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Welcome @phil - UK ( Scotland ) as well. I got myself the FiddlerMan Concert from FiddlerShop (and paid the import duty to HMRC - a curse be upon them ROFL). I also have a Thomann electric, and an old-ish ( late 1970's ) Skylark - but that's another story.
I'm very happy with the Concert, and have played a LOT over the last two years, and, I feel it is a real good starter-to-intermediate instrument. I can "sense" my playing might start to demand more from the instrument - but - honestly - that's just me - I'm sure I have a couple more years to go before I really NEED to upgrade...
[ I have no commercial connection with FiddlerShop whatsoever - but - to my mind they are number-one for customer service, and will work with you to help identify exactly what you want. So there ! Gratuitous advertising over and to FiddlerShop ]
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Hi Phil and welcome to the forums! I have to say as a prior owner of a FiddlerMan Violin, they are absolutely worth it. I had one of the old style "Master" violins from a couple years ago and loved it. It's more along the intermediate level and not trying to put on a sales or marketing pitch but it may be worth looking at something along the Artist or Master series as you'll grow in to it. Good luck with your search and hope you find a perfect violin for your playing journey!
I personally don't like playing with a mute, it messes with how I hear the notes... at least it did when I first started out... and since I'm not in an apartment I just play without one. At first I kept my windows shut, now I don't care if my windows are open, lol.
~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~
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