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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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EricBluegrassFiddle
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Hermes said
@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?

I'll look and see if I can find one.....and see how to post it...

 

DanielB said: " 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 - Totally, and he knows the distribuitors and everything gets inspected personally. So it's pretty much guaranteed to sound as good as it can and be very playable. Even so, some may disagree, but I think starting around $200 bucks, one should be able to get a fiddle that they can start out with that will sound pretty decent, tune well and can be set up reasonably well. For $350 and up? Piece of cake. Under $200 bucks IMHO...."buyer beware" LOL. But, their are exceptions. I've heard of cheapies that sound better than fiddles 3 times their price, and vice versa....so exceptions to the rule I'm sure exist....but then again, what are the odds right?

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 - That's true, totally. As we improve and our skills get better, I'm sure our needs will change. The type of violins that Pierre would prefer as a professional, especially as a professionally trained classical player, those Violins are monsters! They are like Fiddles on steroids from what I've read! They're extremely complex tone wise and have considerable volume, resonance and projection and from what I've read, are difficult beasts to tame by less experienced Violinists. So, it would be WAY more Violin that I'd most likely ever need, nor would I be able to handle. They need Violins like that to be able to cut through all of those Violins, loud FrenchHorns, trumpets and timpanies! Even so, if I wanted one and I had the cash....it WOULD be tempting ( wink wink

Besides, I luck out as a fiddler in that I can get by with less superior instruments, even professionally as opposed to the classical guys. Bluegrass folks are always mic'd on stage and it's rare that we play large ampatheatres all out acosutically. As long as my fiddle can hold it's own in a jam or small Bluegrass ensemble, I'd be ok most likely. I'd say a $1000 - $1500 investment for a Fiddle for a pro Bluegrass player would be pretty steep. But, it seems like Fiddles are like personalities and everybodies idea of whats good varies...as it should.

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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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Hermes, check out this video. Here's a "Guarani" tribesmen from northern Argentina, up near the border with Paraguay playing the fiddle with a home made "baroque" style bow.

 

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

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Hermes
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EricBluegrassFiddle said
Hermes, check out this video. Here's a "Guarani" tribesmen from northern Argentina, up near the border with Paraguay playing the fiddle with a home made "baroque" style bow.

 

Wow.

 

It's amazing what people invent (look at those pegs!!!) and make up just to fill their urge to play...I always admire that...Thank you for the video Eric...:)

 

P.S. Such DIY fittings, remind me of the this-is-the-end-of-the-world feeling we get every time something from our equipment goes wrong...and how funny are the solutions we find, just to play a little more, before coming up with a permanent solution..

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bfurman
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I want to clarify what I said about my son's Gliga Gems 2.  It sounds fine under ear - very pleasant, actually.  However, it has no projection.  There will be no fff playing in an orchestra.

I fought my student instrument for years in an orchestral environment.  For parlor playing or personal enjoyment, the Gliga is fine.

There are "deals" on the internet, to be sure.  But it's a risky game.  My teacher-recommended local shop's rentals are Chinese.  Probably Eastman, but store branded.  They are light and lively (and lovely).

Uzi's recommendation of that Cao model is a good one, and Fiddleshop will set it up right.  The good-quality bow will help a lot too.

FWIW, I now play a Paesold (contemporary Hofner workshop model) that retails for $2k.  I paid $800 for it.  I was very lucky.

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 13, 2014 - 8:55 am
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I want to clarify what I said about my son's Gliga Gems 2.  It sounds fine under ear - very pleasant, actually.  However, it has no projection.  There will be no fff playing in an orchestra.

I fought my student instrument for years in an orchestral environment.  For parlor playing or personal enjoyment, the Gliga is fine.

 

I believe it. In those large concert halls with all of those instruments, you guys need the most powerful sounding Violins of all. I'm an aspiring Bluegrass Fiddler and those Violins like you guys need would probably be "too" powerful for the average Bluegrass ensemble.

Even so, we need a fair amount of volume. However, for the serious student or even semi-professional and professional Bluegrass, Country n Western or Folk Fiddler those Gliga Gems and Gamas are very ideal instruments for us.

What is the size of the orchestra that you play in? It's full size or chamber?

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

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DanielB
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Yeah, for playing in an orchestra, without sound reinforcement, there would be the need for an instrument with some serious projection. 

But a beginner isn't likely to be doing that in their first year or two, or at least wouldn't actually be expected to stand out as much as a symphony soloist.

Most modern genres, rock/country/blues/jazz/folk/etc, the violin/fiddle isn't going to be expected to fill the room with sound all on it's own any more than an acoustic guitar or singer.  Amplification has been a game changer.  Like with acoustic guitars, the best choice for stage used to always be the ones that were pretty much the loudest and brightest.  With PA amplification and a sound person, a much wider range of instrument "personalities" can make a good showing. 

@EricBluegrassFiddle: That is an awesome video!   An excellent player, much show of ingenuity, and an instrument that obviously just refuses to die.  LOL  I loved it.

@Hermes:  I think the bullies will just use anything they can think of to bully with.  Fortunately not all kids (or adults) are like that.  I honestly believe that most people really try their best to be good people.

"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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DanielB said
Yeah, for playing in an orchestra, without sound reinforcement, there would be the need for an instrument with some serious projection. 

But a beginner isn't likely to be doing that in their first year or two, or at least wouldn't actually be expected to stand out as much as a symphony soloist.

Most modern genres, rock/country/blues/jazz/folk/etc, the violin/fiddle isn't going to be expected to fill the room with sound all on it's own any more than an acoustic guitar or singer.  Amplification has been a game changer.  Like with acoustic guitars, the best choice for stage used to always be the ones that were pretty much the loudest and brightest.  With PA amplification and a sound person, a much wider range of instrument "personalities" can make a good showing. 

@EricBluegrassFiddle: That is an awesome video!   An excellent player, much show of ingenuity, and an instrument that obviously just refuses to die.  LOL  I loved it.

@Hermes:  I think the bullies will just use anything they can think of to bully with.  Fortunately not all kids (or adults) are like that.  I honestly believe that most people really try their best to be good people.

I know isn't technology beautiful!? I totally agree! I think the goal of a beginner looking for their first fiddle is that it's easy to play, has a decent sound ( not whiney or metallic, shrill sounding ) andf that it's easy tune. As long as a first time fiddle meets all of those requirements and is within budget "pull the trigger and fire away!"

Yes, alot of andean ameri-indians and indians in northern Argentina play with these homemade almost baroque style bows. You'll see this over in Paraguay too. I don't know where they get these old fiddles? Many of them in VERY isolated villages where a bus ride to the nearest music store to even "look" at a Fiddle to purchase could mean half a days bus ride or more. Besides many of them livbe in abject poverty. I'm wondering if they weren't donated by missionaries or charities at some point?

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

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Uzi
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@DanielB said: But a beginner isn't likely to be doing that in their first year or two, or at least wouldn't actually be expected to stand out as much as a symphony soloist.

Those non-projecting student violins, violas and cellos are a god send.  After having spent 2 generations worth of attending biannual middle school and high school orchestra performances, I can attest that there's ALWAYS that one kid whose instrument is much louder than everyone else's and without fail that kid is 40 cents sharp alternating with 30 cents flat. While the audience politely smiles and remains seated, if you look closely you'll see thin streams of blood coming from their ears. For 99.99% of kids, blending into the orchestra is a good thing. 

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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DanielB
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Now in all fairness to the very cheap range of violins.. Sometimes good things can happen.

I know a beginner (started violin in his school this year) where his family bought him an inexpensive violin just so he had one he could practise on at home over weekends and holidays. 

For him to bring home the beat up old violin the school had that he could use his family had to sign a paper saying they'd pay 300$ to replace it if anything happened to it, and still he could only bring it home on weekdays, not weekends or holidays.

So his mama scrimped enough to buy him a cheap violin for home.  Cremona SV-75.  It was about 100$ USD.  When they opened the box, there was one thing wrong with it.  The A string was broken.  That can happen in shipping though, with any violin.  They aren't a musical family, so they took it to a local music shop and got a replacement string of the same brand (d'Addario Etudes) put on for them, which cost about 10$.

And.. It sounds quite good!   Not scratchy or squeaky at all, it even has some warmth to the low end.  Nice and clear, and he says it plays it is much nicer to play than the one from the school.  It also looks very nice, and he is very enthusiastic about playing his shiny new instrument.  Times are tight and his family couldn't afford even a rental, and it was the only way they could manage right now for him to have an instrument of his own, so that he could practice at home every day.  And it worked out well!  Yay!

I've heard some quick cell phone recordings of him playing on it and some close up pics so I could check it for some quality points, and it is a nicer piece of gear than that poor beat up old thing the school issued him.

But.. The problem with instruments that inexpensive is that the quality tends to be very inconsistent.  You might get one that is quite nice.  And the next one you get might be a real dog that is barely playable or not playable at all.  He was lucky.  Someone else might not be so lucky.

If it really is the best you can manage, I say sure, take the chance.  You might be lucky too.  But for not that much more, if you can possibly manage it, you could get something nice from someone reliable like Pierre and be more sure of the story having a happy ending.   

Simply throwing more money at the situation does NOT guarantee getting a better instrument, though.  You want to find someone you can trust, and that can answer your questions and give you some real advice on what might be better for you and why.  Someone that is worth giving your money to and that you can trust to make sure you get a good fair value for what you spend.  That is part of "shopping carefully" and "spending money wisely".

Needless to say, Pierre and his Fiddlershop have a great track record for that.

"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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bfurman
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It's been many years since I've played in any sort of orchestra, but I did play as a second violinist in a full symphony orchestra a couple of times.  It can be hard to even hear yourself at times.

Even in a quartet, a violinist is balancing against much larger instruments.  Fitting into the mix while playing with maximum dynamics is a skill, but having the right instrument certainly helps.

Dreadnought guitars can be pretty loud too. :)

As an aside, I suspect the Gligas are well suited to amplification.

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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bfurman said
It's been many years since I've played in any sort of orchestra, but I did play as a second violinist in a full symphony orchestra a couple of times.  It can be hard to even hear yourself at times.

Even in a quartet, a violinist is balancing against much larger instruments.  Fitting into the mix while playing with maximum dynamics is a skill, but having the right instrument certainly helps.

Dreadnought guitars can be pretty loud too. :)

As an aside, I suspect the Gligas are well suited to amplification.

There's one guy I know on another forum who has a Gliga Gama and he's a semi-pro Bluegrass Fiddler and he says his Gama holds it's own pretty well.

However the Gama is Gligas top of the line for factory built professional concert level fiddles. The Gems is the intermediate level, mine is the Genial-1 which is the high end of the Student Fiddles. The only difference between my Genial and the lower model Genial Violins is that mine has a bit more flamey wood selection and the Oil-Varnish instead of the heavier varnish. The next step up past my Fiddle would've been the Gems

It's virtually indestinguishable from the entry level Gems. It was relayed to me on another forum that in Gligas factory, the newest luthiers ( 5 years or less ) build the Genials. Then all of the most advanced employees/luthiers who've been their at Gligas factory the longest build the Gems and the Gamas. Beyond that, it's customer orders built by Vasile Gliga himself, although he supposedly QA's alot of the factory stuff also. 

They rough cut the parts on a CNC router and finish out alot of the rest in various work stations by hand.....at least this was how it was relayed to me. I guess the lower grade Spruce and Maple goes to the lower end lines and vice versa....

However, I've read that in the Chinese shops it's different. Alot of those fiddles are pretty much hand built from beginning to finish by 1 or 2 people.....I mean is that true? This is what i've heard...so it may just be rumour.

I've heard that one factor in keeping costs down at Gliga, and it makes some dollars and sense, is they source tonewood locally in Romania as it's an area with excellent reknown as a local resource for quality tonewood. But, then again, I've also read that some Gligas are built first in China, shipped to Romania, finished and labeled as Gliga and out the door they go, so it's hard to really know. However, I ALSO read that only around 20% of what comes out of Gligas shop carries their label. They apparently are also a major source for Violins in the White for several other brands....very clever marketing if you ask me.

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

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BillyG
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Aha!  I've been following this topic.   I have nothing much to add other than a few points of possible passing interest -

(1) In text exchanges, sure, it is easy to be "misconstrued" - had you used the same words, but spoken, face-to-face, with facial expression, vocal intonation and general body language, it comes across entirely differently!   I'm so glad everything is cool !

(2) Regarding the "VSO" terminology - well - until very recently ( and I'm only like 8 months into the forum, and about 1yr of playing )  - in my ignorance, I had ALWAYS regarded the term VSO to refer only to an EV

That is, in my mind, VSO referred to any EV as distinct from an acoustic be it mic'd up or not.   The "EV" concept in my mind also includes that "thing" that @OldOgre refers to as "Frankenstein" - LOL mate it looks fine actually, no offence intended - so how's the "surgery" going on Frankie? Keep us updated !!!!!!   

I had never realized that "VSO" was ( or could be used as ) a term of "disrespect" / "abuse" / "derogatory" etc....   I mean - when you look at the EXTREMELY COOL EV stuff as performed by true masters of the EV you ( well, *I* ) go "wow....." was that GOOD or what - and WHY would anyone want to refer to an acoustic as a VSO ?   You see, that's just why I just never GOT that until recently.   In my mind, a VSO still refers only to an EV, but, of course, now I know better, sure, I now take on-board the other uses/meanings of the term.  

Finally - I'm with you both ( Eric and Dan ) on the benefits / limitations etc of "low cost" instruments - you can get a diamond in the rough that just needs a bit of DIY, or you can end up with a true gem.  I guess the biggest problem with that (getting a "really" low cost instrument that's "in the rough") is just exactly how much you are capable, or willing, to do yourself, to bring it to life and make it sing....

LOL - My EV ( cheapish - at 100-odd euros ) from Thomann had annoying "buzzing" sounds - it came down, believe it or not, to an unused connection pin on the stereo (yes, it was a STEREO for some unknown reason - lmfao) jack - there was of course no soldered wire or connection to it - and it "buzzed/rattled" when playing forte.... LOLOL - removed the electronics enclosure cover, messed around for like an hour trying to locate the cause, found it, and a spot of epoxy resin sorted it out !   Not that I can play any sort of baaaaad electric rock yet - but - by heck - with a bit of reverb, sustain and echo, and a 100W amp I almost sound good... LOL.      That aside, you do HAVE to think that such  intervention may be necessary, or similar investigations on a low-cost acoustic.

I really believe it all comes down to this - you (generally) get what you pay for - and if it has to be, because "needs must", a low-cost instrument - my experience says "don't be surprised" if you have some "relatively minor" things to deal with.....  ( and yes, I know, there are folks out there not quite as practical as us, and, sure, "relatively minor" is in itself a "relative" term, and if you can't fix it yourself, sure, it can be a BIG extra cost to go find someone who can sort it out...)

Nice topic folks....

Bill

 

 

 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/f.....nkenstein/

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cdennyb
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@Bill... a 100watt amp!!!!

 

Holy crap man, I have a Fender 25 watt version and I can only turn it up to about 2-3 on the volume... Otherwise the dishes rattle in the next room.

I've heard the terms "I can't play very well but I can play LOUD!" and that would appear to be the case for both of us. Ha.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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Well just because it has a lot of watts doesn't mean you *have* to play it loud.  Big ol' muscle amps can sound seriously sweet at lower volumes.  But an amp that is way too *small* will sound like mud at pretty much any volume level.

"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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I'm curious to know if the OP has decided on the first Violin purchase yet? 

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

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Fiddlerman
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November 14, 2014 - 10:46 am
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OP = Original poster?

"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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Fiddlerman said
OP = Original poster?

Ohh yes....that's right.....the author of thread. 

 

I was curious to know if the OP is still following the thread and if they've set their sights on anything yet? If, of course, that's if they want to share....I realize it's private matter for some folks.

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

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Fiddlerman
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I just wasn't sure what that meant. Learn something every day. :)

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

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bfurman
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DanielB said
Well just because it has a lot of watts doesn't mean you *have* to play it loud.  Big ol' muscle amps can sound seriously sweet at lower volumes.  But an amp that is way too *small* will sound like mud at pretty much any volume level.

Big iron rocks. ;)

(But I've gone over to the Dark Side with solid state.surprised)

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happyjet
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bfurman said
I want to clarify what I said about my son's Gliga Gems 2.  It sounds fine under ear - very pleasant, actually.  However, it has no projection.  There will be no fff playing in an orchestra.

I have a Gliga Gems 1 and play in an orchestra and it doesn't sound to quiet.

Is the Gems 2 quieter or something?

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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