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Violin newbie


AJ
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I just picked up a Strad copy (made in Czechoslovakia).

I found it in an antique store where the guy was asking

$260 for it with the case,but I managed to

talk him into trading me the violin for $50 and a

porcelain figurine I had won in a draw so I

really only paid $50 for it. I wanted to know more about

the violin, but he didn't know. It has been well used.

It has a number of small scratches, and the edges are

all worn and the fingerboard is showing some wear. He

guessed the age of it at about 70 plus years. Is this

close? Also, do I need to spend any money replacing the

fingerboard? Are the strings supposed to be the same

distance appart? The top two appear to be a little closer.

Should I spend any more money on it or should I do as

the guy at the music store said and play it for a year

and if I like it then buy a better one?

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Have someone else look at it, preferably a luthier, or violin maker/repairer. They can tell you what kind of repairs need to be done, if any. They can also tell you how to maintain it, how to make sure the pegs don't stick or slip, how to change strings if one breaks, how to rosin the bow etc. etc.

Not to be too negative, but they might also tell you if the violin is worth keeping. I talked to a violin dealer who says he scoops up any even remotely playable instruments from local antique stores and secondhand shops - so any instruments I might find in them are probably good for just hanging on the wall. Just a warning; maybe this doesn't happen in your area.

Hope this helps!

Laurel

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about finding good violins in antique stores. there are thousands of really good violins in antique stores, many wind up on ebay now (i think buying off ebay is a mistake, but there are many valuable, and semi-valuable instruments that sell this way). i have purchased many (about 30+)violins in the past year from antique stores and have only once made a really bad mistake (looked nice, but sounding terrible).

the violin you describe was probably made sometime after 1924 aqnd before ww2 (the major output for czech factories). they can often be better overall than the same kind of violins coming from german factories during that period, some are real good, most are decent student grade, and a few are junk. have a dealer look at it to see if it needs fixing, but rest assured that most likely what you have is definately worth more than you paid for it, and it will probably (if set up right) be an excellent student instrument.

mike

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: about finding good violins in antique stores. there are thousands of really good violins in antique stores, many wind up on ebay now (i think buying off ebay is a mistake, but there are many valuable, and semi-valuable instruments that sell this way). i have purchased many (about 30+)violins in the past year from antique stores and have only once made a really bad mistake (looked nice, but sounding terrible).

: the violin you describe was probably made sometime after 1924 aqnd before ww2 (the major output for czech factories). they can often be better overall than the same kind of violins coming from german factories during that period, some are real good, most are decent student grade, and a few are junk. have a dealer look at it to see if it needs fixing, but rest assured that most likely what you have is definately worth more than you paid for it, and it will probably (if set up right) be an excellent student instrument.

: mike

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Thanks for you responses. I could really get hooked on

cruising all the local pawn shops, antique stores etc.

looking for a good violin at a good price. It's kind of

like a treasure hunt.

Now I'm trying to decide if I need to take a few lessons and from who. There is a local music school that charges $75 a month for one half hour lesson a week, and you have to sign up for three months. Or there is the guy at the music store who charges $35 an hour and I could come as often or as little as I want. How do I know which is better for me. Is there a particular method that is best for adult learners with some knowledge of music and other instruments?

: : about finding good violins in antique stores. there are thousands of really good violins in antique stores, many wind up on ebay now (i think buying off ebay is a mistake, but there are many valuable, and semi-valuable instruments that sell this way). i have purchased many (about 30+)violins in the past year from antique stores and have only once made a really bad mistake (looked nice, but sounding terrible).

: : the violin you describe was probably made sometime after 1924 aqnd before ww2 (the major output for czech factories). they can often be better overall than the same kind of violins coming from german factories during that period, some are real good, most are decent student grade, and a few are junk. have a dealer look at it to see if it needs fixing, but rest assured that most likely what you have is definately worth more than you paid for it, and it will probably (if set up right) be an excellent student instrument.

: : mike

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When I started violin, I had played accordion when I was a kid. My teacher used the two "Strictly Strings" books, published by Highland & Etling. By the end of these books the student has a solid 1st position and a good introduction to shifting. Seems suitable for children and adults; it includes short folk songs from many cultures, so it's not just a "classical" series. There were only a couple pieces which could be a little too childish, depending on your outlook - like 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall! - otherwise these books are great.

Good luck with your violin playing - keep us posted!

Laurel

(P.S. no offense taken about the "don't believe anything this guys is saying" subject line - I was going to point out that Laurel is not a man's name; however the way people are naming their kids these days you never know! :-)

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Thanks, I'll look for those books. I haven't decided where or who to take lessons from, but I think I'll have to decide soon or I will learn a lot of bad habits as I have with the guitar and piano. I have been taking the violin out each day and tuning it and then trying to figure out how to get a decent sound out of it. I was also trying to get a vibratto sound which I can do easily on guitar, but had to laugh at myself when I tried it on the violin. I found that it is extremely difficult to keep the bow movement with the right hand and do a vibratto with the left. The end result was much shaking of the violin. Kinda funny. Had me wondering if maybe I should switch hands, bow in left hand, vibratto with right....

: When I started violin, I had played accordion when I was a kid. My teacher used the two "Strictly Strings" books, published by Highland & Etling. By the end of these books the student has a solid 1st position and a good introduction to shifting. Seems suitable for children and adults; it includes short folk songs from many cultures, so it's not just a "classical" series. There were only a couple pieces which could be a little too childish, depending on your outlook - like 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall! - otherwise these books are great.

: Good luck with your violin playing - keep us posted!

: Laurel

: (P.S. no offense taken about the "don't believe anything this guys is saying" subject line - I was going to point out that Laurel is not a man's name; however the way people are naming their kids these days you never know! :-)

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