I think Gewa allegro is much better than Stentor
November 29, 2022, 2:07 PM · Absolutely, Paul. They are feeling the effects of the e-business. What I find sad or unfortunate, is their response to the e-business as I now find the customer service from gear4music or Caswells much better and more reliable than the one of the remaining local shop. It's a long story, but I've now shifted so my needs to online shops and sites like eBay and Gumtree.
November 30, 2022, 4:35 AM · If you're looking at a stentor (the absolute minimum playable instrument in my opinion Cecilio and Enrico are a little better, sometimes you can find an old Suzuki for a good price, Gligas are forgiving of beginner sound but more expensive, many specialist violin shops have their own beginner range which is well set up), you should be able to find a cheap second hand one.
I find the best time for second hand instruments is just after Xmas or in the second of our 4 school terms (I presume kids begin the year and then give up) which is just after Easter in Australia.
Edited: December 1, 2022, 12:37 AM · Going Friday to test the one I can rent on the local shop, in fact the choice is limited to Stentor Student or Gewa Allegro, Ideale, Aspirante, so will see which of this one I'm feeling better. They all cost the same for renting.
Edited: December 2, 2022, 6:26 AM · Just rented the Gewa Allego for six months (in the end the choice was limited to this or Stentor), seems to sound better than Stentor Student I to my ear and my wife's too (she stole it immediately to play :), but most importantly we can now play together, really happy since our first test yesterday by the tracher.
Now some months to learn and understand if we can proceed on, thanks for all your good suggestions.
Edited: December 7, 2022, 11:57 AM ·
Clearly, playing violin is a commitment in time. But, playing violin can also be a commitment financially. It's always a good idea to begin with a more affordable violin, to see if it's truly and instrument that one wants to pursue.

Assuming that turns out to be the case, then follow up by purchasing a violin that's really pleasing to play. That can be expensive; but, it can also be well worth the expense.

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