What kind of violin can 99 dollars buy you?
I was curious when I saw an ad from one of my own sponsors for a 99 dollar violin. From time to time I get emails from Fiddlerman.com visitors who want to learn to play the violin but do not know where to find one or how much to spend on a violin. Not only did the violin cost $99 but the package includes everything you need in order to play. I decided to order one and test it for my visitors.
First surprise came when I ordered the fiddle. The shipping was free Next surprise was how quickly I received the violin. I ordered the violin on Monday and it arrived at my door Thursday evening. So far so good. I wanted to video the whole experience so that everyone interested could see exactly what I was seeing for the first time. The case is very attractive and has a built-in music pouch on the outside. Upon opening the violin I was pleasantly surprised to see TWO bows instead of one, although if I had read the ad properly I would have known what was to be included in the package. Also found a small box within the box with a free tuner and metronome that seems to work extremely well so far. The bows did not look like real wood at first but after more careful examination proved to be brazilwood after all. Not great bows but they work fine for a beginner and didn’t create any problems for me in any way whatsoever. The bows are not pre-rosined so I had to work for a good 10 to 15 minutes to get that brand new shiny clear rosin to rub off enough on the bow hair to start making sound.
The violin has a unique kind of metallic black spray paint that still has a slight smell to it. Not bad enough to be bothersome in any way in my opinion and I am fairly certain that the smell will disappear after some airing out. Both the chin-rest and the shoulder-rest are very much usable and of much better quality than I ever imagined.
The violin is slightly heavier and thicker than a fine violin but supposedly made of real maple and spruce just as any other fine violin though most probably not of equal quality.
I had to back off the fine adjusting tuner screws right away to allow some play for raising the pitch since the strings appear to be steel core and therefor need fine tuners. Also I had to move the bridge back about a quarter inch to get it in the right position.
I proceeded to play the strings one by one and was pleasantly surprised that they are remarkably even between themselves. The volume of this violin is quite a bit lower than my own violin but there are very few instruments that can match my violins sound. Also, a new Jan Larsson, Sweden would cost you around $20.000 as apposed to $99. I didn’t test the violin with any of my good bows since the complete beginner will most likely be using the bow that is included with the violin though I am sure that I would have had much more control with one of my other bows. Non-the-less, I am able to play just about any type of bow stroke with plenty of control with the included bow that costs a very small fraction of what my bows cost.
All in all, I can honestly recommend this outfit for a person who wants to learn to play violin and does not know where to begin. I even recommend these fiddles for folk and country musicians and professionals looking for a cheap practice or outdoor violin. I am certain that if I spent money at the Luthiers to make some adjustments with the post and bridge, I would get this violin to sound even better. The $10 strings that are included on the violin might not be the absolute best choice for optimal sound.
I will be raffling off this violin in the beginning of June to one of Fiddlermans visitors. For your chance to win this fiddle simply visit this link to like Fiddlermans “Learn to play Violin” facebook page.
To double your chances, register, login and make at least one comment on Fiddlermans “Fiddle Talk” forum. Any of the topics will qualify you and it does not have to be on the “99 dollar violin test” topic as most seem to be doing.