Hi jlester95, I’ll offer my input based on your situation that you described in your other posts.
Since you are an adult with a musical background and you’ve already played violin enough to know that you want to pursue the instrument, I wouldn’t buy a $300 violin.
The Fiddlerman Concert violin outfit is a very nice, quality instrument with a rich, full tone at a good price. It’s a pleasure to play, and sounds lovely when played well.
For twice the price, the Fiddlerman Master violin is a spectacular violin and some instructors have reviewed it as a “lifetime” instrument for an amateur player. It has beautiful resonance.
I tried the Fiddlerman Apprentice and OB1 violins in the shop, but choose to purchase the Concert since I knew I was committed to playing and it fit both my ear and my budget at the time. Later, I was given the Master violin as a Christmas gift. I love both instruments! (I also played the Artist violin at the shop.)
I played violin as a kid and then didn’t touch it for decades. When I began playing again, like you, I dusted off my old instrument which I believe is more than 100 years old. The top plate has some splits that need repair, and I did successfully reset the sound post myself. I was flying regularly between two places and decided to pick up an affordable second fiddle so that I could keep up with my playing without flying with the old violin. That’s when I purchased the Concert. My playing blossomed, and after a couple months the instrument opened up and it blossomed as well.
When I returned to my old violin, which I actually believed was pretty good, I was shocked to hear how poor it sounds compared to the Concert. I was thrilled to receive the Master as a gift. Most surprising, when I travel from my Master violin back to the Concert, I am not disappointed. It’s lovely in its own way and I love the deep, rich tones from the G and D strings.
I highly recommend either one of these instruments, and I think you’ll be satisfied with whichever one fits your budget.
Hope that helps.
Was there a substantial difference in the concert vs the artist when you played them? Videos make tone differences really stand out.
Hi jlester95, when I played the Artist violin in the shop, I had already owned my Concert violin for about a month. There was one noticeable difference to my ear: the Artist had a much brighter sound, whereas my Concert had a deeper, rich sound. I preferred the deep sound of my Concert and I declined the option to upgrade to the Artist. That is strictly a matter of personal preference. Other than that, I did not hear a substantial difference. At that moment, if I had preferred the Artist, I would not have thought twice about spending $200 for the upgrade.
To recap, when I initially tested violins, to my ear there was a vast difference between the OB1 and Apprentice compared to the Concert and I purchased the Concert. Fiddlerman Pierre brought out three Concerts and we chose the one that was personally most appealing. (I find that violins, much more so than guitars— yes, I play too— each have a quite unique voice even within a model line.)
I returned to the shop a few weeks later to have the Concert’s action lowered slightly. There was nothing wrong with the setup; I have a bit of arthritis and I was used to the very low action of my existing instrument. It was suggested that I try the Artist first to see if I wanted to upgrade. I played both instruments side by side and chose to stick with my Concert, not because of price, but because I preferred its deep voice. My Concert with the custom tweaking of the action plays like a dream.
Something kind of funny to note, my Master is a beautiful instrument that sings and resonates, but that darn Concert had me pining for just a little more darkness from the Master’s G string. Recently, I changed out the Master’s G and D strings for Obligatos. I’m now getting a heart-melting beauty from those strings. Combined with Thomastik Visions for the A and E strings (which to me sounded more appealing on this instrument than Dominants) I feel like I have the dream instrument from heaven. Thankfully, the Master and the Concert live 1,200 miles apart so I’ll never play them side by side.
If I am not mistaken, the bodies of the Concert and the Concert Deluxe are identical. I believe the difference lies in the fittings and the strings, with more expensive strings installed on the Deluxe. Strings are consumable, so in my view I wouldn’t necessarily choose an instrument based on the one set of strings installed at purchase. You can always upgrade strings when the budget permits. Also, you might want to think about the question of fine tuners. As a beginner, you may prefer four fine tuners if that frees up more time for practice. The composite tailpiece has four tuners installed and I believe the boxwood tailpiece has only one. That said, the tuning pegs on these instruments are so well tooled that tuning is not a problem. Checkout the video on the composite tailpiece page. Enlightening!
Whatever instrument you choose should really reflect your personal preference and your budget. I'm only sharing my subjective experiences because I know how hard it can feel to make a purchase like this online, and I had the good fortune to test these instruments in person.
If you’ve only been playing a month, whether you purchase a Concert, a Soloist, or a $12,000 violin, your playing will probably sound the same right now no matter which instrument you play. It’s only over time with a lot of practice that you’ll be able to bring out the best in your instrument.
The folks at Fiddlershop are experienced musicians and they are expert at matching customers with appropriate instruments. They’ve never tried to oversell me on anything. If you nail down your budget and give tham a call, they will surely be able to help you choose.
Once Christmas passes hopefully Santa will have brought me some greenbacks (lol) and I can then mail down my budget. I’m definitely planning on giving fiddlerman a call and discussing where I am and what would be my best choice. Thinking of getting on a list for a B stock artist. Thank you guys for all your help and input this forum is awesome!