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  1. Dear All, thank you all for your insightful advice and sincere warning against auction. Sorry i have gone radio silence for the past few days, because i was busy committing a crime. Yes, i could not hold myself back and I eventually took the plunge and bid a violin. I decided to throw in a couple of hundred pounds, and it turned out I won this Mirecourt violin. I am a bit worried by condition stated as "sold as seen", sounded like it could fall apart at any time, but the image online looked OK to my amateur eyes. I will receive it soon, not sure how my son likes it and if he is willing to accept it as a back up. Should he refuse to use it, i am going to donate it to my son's violin teacher and hopefully it can be used to help some other kid to start learning violin.
  2. Yes, Jeffrey is right. To be fair for the violin maker/restorer I mentioned, I understood the repairing plan he proposed to my son's violin was transformational, not only limited to fixing the finger board and bridge problems pointed out by the first violin shop. His vision to the violin was most likely too ambitious for me to reach, and also because of my ignorance i was not able to make an educated judgement and hence was only suspicious if I should proceed as he proposed or not, but i do not doubt his honesty. I appreciated his help and still respect him. I have no intention at all to put him into any blame by quoting him here.
  3. Dear Violadamore and Martin, I am very grateful for your candid advice. Yes, I guess I am highly strung lately. It took my son and myself lots struggle to keep him learning violin and finally he becomes very motivated and really enjoys playing it. I felt I cannot help him much in music as I myself not musical at all, so I just try my best to provide him the lessons and instruments he needs. I am really worried if he could not make the progress he deserves simply because I did not provide him a good instrument. He actually liked his current violin very much, although I suspect the emotion factor weighed in, as the violin was from his violin teacher. Looking for a 2nd violin, I rented a shining violin for him to try out, but he complained the new violin was hard to play and had a tone from metal (they sounded the same to me!) and he refused to use it even as a back up. That was why I eventually started to think about online auctions where I hoped to get him a vintage violin with the mellow tone he likes. Even though i only found this forum not long before, I indeed had noticed Martin is a well respected member of this forum and I had visited his website before. My rushed impression was Martin's shop (like almost all the respected violin shops) is out of my reach with my very limited budget, but I will have a closer look and also look around again. For now I probably drop the idea of bidding in auctions. Thank you very much for helping me make the correct decision.
  4. Dear All, I am looking to buy a violin upgrade for my 12 yr old son, in particular, i am tempted to bid a violin from auctions, even though i know nothing about violin. Sorry for making this a very long post, as I really look forward to having your advice and help. I am going to introduce my son and his current violin first, and would like to have your opinion on what kind of violin upgrade suitable for him. At the end of the post, if bidding a violin from auctions is not a wildly crazy idea to my situation, I would like have your help on which one I should bid. My son has been learning violin for a few years and is currently of about grade 5/6 level. Besides of his private violin lessons, he also plays in a weekend half day music school in small ensembles and in an orchestra. He is currently using an old full size violin we bought from one of his violin teachers for near £1000. When we initially bought his current violin, i sent the violin to a local violin shop for evaluation and was told the following, "It is French from the Vosges region, made around 1890. It has an insurance value of £2,000. For a private sale the condition is not 100%. The fingerboard is probably original, it is not made of ebony which is the convention but of pear wood or similar and stained black (most of which has worn or faded). The fingerboard is showing considerable signs of wear and tear and should be shot (planed to remove these and correct both the cross section and longitudinal curve and in curve relief). However the fingerboard is at the end of its useful life and should be changed along with the top nut (where the strings pass over into the pegbox and onto the pegs). The bridge is warped and needs changing, if the fingerboard would be changed then the bridge would also need changing as it would no longer align with the fingerboard." Anyway i did not do any fix suggested above by the local shop as the violin was the only one for my son to use. Only until recently, i sent the violin to a violin maker/restorer to have it checked and hoped to have a quick fix for minor issues, but what the violin restorer told me about the violin really worried me, "I missed some sleep last night worrying about this violin of yours. I have to be very straight with you about the violin. The violin is a factory made student instrument made about a hundred years ago. It is a fake copy of a violin made about 200 years ago. There were millions of these 'trade' instruments exported around the world from Europe. In the late 19th century when the violin became very popular these instruments were mostly copies of earlier instruments made as cheaply as possible to satisfy the popular demand. I normally buy them for around two to four hundred pounds and completely rebuild them to make them into good playing instruments , It takes about five weeks to do this and I would normally charge £1500 for transforming your violin" I was really upset by this new information. I am a bit suspicious if it is a good idea to continue throwing in another £1500 on this violin. Also I found sometimes we need to have a 2nd violin at home as a back up just in case the 1st violin got problem or sent away. So i decided to to buy a 2nd violin which hopefully is better than my son's current violin so that he can use for the next few years. But my budget is still very tight, i probably can only spend £2000 for a 2nd violin in play-ready condition. I looked around and eventually found this forum and am really tempted to try my luck at auction. For the past few days i have been watching the auction at Brompton's to be closed on December 11th, and am tempted to bid this violin Lot 90 (estimate £800+) or this one Lot 93 or even maybe this one Lot 108 (estimate £1500+). I know nothing about these violins, but I chose them only because their starting bid is within my budget and they are labelled as "good condition" by the website. So here are my questions, 1) with my son's current violin, is my thought of buying a violin upgrade for him at the moment sensible at all? 2) say if i can successfully bid a violin in the £1000-£1500 price range from the auction, is the violin meaningfully better than my son's current violin and hence a real upgrade? 3) if i spent £1000-£1500 on a good condition violin above in the auction, how much further cost i need to expect to spend on having it checked/repaired and set up so that it becomes ready to play? Is it going to exceed my total budget £2000 ? 4) finally, within my budget, is there any other violin you would recommend me to bid instead of the three violin I mentioned above. I know the decision of buying a violin is a very personal matter and unique to my own situations, but I will really appreciate your advice and opinion. Thank you for your time reading this.