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RRrrr! Not many options...(venting)


Donetta
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In the past two weeks I have found out that my Knilling viola

is worthless. I knew it wasn't professional grade, but I

thought it was a good high level student instrument. My

mother and I were convinced by my instructor that it was a great

instrument and what I needed to make it in college (I was

accepted into the state's best art school).

Well, now I'm playing again, and noticed that the bridge curve

is practically flat. No luthier in a 120 mile radius will

touch this instrument, because they do not want to work

on a Knilling. Apparently it has a low fingerboard as well.

I did get some reluctant estimates:

Estimate of repair: $500 - $700.

Original cost of instrument: $1000. Pooh!

Now, I have been wanting a professional instrument, but I

wanted to work on my technique a little longer, so I

am not prepared to pay for a $5000+ viola. Tomorrow I am

going to purchase a $300.00 student viola so my technique

studies can continue while I save for both a new viola

and a new house *sigh*. What makes me so mad is the

teacher that suckered me to start with (she got comission)

and the teacher at college who never informed me how inferior

my instrument really was. But then again, I was an idiot in

college so its probably all my fault anyways...

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Hi.

First thing I'd do is break this teachers freakin' legs. It's very unethical to reccomend such a crappy instrument for their own comission.

I'm not sure the best idea is getting another fairly cheap instrment. These student instruments are hard to work technique on, partly 'cause they're heavy. Violas are heavy and hard enough to paly when they are finely handmade. Look at some new Chinese "handmade" violas. I play a nice Chinese viola, if it was labeled or amarican I've been told that it would be worth at least $2000, but because it's Chinese it costed $700. It has a beautiful big, full sound.

Have Fun,

Ben

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well, first off i would get a second opinion on the cost of repairs (and exactly what they entail). i find it hard to believe that having a new bridge cut and having the neck angle changed is $5-700. if it is, i could give you the name of a good luthier that would not charge anywhere near that, unless there is more going on here (which i suspect there could be).

violas are not violins and you certainly do not have as many options, but i would take one last stab at getting the one you have fixed. the better knillings are not exactly the equal of the cao's or doetsch's but they are at least passable, so you may want to hold off. let us know what develops

mike

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what a different world the cellist lives in... I am shopping for a cello, and anticipate spending $20000 or more, for a cello that willbe passable in competitions. This seems to be the entry level for a really good cello..... wow! $5000 for a professional level viola?!?! Can this be???? I spent that much on my bow! maybe I should switch, its not to late (im a 2nd year grad student :-P)

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Hi Donetta,

So sorry to hear of your predicament. Though I'm not qualified to comment on the quality of Knilling instruments, I do have strong views on the issue of teachers receiving commissions on instrument sales to students.

BTW, don't go blaming yourself. It's certainly not your fault, and you are NOT an idiot. The same thing has happened to me (and many others) where trust placed in authority figures has been betrayed for financial gain.

In fact, the practice is more common than you might think. I came across a very useful article on the Fritz-Reuter website on this same issue. Of particular interest to you will be section B. *** Teacher/Student Bond And The Conflict Of Interest. ***

http://www.fritz-reuter.com/maffia/index.htm

I hope that the matter will be resolved to your satisfaction, but I don't think that buying a $300 viola is the answer.

Keep your chin up.

Cheers,

Steve

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I don't know where you live, but in most parts of the country 120 miles isn't far enough to find even one qualified violin repairman. You need to get another extimate. Things like fingerboard height are subject to a lot of personal opinions, and a different repairman may well have a different opinion on this issue. Even if there's something wrong (and if there was, I wouldn't expect a teacher to spot it--that's the repairman's job; teachers are there to judge tone) it's almost never necessary to use a fingerboard wedge, and a new bridge may or may not be necessary as well, depending on the string heights. You might need to find a smarter repairman before you blame the teacher. In many instances this would not be a big job, and the type of work suggested should be in proportion to the value of the instrument--there are a lot of ways to skin a violin :-)

It's curious to me that the bridge curve was fine for you before, when you bought the instrument, but is now too flat. Yet nothing has changed!

: In the past two weeks I have found out that my Knilling viola

: is worthless. I knew it wasn't professional grade, but I

: thought it was a good high level student instrument. My

: mother and I were convinced by my instructor that it was a great

: instrument and what I needed to make it in college (I was

: accepted into the state's best art school).

: Well, now I'm playing again, and noticed that the bridge curve

: is practically flat. No luthier in a 120 mile radius will

: touch this instrument, because they do not want to work

: on a Knilling. Apparently it has a low fingerboard as well.

: I did get some reluctant estimates:

: Estimate of repair: $500 - $700.

: Original cost of instrument: $1000. Pooh!

: Now, I have been wanting a professional instrument, but I

: wanted to work on my technique a little longer, so I

: am not prepared to pay for a $5000+ viola. Tomorrow I am

: going to purchase a $300.00 student viola so my technique

: studies can continue while I save for both a new viola

: and a new house *sigh*. What makes me so mad is the

: teacher that suckered me to start with (she got comission)

: and the teacher at college who never informed me how inferior

: my instrument really was. But then again, I was an idiot in

: college so its probably all my fault anyways...

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One thing that I have been very disappointed in in my very brief experience as a violin player/student is the way so many local shops...("This is a local shop for local people! There's nothing for you here!" -LoG)...really rip off their customers. My little brother in law was taking violin up until a few months ago and his local shop was offering to sell him his rental violin for $1500. His private teacher said that it was a piece of junk. The local shops I've been in have all been monsterously overpriced on their violins, strings ($56 for Dominants?), tuners ($75 for Intellitouch?), and cases.

However I have been very luck when it comes to my teacher. She does work in the learning center of a large music store chain however she never pushes the store products and has suggested that I visit several other stores to look for supplies.

I'm sure there are some good local shops but both from what I've read and experienced it seems that the vast majority take advantage of the fact that beginners and their parents or older beginners really don't know how to choose good equipment. (How can I compare violins or bows when I've never played a note?) Truly though its a shame when you can't trust your teacher.

The internet is a great answer to this problem. Within days after my first post here I was fortunate enough to be advised by some people who's advise has proven to be quite good. As a result I have what I feel is a nice violin to begin my music lessons with. More importantly perhaps I've got a couple of good people who can answer questions for me and steer me in the right direction. (Actually between here and BAVS I've got dozens of opinions to weigh)

I feel the worst though for the beginner who has been taken advantage of and ends up struggling with a terrible instrument and a teacher who is more interested in collecting a fee for a half hour and comission for some "Student Violin Package" that sells for $1800 and was lovingly machine crafted from wood rejected from HomeDepot.

Yep...makes me want to say "RRrrrrrrrrr!!!! and add and AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!! for good measure.

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