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I'm making progress with my student violin. I'm not yet at a level of proficiency that I can see my way clear to pursuing this fascinating instrument, but it looks like I might get to that point. So I have begun to think about upgrading sometime in the future.
My violin is a base student model -- painted purfling and fingerboard, etc. etc. Mine was a gift but I think violins like this can be bought for ~$100 on ebay. Setup seems reasonable, with no obvious problems. I'm sure that careful revision of the setup could improve things, but probably only marginally and it might well be good money after bad.
I already upgraded the bow and that has made a big difference in bow control.
I know that a better fiddle will sound better, but would it make it easier for me to build proficiency. And if so, in what way(s)?
I felt like if I started with a fairly decent instrument, set up well, then I could attribute any problems with sound to be ME. Didn't want to get frustrated or discouraged, trying to fix how I play if it was something unrelated causing issues.
Sounding better is VERY motivational!
Keeping up with the motivation to stick with learning this instrument was the most important factor, for me.
Along with your instrument of choice, the right strings and bow for you and your instrument is important.
In general, a better instrument makes it easier to hear the difference made by incrementally better technique, so it's easier to tell whether you're on the right track and adjust your technique accordingly. Although an excellent violinist can make a cheap student instrument sound decent, it's because of technique that is already well-practiced on better instruments.
Also, a low-end instrument might mess with your muscle memory because of setup or workmanship issues. Especially common issues are too-tall bridges (forcing you to press much harder on the strings with your fingers) and uneven fingerboards.
the sounding better part may or may not be true at your/my level... but id say a fiddlerman artist, master,soloist would, after their setup/checkup at fiddlershop, be an instrument thats as easy to play as any other, if not more, in their price ranges. i have 3 fiddles that sound under my ear slightly different. the soloist is the easiest to play. It may not have my favorite sound on any given day ( depending on my mood that day) but its the easiest to play compared to the other 2. I think that part is more important at the moment and the subtle nuiansces i think i hear between the 3 could be anything ..not the necessarily the fiddles.
i had them pick their favorite of the fiddles i was looking at. i think they picked one that doesnt get in the way of my progressing, sounds great, and is my goto violin. so i think its true a good instrumwnt helps learning..i dont know what you have other than the 100.00 ebay price, but pretty sure they can find you one in tbeir shop that will help.
when I upgraded my violin I was uncertain if I needed a better instrument realising that most of the playing comes from the musician themself. My luthier however said that when it came to things like vibrato it would make life much easier, and it truthfully does, my hungarian instrument is much easier to play than my original stentor, and was made in a small workshop,8 not to say that the stentor was bad, it wasnt, it was a great instrument to learn the very basics, but now feels like a lump of concrete in comparison.
Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×?@?#?@
I am in the camp of get the best instrument you can afford. For the same reasons others have listed - you know it isn't your instrument causing issues or holding you back.