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Looking to buy a violin
Purchase
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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BobbyFlay
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December 30, 2018 - 1:12 am
Member Since: December 30, 2018
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Hi,

I was looking at the D Z Strad 450 Antique model to purchase but I can't find anything on it from really anyone at all other that D Z Strad.

https://dzstrad.com/products/d.....maple-back

It seems to be a good violin but I've never heard it before and there are no reviews.

I also have the Carlo Lamberti Master, Fiddlerman Soloist, or Scott Cao 750 or 850 in mind. Leaning more towards the Soloist because it sounds good and comes with a lot of stuff and I believe it to be very fine instrument.

I don't have any stores near by with these violins or really any store at all near me that I can drive to to play another type. I've heard them all on video on the Fiddlerman site or others on YouTube but I've never heard the D Z Strad or seen a realistic picture of it other than the one on the D Z site. I really like this 450 model though but it's a mystery to me.

I feel safest buying from Fiddlerman but for some reason this D Z Strad 450 is sticking out at me maybe because it has 25 year old and 35 year old woods but I don't want to overpay or be able to get a better violin for the same or less price.

Thanks for any help

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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December 30, 2018 - 7:23 am
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Hi BobbyFlay and welcome to the forum.

It's always exciting to be on the path of choosing a new violin... wish you lots of positive experience along the way.

I suggest you give Fiddlerman (Pierre) a call and have a nice, long chat. Explain what qualities interest you in your price range. Even between violins of the same brand and model, there are audible differences. When you've found something you think you might love and you still want to play it before finally committing, no prob... just set up an in-home trial with Fiddlershop. 

Besides their usually large stock of various model Fiddlerman, Holstein and Scott Cao violins (to name a few) they often have specials (unlabeled samples, trade ins from folks trading up, etc.) The second violin I bought from them for my adult son was one of those... a lot of bang for my buck indeed.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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December 30, 2018 - 10:08 am
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I wonder if you have Googled "D Z Strad" or "D Z America" or looked for them on GoogleEarth. The experience seemed surreal to me, but perhaps it's because I don't  understand American businesses. D Z America have a FB page with the slogan "America first, Algeria second". Perhaps they are a soccer team. Perhaps there is more than one D Z America. Perhaps someone could explain it to me. Their store seems to be at 60S Lexington, not 50 Main, White Plains, although GoogleEarth could be out of date.

A lot depends on your "life budget". For me, $2000 would be the last instrument I ever buy, and I'd want to play it before I buy. For others it would be a starter instrument and a backup when they buy their pro fiddle.

I'd feel safer going to Pierre.

Andrew

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December 30, 2018 - 6:52 pm
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With that kind of budget, I concur with Gordon and bocaholly here. This is a try before you buy situation. I'll save Fiddlerman his salesman spiel and tell you (it's also listed on fiddlershop's site) that there's an "in-home trial" program.

Fiddlershop isn't the only violin dealer to offer something like this either. Even better if there's a violin shop within commuting distance from you.

This would alleviate any of your reasonable anxieties related to your purchase. When it comes to acoustic instruments, spec sheets and photos mean a lot less than how it is in your hands and ears.

If Fiddlershop is the dealer you're going with, your budget also fits a few of the Holstein line of violins.

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BobbyFlay
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December 30, 2018 - 11:23 pm
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Hey Guys,

I guess I could say I'm looking for something that is easy to play and that retains it's value decently. I am more of a guy that likes a brighter sound but I also don't like when lower strings sound dull or dead. I've been playing guitar for years and am moving to a violin. Many guitars I've tried have a dead low E string and that is what I really do not want in a Violin. I'm not sure if Violins have this issue as well where some strings are very dead when you play them.

Thanks for the replies and help. I think I've decided not to go with a D Z Strad. The reviews seem good from what little I can find but I feel worried about the quality for some reason. Maybe it would be great but I don't want to take the risk.

Anyways, I'm leaning towards a Scott Cao, Soloist, or Carlo Lamberti. The Ming seems nice but it's getting a little out of what I want to pay but maybe the 903 would be ok. I do like the Scott Cao 850 but not sure how much better that is than the 750. I feel comfortable payin the $1259 sell price for the Soloist and am stretching if Im' going up to $1500 because on those ones they don't come with anything and I'll have to pay even more to get the bow and all the other stuff.

Unfortunately I don't have a shop that I have time to go to. It would require me taking off work to be able to make it to one before they closed and I can't do that right now. Any shop that looks decent is too far away to make it to in time. And any I found online that are closer to me that I still can't get to just have some that I've never heard of and I'll never know if I'm being overcharged or I don't know if I could ever feel comfortable with after purchasing.

The Holstein seems nice but I saw the Soloist was made in their shop now. So wouldn't that be about the same quality violin for a cheaper price and come with more accessories?

 

Thanks for all of your help guys!

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cid
December 31, 2018 - 8:57 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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When you get a lot of “stuff” with your violin, how much does the prie you are paying go towards the quality of the violin? 

Also, I was able to drive 1 1/2 hours to a violin shop. I read about their selection online and had my mind set on a specific violin due to the description. When I got there, I was not so pleased. Keep in mind, I had not had one lesson. I purchased an inexpensive Mendini 300(?) from Amazon first to see if my old joints would actually let me hold one, and if I would like it. Joints did and I loved it.

To continue. I called ahead of time with my price point limit and explained what I was looking for and my experience (or lack of). They had all the violins laid out, tuned, ready to go for me on a table. First their violinist played them in a very roomy studio we were set up in so I could hear what they actually sound like. They all had Dominants on them. She used the same bow. Then I was allowed as much time as I needed to play with them. I had taught myself simple tunes and used those and open strings in different rhythms. My husband was my extra set of ears and eyes. 

Turned out the violin I had my heart set on was not what I chose. I chose another. I really loved it. Now, here is what really helped. At this store I have the option to trade in my violin for another of equal or greater value (pay the difference), minus any repair costs. It turned out that after I was able to play it longer, I found I wanted or preferred a more mellow sound and contacted them again. We did the same thing with violins at my trade value up to my new price point. We decided that at a lower price point, I was not going to get the good quality sound I was looking for. So, we upped it just a tad. For me, even though I am jist learning, my ears are really picky, I mean really picky. 

They, again, had the violins on a table for me and we did the same thing. I had a violin in mind, a Scott Cao. I ended out with a Rudolph Deutsch and am absolutely in love with it, not what I went in thinking I would like. They have an upgrade model of a Rudolph Deutsch, and maybe, if I get really good, or good enough, in a couple years, I will trade up, but right now, I am a happy 64 year old retiree. 

My point is, you can’t go by the writeup, or even reviews, as far as sound goes. People like different sounds. Plus, the same violin model could sound different. The quality of the violin and customer service is about all you can count on reviews for, and even that is questionable in reviews. Also, the sound of it on youTube, will not be what you hear in actual time.

Will the place you are considering allow you to trade it back or get a refund if you do not like it? That is important. If so, who pays shipping? Is there a restocking fee? 

I think, if I was not able to go to my “local” violin shop 1 1/2 hours away, I would contact Fiddlershop. I have read nothing but good about them and have been pleased with the small purchases I have made. 

Maybe you can ask if they can play some violins over the phone for you so you can hear them more accurately than a YouTube performance? Not sure if that would be better. But at least call them and see what they can offer in that price range. Those Dominants, the brand name rosin, etc are part of the price you are paying, so it is not all violin quality you are paying for. I live in NY State and I am not against promoting a product made in NY. I am just giving and explaining an option. I don’t know anything about the DZ Strad. I just know how my search for a violin went until I found the violin shop I went to. I would have tried Fiddlershop had I not found my semi-local shop. I later bought a viola from this violin shop.

At any rate, think about what you want, options if you are not happy, violin quality vs the cost of those extras that are actually in that price (as far as I am concerned), options if you decide you would like a better violin. Just some things to consider when spending the amount of money you are spending. 

Happy violin hunting. Twice the violin I thought I wanted l, based on writeups and reviews and one YouTube, was not what I went home with.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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December 31, 2018 - 10:55 am
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cid said
At this store I have the option to trade in my violin for another of equal or greater value (pay the difference), minus any repair costs.  

People should get an agreement to this in writing, perhaps. I do know of a big shop in London that sold a student violin with the promise of a trade-up deal then denied they had made that promise when the person went in for the trade-up.

Andrew

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cid
December 31, 2018 - 1:10 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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You are absolutely right, Gordon, get it in writing. There is an entire section in the paperwork explaining this trade in/up policy. It is good for as long as you own the violin, cello or viola. Great for parents with little ones. I would have asked for it to be in writing.

Little story along that line, but not for a violin. Back in 1973 I bought a new 1973 Chevy Vega (Don’t laugh. I loved that car!) after I had been working for a few months. The first time I drove it, it was to our local grocery store I used to walk to as a kid. When I stopped and went inside, the owner, Mr Bush, said that there was smoke coming from under the hood. He called the fire department. Upon looking more closely, turned out that it was steam caused by a slit in the radiator hose(?). He cancelled the fire department. I walked up the street a block and spoke to Doug at the Texaco station. He came down and patched it and said it would get me back to the dealer.

The next day I drove to the dealer. Shop manager replaced the hose and said verbally that I could bring my car in for a free oil change when it was due. I asked for it to be in writing because it would be a while and we might forget, or a new employee might be here, mind you, I was only 18 when I did this. Months went by and I eventually hit the mileage number to get the oil changed. I had the receipt safely in my wallet the entire time. I dropped my car off and got a ride home with my parents.

Went to pick it up and they were going to charge me. I explained that I was told that I was to get a free oil change and they denied it. I explained the situation to refresh their memory. Shop manager came out. He said he did not recall. I got out my receipt and showed him where it was written and signed by him. I even had him write down that it was due to a hole in a hose or whatever. You have no idea how pleased I was with myself. He actually told me that he wished his daughter would think to get things in writing after he apologized. I have no idea, why at 18 I was already doing things like that, but I have always gotten things in writing, even when they say it is not necessary.

Do I think he was trying to pull one over on me, a young girl? No. I had been in there a few times when an older sister bought her Barracuda convertable. The dealer had switched from Dodge/Plymouth to Chevy. Plus, some of my six brothers had also bought cars there and I always went with them when I could. I had 6 brothers and 2 sisters and I am 8th, therefore, they were all quite a bit older than me. Little sis tagged along. Anyway, always get things in writing, even with instruments.

The violin shop I purchased from will also let you swap out the chinrest on it for any other type they have at no charge. The owner and luthier told me he is not going to quibble over chinrests. You can also spread payments without interest over three months, unless you, at your end, have it on a charge card that you carry balances over on, we don’t.

So, maybe Bobby, the original poster, should check that option, too. After I bought the first violin, I went back and bought a viola and did the three month option. When I went back to trade the first violin (paid cash) for a different one, I did that too. I went higher in price than I had intended. My husband liked the sound of this one the best, also. He said we could do the three month option because it was worth it. Viola is paid for now and just one month left on my beautiful violin.

Many options, Bobby. Try calling Fiddlershop and see what they have to say. Read reviews. I honestly have not read a bad one for Fiddlershop. If the shop 1 1/2 hours away from me was not there, Fiddlershop would have been my go to, not that I do not promote products from my home state! ?

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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BobbyFlay
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January 4, 2019 - 3:57 pm
Member Since: December 30, 2018
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Thanks for the suggestions and help. I went ahead and purchased the Fiddlerman Soloist based on the advice from Fiddlerman and should have it hopefully next week sometime. I was torn between the Scott Cao, Carlo Lamberti, and Holstein models but I couldn’t find anything that was as good of a deal as the Soloist outfit and the Carlo was out of stock for a couple weeks everywhere and was a little pricey not including anything with it from Shar.

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BobbyFlay
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January 4, 2019 - 4:04 pm
Member Since: December 30, 2018
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A4FC83F3-A021-4EA3-A08F-DA876F23C69F.jpegImage EnlargerAlso, I gotta say I’m impressed with the customer service and work ethic of the Fiddlershop so far. In my cubicle I’m finding inspiring entrepreneurs and people who have a strong work ethic and tacking their picture up on my wall to help me to keep on my toes at work and do my best.

 

I’ve already got Gordon up there I might have to add Pierre.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 5, 2019 - 8:39 am
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ROFL. Thanks so much Bobby 🙂 I'm very proud to be up there.

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

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