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Buying violins and stuff
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Gordon Shumway
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March 3, 2019 - 7:55 am
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I'd heard of things like German trade violins and so on, and my teacher mentioned coming to look at some with me next year if I want to upgrade then, so I wanted to learn more about the history of violin manufacture and I found the website below which looks like an interesting start (if you carefully read every page). And recently here there have been threads about EBay and Craigslist, so this little snippet might be of interest: -

"I regularly look on Craig's List for a good deal on a used instrument, and I rarely see something that is worth even going to look at.   The vast majority of what is sold there is the same stuff that is sold on Ebay and Amazon as new.  I am sure that many of these used instruments are being sold because the owners found them to be unusable and are just trying to unload them."

https://violininformation.webs.....#834941116

Here's the trade page: -

(he mentions Cecilio in a way that @Fiddlerman might regard as clumsy)

https://violininformation.webs.....uments.htm

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Irv
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March 3, 2019 - 8:20 am
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My take on used inexpensive violins is not as pessimistic as yours.  I avoid the lowest end instruments with painted fingerboard and ill fitting pegs (I generally replace the pegs any way with Knilling Perfections, but I think that it remains a valid selection criteria).  I have found the quality of the “next tier” basic instrument to be high enough to satisfy a student through several years of study.  They are being sold because the owner did not sort through the poor strings, ill fitting bridge (less likely nut), and unplayable bow.  In short, the potential remains unexplored.

I actively avoid the purchase of violins with upgraded strings and cf bows.  These may be ok as well and may well be on sale because of an upgrade, but they reflect the decision of a more knowledgeable player that has found the violin to be lacking.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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cid
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March 3, 2019 - 9:37 am
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Irv said I actively avoid the purchase of violins with upgraded strings and cf bows.  These may be ok as well and may well be on sale because of an upgrade, but they reflect the decision of a more knowledgeable player that has found the violin to be lacking.  

Oh, wow, that makes so much sense! Dress it up and prospective buyers will think it is better than it is. Or, to be less pessimistic, because they want to give the buyer something for a product they know is faulty. Cup is half full thinking, here.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Gordon Shumway
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March 3, 2019 - 11:20 am
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Irv may be right in the main; otoh some good violins come with bottom-line bows.

For example my Stentor Conservatoire II (not at all a bad violin) package cost £350 (from a good supplier - you can get them cheaper). I phoned the supplier to ask about the bow's value for rehair purposes, and he said the bow was only worth about £40, so I should replace it rather than rehair it, and I bought a Col Legno Standard as a backup. I guess the strings are Tonicas, and when they wear out, I'll try Dominants out of curiosity, leaving an instrument much as Irv describes. It may be poorer than a lot of people are used to, but I'll be keeping it as a spare when I upgrade to my German or French factory violin.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Irv
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March 3, 2019 - 1:14 pm
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I have recently had good success from purchasing items from amazon prime.  They have a time dependent discounting mechanism which can lead to interesting results.  That is where I purchased the Tertis viola.  

I do not recommend the site for strings, however.  The amazon employees looking over returned items miss obvious problems (missing strings, etc) to the next person to buy.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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March 3, 2019 - 1:48 pm
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This is the shop I'll be visiting in about 13 months' time, I hope (my 60th birthday).

[commercial link removed by GS]

They currently have a few potentially nice French and German factory violins for £1,400 to £1,600.

It's gotta be better than EBay!

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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GregW
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March 3, 2019 - 1:56 pm
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Thanks Gordon this was very interesting.  Ive bookmarked it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 3, 2019 - 8:59 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Gordon Shumway said
This is the shop I'll be visiting in about 13 months' time, I hope (my 60th birthday).

Where do you live Gordon?

We have 10 beautiful German hand made violins on order from a few months back.

Concerning your recommendations on purchasing online. At Fiddlershop we cater to our customers needs in a unique way. We have 6 full time luthiers working patiently on each and every instrument. We give 45 days satisfaction warranty.
We offer in-home trials and even record videos of choice instruments upon demand. 

Our instruments are highly recommended by so many teachers as well. You might change your mind, at least concerning Fiddlershop, if you gave us a try.

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

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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March 4, 2019 - 12:20 am
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I live in London. But my flat is falling down around my ears - I think I need a new bathroom AND a new kitchen, so I can't be sure I'll have a penny next year anyway. I'm doing some research just in case. I might even be forced to take out a mortgage. But then I might buy an even better violin, lol!

Thankyou for your offer, and I apologise for mentioning another dealer on the @Fiddlerman forum (at least I've tried to prevent people going to Ebay!).

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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March 4, 2019 - 3:32 am
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GregW said
Thanks Gordon this was very interesting.  Ive bookmarked it.  

Here's a specific page that might be harder to find than some of the rest.

https://violininformation.webs.....tories.htm

It raises the question, is modern China an exact equivalent, or do they, for example, machine-make violins in a way that makes a lot of them inferior to old European factory fiddles? In other words is "Chinese workshop" more like the equivalent of "German factory"?

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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GregW
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March 4, 2019 - 9:10 am
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I couldnt say whether one region vs another equal.  You would think that an older European instrument would sound better just due to age.  Were those made in the 1900s better made then vs now I couldnt say.  Some probably were some not.  I doubt all were.  Then youre down to looking for that one that is in your price range.  I can say Im satisfied with my soloist.  Without going too far off topic everything in the purchase was smooth.   Is it the equivalent in sound of a 1900's German hand made instrument...meh dunno.  Would I be able to tell..maybe, maybe not.   But I know its new and dont feel I have to look for repairs that were done over the years and such and fiddlershop set it up and checked everything.  They put their name on this one.   So with my budget I think it was as good as Id find anywhere. 

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Gordon Shumway
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March 4, 2019 - 9:35 am
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@Fiddlerman Re the link, I'd be going to the physical shop to play the instruments in person, and it didn't occur to me that they did online sales - I just posted the link to illustrate the type of fiddle that can be had for that kind of money in London. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 4, 2019 - 3:56 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
@Fiddlerman Re the link, I'd be going to the physical shop to play the instruments in person, and it didn't occur to me that they did online sales - I just posted the link to illustrate the type of fiddle that can be had for that kind of money in London. Sorry for the misunderstanding.  

Understood. Just wanted to clarify that the options that we offer makes it very easy and risk free to order online. For those people who are still cautious we gladly offer in-home trials which is in many ways better than buying from a store. You get to test the instrument in your own environments. Can't really loose.

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

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