Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
I recently received a Yita violin that I purchased through ebay. It was one of their T20 models and the price (even with shipping) came a long way from breaking the bank. It wasn’t that I needed another violin. It was more a case of curiosity that influenced me to make the purchase.
The package arrived only about week after I placed the order and the nylon and foam shipping case provided adequate protection for a trip half way around the world. The general fit and finish of the instrument is quite well executed. Alignments, seams and transitions are well crafted and pleasing to the eye and hand. If it were competing as a piece of art, it would at some level be award worthy.
Playability out of the box was quite another issue. While the core instrument was reasonably well done and pretty much lived up to the manufacturer’s claims, critical aspects fell short of the finish and refinements that would make it comfortable and pleasing to play. The thick basic contour bridge was too high. The space between the bridge and the tailpiece was much too long and the nut provided way too much elevation for the economy grade strings.
I put about three hours into addressing the issues. After shaving 25 to 30 thousandths off the bridge thickness and opening it up a bit, I removed about 1.5mm from the height. The tailpiece was adjusted to provide a gap of 55mm behind the bridge as well. After that, I cut the nut down to bring the strings closer to the fingerboard and improve the overall action. When this was completed, I mounted Dominant G, D & A strings as well as a Pirastro Gold Label E string.
Following the changes and adjustments, I played the violin aggressively for a series 30min. to 60min. sessions over a couple of days. I have to say that I’m actually quite pleased with how the instrument has progressed in clarity and depth of tone and I look forward to hearing it mature a bit. In time, it will probably become a very good advanced student instrument. I anticipate replacing the original bridge with a more professional grade piece and swapping out the single-tuner tailpiece for a Wittner one with 4 tuners.
As much as my experience has been pretty positive, most of that satisfaction comes as a result of the refinements and setup that I conducted. I would expect someone would have to invest an additional $200 to $250 to have a shop luthier do the same or similar work. That amount approximates the original price of the violin itself, including the shipping. It was a fun experiment, but most people aren’t willing to gamble $500 on their next violin purchase. So, while Yita Music has very tempting prices and the general build quality for that price is really very nice, be prepared to spend that much again to get a truly enjoyable instrument. If you’re not the gambling type, I’d recommend that you spend more money on the initial purchase and buy from a source that does all of the refined work up front and covers that work in their guarantee to the customer.