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buying a full size violin

(25 Posts)
NuclearStandoff Fri 09-Nov-12 20:16:50

DS has been learning violin for 6 years. He's OK, nothing special - school orchestra but not soloist.

grade 5/6.

His teacher says he now needs to move up to a full size violin from a 3/4 size - and that we should expect to pay around £500 for a good instrument.

I am tempted to look on ebay but have no idea how to buy something like this as I'm completely unmusical myself.

Any advice please?

RyleDup Fri 09-Nov-12 20:20:05

I don't think I would look on ebay. Unless you can see it first and you can tell whether it has any damage or not. Have you tried your local music shop to see if they have any second hand ones that may have been swapped in?

RyleDup Fri 09-Nov-12 20:21:37

I bought mine from my violin teacher who had lots for sale. I played every single one until I found the one that had the perfect sound for me.

OhYoubadbadKitten Fri 09-Nov-12 20:23:02

I think that you need to go to a specialist violin shop when they are getting to that grade. Violins sound and react so differently from each other and he needs to find the one that suits him. It's a bit like choosing a wand in Harry potter!

FarelyKnuts Fri 09-Nov-12 20:26:43

Definitely don't buy online. As others have said you need to get the feel of it and see if it suits him. Go to a music store

NatashaBee Fri 09-Nov-12 20:28:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NuclearStandoff Sat 10-Nov-12 11:02:09

Thanks - loads of great advice here and I won't be risking ebay.

One more question - when the teacher says we need to spend £500 - is that really right. Would there be that much difference between one which costs say, £400 and £500 - money is tight at the moment. I know a good 2nd-hand instrument should hold it's value and be re-sellable. But would prefer to spend less money if we can get the same result.

OhYoubadbadKitten Sat 10-Nov-12 16:44:01

The best thing to do is to give the violin shop your top value and the price range you are interested in. Phone them up before hand to see if they have a few to choose from. Dont forget to check whether the bow and case is included in it. (You are looking for a complete outfit) Also check what strings are on the violin. A good set of strings can improve a violins sound by some margin.

Then let your ds choose by playing without looking at the price. Lots of kids in dds orchestra like bright sounding new instruments (dd prefers a much more mellow sound and chose an older violin).

APMF Sun 11-Nov-12 22:11:11

The difference between a £400 violin and a £500 one would be significant IF he was a soloist. But as you've said, he just plays in an orchestra so no one is really going to hear the difference.

Re reselling it, some models are mass produced in China for example. So shops may sell it to you but they won't buy it back off you at a later stage. It's like watches. There is a healthy market for 2nd hand Rolex watches but not for Timex :-) Your teacher should be able to advise you as to what brand to go for.

Shops will allow you to take violins home on trial for a couple of weeks. Ask to take, if available, a £400 and a £500 home and ask for your teacher's opinion.

Having you considered renting? If money is a bit tight at the moment then it will allow you to defer the expenditure for a year or so..

DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 10:21:31

The advice many years back when I was having my violin bought for me, was that the cheapest way to get a good violin was to buy a Chinese import and replace all the strings/bridge/keys etc.

I don't know if that's still the advice, but I know mine cost about £45 and is a lovely violin-perfectly up to orchestra standard, not solo though.

My db got a much more expensive instrument and it was nothing like as good.

APMF Mon 12-Nov-12 11:51:47

'many years back'. How far back are we talking about? I nean, how much is £45 in new money :-)

DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 13:35:31

About 25 years ago, but I don't know how prices of violins have altered. That was the fairly standard suggestion of music teachers in the area, I believe.

My grandad was very good at the violin (I was not!) and he did reckon we had a bargain, but his violin was bought in £ s d so he wouldn't have known current prices.

I'd guess though it slightly depends if you would be happy to go back and buy another violin if he suddenly emerges as a budding soloist. If you're saying we definitely won't buy another, you might want to be sure with a slightly more expensive one, rather than risk a couple of years down the line him needing to buy a better one.

APMF Mon 12-Nov-12 20:08:11

Well, children's starter violins cost about £30 these days for very basic one.

Disappointedbuyer Mon 12-Nov-12 20:14:45

Have a look at a Gliga Gama from Elida trading. I think they will send on approval for the teacher to check out.

pugsandseals Mon 19-Nov-12 17:28:02

Where in the country are you? Somebody might be able to suggest a good shop. I really can't stress the importance of trying a selection to find one he likes. There is a great variation in the types & quality of violin dealers so its best to go on recommendation. its much more about how well the dealer sets it up than its absolute price. I would pay 15% more for the same violin with a good set up!

LulaPalooza Mon 19-Nov-12 17:35:32

Have you heard about the Take It Away scheme? You can buy musical instruments for young people with an interest free loan. It's really good.

unitarian Mon 19-Nov-12 17:37:41

Don't forget that instruments are VAT free.
Get a form from your local LEA music service, then get the Head of Music at school to sign it. Then present it to the shop who will invoice it without VAT.

It is a faff. You have to choose the instrument and then get the shop to hold it while you get the form sorted out but the shops are used to this and it is quite a saving.

Twitterqueen Mon 19-Nov-12 17:39:20

Amazon black Friday deals week full-size violin reduced from £95 to £44?

pugsandseals Mon 19-Nov-12 23:04:05

TwitterQueen NOOOO! It will be truly awful - they even glue the soundpost inside these violins. It won't even come with the bridge fitted & your violin teacher will hate you forever! It will never sound acceptable.

showtunesgirl Mon 19-Nov-12 23:08:32

Definitely get a variety on loan from a shop to test out the sound. A friend's teenage daughter was picking a violin and had five to choose from. My DH plays the violin and played all five and chose the one he liked the most and it was the same as her choice. They were all the same price range but the difference in tone, feeling and sound was very different from each instrument.

Schmedz Thu 31-Jan-13 23:10:34

I have found looking on EBay is fine if you can go and try the instrument before bidding. If the violin teacher is happy to go with you, all the better. Found a bargain half size for my daughter through EBay and it is a beautiful instrument (full paperwork trail of its origin from a specialist music store). Bargain price too, less than half it's actual value!

WhereMyMilk Thu 31-Jan-13 23:21:29

Try Caswell's. Just got DD a 3/4 from them, set up with a dominant E&A string, think was just over £160. Sound is truly lovely,x

ZZZenAgain Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:21

I took about 4 violins from the shop, well it was actually a violin maker who sold new and restored violins and the teacher recommended him to me. Took all the violins to the lesson and the teacher rejected them all. She spent almost the entire time on it. So we went back to the shop again. Each time, dd just tried a whole pile of violins and selected a few she liked the sound of. She was only 10 at the time so it was hard for us to know what to look for. I have no idea at all and the violin maker didn't say a word about any of them, zero hard sell so really was quite difficult to know what we were doing. Dd went entirely by sound. Took another 5 violins to the next lesson and the teacher choose one of those. Then we had the same thing with bows, took a selection and the teacher chose the one she thought best. There seem to be a lot of things to listen for and look for. As I recall, one thing is check whether there is a sort of rushing sound when you play the e string or the 5th plus positions. Some of the violins had this problem with the higher notes and it can drive you nuts when you play to hear it in the background. I can't remember now all the things the teacher looked at because it is 2 years ago but she looked down across the top surface of the violin presumably checking it was straight? I think with no help it would be difficult to get it right.

The teacher had one pupil who spent 6 months in this fashion before selecting his violin aged 14 going through the same procedure we did. So we were quite lucky or not so careful I suppose. I don't know how other people do this so just followed the advice of dd's teacher. I am afraid it cost an awful lot more than others have said on here so maybe I didn't go about it in the best way.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Feb-13 20:34:48

I think ebay is good if you have a return policy from the provider, if there are pictures and the person seems reliable and can answer questions you may have. Also a teacher with 100% profile wouldn't want a bad review so wouldn't sell a dud. If you didn't like it you could always sell on.
We have bought several really good expensive second hand ones on ebay. Far better than any student chinese models.

Tinyfeetbiggob Fri 01-Feb-13 20:44:24

several of my pupils have westbury/ hiedersine both are both good and have different models of varying cost. I would definitely suggest going to a specialist shop your violin teacher should be able to suggest one. I'd avoid eBay and buying via the Internet if poss even if it means a bit if a trek to your nearest shop

Also quite often shops will offer a trade in on an instrument bought from them if you decide to upgrade at some point smile

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