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Mikiemax

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Hi all,

I am looking to buy an instrument in the €1500 - €2000 range, as I have a very nice Violin, but it has a lot of family history attached and is too good for me to cart around to pubs when I have the opportunity to play some sessions (I'm currently learning some traditional Irish tunes).

So I want something that sounds good, has character and plays well with a good tone.

Obviously the marketplace is a minefield for a newbie prepared to spend that amount of cash, and to be honest I think that's even more the case with newer instruments these days, as the cost of factory produced instruments seems to have caught up with many older instruments in that range and I really am not good enough as a player to judge the quality of many more expensive chinese or eastern made instruments.

For instance I was offered a handmade Vietnamese violin recently for €700, with no brand, and which had been acquired as part of a lot of 4 which were sourced by an individual on behalf of the store direct from the maker. I was given no other information except that this particular instrument was priced at €700 instead of €500 which the others were priced at because it was louder. (???) That type of assessment doesn't necessarily instill much confidence in a purchaser. Even to my novice hand the Instrument was very poorly set up, and difficult to play, the bridge wasn't carved properly and there was a ridge along the entire length between the neck and the fingerboard - which seemed almost twice as thick as most other violins I've seen.

So to get to the point, there are a number of small instrument stores nearby to me and they stock some older instruments, of varying condition and presumably quality. Most of these instruments are within my price range, and some are described by terms I recognise from my reading of the forums here, such as Mittenwald, Mirecourt etc.

I have started to understand some basic ways to recognise a mittenwald, and differentiate it from the cheaper german models thanks to recent posts by 'Jacob Saunders, Lyndon, and Addie' - thanks for those.

I was hoping that someone might be able to direct me to some posts here, or even give some basic advice as to how I could even very cautiously identify a 'Mirecourt' violin. Bear in mind, by 'identifying' I really mean 'Rule-out' obvious non-Mirecourt.

Also I came across a violin described as a turn on the century Italian Violin labelled (blah blah blah) which as very large nicks in the F-holes. The Violin is priced at €2000, but more importantly is a €50 car journey away from me, so I'm hoping to at least be able to verify it could possibly be italian, or of sufficient quality to warrant the price before I make that trip.

For those interested the f-holes very similar in style to those on the violin in this ebay ad:

http://www.ebay.ie/i...#ht_1210wt_1054

I apologise for the long message, and am grateful for any assistance.

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in your price range i would say sound and good set up for playability are all you need to worry about, you couldnt possibbly learn in a few days or hours how to identify violins so find a dealer you can trust, or just find something you like you can afford, chances are the way youre setting out youll find some fake something, pay more than you wanted to, and have less sound quality, leave identification to the experts and just find something you like.

also its a good idea to not only play the violin but take a friend whos a better player and listen to them playing as well, what you hear under ear is not what other people are going to hear, for instance you dont have a clue how loud a violin projects when you only play it yourself.

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You say there are a number of small violin shops around where you live, so I would think a good idea to visit them and try some of the violins they are selling in your price range. 2000 euros is no small amount of money, so you should find one that you like, including easiness of playing.

Buying a violin on ebay is not always a good way to spend money, that's the least one can say.

As for the link you provided, although I am no violin expert at all so my opinion is irrelevant, I find it awfull (even if it turns out to be made by a master luthier)... :)

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Ok, thanks guys. All good sound advice, but I think maybe that I lost the crux of my query amongst the long message.

Nevertheless I understand your advice.

I'm anxious to purchase something soon so I can get on with joining in a session or something, but I'd say I'll just have to restrain myself until I'm sure of what I'm buying and am a competent enough player to be able to judge what it is I like about an instrument.

I will have to speak to the luthier I dealt with recently, and hopefully he'll be able to point in the direction of something suitable, he seems like a real decent guy.

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Hi all,

I am looking to buy an instrument in the €1500 - €2000 range, as I have a very nice Violin, but it has a lot of family history attached and is too good for me to cart around to pubs when I have the opportunity to play some sessions (I'm currently learning some traditional Irish tunes).

So I want something that sounds good, has character and plays well with a good tone.

I think that Lyndon provides excellent advice that anyone looking for a good playing violin of decent quality should follow. Its pretty simple.

"in your price range i would say sound and good set up for playability are all you need to worry about, you couldn't possibly learn in a few days or hours how to identify violins so find a dealer you can trust, or just find something you like you can afford, chances are the way you're setting out you'll find some fake something, pay more than you wanted to, and have less sound quality, leave identification to the experts and just find something you like.

also its a good idea to not only play the violin but take a friend who's a better player and listen to them playing as well, what you hear under ear is not what other people are going to hear, for instance you don't have a clue how loud a violin projects when you only play it yourself. "

Find a dealer you trust and have fun playing. Bringing a friend along helps keep things objective. Most dealers will also provide a free trial period.

Good luck!

Jesse

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Three small rules of thumb for older instruments:

- ignore anything decorated with chips of mother-of-pearl, inlaid scenes, etc. They're almost certainly a waste of money because they were thrown together about 100 years ago to attract unsophisticated buyers.

- be cautious about anything with a stamp burnt in. Some real makers used brand-stamps, and some factory instruments are good, but most of the ones with "STAINER", "CONSERVATORY", etc. are not the best.

- consider looking for a fiddle with rebushed pegholes, worn fingerboard, etc. Those are things that can be done to give a fake appearance of age and love, but if they're real they're a sign that someone loved the instrument enough to play it a lot.

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