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the weight of a violin


HMC
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Last week sometime during my lesson, when was asked of how she thought of my violin, my teacher said: "The sound is good; besides, it's not too heavy...normally student violins are a little bit heavy."

I've always felt that my current violin is a little too heavy, especially when compared to the old one I have at my parent's house, but I haven't had a chance to compare the weight of the two side by side to confirm this. Is it a normal thing in the trade of violins that the student models tend to be heavy? And if so, why is that? Is there any good way to reduce the weight?

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I'm just musing here. We sell gligas (lots and lots of Gligas), and student and intermediate Chinese violins, and German violins (student)

On this forum I read over and over again about how wonderful modern Chinese violins (above student level) are. We have two suppliers that we use, and in both cases I have had nothing but trouble selling the intermediate level violins. Cheap ones of course are no problem. But we find that from one supplier the chances of a violin arriving without cosmetic damage are almost zero, and the other, who until now has been reliable, sent us several this time that had been put into the cases before being properly dry, with the result that several had so much damage to the varnish that we had to sell them as seconds.

But cosmetics aside, the plain fact is that over here in the Uk we just don't seem to be able to sell intermediate level Chinese violins. The return rate is quite frightening (it has reached the point where there seems to be no future in us stocking them at all). I don't think they're bad: we have been able to compare them to the violins produced by the Uk big name (maybe people just don't realise those are Chinese?) and our own imports compare very favourably for a considerably lower price.

Our German violins are more expensive and don't sound anywhere near as good but those aren't coming back to us (or perhaps it's too early to tell there, we haven't been stocking those for long) and when we used to deal in used instruments, those never came back, and yet again i would not say that most of them competed at all favourably with the new Chinese violins we have.

We've only ever had one Gliga back (that being a cello where the bridge didn't meet with the teacher's approval and the parents decided to continue renting instead). We've sold, at a rough guess, perhaps 150-200 Gligas since we started dealing with them a year ago, with only that one return, but with the intermediate Chinese ones we are seeing at least half of them returned. And yet in the US I see a lot of criticism of Gligas and a lot of praise for higher level Chinese violins. Are our Chinese suppliers really so different from those in the US, I wonder (there seems to be no supplier that is common on both sides of the atlantic), or are tastes so different across the atlantic? Or does my own love affair with Gliga influence our customers so much that they can't believe anything else is any good?

Liz just musing

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Or use duct tape on the f holes. You can also fill a fiddle with carbon dioxide to make it darker.

erich,

Try this. I just copied the address from the top of the Web browser, pressed "URL", and pasted the address in.

Try it again. It works.

Also, did you know you can fix the first message and remove the second message without a trace? Just delete it, but don't mark it as a change. But don't tell anyone.

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Dear Liz Musing,

Before I tried out some Gliga violins for the first time, I read many positive posts here, including some from luthiers who did work on them. There are 4 (or more?) "grades" of Gliga instruments, so maybe the more negative comments are for the cheapest models. The Gliga I bought was lighter than the very inexpensive (but decently made) Sri Lankan first fiddle it was replacing -- I noticed this right away. But I got a Maestro which is the top model (and I am very happy with it). As far as your experience with your Chinese models: maybe it's just a (sad) prejudice against nationality, which people have even when buying lower-priced instruments (and I sense more of such prejudice when I'm in Europe than here in the US). But those without such prejudices are often rewarded with a very good deal.

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Quote:

As far as your experience with your Chinese models: maybe it's just a (sad) prejudice against nationality, which people have even when buying lower-priced instruments (and I sense more of such prejudice when I'm in Europe than here in the US).


That's an interesting point and I guess you're right. We've only been dealing about 18 months and the move into new instruments was prompted in fact by a Chinese violin (just a low level student ebonised one) imported from the US because it was described by the seller on ebay as European. Actually until we asked the seller where it was made and he confessed, I still took it to be european. Why? Because it was playable! I had been out of teaching at that time for 7 years and my memories of Chinese violins were that if they came from a non-specialist shop they were unplayable (and if they came from a specialist shop they were playable but cost a lot more as would be expected)

Since many teachers over here work for schools or music services and teach children using loaned instrument that are probably several years old, many teachers still advise strongly against Chinese violins and push student towards German instruments as soon as they are above beginner level.

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If you fill it with helium, it will be lighter and will have a brighter sound.


I definately advise against filling a violin with helium, based on a bad personal experience. I filled my fiddle with helium and then laid it in the case. When I turned my head, the fiddle was floating away and had to be shot down with a 12 ga. using bird shot. Now the fiddle is heavier than ever from the embedded shot and is full of small holes. To make matters worse, the shot work their way through the wood and fall inside when it is being played, causing all sorts of unwanted buzzes and rattles.

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