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What to look for in a better violin.


Paul Richelmi
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I am in the market for a better violin than I have now. I have a Schrotter 430 violin. I am willing to spend between 2000 and 4000. I really don't

know much about violins so what should questions should I ask the dealers I go to. Also, what violins within my range have a sweet vibrant sound.

Please post follow ups to help me.

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: I am in the market for a better violin than I have now. I have a Schrotter 430 violin. I am willing to spend between 2000 and 4000. I really don't

: know much about violins so what questions should I ask the dealers I go to. Also, what violins within my range have a sweet vibrant sound.

: Please post follow ups to help me.

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: : I am in the market for a better violin than I have now. I have a Schrotter 430 violin. I am willing to spend between 2000 and 4000. I really don't

: : know much about violins so what questions should I ask the dealers I go to. Also, what violins within my range have a sweet vibrant sound.

: : Please post follow ups to help me.

Paul,

If your scan about half-way down this page, you will notice a number of responses to a similar request by Jimmy on 2/6/98. And, if you scan still further, you'll find an even more extensive string of responses to a request posted by Mike on 1/26/98 seeking info on a better violin.

JohnT

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: I read those responses to those questions and they don't really answer mine. If any one can answer my questions please post a follow up.

Paul,

I think I know what you are after, and I'll give

it a shot, even though I'm certainly not an expert.

IMHO, a "better violin" (step up from mass produced

student violin) should:

1) Be handmade

2) Have real inlaid purfling, not just painted

lines

3) When looking through the f-holes, the ribs

(sides) should be lined, and corners blocked

4) Nicely grained high quality spruce top, flamed

or moderately flamed maple back and ribs (back

can be one or two pieces)

5) At a minimum, ebony pegs, fingerboard, tailpiece,

saddle and end button, although rosewood might

replace some of these on even higher quality

instruments. As for chinrest, that is easily

replaced (and usually is to find one you like),

again ebony

6) Finely carved f-holes and scroll, not the

crudely punched out versions you see on lower

end models

7) Again, strings and bridges are easily replaced.

Strings especially are a personal choice, so

don't place too much emphasis on them (I prefer

higher quality synthetics like Dominants).Bridge

should be carved, high quality maple.

8) Set up of nut, bridge, fingerboard, etc. This

can also be changed after the fact, but should

have the correct angles so it is easy to play,

especially in the higher positions.

9) Most importantly, it should sound sweet to you

in all the positions on all of the strings. If

you enjoy the sound and how it feels, you will

be inspired to play.

Hope this helps. Tina

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: I am in the market for a better violin than I have now. I have a Schrotter 430 violin. I am willing to spend between 2000 and 4000. I really don't

: know much about violins so what should questions should I ask the dealers I go to. Also, what violins within my range have a sweet vibrant sound.

: Please post follow ups to help me.

I saw somewhere in this web page someone suggested to buy from an amateur maker. I am a dedicated amateur maker. I can make you one near your upper price range. It would take about six month or longer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Its absolutely amazing what can be spent on a violin. Nowadays, there are so many choices, ways to buy, etc.

If I were looking for a new violin to play daily, I would go around to every violin shop in my area and try as many violins as possible. If you know the dealer, he may even allow you to borrow a few violins to try them out at home.

You MIGHT try buying a violin from a private party through a newspaper advertisement. You might get a good deal. But you can spend months of driving around looking at violins that are a total waste of time. Furthermore, you may be dealing with someone who thinks his violin is a real Stradavarius even though the thing was made in a factory 10 years ago and has a big crack down the back!

When I bought my current violin, the dealer, who was a friend of the family, let my parents (my goodness, this was years ago!) take home about 10 violins for me to try! I have had my current violin ever since. At that time, we paid $1000 for the violin (that was about 1977) so God only knows what it is worth today (who cares? We bought it to enjoy it, not as a monetary investment!) but it would definitely cost more if I were to buy it today.

Funny thing though, I was recently traveling in the USA and I rented a violin to take some lessons. I tried 5 or 6 fiddles before I chose a brand new German violin (I think it was made by Carl Knilling). It was a factory build violin, but the quality was surprisingly good. Pretty darn good tone for a rental fiddle that would sell for only $1000 today!

Point being..... you can spend any amount of money on a violin and walk away with any quality of instrument. You may spend a lot and end up with an instrument that sounds so so.

One thing that I personally don't like is a violin made by someone who doesn't even have enough pride in it to put his own name on the label.

Good luck and good hunting!

Edward

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