dd started off on a very affordable 1/2 size 'beginner' violin. Shes now ready for a 3/4 (we were going to wait a bit but somehow her bow has broken - stripped thread on the tightening bit and violin teacher says would be better just to get new one, so if we are doing that then we almost may as well just be brave and sort it now)
Cos dds old violin went out of tune so very easily and she really loves playing, practises every day and is really making progress we want to buy her something that will sound nice and will behave itself. We are going to go to a proper shop but don't know what we are looking at and want to end up with something reasonable, not extortionate. So what should we be looking at and how much would it cost? Thanks
DD's new stentor conservatoire "outfit" cost approx £175. It's great and quality/tone wise would last until at least G5. Can't begin to describe the improvement against the old Skylark she had borrowed from school. I guess a secondhand version would be around £100?
DD's secondhand Stentor student was £55, but we got it for £20 because we traded in her half-size against it at the very good local music shop. I would see if there is somewhere around you that does similar. She may not need the 3/4 size very long (DD only had hers for about 18 months) and the Stentor Student was absolutely fine (she took grade one on it). Then you can trade in the 3/4 against a decent full-size.
Find a proper dealer! Anything set-up by them will behave itself as the pegs will have been sanded to the correct size. They will also set the soundpost (little wooden stick inside) perfectly for the best sound. Other things to consider:- 1 What strings does it have? Might be worth upgrading. My favourites on this type of instrument are piranitos by pirastro, if you have a little more to spend try dominants or tonicas 2 If you are buying a full outfit, upgrade to a fibreglass or carbon fibre bow if you can- they are far less breakable by children! 3 Avoid Antoni, Hudson, & cheap coloured violins they are dire! Look for names like Stentor, Paesold, Rainbow, Yamaha or P&H & you won't go far wrong! Where about's are you? I maybe able to recommend a good dealer as they are few and far between! From a Violist
Agree re the sizing - DD was only 3/4 for just 1-2 years, before moving up to full size. It was still cheaper than renting but I'm not sure it was a wise decision as we still have a 3/4 violin I keep meaning to get rid of!
When she moved to full-size we went to a [www.turnerviolins.co.uk/ proper shop] with her violin teacher and she got to try out a selection of violins within a price range, but also a selection of bows too and find the perfect match for her.
Bit like Harry Potter and Ollivander's Wand Shop!!
I'm not sure how far this one will take her before she'll need to upgrade again, or whether she'll need to, it wasn't cheap but the expectation is that she'll go to Grade 8. At least next time hopefully we won't be buying a saxophone in the same week or so. <Gulp>
Turner's is a fantastic shop! So is Caswell's/Heritage Music (near Silverstone)- my favourite if I'm being biased! Cremona House (Bristol) Foote's (London) Guivier (London) & these are just off the top of my head- don't have any idea about up North/Scotland- sorry! All well worth the day trip though!
Stringers in Edinburgh is great if you're up here - they do everything from secondhand beginners ones up to seriously expensive ones. And they'll always take back ones from there in part-exchange when you want to move up a size or up to an individual one. I like the comparison with Ollivanders . We spent one afternoon picking out DSs new violin, then another afternoon a few weeks later to pick out a bow. But they're also very friendly and approachable when you're just starting out.