Stentor 2 for grade 5?(31 Posts)
I’m looking at getting daughter a Stentor 2 violin. Would that be ok for grade5? How is Stentor graduate in comparison? Any relevant advice is gratefully recurved. Thanks
It would probably be OK for G5, but how long is your DC likely to stay on it? My DD has been on a half size for 2 and a half years (granted she is quite diddy!) - in that time she's gone from approx G4 to G8 and so I'm glad we invested in a better quality violin when we did. You can pick up some lovely old German violins around £500-700 which hold their value and if set up properly are (in my opinion) a lot of instrument for the money.
I would not recommend a stentor- you can get some really nice old German/french/Italian/Czech violins etc etc for a similar price and they will be setup properly- hopefully anyway.
Thanks all. The options I have are:
1. Stentor graduate (used - but in good condition )
2. Stentor conservatoire - new
3. Gliga Genial 1 - new
There was a lovely Gliga Gems2 in the shop we visited, but it looked a bit old. A couple of scratches. DD didn’t want it coz it didn’t look new. Sad I know, but she just wants a “nice” violin
Which one would you choose?
Is the stentor graduate cheaper than the rest? Has it been setup by a violin luthier or are you buying from a general music shop ?
If a general music shop, can you find a violin shop/luthier?
Stentors are known for having a pretty weak sound? I personally wouldn’t buy one for grade 5 + ....but how often does she play, where does she play and what size is it?
Also check the higher positions for quality of sound- this is often lacking in stentors- which will make gr5 + repertoire very difficult to play/get a good sound!
Stentor graduate (used) is cheaper. It’s from another student who is moving up a size.
I’m looking at a timeframe of 1-2yrs before DD moves up a size. That takes us roughly to the end of Grade5, after which we will upgrade again
She practices nearly everyday and plays for her school orchestra.
That’s amazing Folkmamma! G4 to G8 in 2.5 years??
To be fair she's only just starting on G8 standard material- won't be doing the exam any time soon!! But yes, it's been a rather speedy ascent, especially this past 6 months!!!
Most Stentors can be picked up for hardly anything secondhand. Our violin teacher said they were perfectly adequate for grade 5, but by grade 7, it was definitely time to move up (and by then, most players are able to appreciate the differences in construction and intonation from going up the price bands, so are more likely to appreciate an instrument with good tone and playability as being 'nice' than something new and shiny. Any secondhand one will need a professional setup, though, as you can't always tell if it's been stuffed under a bed or next to a radiator.
My specialisms are in different families (which is why I listen to the violin teacher), but I'd advise parents to not spend more than about £250 for most instruments until the higher grades.
drums, pianos and large strings excepted .
You could probably get to G5 on the student ii but not very far beyond it. They are great for beginners but then they need something better. I know it is hard when you are on a tight budget and instruments are expensive and people talk about the prices like they are nothing.
Her best bet out of all your options really would be the gems 2. I've not seen a genial other than online. What grade is she at the moment? I can understand her wanting something that looks shiny and new but the best instruments dont. How old is she?
I did G8 on a conservatoire with a new bridge. I still have that violin and it is noticeably inferior to the gems 2, which we also have. Is she on a full size?
@UgliestGirl : she is in G4 but a long way from the exam and she is 11 but petite. She is quite responsible and looks after her things well. so I’m hoping we”ll get a decent price when selling on. I’d probably end up “spending” £50-£70 more on a Gliga Genial or Conservatoire than on a Stentor student 2. Happy with that if it really makes a difference at grade4/5.
Why do people buy expensive instruments for grade4/5? Especially smaller sizes?
We started 'trading up' quality wise quite early on for a whole host of reasons.
1) her first (and very experienced) teacher always advised us to go for the best quality instrument we could afford. Better quality instruments are more enjoyable and rewarding to play, and it fine tunes the ear from an early stage. As a violinist albeit amateur) this I could appreciate. Plus it was nicer for me to listen to...
2) it was evident quite early on that she was musical and had the potential to be quite good. We decided to invest a little more each time and trade-up in order to soften the blow of a very expensive instrument later on. So far, this is paying off.
3) we initially got stung buying new instruments that were worth next to nothing when selling on. Quality holds its value, and some luthiers will even guarantee to buy back at the price you paid if trading up with them later on.
4) a pointless and whimsical argument, but I'm a sucker for beautiful old things. There is something very special about a 125yr old teeny violin. (All that stuff about trading up is very sensible but emotionally I'm going to really struggle to say goodbye to the one she's on now!!).
Someone on another thread suggested a rule of thumb of £100 per grade, excluding bow/case. I'm not sure how widely accepted that view is, but it feels about right to me.
I know people who have spent from £400-£3000 for a 1/2 3/4 size violin- it’s not how much you spend but what the violin is like and whether it’s been setup probably.
Unfortunately stentors are factory made, shipped out and sold as is. I guess you could get it setup by a luthier but I’m not sure how much difference it would make.
To make progress on a violin, the instrument has to be able to generate a good sound, and be playable- otherwise it can become very frustrating for the player, especially as their ears improve.
Maybe go for the stentor, but I would definitely try and upgrade for grade 5 +
Oh, and at higher grades, examiners really start to expect a bigger sound and good tone. Cheaper instruments don't have those things - and as Zak said, in the higher positions in more challenging repertoire they can sound particularly shrill....
Zak - we've been trying to pimp up a Hidersine Vivente viola with good strings, soundpost adjustments etc but it still sounds rubbish compared with her violin! She hates the sound of it in her ear...
If I was going for a stentor it would be the conservatoire version.
But I’d probably visit a few luthiers and see what they have second hand. DDs 3/4 we spent about £500 on and lasted till she was around 12, but it was beautiful and sounded great x
Indeed Mrs Elijah- there are violins out there- you just need to look.
Folk- dd has a Beare-Tertis viola- it’s too small...I’ve put new strings on it but it still isn’t great....but she only plays it once a week whilst she’s playing viola in quartet (they rotate the positions- so no point spending anymore at this stage).
What size is your dd’s viola- the sizes confuse me on violas! 😊
13" - same length as a 3/4 violin (she's still on a half).
Think dd would need a full size viola maybe? Might look in a year or so for one- but for now this one will do .
Folk- However I know your dd plays a lot of viola as well as violin so it’s more difficult. I imagine it’s very difficult to play an instrument that you don’t like the sound of- especially when you have another to compare it with.
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