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Violin teachers? Or players- good beginner violin?

(20 Posts)
PurpleAlert Sat 08-Feb-14 14:08:12

Just that really- any good reliable makes- new or second hand.

Schmedz Sat 08-Feb-14 19:30:02

My DD started on a Stentor II 1/8 size, had a Zeller 1/4 size and moved on to a Cantabile 1/2 size (which was set up from a specialist violin shop). Makes a gorgeous sound for its size. Thankfully the cost of purchase has been reasonably offset by the resale. Except for her current 3/4 which is much more expensive!!
Invested in a Dominant strings for all except the first which really helps the sound.
I wouldn't waste money hiring either...if you get a decent outfit (i.e. not Antoni, Stentor Student, Lark or anything under about £100 rrp) you should get a lot of the cost back when you sell it on.
If you need a 1/2 size, PM me because I am selling the Cantabile now DD is on the next size.

JulieMichelleRobinson Sat 08-Feb-14 20:33:43

Full-size? Fractional size?

Most of my beginners are from families on a fairly tight budget, so for the 1/4 and 1/2 size fiddles I just give them a list of reputable brands - Stentor (the II is noticeably better than the I), Hindersine, Prima (100 or 200) are all okay and don't fall into the "Violin Shaped Object" category. A second-hand Stentor (from e-bay or a local seller) won't cost more than around £40, which is what you'd pay for the very cheapest 'toy' violins that sound horrendous; a new Stentor will be around £80-£100 including case and passable bow.

I hate Larks, fwiw.

Of course, all of this depends on the age of the child. If you have a 13yo beginner who's already needing a full-sized violin, it's worth forking out that £400 for a halfway decent instrument that'll get him up to grade 5 or 6 (mine did me to grade 8 before we could afford a better one). It'll hold its value and you'll sell it for at least what you paid.

JulieMichelleRobinson Sat 08-Feb-14 20:37:13

Of course, basically the rule is "get the best you can afford".

PurpleAlert Sun 09-Feb-14 16:54:31

Full size- it's for me. I am actually a music graduate- play lots of instruments, read music etc. but have always wanted to learn the violin and want a decent instrument to start on that won't frustrate me!

marmitecat Sun 09-Feb-14 19:16:30

Stentor conservatoire with dominant strings will set you back £400. Zeller also good. What matters most is a decent violin shop who can set it up for you. And don't go for the most basic bow - a couple of steps up will give you a much nicer sound. If you're near Bristol I recommend the Bristol violin shop

TheEmpress Sun 09-Feb-14 19:54:59

I would get what you can afford, but take it to a good violin shop r luthier to get it set up properly.

I always hear hood things about Gliga violins, but haven't seen one in the flesh.

TheEmpress Sun 09-Feb-14 19:55:37

Good, not hood

cingolimama Sun 09-Feb-14 20:18:22

I second Gliga. Incredible sound and fantastic value.

PurpleAlert Sun 09-Feb-14 23:03:19

Thanks- I have a birthday coming up so will have a look
- am in Essex - any good recommendations for violin shops nearby?

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 09-Feb-14 23:25:11

I live in Jersey so not much help!

If the instrument is for you and you're likely to reach a proficient level (grade 3? grade 5?) at least, then it'll be worth forking out that four or five hundred squids so you don't have to buy a better one in the next year or so! I'm about to spend around twice that on a viola for myself, which I expect to be playing in the local orchestra etc. I've been borrowing and yes, I'd like to have a better one, but I can't afford it what with the strings for my good fiddle... and the harp... and the flute... and the digital piano so I can practise at night... you know the drill!

You're best to go to a shop and try a few out though. The sound can vary a bit and you can also be sure that the instrument is set up correctly if you buy from a specialist violin shop. In terms of variation, my 'good' violin (music college standard) has a very deep sound, almost like a viola on the G, but doesn't have the sweet tones most people tend to expect from a classical violin sound. When I picked it out I was really into Bartok I guess! It's set up with Pirastro Oliv strings which actually accentuate that darkness, because I like it that way - other strings would have the opposite effect. Somewhere online there's a list of which strings sound like what to save you spending insane amounts of money experimenting.

Off the top of my head, Caswells are online but somewhere near Oxford, Bristol is violin-shop-central, there's somewhere off Regent Street in London and there used to be one in Winchester where I got my first fiddle but that was around 18 years ago. You can buy online from Caswells if you're sure you know what you want and they will set it up correctly - you can also ask to upgrade case/bow/strings etc.

kanita Mon 10-Feb-14 15:05:06

How about renting one? That's what I did at first and ended up buying it. If you are serious, spend as much as you can - I regretted not getting a nicer one. (Now happily on my second, the first one 'lost' value... so hanging on to it, as opposed to selling it. DH not happy it is clogging up our storage space.)

Second others who said it's important to have it set up properly which makes a huge difference.

Fraxinus Thu 13-Feb-14 18:20:57

Julie would it be possible for you to link the site which describes the quality of different strings?

Thank you so much

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 13-Feb-14 22:59:08

Found it again:

I was given Olivs as a treat for Christmas one day and have never looked back, but different people have different preferences and the strings suit different instruments. I've tried the Evah Pirazzi ones but they don't last as long.

Fraxinus Fri 14-Feb-14 08:45:51

Thanks for that. Lots of useful info on the site

JulieMichelleRobinson Tue 18-Feb-14 00:00:47

Update - I recently tried (on behalf of a beginning adult student) the Hidersine Vivente and it's noticeably better than the Stentor II for about the same price, with a warmer, richer tone. Our 'example' was properly set up, with better quality strings than usually come on the Stentors, which may have helped a bit, but given a choice between the two it's Hidersine all the way. The Vivente looks like the cheapest of their models and comes in at under £150; it'll do for up to around grade 5 standard provided the set-up is good.

PurpleAlert Thu 20-Feb-14 09:16:00

Thanks! The ad for a Hidersine says it come with Thomastik Infeld strings. Are these any good if not what sort of strings would you recommend. And if I buy on the internet would I be right in assuming I would need to take it to a specialist shop for set up?

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 20-Feb-14 09:59:25

Thomastik Infeld are the people who make the "Dominant" line, which are the most popular string used round here (except for me, I love my Olivs!) and a common upgrade from the cheese wire commonly used on student instruments when they're set up in the shop. I don't know which particular strings these instruments come with (I'll ask when I go back), since the company makes several lines, but they are a serious improvement from Astreas. I would use the strings on the instrument until they need changing, they'll be fine.

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 20-Feb-14 10:03:23

Glancing at Caswell's I'm guessing they're Dominants anyway.

PurpleAlert Thu 20-Feb-14 14:48:18

This is the one I saw.

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