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I've been poking around the web, reading articles and watching videos on purchasing violins. There's a lot of information out there about good instruments vs bad ones (or my favorite term, "VSO".. violin shaped objects). Most end up with some recommendations on student models to get or to avoid. They generally all talk about getting one for a couple hundred, then upgrading to one for 3 or 4 hundred, then upgrading to... It goes on.
So, here's my question: if I'm going to upgrade to a "non-student" model in a couple years anyway, why start with the student model? From a purely financial perspective, if I'm going to be buying one for six hundred dollars in a few years, why not buy that one now, and skip the earlier versions? Is there something that will be detrimental to my learning curve that way? Or is the thinking purely to keep the initial investment small until you are certain this is something that will still be a focus in a few years?
First off, welcome to the forum, Griff:
A student violin is just a term that is used for a cheap instrument, (of any kind) not only violin. Student means to learn, so no matter what the cost of the violin is, cheap or expensive, to me it is still a student violin because you are in the process of leaning. Buying a cheap instrument is like buying a cheap wine, (to test out) to see if you like wine or not. If you don't like the cheap wine it kinda put's a bad taste in your mouth for 'any' wine. Same thing goes for a violin, IMO,. Buying a nice violin in the beginning may help you to decide this is what you want to do. If the violin is cheap you may end up with sound's that are not to your liking, more discouraging than encouraging.
So, if you have the resource's available by all means buy a decent instrument, you won't have to spend a total fortune on one, but you will begin your experience with delight.
Fiddlerman will be more then happy to assist you with a purchase to your liking. (He's that way)
Good luck on your violin purchase. I like Fiddlestix thoughts. I am a firm believer that if one wants to learn they can learn on anything..even a VSO. But yes..if you have the $ it is a good idea to get what you can afford.
I rented my violin because I wanted to see if I liked playing, if I could play and I wanted a violin in the 3-4 hundred dollar range without fronting the money. I bought it outright in the first year. It is a decent violin and I can play for a good many years to come ...or I can upgrade.
Fiddlershop can help you pick out something nice if you are so inclined. I did not know about Fiddlershop when I bought mine.
Cheers..and have fun shopping... I like that part. Oh yes.. I too spent a good 30 days on the internet reading all the opinions and what "to do's..and buy.."
So glad I landed upon this site. I would say 75% of my learning is from this site and the members.
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
On average a good quality "student violin" costs between $300 - $600 although some can be had for under 300 and will sound pretty good with a change over to better strings and perhaps some cutting and bridge adjustment and sound post adjustment. Intermediate quality violins average around $1000 - $3000 or more. Professional quality >$5000 on up to priceless. With some pro-grade instruments collectors value has to be factored into the price. One good thing is that they are an expensive investment but over time they increase in value.
If you have a good local violin shop definitely try out different instruments and see what you like. You don;t always have to spend a lot to get a good instrument.
Why start with a cheap violin?
1. When my daughter first switched to 1/2 size violin, her teacher told her to make sure she plays it in tune so it will sound good. She said, it is very important that the first person that plays a new violin in tune so it will ring right. So, I develop a theory based on her expertise and to answer your question: If you started out with a cheaper violin, as a beginner, you may not be able to make it sound right @100%, so your first violin may not ring right @100%. If you get a high end violin (say USD1000) and because of your learning process, it never learned to ring right, then your USD 1000 may end up sounding like a USD100 violin. so, when you upgrade your violin to a better violin when you are a better player, you will make it sound right and great!
2. When you get better, you may need an upgrade because, at this point you could tell what sounds good to you and you develop a preference of violin sound.
3. If you decided to quit in two three years down the journey, you won't lose much.
Get one within your budget but sound good enough! When your violin sound good, you are more motivated to practice than if it is not. My daughter could easily practice for 45 minutes or over now than when she was using her 1/4 that sounds tiny.
p.s. strings could make a big difference in how a violin sounds.