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Purchasing my First Violin
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I2ain
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April 18, 2012 - 1:59 am
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Hey everyone.

 

I am looking for some assistance in buying my first violin.

 

I know that this is typically the most general question asked for beginners, but I really am struggling to find the right violin to start off with. Having watched several of Fiddlerman's videos, I've obviously seen the various entry-level Cecilio violins available. They seem to have the right price, but I can't help but feel that reviews are hit or miss. Some people seem to have a lot of luck with them and love them (CVN-200, 500, Black, etc.), while other reviews very quickly berate the Cecilio brand. I've read online from many other sites that Cecilio violins come with a slew of problems, and eventually cost you quite a bit of money in upgrading all of the components and accessories to truly make it sound good.

 

Due to this, I am torn. I want to believe that I'll truly get something awesome out of a CVN-500 and be able to hit the ground running with it, but I also want to make sure that my initial investment counts for something and that I am not stuck with a dud of an instrument. Thus, I am looking to you guys to recommend any brands or particular instruments that you know mean quality. I am okay with spending twice as much as I would on a Cecilio if it meant that the instrument was properly set up and crafted to give a good sound. I've heard, for example, that dealing with Shar Music is pretty good for beginner instruments, as well as buying a Yamaha brand instrument, but I just wanted to consult those of you on this forum to see if anyone had any suggestions. I am also not opposed to getting an electric or an electric-acoustic violin, either!

 

To give a little bit of background on me, I used to play the Cello and the Alto Saxophone years ago. I have obviously forgotten a lot, but I thankfully do still feel confident in reading music and know that I will pick it back up fairly easily. I chose the Violin as the next instrument that I want to learn because it is small, delivers really sweet sounds and seems very versatile in the type of music that it can play.

 

Thanks for any help, guys! I'll keep you updated on what I decide to do!

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Fiddle4Fun
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April 18, 2012 - 2:29 am
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Howdy and welcome!

Have you considered going to music shops and testing everything in your price range to see what works for you? There's going to be variation between instruments, even of the same brand and model, and you might like the sound of one better than its twin. That might be a less stressful option than buying online considering your concerns.

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I2ain
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April 18, 2012 - 6:45 am
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Thanks for the reply 🙂

I have actually considered going to local music shops to both ask some questions and get a hands on feel for the instrument. I am planning on going to two different ones today, one being a general music store and the other an actual violin specific company. I see benefits from purchasing from these stores, but I imagine that the price will be a bit higher than ordering online (probably for good reason, too).

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Fiddlestix
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April 18, 2012 - 7:45 am
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Welcome to the Fiddlerman Forum.

Going to a local music shop would not be my first choice, going to a violin shop would be. You need to find a certified luthier to help you with the purchase of a quality violin.

Employee's at music shops are just that (employee's), they may know alot about guitar's, saxaphone's, accessorie's, etc...... What you need is a person specialized in one particular type of instrument.

One thing to remember and i'm sure you already know this, you get what you pay for.  You may also want to check your local new's paper, if you are no big hurry to spend your money, estate sale's are also good places to check out. You sound like you know what you want and how much you are willing to spend. Another thing to consider is how serious are you about learning to play, is this just a passing spur of the moment ambition?

I wish you luck in your search.    crossedfingers

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NoirVelours
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April 18, 2012 - 8:04 am
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I agree with Fiddlestix, I went to a music shop and came back empty handed because even a newb like me clearly saw they were sellers not violinists. So I did a lot of research online on reviews, trying to focus not on what beginners were saying but on the review of their teachers on their choice of beginner violin.

All the teacher reviews were good for the Ricard Bunnel G2 from Kennedy Violins, it's even a violin they recommended or were using for their violin class. It's assembled at the shop/store no in China and everything is ajusted (bridge etc) to your violin before sending it to you, they even rosin your bow! Ok it comes with Preludes strings but at 200$ it's expected lol.

So ya, just wanted to give another option besides the Cecilio's. Cecilio reviews were too yes or no for my tastes, I wanted something more stable and did not trust my luck with them! One thing to note, the Bunnel projects a lot, it's loud! (Denny even analysed it) Even a bit too much for my liking but I will probably appreciate it when I play outside, it's just painful in an appartment.note

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 18, 2012 - 10:21 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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OK, here it is. You cannot buy a violin online with a guarantee that it will be great. The cheap ones are hand-made in China (great values) but differ from one another. You still get an incredible value considering the materials and man hours to actually cut, shape and assemble the instrument.
Cecilio is great at controlling but they need to make money like everyone else.
If you get a CVN-300, you'll get a hand carved violin with 2 bad bows a cheap rosin and nice looking but not very strong case.
You could invest in a better bow such as a less expensive Carbon Fiber bow and have the violin adjusted by a luthier. The luthier will possible adjust and maybe even suggest changing the sound-post. Probably just adjust it. The bridge might need to be trimmed. Better strings will make the violin sound MUCH better.
You'll have to pay the luthier anywhere from nothing to a little over $1oo if he changes the strings, trims the bridge and redoes the sound-post (probably won't need it)
In the end you will have an incredibly great instrument for the money.

That being said, a few members and even some pros have bought the Kohr instruments that I sell on Fiddlershop.com and every one of them have been extremely happy. The August F. Kohr violin K550 is a great choice for the money. The strings will be great and all the adjustments are made, guaranteed. You can always call Fiddlershop to get the best price.

Fiddlershop 954 530 5999thumbs-up

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

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I2ain
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April 18, 2012 - 5:36 pm
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Thanks a ton for all of the replies, everyone.

 

I am going to give it some thought and weigh all of my options. I really am eager to start playing and again cannot thank you guys enough for the warm welcome and awesome advice.

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TerryT
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April 18, 2012 - 6:37 pm
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In the uk, Stentor seem to be the Chinese import of choice. I bought a student 2 for £85 and love it. I use another violin, a Stentor Conservatoire £250-£300 as an improved model, one piece back etc, but to be honest I must have been given a good one from the shop aside sounds far superior.
Don't know if you get Stentor where you are?

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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I2ain
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April 19, 2012 - 1:56 am
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To give everyone an update, here's what I decided to do for the time being.

 

I ended up going to a local violin shop (Gainesville Violins), and was met with outstanding customer service. They allowed me to try out one of their $950 violins for ten days and insisted that I actually try out others, as well. While I am still trying to figure out what I want to do in the long run (rent, buy, lease, wait, etc.), I must say that I like the idea of buying from such a great local shop that makes sure that the quality of their violins is superb when you walk out the door. They also offer comprehensive insurance, which is definitely a nice prospect in my eyes.

 

In the meantime, I've also ordered a CEVN Electric Violin from Fiddlershop. In addition, I picked up a tuner, an extra set of strings (because I'll likely want to replace the regular ones on the Cecilio CEVN), and the Carbon Fiber bow that Fiddlerman very positively reviewed. I think that this will allow me to continually practice with headphones (as to not annoy my roommates) while I try to make a final decision on which violin to get. Also, before you mention it, I know that I can get a mute for a standard violin, I just figured that this was another option for the time being.

 

I feel better about potentially ordering a violin online, as I feel that I could bring it to my local luthier and have any mishaps sorted out. However, I really have a lot of respect for the work that goes into making the violins that this local shop sells, and the standard of quality that they stand by makes it incredibly tempting to either rent or buy a violin from them.

 

Decisions Decisions! Regardless, thanks again for everyone's input! You guys are a very warm welcome to a truly awesome community!

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Fiddlestix
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April 19, 2012 - 5:19 am
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I think you made a excellent choice in checking out a luthier and i''m happy that you called Fiddlershop, Pierre will treat you very well.

Congratulation's and welcome to the Wide Wide World of violins, you'll have a great time learning and playing.

Keep us posted on your progress, we love progress.

                                      dancing     clap

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NoirVelours
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April 19, 2012 - 8:10 am
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I wish our luthier here had shop like that. The only ones I found in my city are super elitists and you have to take an appointment with them to go check the violins! Or maybe they simply don't care about a shop and work in their atelier without employees? Of course there are music shops but ya I already told what I was thinking of them. They sound clueless about violins even to a noob like me, but ask them about piano or guitar and they are encyclopedia. Like the shop near my home has even mandoline strings but nothing for violin! No choice in rosin who looks pretty old anyway. Makes you wonder where violinists here get their stuff. I'm sure it's a secret place I have not found yet.

I would be extra shy taking an appointement then showing out how much of a beginner I am. Heck I would probably not even see the difference between 2 violins surprised Im happy you found such a great place!

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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SaraO
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April 19, 2012 - 12:12 pm
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I'm glad to hear you have such a great, local shop. I am blessed to have a wonderful luthier as well. Good luck with your purchase!

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cdennyb
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April 19, 2012 - 5:52 pm
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@I2ain: I know you've made up your mind and already made a purchase but just a side note, the CVN500 had an outstanding spectrum sound analyzer trace as compared to many I've tested. It was even on line with some $20K violins for smoothness and projection numbers. The CVN650 was a close 2nd. The August at 4x the price of the CVN500 was actually a little less smooth and had less projection across the whole spectrum.

I have not tested an electric because no-one has submitted to me a recording of open stings being played without any sound enhancement.. I'd be interested in seeing one myself, so after you get it, maybe PM me and we'll take a look at how an electric stands against an acoustic. Should be very interesting.

@NV: I think you should open a violin shop and bring in some help that knows about them, you'd make a decent living I bet, being the only shop in town exclusive to beginners and not the snobs. Maybe hire on a luthier to do a little work, etc. I see great things in your future.thumbs-up

LOL

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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NoirVelours
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April 19, 2012 - 6:41 pm
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You're crazy Denny lol. I couldn't take care of a lemonade stand!

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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TerryT
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April 19, 2012 - 6:47 pm
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roflol

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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cdennyb
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April 19, 2012 - 9:48 pm
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NoirVelours said
You're crazy Denny lol. I couldn't take care of a lemonade stand!

Do you think for a minute Bill Gates knows anything about computers? He just hires good help... take a lesson.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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NoirVelours
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April 19, 2012 - 10:47 pm
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I'll do the accounting then, that's what I'm studying at the moment lol (switching career eh).coffee

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Fiddlerman
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April 19, 2012 - 11:35 pm
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Thanks for the purchase at FiddlerShop I2ain,
It's fun when I put 2 and 2 together and know who is using and buying what and so forth.....

It's great that you found a shop nearby that you can trust. It's always the safest way to buy. The problem for them is that they must pay for their lease, employees, renovations, inventory that gets out of date..... the list goes on, and who pays for that? Obviously we want them to exist but often they must charge more to balance the budget.
I feel sorry for them and try to buy at the stores too but sometimes the online prices are just too good to pass up.

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

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I2ain
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April 20, 2012 - 3:10 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Thanks for the purchase at FiddlerShop I2ain,
It's fun when I put 2 and 2 together and know who is using and buying what and so forth.....

It's great that you found a shop nearby that you can trust. It's always the safest way to buy. The problem for them is that they must pay for their lease, employees, renovations, inventory that gets out of date..... the list goes on, and who pays for that? Obviously we want them to exist but often they must charge more to balance the budget.
I feel sorry for them and try to buy at the stores too but sometimes the online prices are just too good to pass up.

Oh yes, I can definitely see dramatic price differences even when it comes down to bows and strings. I will most likely still entertain the idea of buying another violin online, and many of my accessories. I simply like the one-on-one customer service that comes with dealing with a local store, especially when it is such a nice and personal one. After hearing all of the positives about the CVN500, I think I'll still consider getting it and just take my chances with any problems that it may have. For the price, it seems unbeatable. Also, like I said before, since so many people seem to love theirs, and after hearing about its good qualities from your review (which I've watched, oh, 6 or 7 times), I think it's worth a shot.

 

And Denny, I most certainly will contact you when I get the electric violin if you'd like to test out the sound.

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Fiddlerman
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April 20, 2012 - 4:54 pm
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Sounds great though don't forget my original suggestion about going cheaper and upgrading strings and having the post and bridge checked out by a luthier, possibly cut and adjusted as well. You never know what you can get. I do understand you wanting to invest slightly more though.
Thanks in any case. I appreciate it.

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

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