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Hanalei

Decent student violin

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Hi,

I've done some searching for previous posts already.

However, I would like to hear more first hand experience.

I am looking for a violin for my daughter, 2nd year violin, 12 yrs old. I want something nice, good value that will last her until at least high school. I've read the stringsmagazine.com 's recommendation of 18 violin outfits.

One of the largest dealer in Houston is H&H Music. I've visited them, they seem to gear you toward Gunter Maiback. I think they sell alot of these. They said they would match a competitor's price, since I told them the Scherl & Roth R302 outfit's price from Music123.com is cheaper than their price. For me to spend less than $1000, which should I get Scherl & Roth R302, Knilling (which model?), or Wm Lewis & Sons? Those 3 i've read are good student violin. H&H said that Scherl & Roth is not that popular unless you buy their $3000+ range violin. Then they tried to show me the Sandner & Maibach. I would like something European made.

Please help. By the way, this would be a full size.

Thanks,

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My kids take lessons at an H&H in Houston, so I've looked over the instruments there. Nothing impressive, except the asking price, IMO. Plus, a lady I sat next to in community orchestra bought a violin there, and when she went back to "trade up" they told her they no longer give full trade in value. I think they are kind of between "business models" now, and, to me, it looks like they still charge music store prices, unless you lean a bit; but don't provide string shop service no matter what you pay.

If you want to stay local, you can pay a lot for a basic Eastman at Amati, but have a large trade-up potential. If you really want a European instrument under $1000, you should look at used instruments -- at least pay a visit to Lisle, maybe Amati and Gold while you're looking. If mail order is a serious consideration, then go with a string dealer like Shar, not Music123.

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When it comes to student-level instruments, you might want to expand your horizons beyond Europe. Folks around these parts have most recently heaped praise upon the Johannes Kohr K500 violins (made in China) for their exceptional playability and price (they don't look half bad either), and the most recent Strings Magazine speaks highly of them -- and also of the rapidly and dramatically changing face of Chinese instruments.

Along the same lines, there's also been a lot said about Scott Cao's instruments.

What else? Stringworks is worth a look; some here swear by them (their fans are legion and highly devoted); a few don't. Most everyone agrees they have absolutely top-flight and friendly customer service. Their instruments (depending upon model) are made in various locations around the world. You could try one out for yourself -- as they have a trial period.

Rudolf Doetsch, Ivan Dunov. These are some other names that have been tossed about.

On-line shops I've heard people praise include Southwest Strings, Shar (Sharmusic.com), Johnson String Instruments, Quinn Violins, Stringworks, lvstrings (he sells the Scott Cao instruments among others), HowardCore.com (Sells the Johannes Kohr line) and...I don't know...that's all that occurs to me right now.

Best of luck.

Don't forget about the bow. On the bargain front, the Glasser Composite at around $85 is really not half bad at all (for anything about bows on this site, Andrew Victor has posted some pretty awe-inspiringly thorough reviews).

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I recently bought a Gliga "Gems 2 Advanced Student" violin from Christian Gliga (known as violinslover) on Ebay. He also has a website (violionslover.com) where he sells the same instruments at higher prices. The violin I just bought was only $226, but I don't think a sweeter fiddle exists at anywhere near that price. It's full, rich, and expressive, and is consistent in its tone from top to bottom. I have heard people comment that these violins lack volume, but this one has impressive carrying power for the price. All in all, it's absolutely outstanding for the money. Way beyond expectations. The Gliga violins, made in Romania, have pretty, high-quality woods and particularly beautiful oil varnish. The workmanship is excellent, but the setups generally need to be corrected (soft bridges, overly tight sound posts, cheap strings). These violins are categoried and sold in various quality levels from inexpensive student models up to those that are handmade by Vasile Gliga himself. I know from the buying and selling I do that they all beat out Chinese and German instruments in their respective price ranges.

Gliga is very well known, so you may already know something about these violins, but this is some first-hand info. I've also played a couple of the "Professional" model Gligas and one "Maestro." I was very impressed with all of them, particularly the Professional models. My son is a music major at UTSA and currently plays a Gliga cello. He's been extremely pleased with it. That one didn't need any tweaking at all; I just set the sound post and put some decent strings on it. If you would be interested in looking into a Gliga violin and don't see any at local shops, you can choose one from among those available on Ebay or on the violinslover web site without risk. They can be returned after a trial period for a full refund, not including the shipping charge.

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I was just going to make exactly the same suggestion. We deal in Gligas but since we are in the UK you will do better to buy from Cristian on ebay (his website prices are a lot higher) so perhaps I can be forgiven for recommending what I sell myself since we won't make any money if you buy it!

We sell other brands too, but Gliga is by far the one I like best and I play a Gama violin and a Maestro viola. Apart from changing the strings, no work at all has been done to either instrument. I am entirely happy with both, we have sold to teachers who recommend other teachers who recommend other teachers ...

My playing standard is well above your daughter's, these are instruments that are well above the standard she really needs, but you can pick one up from ebay for less than you are willing to pay, so go for it.

Liz

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I've been using a K-500 recently, instead of my other violin.

I'm sure it is well worth its price, possibly more than any other violin in its price range. I got it with bow and case etc. from Kessler & sons for not much more than $400 each. I ordered two, one for me and one for a student (of mine).

I got them setup by Frank Marchitto, Kevin Huangs friend, to whom I sent them by mail to have them set up.

The two violins were different, however. I chose the one which sounded more lively, but the other one had a quicker response. I thought htat mine would also quicken up as it breaks in, but I can't testify that is has been happening, though it IS breaking in well in other ways.

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A you've already gathered, your "problem" will be sorting through the very large number of very good choices available at $1000 or even less, rather then (as even a few years ago) finding anything that sounds and responds decently at that price level. That's a good problem to have!Just stay away from the "traditional" student lines like Scherl & Roth and Lewis, and the familiar German names like Hofner- they are no longer competitive. For my money the best bang for the buck is in the less expensive but excellent Chinese fiddles like the Kohr K-500, Eastman 305 and Cao STV 500 or 600. (My K-500V viola easily holds its own with the other instruments in the community orchestras I play in- nobody would guess I paid a little over $500 for it.) Doetsches are nice but pricey, Dunovs nice and a bit less so (but more than the Chinese), and Gligas (and other Romanian instruments) I'm sure are worth a look also, though I'm not personally familiar with them.

For a wide selection of quality Chinese instruments at excellent prices, check out www.lvstrings.com, the shop of frequent Maestronet contributor George Behary. Everyone here who's done business with him has sung his praises.

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I ran across this thread in the course of doing research on my own instruments; I hope the OP is doing well and found the instrument they wanted.

Regarding H&H in Houston: I attended Rice as an undergraduate, and had an instrument on loan from them, to purchase. The salesperson told me that the instrument had just belonged to a member of the Houston Symphony, but when I started school a friend of mine, Jerry Wang, was sitting right behind me in orchestra and said, "you have my violin."

In other words, the instrument that I was told had belonged to a member of the HSO, had in fact belonged to a high school youth symphony player (which Jerry was, prior to starting RU).

They *lied* to me.

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I ran across this thread in the course of doing research on my own instruments; I hope the OP is doing well and found the instrument they wanted.

Regarding H&H in Houston: I attended Rice as an undergraduate, and had an instrument on loan from them, to purchase. The salesperson told me that the instrument had just belonged to a member of the Houston Symphony, but when I started school a friend of mine, Jerry Wang, was sitting right behind me in orchestra and said, "you have my violin."

In other words, the instrument that I was told had belonged to a member of the HSO, had in fact belonged to a high school youth symphony player (which Jerry was, prior to starting RU).

They *lied* to me.

[/quote

No mention of your website? :)

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Buying any instrument new or used without going through the optimal process of going to a music store with an inventory of 100 plus instruments and comparing and contrasting half a dozen violins is a gamble. Humans are notorious (we all do it) for rationalizing purchases they made as being the best. It would be informative to gather together all these folks in one room that have praised brand A or brand B as the best in one price range and do comparisons between their instruments. I suspect that there would be some notable differences. That being said, on the used market, and to contradict myself somewhat, I'm not sure that there are great practical differences between a 1950s ER Pfretzschner violin at $350-$500 and something else priced as $1000. I think of a step up violin as moving form $500 to $5000. Or, to put it another way, differences in how the violins in the $1000 or less price range perform in the upper positions on the "G" string is pretty small. All this assumes that each instrument has decent strings and has been carefully adjusted ($150 or so, and almost never done by generic mail order houses selling new instruments).

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Hi,

I've done some searching for previous posts already.

However, I would like to hear more first hand experience.

I am looking for a violin for my daughter, 2nd year violin, 12 yrs old. I want something nice, good value that will last her until at least high school. I've read the stringsmagazine.com 's recommendation of 18 violin outfits.

One of the largest dealer in Houston is H&H Music. I've visited them, they seem to gear you toward Gunter Maiback. I think they sell alot of these. They said they would match a competitor's price, since I told them the Scherl & Roth R302 outfit's price from Music123.com is cheaper than their price. For me to spend less than $1000, which should I get Scherl & Roth R302, Knilling (which model?), or Wm Lewis & Sons? Those 3 i've read are good student violin. H&H said that Scherl & Roth is not that popular unless you buy their $3000+ range violin. Then they tried to show me the Sandner & Maibach. I would like something European made.

Please help. By the way, this would be a full size.

Thanks,

+++++++++++++++++++++

I have read many posts like yours and some were answered by experts with good advices.

I find among all the advices I have seen. This one is standing out: " Buy the best you can afford "

At first I did not understand what does it mean? You can fill in. Now I think I know what it means.

" do not upgrade it too often . Uprading is costly" . If you buy a cheap one you may want to upgrade it pretty soon.

Why leaners want to upgrading it? It must be something not right. Not always.

Sometime your friend shows you a better violin then you want something like his.

( Why I did not see this before?) Just that simple.

Your daughter needs an advanced type of violins which can be used until the jointing an orchestra.

Your price range may be okay, ($1000-$2500), under $1000 perhaps, if you know where to look for)

Just my thought. Any way, do a lot of comparisons by playing

in closed areas, and open areas. (different environment, such as in a Church) You will

know what you get.

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Hi,

Having worked on a large variety of these level instruments I would favor the Chinese violins of quality - eastman and Scot Cao are good I like the violins from Snow Violins, they seem the best combination of quality for the price.

I like to advise parents looking at violins to establish a good idea of a budget - include a quality case and bow too, it is easy to creep up in the market, there is always a better violin for just a few more hundreds or another 1000. be aware of the temptation. Also think of the young players journey as a series of steps or plateau, as the players ability increases the equipment may limit their ability to advance to the next level, sometimes the blocks can be removed with modifing the violin's set up and adjustments or changing to a better bow but often they reach the point where the violin is unable to do what the player needs or wants it to do musically. Then the question is how large of a jump in quality/price can the next level be. Trade in considerations at an established shop can often be a consideration but don't make it a deal breaker, rent to own deals often have simular pit falls and limits.

Reese

as an aside Steve LaBonne - where in Cleveland are you?

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At southwest strings, the Yuan Qin, is probably their best deal for 2nd year, 12 year old. Only change to their setup would be the strings. Zyex are pretty high tension compared to other strings. Higher tension could be enough to discourage practicing. Lower tension are easier to play. Of course, upgrading can be expensive, but at this stage, 2nd year, 12 yrs old, I wouldn't go over board on an instrument at this time. It is probably too early to spend lots on equipment. Your child probably doesn't have the skill/ear to truly pick out a good instrument yet on their own and a couple of years from now may just want to quit. When they get older, much better, they will be able to audition instruments and be able to choose much better on their own. Use your judgement as to her commitment and talent as to whether a more expensivie instrument is worth while at this time. Personally, I feel a decent instrument, well set up, is much more important than spending as much as you can. Besides the instrument, definitly choose a decent bow. For the money, Coda bow or other carbon fiber are hard to beat in consistancy and durability.

A number of posters have recommended some good choices.

At this point go with a reccommended local shop or one of the online stores such as Southwest Strings, Shar (Sharmusic.com), Johnson String Instruments, Quinn Violins, Stringworks, lvstrings, HowardCore.com.

these online stores stand by their products, offer trade ups ,are reliable, do a good job setting up thier instruments, etc.

E-bay, only if you know what your getting into, but you can still end up with less.

A good 2nd year instrument price break minumum is around $600. A possible decent bow may be the CodaBow Prodigy. Of course there are some good carbon fiber for less. What is being held in the right hand is just as important as what is being held under the chin.

besides the cost of the violin, budget for a decent bow, case, and other accessories (chinrest, shoulder rest, etc). Now your looking at about $1,000 and up for a complete outfit.

enlist your teacher to help audition an instrument and bow.

Again, I wouldn't spend a huge amount. Save the difference on equipment and use it for a quality teacher. A $2,500 or more outfit won't do much if the instruction is lacking.

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FYI

My post is based on my experience as a Dad, going through the process of buying fractional to full size violin and bows for my son.

children go through plateaus, but a much more expensive violin is not always the answer. If the current violin is properly set up, has a decent tone, and is playable, it can go a long ways.

I've noticed that my perspective tends to be much different than that of a student or dealer.

I tend to try buy decent, but less costly, and spend more on lessons. Besides a good playable violin, a very good teacher is extremely important to keep a child's long term interest and see improvement.

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One should also consider the Jay-Haide violins associated with Ifshin Violins in the SF Bay Area. The best may be priced like high-level student violins (< $2,500), but now I see them in the hands of very good orchestra and chamber music players.

Andy

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One of those recommended by Strings magazine is the HC602, setup and from, Howard Core:

http://beststudentviolins.com/Professional.html#HC602

Right now they're out of the two piece backs, as shown in the photograph, but this is a nice instrument.

"they?" It's your own web site that you're promoting, again. Sorry that you're out of the two piece backs but have the more expensive one piece :)

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"they?" It's your own web site that you're promoting, again. Sorry that you're out of the two piece backs but have the more expensive one piece :)

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"they?" It's your own web site that you're promoting, again. Sorry that you're out of the two piece backs but have the more expensive one piece :)

I have a small violin business in coastal Mississippi, and I cater to people with low to moderate incomes. I am constantly shopping for good student violins at low prices. I have found that the older Mittenwalds are a good value for students. They have a good tone in general and very good volume and are made well. You can find them on eBay occasionally. I just bought one from a dealer on eBay and it turned out to be a wonderful violin--forget the price-- just a wonderful violin, with a deep rich sound and good volume and projection. I was thrilled with it. If I were big enough to play it (4' 9" tall), I would have kept it. I have a buyer for it already. I recommend looking for one of these. I paid about $350 for mine, and it was well worth the price. It looks to be between 120 and 150 years old, with a patina that couldn't be faked. Good luck with your search.

Bonnie

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this thread started in yr 2003, am i correct?

the Hanalei has not returned to this forum for 1 or 2 yrs

interesting to see some users still respond to this thread with various content

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MingLoo, or whatever your name is, wherever you "grew up", however "radicalized" you may be,

you are nothing but a huckster and charlatan.

"ran across this thread" my a**.

Right; and I'm sure that "arglebargle" is your real name.

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this thread started in yr 2003, am i correct?

the Hanalei has not returned to this forum for 1 or 2 yrs

interesting to see some users still respond to this thread with various content

I was noticing that too. I was reading through these postings waiting for someone to mention the "sound", but apparently it's only value that is important. Finally someone suggested taking the teacher along.

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this thread started in yr 2003, am i correct?

the Hanalei has not returned to this forum for 1 or 2 yrs

interesting to see some users still respond to this thread with various content

Yes it is. But the topic is still relevant, regardless of its age, especially in this recession!

I've heard a lot of good things about Gliga, even recently 2009 comments. I haven't hard a peep out of Stringworks. I wonder if they're still in business? Eastman has also kind of disappeared from the "trade buzz", now that their business model has changed.

My recommendation is to google "Violin shop, your town" and go local. You'll want someone you can take it to for minor repairs, to purchase accessories and sheet music. You can't do that from Music123.com Same advice I give someone buying a car. Buy local.

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I think someone said it before, but the best way to find a great violin for any price level is going to a bunch of stores, picking your favorite from each one, and playing them. Most stores will let you borrow the violin, and bring it back, some charge fees, but it's a thousand dollar instrument; why leave it to chance? I personally do not believe in limiting yourself to a certain region, you might be surprised by what you find if you go to a violin shop, I found a $500 no name Chinese violin that is/was extremely resonant, it was better than a lot of the other violins the were 3x it's price. It has been used for my practice violin for 3 years now, and I am still happy with it. Also, getting a violin from large manufacturers that make violins that others praise doesn't necessarily mean that every one is perfect, some will be very different, some might be lighter or darker in sound, the only real way to know your getting a great sounding violin is to go try some out.

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