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Violins - made in China
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Fort Lauderdale
October 12, 2011 - 11:40 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11614

China now makes 70% of the world’s violins. And the quality at the top-end is quite good. In fact, it’s making Italian violin makers nervous. The World’s, Mary Kay Magistad checks out China’s violins.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere. This town near Beijing, Donggaocun started, about 20 years ago, to make violins for export. Zhang Qiu Yan is the town’s economic management director:


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

Advanced member
October 13, 2011 - 1:52 pm
Member Since: September 2, 2011
Forum Posts: 72
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Sorry for being away for so long, Pierre. Interesting piece of information. It reminded me of something. It used to be that all cheap Fender instruments were Made in Mexico, and a "MIM" instrument wasn't considered a "real" Fender.

However, most "real" Fenders that were custom-shop Fenders (the high-end ones) actually began their life in Mexico. Not many people know that. But they still look down on the budget-conscious instruments as lesser somehow.

The fact is, I don't care where an instrument was made, as long as it was crafted by people who care about their craft. And it is apparent that is happening in China. What is also apparent from some news reports, is that China has internal issues with it's workers and their wages. And that could potentially effect this one of two ways.

We'll either be purchasing violins from someone that isn't earning enough money to even get by, much less to purchase an instrument they've made, or we'll be purchasing a quality instrument from someone who cares about their craft and is rewarded accordingly.

China is at a cross-roads in this regard. It'll be interesting to see which road they take.

One wonders if the damage would have been as severe had the chicken not been tied to the barrel.


October 13, 2011 - 3:41 pm
Member Since: July 6, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
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Somewhere I read, "it doesn't matter if you are playing on a cheap violin. It is your techniques and enthiusiasm that bring you to higher level of playing. When you play well, your violin will be famous and liked as well."

I don't know how true it is, but to some degree I agree with it and to some degree I disagree with it. Ones do want a violin that has a decent sound so you feel like playing. If you have a violin that sounds hoarse and horrible, maybe each time you pick it up for a practice and you might go, "urghh!" and it will hinder your practice and eventually being a good violinist.


Any way, I think the Chinese could keep their violin cheap is mainly because of their cheap labor. The article said they get paid $800, but it did not say if it were RMB or USD. My guess is RMB, which is equivalent to USD $120 or so (same thing in Malaysia, I have friends and relatives that make about $800 Ringgit each month and support their whole family -- the living expenses are just lower in some countries). There's no way we could do it in the USA. So, cheap violin from China does not mean it's a bad violin but definitely means that the cost of making it is a lot cheaper than it would be when you make it in the United States or other countries that have higher living expenses level.

The advantage of having an assembly line for a violin is, all the parts would be made by someone who is good at making that part. Yes, all the violin would sound pretty much the same, but if they choose a good model and have very good quality control, there should be any problem. I have been browsing on ebay, some of the Chinese stores have sound clip samples of their violins, and they sound good to me.

October 14, 2011 - 9:00 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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A cheap Chinese violin is what you get if you buy a cheap Chinese violin.
If you buy an expensive Chinese violin than the quality is naturally much different.
My point is that the Chinese violin industry has responded to getting bad-mouthed in the USA and is now a challenger at the world class level.  I would not be surprised if they eventually dominate the market. 
The SNOW line of violins is handled by several US shops and boutiques and would welcome your $5000 if you don't want a cheap violin drummer

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa

October 14, 2011 - 9:42 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
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I have found that mos of he cheap violins from China are basically well made bodies.  The problem is that the pars that go ino and on them are no the greatest.

There are different ebonies and there is ebonized, whick is usually maple stained black.  You are no going to get beautiful tiger maple on a $100.00 violin or european spruce.  Just the wood alone for a higher priced violin will cost several hundred dollars.  The violins are made in an assembly line so when a sound post is put in hey are not custom fit.  Pegs and fittings are not custom fit.  So you get what you pay for. With a little work they can be made better but then you would have to pay more.  People want a $2000.00 violin for $100.00.


October 14, 2011 - 3:48 pm
Member Since: July 6, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
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Kevin M. said:

I have found that mos of he cheap violins from China are basically well made bodies.  The problem is that the pars that go ino and on them are no the greatest.

Well, that's the disadvantages of having the assembly line: nothing would be custom fit.

So With a little work they can be made better but then you would have to pay more. 

I do have to have new sound post cut for mine.

People want a $2000.00 violin for $100.00.

Well, this is one of the human's weaknesses I would say.

you get what you pay for.

Yes, you get what you pay for, unless you are lucky ha ha ha.

Laguna Beach
Pro advisor

October 14, 2011 - 3:50 pm
Member Since: June 16, 2011
Forum Posts: 1094
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I agree with artroland 100%. It's all about quality control...Fender guitars were made in Mexico basically from the start when the company caught on and had to mass produce. The bolt on neck was my only turn off from Fender, when you play hot and heavy on them for a long time the bolt area comes loose a bit. I've been on the stage where I had to pull on the neck to get it back in place and it was a very expensive Fender. Not a lot of people know that Jimi Hendrix did many of his recordings with a Gibson SG and used many effects to get that Strat single coil pickup sound cause he broke his Strats right and left because of the bolt on neck.

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