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Okay...I'm still learning lots (and having fun). I'm currently playing an older fancy violin - for no other reason than it was the best I could find when I was looking...

However, while browsing...some of the new 'fancy' violins are rather intriguing...this one on eBay recently caught my eye:


I don't like the light boxwood fittings...but I betcha it would look lovely with ebony fittings instead. I know it's an inexpensive Chinese factory-made fiddle and might need to be reset. I suppose I'm asking if it's worth buying, getting new fittings and maybe setting up again?

Would a manufacturer bother to put in the extra time needed to fancy-up a really 'cheap' violin? Or does the extra work mean the violin is better quality? Or does it's being fancy have nothing at all to do with gross, general quality?

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Whereas fancy old German trade violins can be as bad as anything else, I generally find that these fancy Chinese violins, which are much more expensive than the plainer ones, use better wood, the craftsmanship is better, the graduation of the plates are done very carefully, and often the model and arching is quite good. Consequently, I generally find that they do sound better than some (but not all) of the plainer ones. The violin pictured is similar to the second-most expensive model offered by a certain US distributor of Chinese isntruments (the Hellier model with the ormamented ribs being the most expensive). However, there is no reason to believe it will sound better that the best-quality "straight" Strad model they offer, which on their pricelist costs less than half of what the ornamented violins cost. My comparison applies to models much further down the pricelist, which costs a quarter or less of the price of the ornamented violins.

People's tastes differ, I guess, but if I were a violinist and I played a violin looking like that, I would feel like I were walking on the beach in swimming trunks and a neck-tie.

See where the bidding goes, but if you are thinking of buying something like that which should play well and sound good without being as garish, get it touch with George Behary - this is his website, and the kind of instrument I'm referring to can be seen in the the upper range of his Loxahatchee Vintage Strings line. It would also be better to deal with George than buying something off ebay - George has a reputation as dealer which money can't buy.

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Thanks Jacob...that's what I was wondering...

People's tastes differ, I guess, but if I were a violinist and I played a violin looking like that, I would feel like I were walking on the beach in swimming trunks and a neck-tie.

...the way it looks now...I'd agree with you...but would you think the same if the fittings were ebony? The purfling isn't overdone I don't think...and I'll give that the dragon head isn't for everyone...but I have soft spot for dragons and lizards... I did e-mail George...just for info...

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And thanks Yuen! I'm not sure exactly what my problem is. I was so happy with my German violin when I got it...because it does sound nice...my family can hear it...my teacher can hear it...but with the damage to the pegbox (and the pegs are getting awfully short...) I find I'm scared to tune-it (I do have fine-tuners to help min. using the pegs) and to play it 'hard'.

I then bought my Samuel Shen 800 series viola...and I just love the sound it produces. It's not a better sound I don't think than the violin...but it's more vibrant? My teacher isn't impressed with the sound...she said it was too stridant...but I like it...and I don't know if it's just my uneducated ear or what...

...but since I received the viola I'm not content with sound of the violin...in addition to stressing about it's fragility.

So, I certainly don't NEED another violin. And I can't afford or justify purchasing a really really GOOD violin given my playing level (although I'd like too!)...but I've also joined our local adult amatuer orchestra so I'd like an instrument I'm not scared to play, but can grow with...I'm definatley improving! I also want something that I can play easily on the upper registars now that I'm learning positions and whatnot.

If I can combine decent sound, with inexpensive AND unique...I'll be in heaven!

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I could live with the purfling, no problem. The fittings I would change, but the head I certainly couldn't live with and it couln't be changed, short of a head graft.

Also, you don't know what the setup is like. From George you'll get a violin with at least the same tonal potential the as ebay one, plus it will be properly set up, plus you won't have your fellow orchestra members worrying about what other fetishes you may have.

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...okay...I'm giving up on the dragon head and fancy violins... (but I still like them)...

...it was pointed out to me (by another very helpful on-line enthusiast!)...that my German violin sounds nasal, or 'eh'..and that could be part of my dissatisfaction with the sound...so I'm looking for a fuller bodied sound...and putting less emphasis on appearance...

...but I still want the heart-shaped pegs...that's non-negotiable!!!

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