Check out the 2021 Fiddlerman “White Christmas” Group Project.
I have an August F. Kohr K575 violin, that has been professional set up by a luthier here in Raleigh, that works on a lot of professionals violins. It has a good tone. But, I was thinking of upgrading. My questions is I want to spend $1500, will I really be able to get a better sound, then what I have for that price. And what would be a good choice in that price range? Thanks
I suppose it depends on what you mean by an upgrade. If you mean getting a violin that you like the sound of better, then I don't think any amount of money can actually guarantee that. If you mean upgrading in terms of antique/investment value, then maybe, I guess. Depending on what you can find.
It's nice to meet you and welcome to the Fiddlerman forums.. But your local luthier who set up the Kohr might actually be a better place to ask than online forums. The luthier would have the advantage of being able to actually show different violins while explaining the difference, and let you see if you can get a sound you like better from one of the options they can offer.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
Hi and welcome...
There are lots to consider I guess
But nowadays, it is possible to find great instrument in this price range.
I am not a luthier, and I am just sharing what I would think, and what I've realised when I searched for a better instrument...
In Europe for example you could almost find instruments of the 19th century with a decent sound, mainly german or czech/bohemian of lesser makers - maybe such a deal could be made in the States. In such a case, first of all make sure that everything concerning the instrument's proper function is ok. Necks having proper angle and not in need of a reset or a change, fully working pegs and nut, a fitted bridge and that they are examined for open cracks and seams, and that the bassbar is not loose or something like that. You should also make sure that any previous repair of such an instrument has been done properly, and it may not cause you any further issues. And then comes the best part where you could start moving the soundpost with your luthier and generally trying to modify your instrument sound to your liking, and then play the instrument to help it wake up again (since it could have not be played for a long time) with your own personal playing style...
All these if you are so much interested in old/antique violins just for the shake of it.
However another great option could be a modern instrument crafted in a workshop (I would prefer one with few luthiers supervised by a master -not a large factory) in china and set up by a local luthier
Many luthiers cooperate with Chinese workshops and offer such instruments that could be amazingly great for their price. Had they been crafted exclusively in the west they would cost ten times more maybe. That's why you could tell differences between such an instrument of 750 USD and one of the 1500...It's not about comparing a tormented yardsale factory fiddle with a fine italian of the 17-18th century but there should be differences, and the upgrade could make sense.
In my opinion such an instrument should have a certain volume, definitely a character, a specific "voice" that you would like. If you play classical or any genre without amplification, I would suggest that you also care about the projection of the instrument in this price range - of its ability to be heard in a large hall, and "compete" with the sound of larger instruments like a piano. Ok, maybe you should not expect to overpower the whole orchestra, but in my humble opinion with such an instrument you should have some presence. (its grade varying of course)
Speaking of quality instruments crafted in China, why don't you take a look at the Fiddlerman Soloist It should at least give you an idea of what you are after. You could also contact Pierre and Mike at Fiddlershop for more details, they are super helpful according to my experience, and great people as well.
Thanks for the good advice. I'm looking at modern, and better sound.
If that's the case, google up every luthier you can drive to and try every instrument they have in your price range. It's not just sound, there's a certain experience that comes with playing an instrument --you will find some just want to be played more than others and part of that is how well the violin suits you. It's a bit like Harry Potter in Olivander's Wand shop, when the right fiddle comes around, you can *feel* it.
Of course, the bow can factor in a lot so if you have a good bow you like or are familiar with, bring it so you have a nice baseline experience to compare with.