Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Trying to decide between two violins....


AJ

Recommended Posts

It's about time this place is back up and running, I've been dying to ask some questions!! I took back the Chinese-made fiddle I had brought home to try because the thing kept going out of tune, and because the person I got it from had told me it was his factory in China that made them and I found out that wasn't true (actually made by Kai Ming?). Now I have two violins here that are both nice. One is a Strunal 3310, that has a well flamed, two piece back, the label says it's hand-crafted in Czech., but is this completely true? I've been told that often these violins are just finished by hand. The whole outfit sells for $1500. The second violin is made by Alois Sandner, model number on the label is 8130 (if that means anything), and I'm told it is hand made also. It sells for $1600 just for the violin, and seems to have more depth to the sound to my ears. It also has a well-flamed, two piece back, but the flaming on this one slants downward whereas on the Strunal it is straight across. Some of the other details on the Sandner are also nicer than on the Strunal, but does that matter much in the long run? Someone recently told me not to purchase a violin based on tone alone, but look at the overall workmanship, and who and where it was made as well. I've tried so many violins this week I'm getting to the point where I just can't make up my mind. How do I decide in the end when I have more than one violin that I like???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, first, a factory made violin is mostly hand made, since there is no machine capable of bending, planing, glueing, clamping etc. What happens is that factory made violins are made in a production line, by many many workers without the personal aproach and attention of a bench made violin (ok, this time I'll not talk about worker's conditions in China...).

Ask an experienced player to help you. He will spot the best very quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, first, a factory made violin is mostly hand made, since there is no machine capable of bending, planing, glueing, clamping etc. What happens is that factory made violins are made in a production line, by many many workers without the personal aproach and attention of a bench made violin (ok, this time I'll not talk about worker's conditions in China...).

When people say not to buy only based in sound, they are saying not to spend 100K in a good sounding violin that will have no resale value, and it's not your case. Other problem is that students hardly know what good sound is.

Ask an experienced player to help you. He will spot the best very quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Strunal" is a relatively new (about 10 years) co-operative in Luby (Czech Republic) which combines several manufacturers, amongst others Dvorak and Josef Lidl.

Manfio has given you the low-down on the making process. At one stage I imported Josef Lidl, and I believe they offered more bang-for-the-buck than similar-priced German instruments, simply because the wages of the workers and the Czech cost of living were lower. What it's like these days I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you post some pictures? It would help us to help you. If i remember you from other thread correctly, you are not playing classical music. So, you may want to get something with more aggressive and bold sound. It drive me up the wall when a salesman tell you that the violin is hand made...in most cases, he's never even met or spoken to the makers. So, don't believe anything you hear...

Get a good friend whose play violin well and can tell what is it that you need...

I'am going to let you in a little secret...the dealers can make any violin sounds good...So, it is true that sound alone is not good enough reason for making a purchase...they can fool you.

Cheer,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice so far, guys, I was actually hoping to find a nice, old fiddle, but haven't had any luck. I have taken these new ones down to the Irish session and had some better players play them, but most of them see to possess some old German fiddle themselves, and though they say the new one sounds nice, they also say they still prefer their old one. I would love to post some photos, but don't have a digital camera and I don't have time to take conventional photos and get prints. I've done an internet search for both of these makers, but not found the model that I am considering. The only thing I am sure of at this point is that I can't go back to playing my old beater again because I've realized how poor it is! In the end I will probably take the new ones back and go back to checking the classified adds for an old one simply because I don't feel like I can trust any of the sales people I have talked to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Commercial coming up, not for Gliga (gasp!)

If you want a Strunal, save yourself a packet of money and go for one we are offloading on ebay (identity elizabethward). We started importing Strunals, we sold hardly any (probably because everyone ends up buying Gligas), so we have decided to cut our losses and sell them off at what they cost us (importing direct from the Czech republic). The prices include UK sales tax (VAT) and some include the cost of the strings, and that's it. We've got the highest but one model, the 3350, here (more expensive than the 3310):

Strunal 3350

Liz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If a seller tell you the price and let you take home to try,and you make your purchase decision after that then it is fair from commercial point of view. Often time a salemen

does not know that much and a buyer asks more than he knows

and he has to be nice.(right?) so he give you an unqualified answer. That what happened I think,in your case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No one seems to be sure who actually makes Chinese violins. But of the two European instruments, I would suggest buying the one that gives you the most playing satisfaction. The price difference is negligible in proportion to the overall prices of both instruments. The pattern of flaming shouldn't influence your decision. Neither instrument is going to appreciate significantly in value. And at that price level both are probably of approximately equal workmanship. So go with the instrument that gives you the most satisfaction as a player. Take into account the quality of the sound, whether the sound quality is even throughout the entire range of the instrument (i.e., there are no sharp discontinuities of timbre across the strings and up and down each string), and the responsiveness and ease of playing of the instrument. Try to discover whether one instrument will allow you to produce subtle nuances of articulation the other instrument won't allow. Make your choice and then don't look back--enjoy your new violin!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" Make your choice and then don't look back--enjoy your new violin! ". .... BillW

I like that (these words). It shows determination and commitment. A good violin should serve the owner for a long long time and should bring a lot of enjoyment to whoever owns it. I think people buy a violin for three things: Sound, Workmanship, prestige.

The last item has most driving force. Do you think so, Guys (mentors)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Though there's a risk factor, if your price-range is around the $1,500 mark, you can find yourself a lovely old fiddle through Ebay well worth the $1,500 you're prepared to spend. Buy from someone like Pahdah Hound of this board to reduce the associated risk of sight-unseen purchasing. You can find yourself a fiddle well below retail price. Of course, there are shop perks you won't benefit from, but there are certainly a few great deals to be had.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yuen, I like your attitude. Too many violinists get too tied up with buying a violin, as if it's got to be perfect, and last for the rest of their lives. It's a tool, and everyone has different taste; there's no such thing as a "best" violin, and it's a waste of time looking for that. Buy one that works well for you at the moment, and spend time working to get the most from it (A potential I'm convinced that 90% of owners can't understand during the trial period, anyway.) Enjoy it, and if in the future it doesn't do all you want, trade it for something else. There are very few things you can buy where the dealer will work with you in the future to keep you happy, and where trading in the used one won't swallow up an incredible percentage of value---take advantage of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, after trying out two or three for a few days I'm starting to realize I've gone into this with the wrong attitude. I was looking for something that was going to last me a long time as I doubt my playing will progress to the stage where I would need an even more expensive instrument. Thus, I have been trying to find something that not only sounds nice, but would hold its value, probably the wrong approach. I should be approaching it from the angle of purchasing something that works for me now, and worry about later...later. I've not considered buying off Ebay simply because I really want to try before I buy, but I have posted a message on a local Buy and Sell site that I hope will generate some leads, and I'm not going to get too caught up in buying one of these new ones too quickly just because they are so much nicer to play than my old beater. I think I just need to take a step back and realize that if I can't find an old one I like there are plenty of new ones that I do like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question about holding value bothers me. I've spent many many dollars in computer hardware and software and what's their value today! The same can apply to video cameras, sound systems, and yes, cars... Oboes can only be used for about 5 years. Why only violins should "hold their value"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I was looking for something that was going to last me a long time as I doubt my playing will progress to the stage where I would need an even more expensive instrument."

No matter how well or poorly you play and no matter how good or bad your violin, if you keep at it the time will come when you will lust after a better instrument. So enjoy what you have now before you're bitten by the bug!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Why only violins should 'hold their value'?"

(1) Violins from the 16th century are still playable, (2) violins are hand-crafted art objects, and (3) in nearly half a millenium no one has succeeded in building a radically different violin that has caught on in the marketplace. That said, if you buy a contemporary violin today--even one by one of the better contemporary violin makers--and go to resell it tomorrow, in most cases (unless of course it is a bench copy of one of Isaac Stern's violins orginally made for Stern himself) it will not fetch what you paid for it. You will probably have to wait until the violin maker has been dead for a while to resell. And by that time you may well have been dead for a while yourself. On the other hand you may end up with a contemporary violin that is just as good if not better than one costing many times as much by a maker who has been dead for a while and one that is in much better condition, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any well made instrument will last you for a long time, a very long time if reasonable care is given to it. There are tons of old fiddles still being used. Look at the "genuine" Strads and other copies still being played. These were sold by the thousands by mail order houses around the turn of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Many are still being played on a regular basis today, and many of them sound good. One of the problems with shopping for a new instrument is that it is difficult to determine how it will sound after being played a while. Also, unless you buy from a dealer who has a setup shop, you still won't know how it is going to sound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd maintain you're buying a pig in a poke, anyway. My violins sound completely different (much better) in six months, after they've been broken in. That's the case as much with old unplayed ones as new ones. It's just a fact of life. Most of my sales to inexperienced players are of violins I've loaned to them for extended periods. Otherwise, I sell mainly to professionals who've learned what to expect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...