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Violin - how much would you pay for a kid's violin

(15 Posts)
WisteriaWoman Wed 15-Jun-11 20:42:03

DD had her first Suzuki violin lesson on Monday and now we need to buy her a violin. (I thought we'd be able to hire one but it appears that's not possible- grr)

THe teacher has recommended a local shop where a kids violin sells for around £200 shock.
Can anyone recommend a decent online store for buying a violin. Happy to spend £50 but nothing beyond that..... or would that be a waste of money.


TeamDamon Wed 15-Jun-11 20:44:55

Can't recommend an online store, I'm afraid, but DS's was a second-hand one that cost £50 - we bought it through his teacher. No idea what quality it is but when they're just starting out, it really doesn't matter that much!

I would try to hunt down a second-hand one - local paper, ads in the music shop, ask the music teacher, etc.

JemimaMop Wed 15-Jun-11 20:46:17

I know our local music shop rents them out for £20 a term and you can buy them for about £80. Obviously if your child progresses you might need a better one, but that is what the teacher here recommends for children who are just starting out.

confidence Wed 15-Jun-11 21:48:27

Can you stretch to an extra £6? smile

Stentor violin outfit £56 ("outfit" means bow and case as well as violin). These are what I used to buy when I was running a primary school music department, and they are perfectly decent. The price seems cheap to me - I think we used to pay about £80. Not sure why.

Make sure you check with the teacher what size to get.

WisteriaWoman Thu 16-Jun-11 07:19:48

Thanks v much for these wonderful suggestions. DD's teacher is new to the area so doesn't know local alternatives to the expensive violin shop.
I'll try and find a second hand one but that's difficult when you know nothing about these things. ANd thank you for the suggestions of Normans website. I'd heard of Stentor violins but didn't know if they were any good. £56 is manageable.

Tangle Thu 16-Jun-11 10:25:13

IIRC Stentor is a range of Chinese factory instruments. They generally get quite good reviews and have proved very popular. BUT - the usual advice is to get them set up properly by an experienced luthier.

Chinese instruments are supplied to the UK with no bridge or strings. Getting the bridge in the right place is fairly crucial to having a playable instrument. I can't remember if they come with a sound post fitted - but again, making sure its in the right place relative to the bridge will have a profound impact on how easy the instrument is to play and what kind of sound comes out.

I do agree with the logic that there's not point spending lots of money when they're just starting - but you also don't want to waste money on an instrument that's so bad (or so badly set up) they struggle to get a decent note out and so give up.

It might also be worth giving your County Music Service a call - they may well be offer advice on where to get a decent instrument, where to get a 2nd hand instrument and where to find a reputable luthier.

maggiethecat Thu 16-Jun-11 12:14:57

Among the Suzuki community there may be common exchanges/sales - I would enquire amongst the group. Are there any local music schools that teach young children? Reception areas sometimes have notices about intruments.

fluffycauliflower Thu 16-Jun-11 17:31:22

When my daughter started we bought a quarter size violin second hand from one of the other children who had grown out of it for £25, I sold it on for £25 too when she had grown out of it, and bought a 1/2 size from another child for the same price, the violin teacher put us in touch with each other.

mopsyflopsy Fri 17-Jun-11 14:06:17

We've been hiring one for £5 per month from our local music shop. Makes much more sense as you can a) see how they like it and b) exchange it for the next size up when they've grown.

Only now (after 2 years of playing) have we bought dd her own violin (half size), an old German one, and the sounds really lovely smile.

mopsyflopsy Fri 17-Jun-11 14:06:50

sorry, it sounds

WisteriaWoman Sat 18-Jun-11 18:15:10

Fabulous advice, thank you. I think I've found somewhere who hires out violins so I'm going to make contact with them. ALso - that's a great idea about the county music department, I hadn't thought of them.
I've spoken to the violin teacher and she's also warned me of buying a violin off the internet which isn't set up properly - so I'll definitely hire one

THanks again

Tangle Sat 18-Jun-11 19:09:20

glad it was helpful smile

Do bear in mind though that buying off the internet isn't a bad thing in and of itself and you can sometimes get fantastic deals - but its much more important than usual to take the instrument to a luthier and get them to set it up properly. Its not a big job and shouldn't be hugely expensive, but it would be worth calling a couple and asking how much they charge - it may turn out that the "amazing deal" is actually comparable to something you can buy locally with the work done already, or it may not...

TBH, if I was buying or hiring an instrument from a general, all purpose music shop that didn't specialize in strings I'd also be inclined to take it to a luthier for a quick look over for exactly the same reasons (most luthiers would be very happy to have a quick looksee and advise on whether it needs anything doing for free, and if its a quick tweak they may not charge you anyway - it pays them to keep customers happy as, sooner or later, they'll need a better instrument or bow rehair or a new bridge or a problem sorting out).

Good luck smile

confidence Sat 18-Jun-11 21:03:21

I must admit all the stuff about the bridge and soundpost being exactly right is news to me, but you live and learn.

Of course you could just look at it pragmatically: It's a violin. For the first 10 years or so of learning, it's going to sound like a hungry cat on speed being slowly disembowelled anyway.

On the bright side though, I believe it gets better after that. And it's not an accordion smile

Tangle Sat 18-Jun-11 21:36:36

Exactly right? Yes - not too critical until you get up a reasonable way. But broadly right? That can make the difference between an instrument that sounds like a strangled cat however you touch it and one that has the potential, at least, to create something vaguely musical.

I may well have the over-enthusiasm of the recently converted blush. I've had the same cello for the last 20 years. It got me through grade 8. Its always had some idiosyncrasies that have made it challenging to play in some respects. A couple of years back I took it to an extremely good luthier and had it set up properly for the first time - and it came out a different instrument that was a huge amount easier to get a nice sound out of.

As in so many things, its a personal decision. If it were me, having found out how much difference the set up can make, I'd get it checked as getting it checked is probably free (and for an OK set up I'd expect to pay about £20 tops) - and for me it would be worth that to give DD the best chance of making enough progress that she didn't get fed up and quit. Especially if its a rental instrument - if you're renting it and the set up is appalling then, depending on the terms of the rental, it might even be the rentors cost to get it sorted smile

ImNotaCelebrity Fri 24-Jun-11 21:25:15

I buy decent strings (Dominant) for ds's stentor - makes a massive difference. In the shop they're more than £40 shock but I've found them online for £25ish, and they're worth every penny for the difference in sound compared to the awful, cheap, thin strings they tend to come with.

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