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Do you think an upgrade makes sense?
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Niklas
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August 1, 2019 - 4:19 pm
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Hello everybody!

 

As i allready announced in my introduction-thread, I am currently thinking about getting another violin. But lets start from the beginning..

I allways kind of liked the violin. I think its an amazingly elegant instrument and in my opinion, no other instrument can evoke such emotion as a violin.

So, a few months ago I decided to start learning how to play the violin. I did some research and tried to figure out, which violin would be the right one to just "dip a toe in the water". I found, that the Stentor II SR1500 has many good reviews and a violinteacher on Youtube whose videos I really much appreciate and use to teach myself also made a positiv review about this violin. So I decided to get myself the Stentor II, even if I did not really like the look of it (for example I prefere a golden-yellow varnish).

In the last few months I practiced daily and am constantly getting better. But also I realised, that the Stentor II may have a nice sound (or nice enough for a beginner like myself, I suggest if sometimes something sounds wrong, the fault lies with me and not the violin), but I just dont really like this violine in special that much, mainly for aesthetic reasons.

So I started to think about getting myself a new student violin, but this time, as I am sure that I will contintue playing the violin, I would spent more money (up to 1500 Euro) to get myself a better violin that I like soundwise and regarding the optics. I would really like to hear your opinion about this. Do you think it makes any sense to upgrade to a better student violin or do you think its nonsens? I am really looking forward to your commentaries!

 

Kind regards,

Niklas

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cid
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August 1, 2019 - 4:29 pm
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If stepping up your violin will help you and keep you interested, why not? I have done it a couple times with my violin, viola and cello. I am still learning each. If there is something you are not really happy with, and/or simply do not like the looks of, if you can afford it, go for it. I just could not find the sound I wanted. The basic sound. I am not really good, but open strings let me know, along with the occasional spot on note.

I also found some just felt good in my hands, on my shoulder (or against my chest with the cello). Some might say to upgrade your bow, but if you do not like the violin, upgrade to one you like, and go from there. You need to be proud of your instrument and want to play it and want to enjoy the basic tone values it can give you. As you get better, yoi made want to trade in for another different one. I am happy where I am with my instruments now. It feels good, I want to play them and I love them.

Hope this helps.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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August 1, 2019 - 5:36 pm
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@cid makes some good points

I would only add that when you are looking at your next violin, I would just suggest that you play several and get a good idea of what each sounds like and how they feel.  Make sure you find the violin that you like to play.  To do this, you will need to play several.

- Pete -

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GregW
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August 1, 2019 - 5:43 pm
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I upgraded and thought it went well.  Happy I did.  I vote go for it!

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cid
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August 1, 2019 - 6:12 pm
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As @Pete_Violin said, if you can go to a violin shop, play a few. If you can’t and don’t know what to get, read reviews (with some grains of salt and read between the lines  at exactly what they are talking about), watch and videos with someone displaying its virtues, keeping in mind it won’t exactly sound like that. They have speakers and sound equipment, the quality bowing and strings also make a difference. If you remember that, you can get a decent idea if it is warm, bright, dark, etc.  But understand, it will be a long time before you will get it to sound like that. Also, the instrument, if new, is still “finding itself” and the sound may mellow or brighten over time (talking years).

My two new-to-me cellos are already set with their tones. 

You can always come here, to the forum, and start a thread. Tell us you are buying online, provide links to the ones, or one you are interested in, and ask for input, giving detail as to what you are looking for and why this one appeals to you. Maybe someone has experience with that brand and model, and store.

I do not know how much it costs to ship from Fiddlershop to your area overseas, you might want to ask. It could be they have a good quality violin, either new or used, that is slightly lower than the 500 Euro where the shipping will not put you over the 500 Euro. Or the shipping might not be too much where you can still get the 500 Euro violin. I do not have a Fiddlerman Violin. I found a violin shop in driving distance. I have heard great things about them. I know from experience they are a great company and trustworthy. Maybe @Fiddlerman can help you with some info. You won’t have to buy from him, but it will be one avenue to look at if you do not have violin shop availability and must go online. Can’t hurt to see what they have to offer.

Now, that said, when we mention the Fiddlershop, we are not trying to drum up business. We are just offering our experiences in hopes it helps others. 

Hope this is helpful.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Niklas
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August 2, 2019 - 2:57 am
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Thank you very much for your really kind replys!

 

@cid

The thing with the sound is the only one I am a little bit worried about. At the moment I'm not that good (or only as "good" as you can be after some months of practice) so I'm wondering if a beginner like me is really capable of judging the sound of a violin.

Regarding the bow, I allready upgraded bow and strings. Currently I am using a Carbondix bow and Pirastro Tonica strings. The bow that came with the violin was even to me poorly balanced, so I changed it quite early..

@Pete_Violin

I want to do as you said and try several violins. I allready made a list with ones that I would like to try but I think I will have to shorten it.. If it is of interest, I could post a shorter version of the list with the most relevant violins in this topic. I could also provide some links, if its okay to post links to another website than the fiddlerman shop. My only problem is, that I dont have a shop around here, so I think I'll have to order them online one by one to try them out..

Also I am wondering what are qualitywise the differences between a violin from a known brand like Yamaha, Gewa or Hofner compared to a violin from a luthier in the same price range? I suppose for 1500 Euro all violins will be assembled with prefabricated parts.

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HP
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August 2, 2019 - 5:47 am
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Frankly, I don't see the point of sticking to a beginners violin if you can afford to upgrade and you're unhappy with your current violin. Beginners violins are great entry level instruments for people who are unsure of whether or not they want to continue to play, or if one has limited funds. Just because it's called a beginners violin doesn't mean beginners have to stick with it. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Niklas
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August 2, 2019 - 5:49 am
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It took a little bit of time but I made a little list with the first five violins that I am considering.. I have to admit there are some more than this on my list but I tought five models would be enough for one post.

 

The first violin I am considering is the Yamaha V20:

 

https://www.thomann.de/gb/yama.....ImVuIn0%3D

 

I like the look of this one and I really like the sound of it on the soundsample. But I know, that the violin can sound quite different in reality..

 

The next one is the Yamaha V10:

 

https://www.thomann.de/gb/yama.....ImVuIn0%3D

 

I like the look of this one too, but is it just me or does the V20 sound somehow richer or stronger? To me it seems as if the V10 sounds flater and not as full as the V20 but I might get that wrong. Once I read that good Guarneri models tend do sound darker and fuller, while a good Stradivari model sounds brighter and more brilliant. Maybe thats the case here..

 

The Hofner 115GG I really like in terms of the optic. Here is the link:

 

https://www.thomann.de/gb/karl.....ImVuIn0%3D

 

Also i found a video on youtube from the channel „violinpros“ and I myself found the sound of this one acceptable. Its another Guarneri modell..

 

Here is the metioned video:

 

Also I am considering some violins by the luthier Walter Mahr, for example this one:

 

https://www.geige24.com/shop/i.....014?c=2162

 

Sadly, there are no sound samples and the only thing the text says about the sound says is that it is warm, singing and has a noble sound.

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Hermes
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August 2, 2019 - 8:29 am
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I usually believe that if you are even thinking that you need to upgrade, that could really be a sign that you should upgrade 🙂

You should find a violin that you are happy with it, that motivates you to play...

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cid
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The question I would ask myself about the one in the video is, “Am I to the level that I can use it to learn on?” The reason I ask is because I had the closed caption on and read what he said about it. He said he had to work at it. I liked the sound, but that is relevant to the quality playing, the strings, setup, and the recording equipment. That is why I always turn in the closed caption feature of a YouTube video if it is available.

Just pointing this out. Something to keep in mind. I have no idea about your abilities.

That said, the first Yamaha definitely was more powerful and full sounding. There was a big difference between that and the second Yamaha. The first one sounds like a better quality. 

I would kind of expect the sound quality of the third one, you said looked more pleasing to you, will be like the second Yamaha. I think they were in the same price range, but that is not always a tell. Since there is no sound sample and they were all from the same store, I would wonder, why? 

In the end the decision of which one to buy, or try first, is up to you. You have to decide what is more important, sound or aesthetics, bright or warm, etc.

Hope we were all helpful.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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August 2, 2019 - 10:39 am
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Niklas said
Also I am wondering what are qualitywise the differences between a violin from a known brand like Yamaha, Gewa or Hofner compared to a violin from a luthier in the same price range? I suppose for 1500 Euro all violins will be assembled with prefabricated parts.

When I bought my violin, I looked at, held and played about 10 violins that day.  I did not pay attention to the makers, the brands, the types of wood, the methods of assembly, nothing like that.  It was all about how they felt, how they sounded, the ease of how they played.

When I picked up the one that would be my violin and played it, I knew instantly.  I did not ask, initially, who made it or what any of the specifications were.  I simply drew the bow across the strings.  And I had been playing several so I was able to compare this with the others.  

They ranged from $600 to $2500, and I was told the value of each as I tried them.  I was looking for a violin that I would be happy with for a long time.  I had already decided that I would be committed to playing this instrument (I had never played a string instrument but I intended to learn to play violin).

It turned out that the instrument I chose was called a Cathedrale, after the Stradivari’s 1707 “La Cathedrale”, essentially a copy of that Strad.  The value of the violin was $1500, plus the case and a bow, total of $1700.  I still cherish my violin.  It seems to keep getting better, or more likely I am getting better at playing.. but the sound seems to continue to keep up with me.  I feel like it is the best $1700 I have ever spent in my life.

I did all the research after buying it.  I now know all about the origin of the violin, the wood and materials that went into crafting it, and the story of how my luthier came about it.  I also know which strings are the best to use because of the kind of tone and resonance the violin can produce.  I know all about my violin.

But the way I chose the violin was how it felt and sounded to me.  This is what I mean by choosing your violin.

I have since looked at and played more valuable violins, but I doubt I will ever part with this one. 

It is my first love.

- Pete -

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Niklas
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August 3, 2019 - 6:48 am
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@cid I'm just wondering what he meant when he said he had to work at it, I suppose he meant that he had to adjust his technique to the violin? I have to admit, I'm a little bit worried about this but I think I will still give this violin a try. Also I am a bit confused cause the video title says H115 GG which is the guarneri model I would like to try, but the video description says its the Guadagnini modell which would be the H115 BG.. Even more confusing is the fact that the link in the description shows a Hofner 225 which is also an entirely different and much more expensive (5999 Dollars) violin..

Regarding the V20 I think I will give it a try too, as I really liked the full and strong sound it had in the soundsample. The V10 on the other hand is off my list. I just found the sound to flat and dont think it will sound that much better in reality..

 

@Pete_Violin I am also looking for a violin that I can stay with for a longer time and I would really like to find one that can be "my first love", as you call it.

I think I will try at least one of the Walter Mahr violins, the V20, the Höfner and maybe also a another Stradivari model. I have to admit that on soundsamples I found in the Internet I did not really like the sound of the stradivari models in my pricerange. They often sounded kind of flat to me and I am curious to see if thats the case when I can play one of these in reallife too or if its just the soundsample..

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cid
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I'm just wondering what he meant when he said he had to work at it, I suppose he meant that he had to adjust his technique to the violin? I have to admit, I'm a little bit worried about this but I think I will still give this violin a try. 

@Niklas 

It may be you have to work a little more to get the sound out? If you can play it when you try it, I wouldn’t be concerned. Given all the incorrect identifications in the description and video, who know which one he was talking about anyway. Make sure you are testing the one you wanted to test. LOL

I totally agree with what you said about the difference between the two Yamahas. If you know you want to play the violin, and you certainly sound it, and you can afford something above the bottom student level, you should get try it. The sound quality, no matter what your playing ability, really makes a big difference. I was not sure I would be able to play it so I started with a $67 violin. It only took a month before I was testing higher quality violins. I did not have an instructor yet, but using the books and YouTube, I fell in love with it. 

I am now using a violin I love. Lost my violin teacher, but still working on it. I have the same make in Viola. Their viola has the same wonderful warm tone the violin has. My cello is a different make. I have a great cello instructor, but I am moving along with my violin and viola. I find the violin and viola easier, so it is a good thing I have a cello instructor.

Point is, an instrument you love to hold and produces the basic sound qualities you like makes a big difference in your enjoyment and learning ability, in my opinion. It will be interesting to see how you feel about each, and which one you get. If you would like and willing, could you start a thread and keep us posted on your testing, what you like about each, thought process and decision? I am just curious.

I had fun doing violin tastings, viola tastings, and cello tastings.

Keep in mind, my opinions are not by a violinist who has a lot of experience. I am still, what I would consider, a beginner.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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x Coach
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For the money, the fiddlerman soloist violin is hard to beat, if you already have the bow you like and case, you can save a couple of hundred dollars by just purchasing the violin. There are many videos of that particular violin on YouTube. The craftsmanship and sound is outstanding.

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HP
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x Coach said
For the money, the fiddlerman soloist violin is hard to beat, if you already have the bow you like and case, you can save a couple of hundred dollars by just purchasing the violin. There are many videos of that particular violin on YouTube. The craftsmanship and sound is outstanding.

  

Getting a violin in that price range from the US to Europe can get pretty pricy though. If I recall correctly I had to pay around 400-500 USD in just customs plus shipping and handling. This was for a 1,589 dollar violin. I would do some research beforehand.

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Niklas
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August 3, 2019 - 10:52 am
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@cid

I think in this case I will just try it out. Then I will see if I'm able to get along with it.

Your Story about this cheap violin fits quite well to mine about the Stentor. I just bought it because I wanted to try it and as I never played an instrument before, I was not sure if I would be able to play violing. So I wanted a cheap and not too bad instrument for the first months and for that the Stentor fitted quite well.. But now I just want something better.

Just out of curiosity, because I really love books: Which books do you use? I allready own a book which contains several exercises, its "Violin Basics" by Fischer. The book arrived today and I am still trying to figure out how I could use it in the best way.. Do all exercises from the first to the last page once and stick to those exercises which make sense to me?

Also I am still looking for a good book about the playing technique..

And of course I can keep you all updated. I think I will be able to start testing the violins at the beginning of september because I will have alot of time in that month.. I am really looking forward to this.

@xcoach thanks for your reply. I allready saw the soloist, but just as HP said, I think it would be quite difficult and expensive to get a violin from the US to germany and even more difficult and expensive if I should realise that I dont like the sound and want to send it back. So I think I will stick to stores here in Europe, as this makes it much easier.

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cid
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August 3, 2019 - 12:18 pm
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@Niklas 

I think in this case I will just try it out. Then I will see if I'm able to get along with it.

Your Story about this cheap violin fits quite well to mine about the Stentor. I just bought it because I wanted to try it and as I never played an instrument before, I was not sure if I would be able to play violing. So I wanted a cheap and not too bad instrument for the first months and for that the Stentor fitted quite well.. But now I just want something better.

You might find that the sound of the Stentor, if you are not trading it, will work for different types of songs. My Celilio (sp?) is pretty bright. Now that I bow better, I can get better sound from it. It works better for me for fiddle music. It still is rather hollow, but I can get more projection from it. The brightness, to me, is more fitting to the fiddle songs in my books, that I am able to play. I think I need a different bridge, though.

Just out of curiosity, because I really love books: Which books do you use? I allready own a book which contains several exercises, its "Violin Basics" by Fischer. The book arrived today and I am still trying to figure out how I could use it in the best way.. Do all exercises from the first to the last page once and stick to those exercises which make sense to me?

When I had an instructor, she used Suzuki. I absolutely hate the Suzuki method. The books really require a good trained Suzuki instructor because they are difficult without an trained Suzuki instructor. My violin instructor was trained, but did not use the training. Go figure. 

I love Essential Elements for Strings with the online interaction. Here is a link:

Essential Elements for String with Online Resources

I love the online interaction. It is excellent. This can be used on your own. I have the violin, viola and cello versions. I do have the Suzuki books. They are not really good to learn from, as stated, but there are a LOT of great tunes to play. You can find some songs in the books that will fit your level and try some a stepnup for a challenge. But for teaching yourself, The Essential Elements for Strings with online resources is excellent. Make sure it is with online resources.

I also have Harvey S Whistler “Scales in First Position” 

I also have “Elementary Scales and Bowings” by Harvey S Whistler and Herman A Hummel.

There are also a ton of videos on the Fiddlerman site. Look at the menu at the top of the forum page. He has made videos, posted songs for downloading. I print them off as I reach that level. Have not reached a very high level, yet 😉.

Personally, I like to start at the beginning with Essential Elements. It is very well organized. Take advantage of the online resources. Just create a free account. You can add book two to that same account when you reach it.

Also I am still looking for a good book about the playing technique..

I am not sure about playing technique books. I think that if you do not have an instructor to demonstrate, I would use videos and use the songs you have learned to practice those techniques with. Again, Fiddlerman has generously provided a wealth of videos and music downloads. I think he has some scale practice sheets to download, but not positive. I bought the books before I found this site. Maybe check this site for Fiddlerman’s information before inundating yourself with books, like I did.

If you reach a point where you think actual video lessons will help, if you can’t get an in person instructor, Google Alison Sparrow. 

Here is a link to one of her videos. It may be lesson 1, but not sure. 

She is pretty good.

I hope this was helpful.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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AndrewH
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Niklas said

Just out of curiosity, because I really love books: Which books do you use? I allready own a book which contains several exercises, its "Violin Basics" by Fischer. The book arrived today and I am still trying to figure out how I could use it in the best way.. Do all exercises from the first to the last page once and stick to those exercises which make sense to me?

  

Simon Fischer's books are not intended to be method books. You'll find that even in "Basics" the exercises go to fairly advanced levels.

The way Fischer intended his books to be used is as reference and supplemental materials. Learn from something that provides a real sequence, and as you are learning techniques, look up those techniques in Fischer for more detailed explanations and basic exercises that will help you learn the technique.

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Niklas
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@cid

I allready know Alison. Up until now I made the first 9 lessons and am currently working at Lesson 10, I agree that shes pretty good. I wanted the book only as an addition to her videos.

I think I will give the essential elements a try, as it sounds really good and is still inexpensive. The fact that it is only available in english doesnt bother me, as most of the violin-content I consume is in english..

Thanks for the hint about the fiddlerman videos. I think I will give them a look today!

@AndrewH

Thanks for your reply. What you described is just the way I will usw the book now, as a kind of reference when I learn some new techniques.

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cid
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Sound like you are all set.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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