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Hi all,

I am a 25 year old who is contemplating taking up violin...

I have fast learned that one can pay an almost unlimited amount for a violin and accessories. However, (!) I am not an individual with an unlimited amount of money at my disposal! (who is!?)

My local music shop only has 'Stentor' violins available. Whilst I realise that these would probably be considered 'bottom of the range' (probably in terms of price and quality - AUS$ 250.00) it seems to me that this is the best option for me. Just wondering... has anyone any thoughts on or experience with these violins?

Also... I have considered myself too old for starting up violin for the last 5 years or so! I guess thats 5 years experience I could have had by now isn't it? 'just do it' comes to mind. Is there anyone who has been in my situation? started late? (I'm sure there is...) If so, encouragement would be most appreciated!!!


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I don't know if your local luthier is the same as mine or not, but I've seen the Stentor violins (haven't played one, though).

They look quite nice, and are well set up, but at the end of the day, $250 doesn't get you much violin.

Have you got a teacher yet?

They usually give excellent advice about this sort of thing.

Have fun!

I should add, that the ones I've seen were $350, so may have had a better set-up than the ones you were looking at.

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I'm also an adult beginner - I've been learning the violin for about 8 months now and I'm 24. So I'm sure with enough dedication and practice, you'll be playing in no time!

In regards to using Stentors, I've never played one myself but based on what I've seen, they don't sound too bad. I once talked to someone about which model is more suited to a beginner - the music salesperson said that he would recommend a Stentor student 2, or the Conservatory model for a bit extra. However, I don't think you can expect much for an instrument worth about $250. My current instrument is a Raggetti violin outfit, which I bought for $700 AUD. Considering that I bought the violin first before I started my formal lessons, my violin teacher said that it was a pretty good deal for a beginner's outfit. So you may want to consider this as well.

Hope that helps, and good luck!

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ABC, since you're in NSW (and I assume in easy reach of Sydney), here're a few that I know of that you might want to have a look at:

1. A.R. Irwin Violins, at Edgecliff - Allen's my luthier, as he is to many illustrious violinists here in Sydney, including members of the various famous symphony orchestras around.

2. Ellender Music, at Croydon - Jim Ellender is a bow maker, one of Australia's best some say. I go to him to have my bow fixed/re-haired, etc.

3. The Violinery, at Lindfield - very good, very reputable dealer/luthier. Recommended by many, but it's in the North Shore...

4. The Violin Centre, at Gordon - Robert Tepper is a violin teacher/luthier. http://www.violincentre.com.au.. Never been to see him, but I know a few of his students.

Well, there it is. These four would set you up just nicely. If you're on the lookout for violins, I'd urge you not to go to Allans Music. They're very good for pianos and electric instruments, but have a rather deprived violin/stringed instrument catalog.

For sheet music, go for Zephyr Music at St Leonards(http://www.zephyrmusic.com.au). They're very good and have a huge catalog. I think they do international too. You can get them to mail your stuff to you, at no extra cost. Hope I've helped!

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Since you are in Vic. I quote some luthiers I heard from other forum. The one in Richmond is the one people always mix up with the one in NSW.

The Violineri in Richmond

Alex Grant in Collingwood

Volker Beilharz (who does repairs to expensive instruments)in Lower Templestowe.


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Good stuff. Yeah, Jim Ellender's great for bows. I was hugely satisfied with what he did on mine last April. I'll be heading down to see him soon again. Re-hairing and re-grippng are the orders of the month. Well, maybe in March I'll do it.

Hey, btw ABC, check your private message inbox. Gonna send one out to you now. Cheers fellas!

P.S. Any other Australians out there, just check in here! C'mon Aussiez!

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Stentors were my old school's violins and they always did a fine job too. They aren't the world's greatest violins, but they are adequate for people new to the instrument. I don't know how much was paid for them though, and it is possible they were higher grade than the ones you are seeing. Maybe buy one, and when you can afford it, consider getting it adjusted a bit by a luthier?

Alternatively, try and track down an older violin, which can also be pretty cheap. I can't help with Australia though, as I'm in the UK, though it is possible to order internationally. Good luck and happy playing!

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I played on a Stentor when I first started and I was happy with it, but I was eight years old at the time. I would think an adult, even a beginner, would have a more sophisticated idea of the sound a good instrument can produce. So I'd agree with technique_doc - you'll find a better instrument for the price if you hunt around enough.

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Right enough, my very first fiddle was a Skylark too, and the Stentor I got after a year or two was like a Strad by comparison.

I guess outgrowing instruments is an important part of the learning process though. I liked my Skylark at the time, and didn't realise how bad it was til I got something better.

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The very first Violin I bought, now I had already gone through

some other given to me so I had some experience, a Stentor

Student was excellent, though I did select it from a friends Music

Store and chose one with a very nice top.

However I soon noticed it liked a paricular type of string

and with any other is sounded a little sour, the normal

sound being very sweet - esp the treble end.

In the end I wore a big gauge in the Fingerboard but eventually

had that repaired.

Overall I found it quieter but sweeter than what I had before

but I still preferred it. I think if you can find a used

instrument of better quality then buy that instead, but

do not be afraid of playing a Stentor.

I managed quite well even in a little folkband.

Hope that helps

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Thanks again for the responses. I have rung around a little bit, and for a similar price as the Stentor Student 2, there is a 'Hofner'available. I have also found a Raggetti outfit for AUS$396. Its a little more, but a step up from the Stentor so I'm told. This particular luthier offered to play several of them for me to give a feel for the different sounds produced... so I'll be making an appointment soonish!

Cheers, josh

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