Student violin purchase after rental

Edited: January 1, 2023, 2:21 PM · As written in my first post my wife and daughter started learning violin and rented a Stentor Student I each. I started after and rented a Gewa Allegro, that is in fact now used from my wife, I inherited her Stentor.

The rental period of the Stentor is half passed and I'm using this holiday period to have some research about what to do in term of purchase. Due I'm based in EU I have tracked down the choice to this models, after setting a "true" cost above €300 excluded strings,bow, case, resin (so removed this costs from the price having some assumptions in case not all details are available) and max around €550 included

Yamaha v5 (479 set)
*Gewa Maestro 2 (455 only violin)
Artino vn155 (498 set)
*Otto Jos Klier 2E (475 only violin)
+~Yitamusic T/M20 (around 480 only violin)
+Gliga Gems 2 (323 only violin)
Hora V200 (440 only violin)

* mean with spirit varnish
+ mean with oil varnish
~ mean hand made
set is with bow case and resin, only violin with provided strings the others
numbers is the cost (included new strings and luthier work for Yita)

I will be able to actually test only the Yamaha before a purchase.

Some of my many doubts are what choice make more sense due my interest for Irish Fiddle (hearing daily Katy Adelson's Tam Lin...), if any of this will be a real upgrade respect a Gewa Allegro (I didn't even consider the Stentor I a contender), how and if make sense to have a remote test, if the romenian one (Gliga and Hora) will be needing a complete reset such as the Yita.

For some reason I have developed a specific interest for the Otto Klier, even writing with the company manager that told me every of their violins is made by order in six weeks, but apart some consideration from the retailer selling them and their online audio sample I was not able to get any specific information about how they actually sound.

From a luthier I got the suggestion to invest no more than 2-300 and next spend for a luthier setup for any of the violins I will get. I consider this true (maybe I'm wrong) only for chinese/romenian one, all the others are available from shops that are supposed to do exactly this work before selling.

Replies (16)

January 1, 2023, 7:46 PM · I've had Yamaha and like them. My sense is Yamaha quality control in instruments is generally good.

That said, for me starting out (and with a succession of kids) I looked for the types of instruments you're buying used locally. You can probably find something like the items on your list for <200 and you can learn to change strings and you'll be good to go. If you want to do a luthier set up you can do that.

January 1, 2023, 8:13 PM · These are all pretty low grade violins, I would guess you need to be spending at least $1000 to be getting into really decent instruments
Edited: January 2, 2023, 4:12 AM · Many thanks for your ideas.

In the end all goes down if a beginner will get any real benefit in term of sound quality going from a €200 violin like the Gewa Allegro to a 3-500 like the one I have listed.

My hope is getting a more enjoyable and easier play, and an instrument lasting some time. I also like exploring the idea less mainstream brands might be able to provide better value for the money.

Having to get three of them (me, wife and daughter) the cost is piling up that's also why I set 500 as upper budget for a beginner instrument (that's supposed not to be a VSO).

January 2, 2023, 3:55 PM · For me, as I have indicated in another post, renting was not an option. I ended up buying a barely used Hidersine Veracini for my son. It was a bargain and a private local sale. We could've be happier with the violin and his teacher likes it too.

For myself, I wanted to be adventurous and bought one from Yita along with a viola. I'm very happy with both. Mind you, I'm an adult beginner and currently not able to learn with a teacher. Still, the instruments play well and have a good sound. I have no hesitation recommending Yita, but you should be aware that it's a bit of a gamble, and although you might get a good instrument, you should not necessarily expect sound and workmanship ordinarily associated with an instrument in the range of £3000 or so. That said, you might luck out. Look at it as an adventure if you can afford the cost.

Edited: January 2, 2023, 10:45 PM · In the end I think will choose between the Yamaha and the Otto Jos Klier.

I prefer a more predictable choice than Yita, didn't find any experience regarding Hora violins, Gliga is missing in action here and also will probably need more work on the violin, the others just didn't stand up against the experience of Yamaha and OJK in violin making (know it's a weak reason, still will be prouder having such manufacturers instruments. Btw we have a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano at home).
I have considered the used market, but there is really not so much choice and I feel not comfortable respect i.e. purchasing a piece of computer hardware you can test remotely checking for problems.

Does somebody ever tried the OJK 2E model.

January 3, 2023, 4:12 AM · Hello,
i would suggest you that you check something that is more fiddle hand made. When my daughter started to play 2 years ago she used first some Chinese violin and it was really hard for her to play. Then we find Pavel Skaza and his hand made violins and we rented one from him(130 EUR/year for hand made violin is really nothing). and we could see right away the results on her playing..improved a lot.
here is the link to his page
He is also doing services for Luka Sulic of famous duo 2 cellos :)
His violins are very nice with supreme sound quality.
Greets form Slovenia. BR
Edited: January 3, 2023, 12:54 PM · I get the appeal of each player having "their own" but at the moment, how often do you really need to have / what is the utility of having all three violins in use at the same time? As an easy math example, you could get 3 violins for $500 each and no one gets to play something "nice" or you could get one for $1500 or a combo of $1000 + $500 or perhaps daughter is not full size yet and really does need her own. Aside from physical size, there is outgrowing a violin in terms of the skills/techniques that the violin is able to support learning, and this will happen earlier for a "lesser" violin vs. a better one, then that player will be somewhat held back by the limits of the instrument.

Site editor Laurie has had some useful articles about "why cheap violins aren't a good deal" and "what brand of violin should I buy" that I would highly recommend searching on this site and reading. Also, what does your teacher say?

Edited: January 3, 2023, 1:49 PM · Thanks Sebastjan I have contacted luthier Skaza, but to be honest I will be surprised if he would have something for us beginner's.

Mengwei your reasoning of course has his logic, still looking at many articles (also the one you refer to) above €300 for the only instrument body seems getting us above the VSO level.

Spending more than 500 I simply didn't consider reasonable, me and my wife play most of the times together (that's the beatufil thing), you are right probably make sense for our daughter to have one rented (using an 1/16 so far she is 4.5 years old).

On the contrary respect other forumeers (seeing real professionals here) we have no specific goals for her, the most important thing for us is she enjoy it and didn't stop. If she will show talent and willingness we will see.

I would like to invest 700-1000 for a good Corilon or Höfner or OJK, but in the end we are just beginners with passion but little time to exercise.

I suppose even in the 3-500 bracket there are better and worse instruments, my goal is to find the better one, maybe also just risking for something less proven (reconsidering the Yita path, due have seen last bids for T20 closed to very reasonable €200 price).

Regarding Yita was interested to understand if a 200 cost become equivalent to a x2 (like 400) sold in EU, or often even better, or something less. Purchasing from Yita at 200 is meaning adding 100 for shipping and 25% for VAT and customs duties + new strings and luthier work, so that to make sense need to have min the quality on average of a 500 instrument sold from an EU retailer.

Edited: January 3, 2023, 6:18 PM · A shop in my area provides rather generous trade-in credit for purchased instruments so a family could conceivably buy the 1/16 and by the time full size rolls around in 7-8 years, have paid for "one" violin and had a nice one to use all along vs. 7-8 years of "lesser" violins or rental fees that add up to multiple violins. This is just napkin math, assumes a lot of assumptions, and ignores a lot of nuances. My point is I would go into more detail as fitting a student's context and you may be able to get more pertinent advice from your own teacher. A violin that holds you (or daughter) back may possibly be less enjoyable, less motivating, less willing to put in the effort to develop talent, etc. but I can only speak in generics not seeing firsthand what you have or being involved in your study process.

If I recall correctly, another regular contributor had shared that her high achieving child had won notable competitions or something on a $500 previous violin. Needing or wanting something higher grade and when is of course a personal decision. In my case, if a student comes in with a violin they bought off the internet and I estimate that the limitations might be reached sooner rather than later, I will say so just for their awareness. For the level of students I'm most experienced with, there have only been a few times where I said this instrument or bow is holding you back and it is time to consider an upgrade or else accept the limitations of what your equipment can achieve.

Edited: January 4, 2023, 7:23 AM · I know this topic of a beginner violin was debated countless times, was looking at this old thread as example

I understand there are good reasons both for getting "the best you can afford" and also starting on the lower (not VSO) end and going up.

So far I will not go above the €500 level, to be added strings, bow and case. Will look for trade in options.

I would so concentrate on the brands and models I can reasonably choose from in the next few days before work frenzy is spinning again at 110%.

Will ask my teacher but as written I'm not sure he has really experience in teaching and is aware of beginners level violins so to advice on specific brands or models.

Yamaha is easy to be evaluated locally, Otto Jos Klier I'm trying to get some info around, Hora waiting answer from the company, Yita was well discussed, there is also the Cremona based Musafia luthier proposing his Hans Fisher brand.

I read a lot of comments about Gliga, will be good if someone can give me an up to date idea about their status, still make sense to get one of the Gems, or in the end Yita has superseded rumenian made violins as the best value choice.

January 4, 2023, 9:04 AM · Just to be clear, the article I'm referring to about "brands" is this one from 2019 by the esteemed editor of this site:
(I'm elevating her research/writing/explanation as more cohesive and credible than collections of varied input even though there would surely be credible voices among those)

The concepts in the one about cheap violins are still valid although one does have to consider that "under $300" in 2010 is something else in 2023:

As an interesting data point, according to credible piece of writing dated 1990, a "really good small violin" was pegged to the $250 price point (well above VSO although I'm not sure how prolific VSOs as we think of them now were in that time).

Edited: January 4, 2023, 10:11 AM · I like this :)

Using this (just the first coming up on Google)

$100 in 2010 are $133 now
$100 in 1990 are $223 now

So $300 in 2010 became $399 now, $250 in 1990 become $558 now, so let's say an average is $480.

Supposing this didn't include the accessories but include luthier work if needed seems my list is reduced to OJK 2E, Yita and Gliga Gems 1 (Gems 1 not in original list, costing around 499, suppose didn't need a luthier but new strings).

January 4, 2023, 10:37 AM · Davide, you wrote:

"Regarding Yita was interested to understand if a 200 cost become equivalent to a x2 (like 400) sold in EU,..."

I don't have a definitive answer, but believe that you can be lucky and get an instrument from Yita that is comparable to an instrument in the range of £2-3000 or even higher, but you might be "unlucky" and get an instrument that is just a good purchase for the price. That's the adventure. Though reading the posts on this forum and elsewhere, the majority of the people seem to have been satisfied with their purchase, with some professionals playing their instruments in orchestra. Don't know to how many £££ that translates, but if the instruments sounds that good, then all is good. IMHO.

If you can afford it, why not spread your purchase? It seems you are unable to see and play too many instruments in an actual shop. Why not buy one that you like from Yita or Gliga or elsewhere, and see how you get on with it. Take the next step based on that first experience. Good luck.

Edited: January 5, 2023, 9:29 AM · I have a little more time to decide, so will do my best for avoiding being disappointed.

I have all the info needed about Gliga and Yita, was just searching someone having tried the Otto Jos Klier 2E.

The only feedback I got from the online retailer selling it is its a bit "muted" respect i.e. Gewa Allegro or Yamaha v5.

I don't know if has maybe different quality in term of richness, warmness, expansion etc.

Edited: January 8, 2023, 7:22 AM · I have found in the local second hand market a Gliga Gems 1 and Hora Elite V200 both from Reghin Romania.

They seems to be targeting the same level, someone know about differences.

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