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Cecilio Mendini MV-400
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Fillmore Indiana,U.S.A
January 10, 2013 - 3:36 pm
Member Since: December 29, 2012
Forum Posts: 36
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I've had this violin now for a couple of weeks or close to that I'd seen reviews on this model and they were pretty positive and the price seemed good for a package deal,but I also kept in mind the old saying \"you get what you pay for\" so after looking and looking for negative reviews I found that the positive out weighed the negative when it came to the reviews I read.

Once this thing came in I wanted naturally to tune it up and see what it sounded like though I'd never touched a violin in my life,the end results of this were two broken G strings at first I thought I had placed too much tension on them but they broke in the same place the string box located at the scroll,I now believe I caused these strings to fail by backing the G off to reset the fine tuner at the tail piece to zero.

This all turned out for the better as I learned a lesson and was forced to replace the strings with synthetic's which sound far better than the steel core the violin came with there were minor imperfections,a gouge on the face of the violin that occurred during the the manufacturing process and one nick in the finish right at the \"C\" in the body.

And discoloring on the finger board,I had made mention of something in the post here that is titled CVA-600 fail about the finger board wood in general DanielB made a statement that is 100% correct this had slipped my mind but about two years ago or less the federal government literally closed the Gibson guitar company down and confiscated quite a bit of ebony that was suspected to have been purchased in a manner that did not go along with international laws protecting a species of tree's known as (diospyros ebenum).

So the fingerboard is ebony and as DanielB said its had dye applied to it with this said none of the cosmetic imperfections I've found effect the sound or playability of the violin I had this violin inspected by the person who will be giving me lessons I was told it was suitable and and she saw nothing that should be a problem,I got the bridge set properly which was a surprise as I was the one who set it.

My thoughts on buying a violin is if your able to,try to buy something from a music store this way you have someone knowledgeable who can get you fitted right and they will usually set it up for you in most cases.

This particular package deal came with.

2 bows

2 bridges

I cake rosin

1 tuner with metronome

1 shoulder rest

1 instructional book with C/D&DVD

2 sets of strings

I case

Price $79.99 free S&H

Now take away the strings,the shoulder rest(one size does not fit all),and maybe one bow as one of mine is bent to the left right at the tip and the rosin did not seem to  want to stick in fact it didn't seem to even go on after a while(and I'm very aware that your not suppose to touch the hair on a bow) I've replaced that as well.

In the end I found issues that can all be remedied with ease so I can live with imperfections I expected as much for the price the rosin the strings and the shoulder rest are all things I can live with having to replace and are not a big deal with me.

I'll end this post as I know it is likely boring,to sum it up its not the prettiest violin but will be suitable to learn on I've tried to be fair with this review I'm not the end all of end all's on buying or playing violins my only aim here was to share my experience so far with this model of violin in hopes it might be a help to anyone who might be considering buying this model.

Thanks to all who have shared their knowledge.      

Honorary tenured advisor

January 10, 2013 - 4:41 pm
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
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Thanks for your review.  I have had one of these since late July.  Mine was the same price but did not include a tuner or instructional book or CD.

One of my bows was noticeably crooked, and they were both heavy at around 70 grams.  When the bows are tightened, there is an unusually large space between the hair and the stick.  The hair looks like good quality though.  But I use a different bow now, and, if yours are as heavy as mine, I would recommend that you upgrade your bow, maybe to FM's carbon bow.

The installed bridge was warped upon arrival, and both were soft and crudely fitted, so I made a new bridge.  I trimmed a millimeter from the sound post and reset it.  The sound did seem to improve from those changes, and I believe that it improved a lot from being played.  I don't think it sounds too bad now, but I don't know what to compare it to.

The nut on mine was oversized and was hitting the base of my index finger and so interfering with fingering.  Both edges of the fingerboard were wide and sharp, the FB being wider than the neck.  I found I could easily and neatly reduce the side of the nut by using a file, and Daniel explained to me how to scrape the edges.  More on that whenever I get around to starting a new thread about it.  Are you seeing anything similar with the nut and fingerboard of yours?

Do you have a precise scale that you can weigh yours on?  Mine is very heavy.



January 10, 2013 - 7:55 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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At 80$ (or anywhere in the 100 and down range, really), any instrument that you can actually play and have some fun learning a bit on is worth that, in my opinion.

I think it is better to start on something inexpensive, if you have to, but get started.  Waiting until you can afford something better, for a lot of people that will risk losing interest or never actually getting around to it. 

If you start on a very inexpensive instrument, even if it has some flaws, you can still at least learn some.  Then as you find out what it's problems are, you can get something a bit nicer later, because you will have a much more informed idea of what you need.

You can always give the old one away to get someone started if you eventually upgrade, or take it apart and see what you can learn from trying to fix the problems it had.  Or heck, do both!   How is that a loss, really? 

For all that one sees negative talk about the cheap violins/fiddles available, I think they have probably done more to get people started playing than anything else.  People see them and maybe daydream on it a little and then think "Well, I can afford that.."  So they buy one and usually it will at least be something they can work their way through learning "Twinkle Twinkle" or whatever on.  By then they know if they are having fun and if it might be worth spending some more bucks to get something a bit better, or maybe they get lucky and find a used violin that isn't too bad going cheap used. 

I saw somewhere once someone saying that any violin that cost less than 500$ was a VSO (Violin Shaped object).  You wander around violin and fiddle forums and you'll see that term tossed around a lot.  While I can see where it might be possible that there are items sold as violins that are not playable even for beginner exercises and can't be made playable, *most* of what is out there in the inexpensive ranges *can* be played and will benefit from a bit of work, if you want to ask a lot of noob questions and learn a bit.  I think the "VSO" talk is mostly a load of crap.  Would we think of a car that cost "only" 11,000 USD brand new as a "Car Shaped Object", rather than a car?   I mean sure, you can't expect Maserati or Lamborghini performance out of it.. But does that make it "not a car"?   

How many everyday folks are going to spend over 500$ on a pound of wood, just to see if they can maybe start to learn to play it and have some fun trying?  That sounds pretty crazy to me.  Maybe I just live too low in the income tax brackets, but if I hadn't been looking at 40$ violins on amazon and ebay, I probably never would have gotten around to actually trying to play violin.  I ended up spending about 80$ for my first violin, which was the cheapest electric around at the time.  I don't regret it or consider it a mistake. 

Anyway, enough "preaching".  Hope you have fun learning on your MV400, Watchtower68.  I had good fun for about the first 6 months with my MV300.  I never really say anything bad about that instrument, since I got far more than 60$ worth of fun out of learning on it and working on it a bit.  Then it felt reasonable to spend a bit more to get my current acoustic, since I'd put some work into learning to play a bit and it seemed likely I'll stick with violin for a bit.  It also wasn't real expensive (about $160), but was put together and set up well enough that I still haven't found anything serious on it that I feel needs fixed. 

Sounds like you're off to a good start.  Anybody wants to say anything bad about your instrument, tell them they can kiss your.. tailpiece.  Yeah, that's a good word for this family-friendly forum.


"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

California, the place of my heart
January 11, 2013 - 12:37 am
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4168
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Good Points Dan !


Shake  yo tailfeathers.....dancinbunny

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Fillmore Indiana,U.S.A
January 11, 2013 - 7:35 pm
Member Since: December 29, 2012
Forum Posts: 36
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Thanks for the comments I have to agree that the bows are heavy and I will be looking upgrade there as well no problems at the nut the strings do not seem to be fighting with my fingers I left from Depauw university feeling upbeat about the situation the girl or I guess I should say young woman was happy to have a new student.

Just hope she doesn't want to choke me to death within the first three lessons.

And I couldn't agree more Dan I too am living in the lower tax bracket but I'll likely have about $140.00 tied up in this one once I get things I kind of need,I've noticed I've got the bounce problem with these bows I have I'll wait and see how this all play's out (pun intended)

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