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Some background on myself: I'm a 27 year old male who has little background in music. I played the guitar casually from about 10-16 but never learned how to read music or pursued it that seriously. That being said.... I have always, for as long as I can remember, loved the sound of the Violin and and wanted to learn how to play. This is the year that I'm making the commitment to learn and finally pursue something that I'm really interested in.
I've already signed up for some private lessons to get a solid foundation of fundamentals. All that's left is to buy my starter violin. I wanted to get something that was under ~$200 but would be good enough to at least last me to an intermediate level. I'm willing to spend a little more if it's worth the price increase. So below are the 4 I'm trying to decide between (also totally open to alternative suggestions)
1) The Cecilio CVN-300
2) The Bunnel Pupil
3) The Bunnel G2/G1
4) The Fiddlerman Apprentice
After reading tons of reviews these are the ones that I've personally narrowed it down to. I would love to hear any opinions you may have!
Thank you so very much. I'm so excited to begin this journey.
I don't have experience with the models you mentioned, but I've owned both a Cecilio and a Fiddlerman Concert violin. I recommend the concert if you can manage it. A nice sounding instrument is a good way to keep you motivated and invested in learning, so it's worth spending a little more if you can. Plus, it will last you a while longer as you advance. The Cecilio I owned was enough for me to determine that I wanted to stick with learning, but switching to a better instrument not only improved my sound, it made playing easier and more natural feeling.
I don't have experience with the first 3 brands you mentioned, but I do have a Fiddlerman concert violin, an excellent beginner fiddle, and while I don't have experience with the Apprentice, based on the Concert violin and other items I've bought, I would trust whatever the shop puts their brand on.
You can't beat how well set up his violins are, a huge help for a beginner to not have to wonder if everything is ok, and if the issue is you or the violin. I've now bought 2 violins from Fiddlershop, and they barely needed any tuning out of the box. My teacher loves both of them.
If moving up to the Concert violin is financially doable for you, I would recommend that one, but if not I would suggest going with the Apprentice. But, do not hesitate to call Fiddlershop for help making up your mind. They are super helpful, not pushy, and only want their customers to be 100% happy with their purchase.
That said, welcome to the forum, and to the violin! Please let us know what you decide to go with, and hope to see you around the forum!
World's Okayest Fiddler
Hello and welcome to the forum! I don't have any experience with Cecilio or Bunnel, but I will say that the Fiddlerman violins are an excellent choice. They set up and inspect the instruments in their shop before sending the instrument out to you, so that much work is already done for you. My first violin was a Mathias Thoma off of eBay, and it has some problems that I'm currently working through (for one, it takes me ~40 mins to tune 3 of the strings!) but in the meantime I was gifted a Fiddlerman OB1 (A step cheaper than the Apprentice at $290 -- it only takes about 5 minutes to tune this one haha) and I absolutely love it. I'm still breaking it in and I'm just a beginner myself, but I've been impressed by the quality and sound that this thing produces. (Plus, I mean, it's OB1 -- if you're a Star Wars fan, you'll appreciate that too.) Certainly, the Apprentice is of similar, if not superior, quality to the OB1, so I think it would be a safe choice --and while the Fiddlerman range is more expensive than the Cecilio, you get a phenomenal outfit with the violin and you won't have to put work into setting it up. If you do jump for the Cecilio, I'd recommend getting some D'addario Preludes or something other than Cecilio brand for the strings and switching them out with the violin's stock strings -- I put some Cecilios on my Mathias, and I've found that they're hard on the fingers and sound kinda scratchy/screechy. (I'm not sure what to say about the Bunnel because I've never heard of the brand!)
Good luck and let us know what you decide!