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A personal story which I doubt has any bearing to the immediate thread.
My grandfather was a very large man that had a side job as a piano mover.
Quite often he was called to remove a "heritage" piano that the new home owner or apartment tenant wanted removed because they did not want it. His usual policy was to go to a bridge above a river at the dead of night and tip the piano over the guard rail of the bridge and into the river. One night, doing this procedure on a particularly heavy piano, he reasoned that he should at least try to sell the offending piano first before performing a sea burial.
Soon his house had a piano in just about every room. My mother, then a teenager, is a very accomplished pianist. On a small commission basis (which I think in those days was supper on the following night), she was assigned the responsibility of selling a particular piano out of several available examples. In so doing (upon the unspoken signal of my grandfather), by nuance she had to create the acoustic impossibility of making a Bosendorfer concert grand sound like a clapped-out spinet, or make the self same spinet sound like the queen of the hall, all the time using the same piece of music.
The only piano that she was unable to sell at any price was a Steinway grand with a white French Provincial cabinet and a set of mis-matched black legs. It was sonic perfection and an absolute joy to play. But it was also visually hidious. My mother (who is over 80 years old) still laments the day that piano was sent to sea.
Hello again Martha (and others). Got up this morning and perused the newly offered items on eBay under the heading Cecilio (a daily ritual with me). Up came a Cecilio CVN 800 (top of the line) although CVN was not referenced in the title, with a starting bid of $300. I immediately noticed that the instrument had colored "cheater" tapes on the finger board, so the owner was obviously a beginner. eBay offers the ability to send emails to the owner. Since the auction has the appearance that the item's owner had the same thought process as yours as a violin student, you might want to get their views on if the violin was a benefit in the process of learning and if they eventually went on to get their "Cannon" something. If the bidding does not get too severe, this might also be another item of interest to you (although I don't see much benefit gained over the CVN 600 except for nicer figured wood, perhaps).
Second thought. I seem to recall when Fiddlerman did a Youtube review on the Cecilio CVN 600, that he made the comment that he thought the top plate was rather thick (a thin plate tends to cause a more brilliant sounding violin, but can be overdone by cheap violins to get a good initial sound at the detriment of durability). Since you want a dark sounding violin, this feature tends to be to your benefit.
Finally, I seem to recall that the comedian Jack Benny played a Strad during his act.
@Irv What fun things to think about! My tastes in tinkering may differ a little from yours, but you are making me think things like: if I run into a garage sale violin for really really cheap, I may buy it just to tinker with! (The eBay mandolin arrived Friday--note, I consider eBay a gambling site, and myself not much a gambling person. It turns out to be solid and not even very dinged up, mostly dirty and with broken strings and some rusted parts. Level frets, nut and bridge present and seeming OK, neck and bowl and table all sound. Had a blast over the weekend cleaning it up, coaxing tuning gears to turn smoothly, etc. Still need to re-glue tortoise shell + inlay pick guard before stringing, so we have NO idea, yet, how it sounds.)
I think my first move re: the sunken strings on the rental violin should be to send the luthier who owns it an email that there seems to be a problem with the bridge. (I did replace two of the strings on my own, with some but limited improvement of sound.)
@Fiddlerman As I calculate it, attempting to learn the violin is lavishly expensive of my TIME, and not doing what I can to increase the likelihood that I will continue rather than quit--i.e., that all that time spent will lead somewhere rather than nowhere--seems wasteful. Though my means are quite limited.
Thinking through the ins and outs of the role the instrument plays in learning to play the instrument has been helpful. Not everybody here agrees, but this conversation has helped me get clearer that my own endeavor is significantly about learning from the feedback the instrument gives me. And that clarity has, itself, already changed my practice!
For the very very short term, that means: whatever feedback the current rental is giving me. I think there will be adjustments, or a different rental, rather soon. And some sort of upgrade, I'm guessing in 3-6 months. Or maybe sooner.
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