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Best beginner violins
What instruments would you reccommend for an adult beginner?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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python
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November 11, 2014 - 1:48 pm
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Thank you all. This has been both a confusing & enlightening topic for me. At this point I think that my purchase, in the next few weeks or so, will be one of Fiddlerman's outfits. Will let you know how I progress. Python

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Uzi
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Great @python, I'm glad you're still with us.  I think I'd like to modify my recommendation for a first fiddle.  If I had it to do over again (buy a first fiddle), I think I'd go for this one.  At $540 for violin, case, bow, etc. it's a little more than you said you wanted to spend, but this would be my pick.  The Scott Cao (a very well known and respected violin maker/shop)  STV-500.

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 11, 2014 - 2:42 pm
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python said
Thank you all. This has been both a confusing & enlightening topic for me. At this point I think that my purchase, in the next few weeks or so, will be one of Fiddlerman's outfits. Will let you know how I progress. Python

No worries at all! We just want you to be well informed. As I mentioned, I purchased a VERY inexpensive Violin at just under $100 dollars and, to be honest I purchased it because it was "all I could afford" at the time. So, if that's all your budget will allow, I say, go for it, there's no shame in it at all and if I was implying that, I apologize. However, realistically, be prepared to put some work into it to get it set-up well enough to play comfortably if you do go for a much cheaper purchase.

I say this because when I got mine, it was virtually unplayable, and it took me a week to get it that way. However, the positive is, if your not afraid to tinker, you'll learn alot about Violin set up. My personal opinion is that at least $200 to $300 can get you into a decent, inexpensive Violin that can be set up pretty well with fairly minimal effort. Anything under that in my opinion is more of a gamble as it seems the quality goes way down in that price range. Honestly, I was very ignorant of the amount of set-up needed for a Violin to be playable, and, I was shocked out how poorly, to virtual no set up went into some of these cheaper Violins that I browsed.

Now, all of that aside, since you mention that you'll consider purchasing from Fiddlerman, that's a good idea. Number 1 is because whatever model he sells you, I'm sure he'll get you something within your budget that will also be set-up decently enough to start playing well, so you can enjoy practicing with it and not get frustrated with it.

My issue was I bought mine sight unseen and ended up having to spend another week on getting it playable. But, I learned how to sand and shape my own bridges, fit pegs better, file and lower a nut and slot ther strings, so, even though it seemed like a negative at the time, in the long run, I guess it actually became a plus.

I'm sure Fiddlerman will have something great for your budget....drop him a line!

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Fiddlerman
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November 11, 2014 - 2:43 pm
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I remember you wishing a pink violin CPO. :)
Glad you finally got one. It can be a great outdoor jamming violin. If bad weather comes, you don't need to be overly concerned right?

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

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coolpinkone
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November 11, 2014 - 3:03 pm
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@Fiddlerman ... truth be told... since December 20th 2013, I rarely ever play ANY violin except my Soloist.  I did enjoy the Traveller's magic sound.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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November 11, 2014 - 3:10 pm
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EricBluegrassFiddle said

...however I think VSO is just a term used to describe lower quality budget Violins...

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, sir.  As I am to mine. 

I made no claim that there was no such thing as violins of very poor quality, I just dislike the term "VSO". 

I had a Mendini MV-300 that probably cost between 60 and 70$.  It took a fair bit of work to get it comfortable to play, with a lot of adjustment the sound wasn't *too* bad, and whoever was running the machines that day seemed to be unaware that certain parts should line up.  If you read my post that you quoted in full, then you may have noticed I specifically advised beginners avoiding such instruments. 

The Mendini got me started with acoustic violins.  But fairly soon I felt the need to upgrade.  I considered what it would take in time and parts even if I did the work myself (not likely a beginner would want to do that), and it was actually cheaper to just buy a Shar "Amadeus".  That one played well and sounded decent right out of the box.  Nothing spectacular, but I didn't have to fix anything to be able to play it.

I feel the term itself has some shortcomings.  It is not specific and there is no accord as to what exactly a "VSO" is.  As the OP pointed out, some will say a Cecilio is a VSO, without considering that perhaps Cecilio may have different quality at different price levels.  Some others will say that anything that cost less than X$ is a "VSO".  But poor quality instruments can be found at many different price levels.  "Buyer beware" certainly applies to musical instruments!

But the term is imprecise, and saying "Don't buy a VSO" will mean little to a beginner's understanding unless perhaps some vendor intentionally labels instruments they are selling as "VSO".  It actually tells nothing about what they should avoid.  Or what they should look for in an instrument, for that matter.  About all it actually indicates is that someone has seen that term in use and thought it looked clever.

I have seen that term used (not ever in this community, so far as I recall) for bullying, on some occasions.  Non-complimentary terms often are.

But hey, it's not like there is a rule here about it or something.  If you want to use the term when offering your experience/advice to a beginner, that's your choice. 

"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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 11, 2014 - 3:31 pm
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If you read my post that you quoted in full, then you may have noticed I specifically advised beginners avoiding such instruments - I did, and that's why I said that I agreed with ALOT of the points you made in your comment, they were great points, I mentioned that in my response to your post.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, sir.  As I am to mine - Certainly, I don't think I stated anything to the contrary did I? No need to be defensive at all Daniel. I'm not trying to stir up trouble, just trying to share my experience and frankly "lack-there-of" Besides I think I apologized if anyone was offended by my post "twice" now.

But the term is imprecise, and saying "Don't buy a VSO" will mean little to a beginner's understanding unless perhaps some vendor intentionally labels instruments they are selling as "VSO" - Good point, makes sense...totally. For the sake of clarity ( maybe I should have expounded on this: "VSO" refers to the term "Violin Shaped Object(s)" and is used to imply low quality, budget violins.

I have seen that term used (not ever in this community, so far as I recall) for bullying, on some occasions.  Non-complimentary terms often are - I don't bully, nor do I like bullies and nor do I bully others... Now, If you've experienced bullying regarding this term on other forums that's unfortunate, but, I certainly hope you don't think that I'm doing the same? 

It actually tells nothing about what they should avoid. - True, which is why I clarified my use of that description and exactly "what" they should avoid in my posts by sharing my experience with my first Violin with everyone else. Honestly, I'd never heard the term used as well until I entered the Violin world. However, I took no offense to it all, just took it to mean like you mentioned "buyer beware

I'm not participating in this thread to play "my Violin is better than yours" or anything of the like, quite the contrary. I'm just sharing my experience with my first Violin with the OP in the hopes that him/her won't have to make some of the mistakes that I did, which seems a pretty noble pursuit to me. Once again for the 3rd time, I'll apologize, my intent was never to cause offense to anyone. Just here to listen, share and learn like everyone else.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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DanielB
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November 11, 2014 - 3:55 pm
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I apologize as well, EricBluegrassFiddle.  My tone in replying may have come off as less friendly than it should have been. 

Not like I'm an old hand, I've only been playing for less than 3 yrs myself. 

To clarify, I did not feel you were bullying at all.  Definitely no problems there.  You're cool.  Nor do I feel I was personally bullied with that term.  But that is because in places where I saw it happen and saw the attitudes, I never posted at all.  But when beginners won't post in popular communities just because they didn't buy the gear that someone else feels they should have, it's kinda a shame.

On a positive note, that is why I made my first post here a couple years ago, and why I became a regular here.  People here were cool and encouraging, even though I was starting on a real cheap electric. 

Anyway.. Pleased to meet you, Eric.  coffee

Daniel

"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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 11, 2014 - 4:03 pm
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I apologize as well, EricBluegrassFiddle.  My tone in replying may have come off as less friendly than it should have been - No problem at all, you're pretty cool as well. My words were poorly chosen..

Not like I'm an old hand, I've only been playing for less than 3 yrs myself - Actually, I've only been at this for 7 months LOL. I couldn't be any greener!

To clarify, I did not feel you were bullying at all.  Definitely no problems there.  You're cool.  Nor do I feel I was personally bullied with that term.  But that is because in places where I saw it happen and saw the attitudes, I never posted at all.  But when beginners won't post in popular communities just because they didn't buy the gear that someone else feels they should have, it's kinda a shame - Cool, because I felt bad to think that maybe someone might think I was bullying. I agree, nobody should feel ashamed over whatever Fiddle they choose. I just wanted the OP to know that if they buy a budget Violin "sight-unseen" online or somewhere, they'll need to be prepared to invest some more money or put some more work into it. And you and I BOTH know, because we've been there and done that. However, the op stated they're going to contact Fiddlerman, and that IS a good idea. Nothing comes through his door unless he approves it and inspects it and sets it up. So sounds like the OP is about get seriously "hooked-up" with a good 1st Violin

On a positive note, that is why I made my first post here a couple years ago, and why I became a regular here.  People here were cool and encouraging, even though I was starting on a real cheap electric - Yes, I've noticed that the vibe here is all about inclusion with no attitudes or drama and very very supportive....which is why I joined. It's cool being able to share about our musical passions and pursuits and learn from one another. 

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Fiddlerman
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November 11, 2014 - 4:13 pm
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Just finished reading the exchange above. I think that we are all in agreement here. Also, all the differences, which were not even differences, are worked out. At first I was wondering if I was going to need to put out some fires. LOL
Love seeing the respect :)

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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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Sorry, I think the blame was mine initially.... But its cool now. Either way I look forward to hearing more from the OP and wish him the best with his first Violin purchase....

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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DanielB
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I think that if a person has to shop off the internet, even very much on a budget, they can't really go wrong with Pierre and Fiddlershop.com   Many people here have gotten gear from Pierre and as far as I recall, all were happy with what they got.  In the rare cases where there has been a problem, Pierre has gone way above and beyond the call of duty to make it right. 

Now a word about those painted fingerboards.. They are very common in the very low price ranges.  To some companies, "ebony" is more of a colour than a wood.  LOL  I don't know about if the paint will make fingers black, but I didn't like the feel of the paint on my own "very inexpensive" violin fingerboard back when I got it.  So I scraped it off, revealing some light coloured wood of unknown origin under it.  It was a hard enough wood to make a decent fingerboard of, so I smoothed it, radiused the edges, gave it an application of tung oil and kept it as it was.  There are many light coloured woods that are hard enough to actually make acceptable fingerboards.  Very few of them will last as long as ebony will, but they can last for enough years to work well enough.  I just don't like the idea of painting them to make them look like something they are not.   

100_0140.JPGImage Enlarger

An unusual look, but I actually rather liked it.  With some time spent trimming and smoothing down the nut and quite a few hours tinkering with the bridge while getting a lot of sound analysis by Cdennyb, it ended up not only comfortable to play, but not sounding bad at all. 

But that is quite a bit of work that most beginners would NOT want to have to do when they are just starting out.

On the other hand, it did end up being a playable instrument that holds tune and etc.  I played it for some months before upgrading.  When I upgraded, I gave it to a friend.  He plays it a bit, but his girlfriend's daughter is the player who has put in the most time on it.  At the time, she had just started taking violin in school, and her mom couldn't afford to buy her an instrument of her own or to pay the deposit the school required for her to bring an instrument home to practice on. 

The original idea was that she could play on it at home, and use a school instrument for school.  But her teacher wanted to see this fiddle (affectionately named "Punkin", because between the rather orange finish and the blonde fingerboard kinda resembling a dried pumpkin stem it actually looks a bit like a pumpkin), and liked it.  So it was approved for the kid to use in class and school performances.  She's in her second year now and it is the only violin she plays.  She's doing good. 

But that is a lot of mileage to get out of a "bargain priced" violin.  And when it was delivered, it was not very playable or pleasant sounding.  In fact, I recall remarking that it might sound better if I took the strings off the violin and put them on the cardboard box it was shipped in.  It took a good bit of work, and some learning curve that I would not recommend for a beginner.  In some ways, not so much of a bargain as it looked from the initial price tag.  On that point, Eric and I are definitely in agreement.  However, it did shape up to be a good enough instrument that it has started 3 players and is getting the third through classes now. 

Anyway, this post is already long.. But having cooled off, I do need to apologize again to Eric.  I think my reaction was too over-the-top, considering he was being a good guy and just trying to help someone who is starting out and had some questions.  Sincere apologies, and I am glad to meet you, Eric.

I think I am a bit hypersensitive to the term due to some unpleasantness (Not on this forum or community, it was out in the "real world") almost a year ago.  The young lady mentioned above who currently plays my old Mendini in school started getting grief from another kid in the class who was repeatedly calling her instrument a "VSO" as opposed to his "violin".  The teacher caught wind of it and told him to cut it out.  He insisted that "Everybody knows Mendinis are VSOs".  The teacher took the situation to the principal's office, parents got called and when all was said and done, the school decided that use of that term would constitute harassment if he didn't stop and would be grounds for suspension and/or expulsion from school.  So far as I have heard, that was the end of that.

How upsetting that situation had been to the young lady made me re-think my own casual use of the term, and I made a personal decision not to contribute to it's use or to encourage beginners to use it.  That is strictly my own views though, and NOT any policy of the Fiddlerman.com community, it's owner or employees.

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"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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 12, 2014 - 7:55 am
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Daniel, I will try to post a picture of my budget Violin that I bought, because I did the exact same thing. I stripped my fingerboard on it and it looks exactly the same as yours.

Actually, once I filed the nut, reslotted the string spacing, stripped the fingerboard and then lowered the bridge height and flattened the radius somewhat, it was quite playable after that.

Another downside I didnt mention about my cheapie was that the neck angle is really flat. Which, now that I have a Fiddle that has a correct neck angle thats a tad higher, I can rally feel the difference. I mean, I learned a little about Violin setup, so, that was a plus. What seemed to be a negative became a positive for me in the long run.

However, not everyone wants to tinker like you and me. And I agree. I was looking at some of the Chinese Fiddles that fiddlerman offers and they seems really, really nice and sound very good. He says he inspects and sets up each one, which is nice, cant go wrong with that. So, Id say give him a call, he'll hook you up and get you rolling.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Hermes
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I try to keep up with this thread, and I find it really amazing. I would just like to share some thoughts. First I have to apologise to the OP since what I am going to say has nothing to do with an instrument suggestion...

But I cannot help but point out that the way societies treat violins not only resembles the way we treat pretty much everything and everybody (unfortunately) but also its quite a great example of this.

I mean it appears to be a common belief (unfortunately again) that violins should look like something specific, just to be sold, or acceptable. Especially the cheap ones, "should" have a dark almost black fingerboard, and "should" have an orange-like finish. That way people "should" recognise them as "violins". Most of them have even painted inlays, just like an ornament like this would improve the instrument.

However, I cannot buy that. We should accept everything as it is. I find this light coloured Mendini's fingerboard unique, and above all, honest. Honesty in construction is a value we tend to underestimate. And if am allowed to say a few thoughts about this violin , I would continue the process and also strip it off its original coating, and revarnish it, to reveal the real wood colour shades :)

When I was in high school with the help of a guitar technician (no luthiers in my town that time) we removed the varnish of my first 4/4 violin. It was not that pretty and interesting wood, so we revarnished it, almost in black. Everybody in the conservatory treated this instrument like something that fell into earth from Mars. They would stop commenting, when they realised it was the same instrument. And like in the story of the Mendini above, my teacher was the first to like it...

After all, we unfortunately judge everything by it's appearance, and all these relate to the fact that on some time violin luthiers started to give their instruments an aged look (its a work of art sometimes, but not music ) which was not corresponding to the actual age of the instrument. Just because people would tend to seek for aged instruments. It's everyones right to like or not like an instrument with such a look, but always we have to expect a sound that makes us happy for our instruments at the first place . We sometimes have to accept that we are talking about music, and the joy that comes with it.

:D

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 12, 2014 - 1:25 pm
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Hermes said
I try to keep up with this thread, and I find it really amazing. I would just like to share some thoughts. First I have to apologise to the OP since what I am going to say has nothing to do with an instrument suggestion...

But I cannot help but point out that the way societies treat violins not only resembles the way we treat pretty much everything and everybody (unfortunately) but also its quite a great example of this.

I mean it appears to be a common belief (unfortunately again) that violins should look like something specific, just to be sold, or acceptable. Especially the cheap ones, "should" have a dark almost black fingerboard, and "should" have an orange-like finish. That way people "should" recognise them as "violins". Most of them have even painted inlays, just like an ornament like this would improve the instrument.

However, I cannot buy that. We should accept everything as it is. I find this light coloured Mendini's fingerboard unique, and above all, honest. Honesty in construction is a value we tend to underestimate. And if am allowed to say a few thoughts about this violin , I would continue the process and also strip it off its original coating, and revarnish it, to reveal the real wood colour shades :)

When I was in high school with the help of a guitar technician (no luthiers in my town that time) we removed the varnish of my first 4/4 violin. It was not that pretty and interesting wood, so we revarnished it, almost in black. Everybody in the conservatory treated this instrument like something that fell into earth from Mars. They would stop commenting, when they realised it was the same instrument. And like in the story of the Mendini above, my teacher was the first to like it...

After all, we unfortunately judge everything by it's appearance, and all these relate to the fact that on some time violin luthiers started to give their instruments an aged look (its a work of art sometimes, but not music ) which was not corresponding to the actual age of the instrument. Just because people would tend to seek for aged instruments. It's everyones right to like or not like an instrument with such a look, but always we have to expect a sound that makes us happy for our instruments at the first place . We sometimes have to accept that we are talking about music, and the joy that comes with it.

:D

Hmm.... I agree with most of your points. However, I don't think everyones exchanges in this thread was really about "appearance" for appearances sake, per say as much about recognizing the different levels of quality in different Violins and how to recognize them and which ones potentially to avoid.

Even so, I understand what you mean and share your views. If one has a Violin that's not very good quality, that's nothing to be ashamed of, I mean, I after all HAVE one, myself, it was all I could afford at the time, I'm not ashamed to admit. However, it was ALOT of unexpected work to make it playable. So, I think it's fair to point out to anyone in all fairness who may be considering one of these instruments, the potential pitfalls that may come with them and the reality that in order to truly make it playable, may require considerable extra effort, attention....and even cost in order to make it so. I think we can all agree, it's best to be informed beforehand.

Actually my first Violin has the stripped fingerboard in white as well, and it is kinda unique and cool looking at the same time....I still play it too.

I like tinkering, and so does Daniel I think, but I'm not sure if the OP does. And I'd hate to see a newcomer to the Violin end up purchasing a Violin that could amount to alot of frustration, as opposed to making the right informed choice and finding one that's within their budget, yet performs well and is a joy to play. However, if the Op DOES like to tinker and is very hands on, then one of these Violins might make a great first purchase, cause I'm still suprised at the amount of stuff that goes into even a standard set-up on a violin.

Even so, the OP has decided to reach out to fiddlerman ( if they haven't already done so ) and consult with him and his son about a good first purchase so I'm going to predict that this thread will have a happy ending and I'm looking forward to hearing about what they've decided upon. And, if the OP decides to purchase a really cheap budget Violin, well that's ok too and all of us will be here to lend a helping hadn to help them get it up to playability if necessary. Myself, as well as Daniel and I suspect many others have first-hand experience with these kinds of Violins ( Fiddlerman is a pro, he's seen it ALL! ) so if it's needed, the OP will be in good hands here on this forum I think and receive alot of good tips, pointers and guidance!

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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DanielB
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November 12, 2014 - 1:52 pm
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@EricBluegrassFiddle:  You went with leaving the fingerboard blonde/natural too?  LOL  That is an awesome coincidence!   I agree that my experience was also great learning, and I am glad to have it.  But if I had been a beginner who didn't already have another violin to play on while working on that one, it could have been discouraging.  Learning an instrument is hard enough, and as you said, not everyone wants to learn about set-up and repair when they are just starting out.

thumbs-up

@Hermes:  I quite agree.  I preferred the "honest wood" look to paint on the fingerboard, and I did think about stripping off the factory finish and refinishing it.  But by then I was used to the colour, and it had resulted in the instrument having a name.  My friend had been very admiring of it with the blonde fingerboard, and had said for years that someday he wanted to learn to play fiddle.  So when I upgraded, I knew that he'd give her a good home where she'd be liked for what she was.

Agreed that the wood can be pretty stuff on it's own.  With my project of making a violin from "in the white" (unfinished), I liked the look of the wood, and have used a clear oil based finish.  No "antiquing" or staining or painting to make it look like an antique or make it red or orange or brown..

And yes, the thread has drifted a bit from the original question, but a lot of it does apply to beginners and beginner instruments, I think. 

"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

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Hermes
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EricBluegrassFiddle said

Hmm.... I agree with most of your points. However, I don't think everyones exchanges in this thread was really about "appearance" for appearances sake, per say as much about recognizing the different levels of quality in different Violins and how to recognize them and which ones potentially to avoid.

Even so, I understand what you mean and share your views. If one has a Violin that's not very good quality, that's nothing to be ashamed of, I mean, I after all HAVE one, myself, it was all I could afford at the time, I'm not ashamed to admit. However, it was ALOT of unexpected work to make it playable. So, I think it's fair to point out to anyone in all fairness who may be considering one of these instruments, the potential pitfalls that may come with them and the reality that in order to truly make it playable, may require considerable extra effort, attention....and even cost in order to make it so. I think we can all agree, it's best to be informed beforehand.

Actually my first Violin has the stripped fingerboard in white as well, and it is kinda unique and cool looking at the same time....I still play it too.

I like tinkering, and so does Daniel I think, but I'm not sure if the OP does. And I'd hate to see a newcomer to the Violin end up purchasing a Violin that could amount to alot of frustration, as opposed to making the right informed choice and finding one that's within their budget, yet performs well and is a joy to play. However, if the Op DOES like to tinker and is very hands on, then one of these Violins might make a great first purchase, cause I'm still suprised at the amount of stuff that goes into even a standard set-up on a violin.

Even so, the OP has decided to reach out to fiddlerman ( if they haven't already done so ) and consult with him and his son about a good first purchase so I'm going to predict that this thread will have a happy ending and I'm looking forward to hearing about what they've decided upon. And, if the OP decides to purchase a really cheap budget Violin, well that's ok too and all of us will be here to lend a helping hadn to help them get it up to playability if necessary. Myself, as well as Daniel and I suspect many others have first-hand experience with these kinds of Violins ( Fiddlerman is a pro, he's seen it ALL! ) so if it's needed, the OP will be in good hands here on this forum I think and receive alot of good tips, pointers and guidance!

I also agree with you, nut just to make it more clear,  it was all about what came to my mind when I read the case of that kid bullying the other with the Mendini. Just some thoughts triggered by the course of the conversation, which are definitely not in response to the OP's questions. It seems that all three of us (you, Daniel and me) may have not found it impossible or even enjoyed tinkering with instruments with some issues. However I think that we all agree that we would not recommend such instruments to someone we do not know and who can afford something beyond those instrumentscheers

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 12, 2014 - 2:05 pm
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You went with leaving the fingerboard blonde/natural too?  LOL  That is an awesome coincidence!   I agree that my experience was also great learning, and I am glad to have it.  But if I had been a beginner who didn't already have another violin to play on while working on that one, it could have been discouraging.  Learning an instrument is hard enough, and as you said, not everyone wants to learn about set-up and repair when they are just starting out - Yeah totally! In my case though, I live in the middle of nowhere in "Las Pampas" of Argentina so I had no choice...I had to grin and bear it! At first it was super annoying cause I wanted to start playing soo badly, however, once I got into working on it, I actually ended up liking it. Although, I agree with you, I think most beginners would be totally the opposite!

Yeah, the black dye kept rubbing off and it was causing my hand to kinda grab the fingerboard and wasn't conducive to slides. So I took some rubbing alcohol and stripped it. It, came off in 1 hour, I was shocked how quickly it came off. I didn't add any tung opil to it. maybe I should've but it's bare white. However, since then, it slides really well, and I actually like it, gives it character!

I quite agree.  I preferred the "honest wood" look to paint on the fingerboard, and I did think about stripping off the factory finish and refinishing it - I know this was addressed to Hermes but I considered the same. I may, just may one day, strip it and try varnishing it myself. I'm curious to see how it would turn out?

Hermes - Awesome! So, it's me you and Daniel included - You know, when I bought my cheapie, some folks on a few forums did give me grief as well, so I kinda know how that feels and it's sad. You know, here in Argentina, it's a very poor country, many areas are every bit a "3rd world country" in many ways Anyways, I've seen in the northern part of Argentina in the prov of "Missiones" some of the "Guarani's" up there ( they are an ameri-india tribe ) have some really super cheap fiddles. I'm not sure where they got them? Maybe they were donated by other missionaries? Anyways many of them have homemade bows made from tree limbs with ( they resemble exagerated Baroque style bows ) very crude. I was AMAZED at how good many of these guys could play and how well they were able to make those fiddles sound, even with the crude homemade materials they used. Anyways, it's sad that others would discriminate against someone else and cause them to feel inferior just because they have an instrument that's of lesser quality. Even so it's not soo much about the instrument as it is "the one who's fretting it and drawing the bow"

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Hermes
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November 12, 2014 - 2:23 pm
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@DanielB I would love to do the same one day...just to finish an in-the-white instrument. I would also leave it white, with just a clear coat.Not just because I like the colour of the wood, but I would colour it only if I would sit by a luthier and learn how to do it properly...otherwise it would be like gambling with the expected outcome afro

 

@EricBluegrassFiddle I think that your saying "the one who's fretting it and drawing the bow" almost says it all. I've also come across an experiment in which some violin players, were blindfolded and couldn't easily recognise some antique instuments from "modern" ones. Do you have any photos of that bows by the way?

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November 12, 2014 - 2:49 pm
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Oh I definitely love to tinker and I've done my own guitar repairs and mods for years, so I'm not shy about doing a bit of work on an instrument.   But that isn't the case for the average beginner.  Now, back to the OP, thinking of spending up to 350$ and going with someone reputable like Pierre, they aren't going to run into any of the situations we're talking about.  They are going to get a nice instrument.

But the "best"???  Well, "good" is what you want for starting out.  After you've played a while and know what you want, then you can look for what is best for your personal tastes and playing style.

We don't have a luthier in my town either.  So I do my own violin adjustments and repairs.  We do have a good guitar guy, but when I was starting out, I couldn't afford shop repairs and so I learned to do things myself.  And bugged him with tons of questions over the years. 

Not everyone lives near a luthier though, and we all make do the best ways we can.

"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

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