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Complete beginner looking for a violin -- advice?
Stentor Student (1018A) vs. Cecilio CVN-EAV vs. Cecilio CVN-300
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AsteriskLain
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March 22, 2015 - 12:17 pm
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Hello there everybody!

I am seventeen years old, and in the past, I've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. I never did though, because I was convinced that I had no talent whatsoever and that it would futile to even try. However, recently I've become interested again in picking up a certain instrument: the violin.

That brings me to my problem: I would like to pick up a relatively inexpensive but well-made and nice sounding student violin with which to begin my experience with the instrument. I can pay up to about $140 (CDN), but not more. Within this price range, I've found three instruments that seem to all be pretty good.

Cecilio CVN-300http://fiddlershop.com/instrum.....n-300.html

Cecilio CVN-EAVhttp://www.amazon.com/Cecilio-.....B00HJGIIO8

Stentor Student Standard (1018/A)http://www.tomleemusic.ca/inde.....63796.html

I am having trouble deciding which one to purchase. I have heard fantastic things about the CVN-300, but its approaching the high point of my price range. The CVN-EAV is cheaper, but I can't find much information on it. The Stentor appears to be of a lesser quality than the other two, but it's much cheaper and available at a location near to my home, so I can test it before purchase (unlike the other two).

Keeping in mind that I am a complete beginner (can't read notes, never played an instrument before), which one would you recommend I purchase? Or should I start with a less difficult instrument before working my way up to a violin?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

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OldOgre
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March 22, 2015 - 7:46 pm
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I have a Cecilio CVN-EAV I found it to be a great buy, even though I bought it for the case and thought what the heck for $10 more I'd get the fiddle. But it turn out that the violin/fiddle was just as good as my Mendini MV-650.

Like all student and cheaper violin/fiddles they usually come with bad setups, this can be fixed. A better set of strings help.

But I would recomend this violin to any beginner

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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AsteriskLain
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March 22, 2015 - 9:33 pm
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Thank you for your response, OldOgre! I have been having trouble finding any information about the EAV, so your response helps a lot! Would you happen to know anything about the other two violins? And you mentioned a better set of strings for the EAV -- could you give some examples?

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AsteriskLain
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March 23, 2015 - 9:55 pm
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Bump: does anyone have any advice?

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Fiddlerman
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March 24, 2015 - 9:06 am
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What is your budget for a violin?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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AsteriskLain
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March 24, 2015 - 10:32 am
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I can't spend much more than around $160 CDN ($130 USD) at this time. Anything below that, though, is fair game.

Thank you for your response!

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OldOgre
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March 24, 2015 - 11:21 am
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I dont have any first hand knowledge of the other two. For my EAV I chose Piratro Tonica strings. But you might want to give D'Addario Prelude's a try they work well on my other EV violin. But recommending strings is hard because everyone is looking for just that right sound.

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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AsteriskLain
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March 24, 2015 - 11:19 pm
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AsteriskLain said
I can't spend much more than around $160 CDN ($130 USD) at this time. Anything below that, though, is fair game.

Thank you for your response!

Well, I'd like to also purchase a few accessories as well (tuner, practice mute, etc.), so make that budget more $145 CDN ($116 USD).

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AsteriskLain
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March 26, 2015 - 6:03 pm
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Bump; is anyone still there?

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Mark
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March 26, 2015 - 9:43 pm
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AsteriskLain Welcome to the forum,

 

I'm sorry, but I have now knowledge of the fiddles you are looking at, I wish I could help. There are others here I'm sure that have some insight to them.

 

Welcome to the forum and have fun learning the Fiddle.

 

Mark

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Uzi
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March 26, 2015 - 10:28 pm
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I'm an old man, so feel free to ignore anything I say.  If I were to give you advice though, it would be to be patient and keep saving your money. That way you'll be able to get a much better instrument -- just not right now. I do remember being young and impatient though, and I made the mistake more than once of getting what I could afford right now, instead of what I should have saved up to get. Experience is a virtue that one acquires by making mistakes, so the call is yours.  Some day you can give this same advice to some other young fellow.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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DanielB
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March 27, 2015 - 5:15 am
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I'm an old guy too (at least from the POV of a 17 yr old) so you can feel free to ignore me as well. LOL

But I have been playing assorted instruments for coming up on 40 yrs.  Violin for almost 3 yrs.  If I have learned one thing about instruments in that time, it would be this:

If you want to get anywhere, you have to start somewhere.

There are some reasonable beginner violins in the price range you are thinking, and you have already located what are probably some of the best choices in that range. 

If I were in your shoes, I'd sink all of what you have into the instrument.  Mutes, tuners, you can get later and you can survive without at first.  A mute can be improvised out of something as cheap as a couple clothespins or a couple magnets.  You can use an online tuner or a cell phone tuner app to get started.  But if you let spending money on accessories get ahead of the instrument itself, you usually will regret it.

Accessories are stuff you can add later that cost a lot less then instruments.  Settling for a lower priced instrument so you can afford more stuff to go with it can seem like a good deal at first.  But needing to upgrade to another violin sooner can happen that way, and being less happy with what you are starting on.  

In your price range, I would probably go for the CVN300.  I don't know what vendor you are planning on going with, but if you go with Pierre's Fiddlershop, it comes with a decent set of strings and a couple of bows, rosin and case.  He also did a demo so you can hear what the instrument *can* sound like.

http://fiddlershop.com/instrum.....n-300.html

Pierre is a lifelong violinist with some impressive experience.  He owns/runs Fiddlershop, and if there is a problem with the violin when you get it (which is actually not that likely), he'll sort it out and make sure you have a playable violin for your money.  Folks on this forum have seen that happen on the rare occasions when something wasn't right.

I have owned quite a few instruments over the years, guitars, keyboards, etc.  Usually I had to manage it on a tight budget.  And yes, sometimes what I got and played on was crap.  And so I learned and played anyway, and in most cases eventually got something better later.  But I got going on what I could manage.  No regrets for that.

Violin, on the other hand was probably the first musical instrument that ever really interested me as a child.  I was told they were very expensive, so I didn't start then.  As I got older, I sometimes saw violins for sale that I could afford, but people told me that at the price they would be junk.  To wait.  So I was over half a century old before buying my first violin.  I almost never did.

But one day (at over half a century old), I decided "To heck with it".  I bought an electric violin where since it was the cheapest electric on the market, I knew it would likely not be really an excellent instrument.  LOL  And though I still play that electric a lot, I couldn't recommend it to a beginner.  Too many things on it that need fixed and tweaked before it is "ok" to make it a good beginner choice.

If I hadn't started there, though, I might never have started.  And I have had a lot of fun in the almost 3 yrs since then, learning how to play the thing. 

I try to make it a point to live life with no regrets.  Life is too short.  But if I had a time machine to use just once, one of the main things I'd consider would be going back to one of the times that I was looking at a violin I could afford, put on a set of devil horns and tell my younger self .. "Oh, just do it!  It's only money, and you'll have some serious fun with that instrument." devil-violin

Now so far as the last question in your original post.. Since this is your first instrument, should you maybe start on something else?   Well, it depends on you and what you want to do.  If violin is what you want to play, then that is what you should start with.  Yeah, it's not the easiest instrument.  But wanting to play is the biggest single difference between musicians, and those folks that maybe *could* have been musicians, but never will be.  That desire is the only thing that will really make you keep picking up the instrument when practice and learning are being hard.  If violin is the instrument that has that magic for you, then you should start there.

There are quite a few folks here of all ages where violin has been their first instrument.  A lot of them are sounding pretty darn good and learning things like how to read music and etc as they go.

Anyway, like I said.. I'm another old guy.. disregard any of the advice that you like.  LOL  It's your life.  Decide what you are going to do, and then do it.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 27, 2015 - 6:27 am
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You could start out with a cheap online fiddle such as the Cecilio CVN -300: http://fiddlershop.com/cecilio.....n-300.html
or you may want to rent first to make sure you will enjoy the journey.
Used is an option as well but sometimes the work needed to get these instruments in shape exceeds what you possibly save.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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AsteriskLain
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March 27, 2015 - 9:48 pm
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DanielB said
[...]

Anyway, like I said.. I'm another old guy.. disregard any of the advice that you like.  LOL  It's your life.  Decide what you are going to do, and then do it.

Wow...thank you so much for the incredibly detailed answer! Your advice seems very well thought out, and backed by many years of experience, so there is no way I would disregard it because of your age. I am certainly considering going for the CVN-300 now.

Again, thank you so much!

Fiddlerman said
You could start out with a cheap online fiddle such as the Cecilio CVN -300: http://fiddlershop.com/cecilio-ebony-violin-cvn-300.html
or you may want to rent first to make sure you will enjoy the journey.
Used is an option as well but sometimes the work needed to get these instruments in shape exceeds what you possibly save.

And thank you to you as well, Fiddlerman. If I do end up going for the CVN-300, I will most likely buy it from this website; I have heard a lot of good things about it.

I do have two more questions though, that I hope someone can answer for me:

1.) What is the difference between the CVN-300 and the CVN-EAV?

I have unable to find an answer to this question: some people have told me that it's simply a rebranding of the CVN-300. Is this true?

2.) Would you recommend self-teaching as a viable way to learn how to play the violin?

I've been looking for violin teachers in my area, and I can't seem to find any at this time. With that in mind, I was considering picking up a few copies of the "String Builder" books--which apparently teach you both the basics of playing the violin and the basics of reading music at the same time--in order to teach myself how to play. Is this wise?

Thank you so much for all of your answers!

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DanielB
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March 27, 2015 - 11:32 pm
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AsteriskLain said

2.) Would you recommend self-teaching as a viable way to learn how to play the violin?

I've been looking for violin teachers in my area, and I can't seem to find any at this time. With that in mind, I was considering picking up a few copies of the "String Builder" books--which apparently teach you both the basics of playing the violin and the basics of reading music at the same time--in order to teach myself how to play. Is this wise?

Well, it can be done.  Almost all the instruments I play, I'm self-taught on.  But I can't say it is "wise" because it sure isn't the easiest or fastest way of going about learning. 

If you can manage to afford lessons, even just one or two, it could be better than trying to go entirely self-taught.  Even if you can just find someone who plays violin, and not an actual teacher, to make sure you're holding the instrument and bow right and to show you some of the basic techniques, just to get started.. It could save you some months of trial and error and self-doubt.

After that, self teaching is a better option now than it was years ago, because there are a lot of good tutorials and free learning resources out there.  But a website can't check your hold or tell if you are gripping the neck of the violin too tight. 

It can be done, though, if going entirely self-taught ends up being your only option.  It would just be easier and faster if you can manage to get a teacher for even a couple of lessons.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 30, 2015 - 8:03 pm
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AsteriskLain said

Fiddlerman said You could start out with a cheap online fiddle such as the Cecilio CVN -300: http://fiddlershop.com/cecilio.....300.html or you may want to rent first to make sure you will enjoy the journey.
Used is an option as well but sometimes the work needed to get these instruments in shape exceeds what you possibly save.

And thank you to you as well, Fiddlerman. If I do end up going for the CVN-300, I will most likely buy it from this website; I have heard a lot of good things about it.

I do have two more questions though, that I hope someone can answer for me:

1.) What is the difference between the CVN-300 and the CVN-EAV?

I have unable to find an answer to this question: some people have told me that it's simply a rebranding of the CVN-300. Is this true?

EAV = Electric Acoustic Violin.

2.) Would you recommend self-teaching as a viable way to learn how to play the violin?

I've been looking for violin teachers in my area, and I can't seem to find any at this time. With that in mind, I was considering picking up a few copies of the "String Builder" books--which apparently teach you both the basics of playing the violin and the basics of reading music at the same time--in order to teach myself how to play. Is this wise?

Thank you so much for all of your answers!

Self-teaching works for many but not all people. You need to be self-motivated and have discipline. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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