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Cheap and cheerful Chinese violins

(15 Posts)
DrSeuss Mon 10-Oct-16 20:22:02

Please can anyone tell me if the cheapish Chinese violins on ebay are actually any good? I have no experience of this but need to get a one eighth size violin for my daughter. We are currently hiring one from the school but at under fifty quid, these would soon pay for themselves. Someone told me once that all beginner violins are a bit screechy but the sound is worse still on a cheap instrument. Is this true? She has her heart set on a pink one!

doodlejump1980 Mon 10-Oct-16 20:32:05

Oh god please don't get a coloured one. The are crap instruments under a thick layer of paint (not a coloured proper varnish) which strangles the already crappy sound. They are not worth the money and stand out like a sore thumb in an orchestra setting.
Most music shops you'll be able to get into a chain of buying one then trading it in as they grow and need a bigger size.

treaclesoda Mon 10-Oct-16 20:37:34

Leaving aside how screechy they sound, one of the big problems with very cheap violins is that they are ridiculously difficult to tune. The pegs quite often don't fit the holes snugly enough and they just constantly slip.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 10-Oct-16 20:54:01

It would be better not to learn at all than to learn on one of those. I firmly believe that all children learning an instrument should be able to use the best available according to family or school finances. Why have what looks and sounds like a cheap toy?

It is not true that all beginner violins are screechy. Beginner violinists are often screechy but that is a totally different matter.

DrSeuss Mon 10-Oct-16 20:58:20

Thanks for the advice. Is Stentor an OK brand if I just get a plain one? Although, given that she's only five, the orchestra might be a while away yet!

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 10-Oct-16 21:19:55

we got one off gumtree for £25. bit battered and had little coloured stickers on it where one of the previous owners had put note information on or something (I am not musical) but it does the job.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 10-Oct-16 21:32:35

Stentor are generally reliable at a basic level. Your DD will be fine with one of them, but make sure an expert checks that it is set up properly.

littlepinkmouseofsugar Mon 10-Oct-16 21:47:59

Stentor is fine for beginners. They do several models which increase in price as quality increases. Maybe check eBay etc in case there's anything local second hand, although super tiny sizes are not as common (I was searching for a decent brand 1/10 a while ago). Sometimes buying from the internet (either as a cheap new one or secondhand one from someone who doesn't know much about violins) means they are not set up properly so will not function/sound woeful/be hard to keep in tune etc.

One of the kids at school had a super cheap one. It never stayed in tune, sounded awful and probably (along with lack of effort) contributed to him stopping playing which was a real shame.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Oct-16 23:27:16

It's hard enough to get a decent sound out of a small violin without having a crap violin.

A beginner violinist who works hard and has a good teacher will not be screechy for long. My daughter spent the first few weeks just building up strength in the neck. She did very little bowing in the early weeks.

My daughter is currently hiring a stentor 2 1/10th size violin. Its costing us £7.50 a month. The hire cost includes the cost of insurance and maintaince of the violin.

Witchend Tue 11-Oct-16 18:18:21

Ds has used a Stentor 1 (£10 in a charity shop) for 1/4 size, and now has a Stentor 2 for 1/2 size.

He tried a more expensive one for the 1/2 size and actually I preferred the sound of the Stentor.

pugsandseals Wed 12-Oct-16 10:18:41

Set up, set up, set up! Forget brand, forget buying over the internet, find a really good luthier/dealer who will charge you an extra £30 but put a decent set of strings on & upgrade the bridge & soundpost. This will give you an instrument that is easy to play & will make a decent sound & your child will stick at it! eBay violins=kid will give up in 95% of cases (& I've taught violin for over 20 years)

ReallyTired Wed 12-Oct-16 11:15:27

this post

Thwaites in Watford are really good if you live in that part of the world. They know their stuff and are not selling toys.

It's the same for guitars.

onlymusic Wed 12-Oct-16 12:30:46

I agree about set up, and difficulties with tuning with cheap violins purchased on ebay. Stentor and Primavera are popular beginner's violins.

se22mother Wed 12-Oct-16 15:01:57

Stringers do great sounding beginner violins that can be exchanged when the child grows.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 12-Oct-16 15:07:32

Do not order one on Ebay - I teach violin and had a new pupil start with me and she brought along what I shall henceforth describe as a VSO (violin shaped object). It looked like a violin, but that was about it. Literally couldn't put it together, bridge too high for the size of the instrument, rubbishy plastic pegs which didn't turn. After spending the whole first lesson trying to assemble it, let alone get a note out of it, I suggested the mother send the VSO back for a refund and buy one from a reputable supplier or even better go to a shop where her daughter could try one out before buying it!

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