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Ben Podgor

Four violins by amateur who thinks he only should have two.

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Over time I acquired four violins. Two when I first started, without a teacher. Added one with the help of a teacher and just acquired what I consider a true professional violin, built around 1790.  Since I am an amateur, I believe that two are enough.  But how does one recover the investment on the two.  All four of my violin have good tone.  The first two only cost $ 300 each.  I added pegheds to them, that cost me $ 150. each.  When I got my last violin I had the pegheds of one of my first two transfered.  Now I am left with two violins that I would like to sell.  One having a 300 value and the other one 450. These violins are Romanian and one is 10 years old and the other 12 years.

 

It was suggested I try E Bay.  Craigs list.  But I do not like either.  Can anyone suggest a way to accomplish this, without getting involved in the business of selling violins.

 

Ben

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The Pegheads will decrease the value but a fiddler might not mind. Try your local Fiddle Club. They may have a newsletter you can advertise in.

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Try to establish what the retail values of these instruments are, and then be prepared to accept about half that value or a bit less -- less, especially if the 2 need any work.

 

You might try going to a violin shop and trading in those fiddles, if the shop will accept them, for a shop credit, and maybe applying that credit to a good bow, a good case, or toward future sets of strings and accessories.

 

I believe you might have a hard time getting what you originally paid for them, never mind the extras you've put into them over the years.  Fine violins appreciate in value over the decades.  Beginner level violins simply keep losing their value over the years, just like any other used item in your possession.

 

Another option is to donate the fiddles to a school or a charity, if such a contribution would help you with taxes.

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The Pegheads will decrease the value but a fiddler might not mind. Try your local Fiddle Club. They may have a newsletter you can advertise in.

It's been my experience as someone who has worked in both markets that Pegheds / Perfection Pegs / Wittner Finetune don't detract from the value of instruments at this level, neither among fiddlers nor among classical players. Why do you think Knilling includes them on their beginner level instruments? Teachers seem to love them, since they make tuning so much faster and easier for an elementary grade school music class where the teacher has to go around and check tuning on all the instruments at the beginning of class. $300 and $450 are barely entry level prices for decent violins with a playable setup.

 

Some people are reluctant to buy from individuals who aren't in a position to stand behind the instruments, since violins are complete mysteries to most people. Others are looking for a "deal" and will try to get a real bargain.  You'll just have to find out what truly comparable used instruments are worth in your market.

 

I can tell you from experience that you can get pretty good prices on ebay if you have a ready-to-play instrument, copious, excellent photographs, a good story / description, and approval period with return privilege for any reason, and un-edited, good quality sound samples.

 

I agree that the price between individuals hovers around half of actual retail (not MSRP), but with a little effort and basic marketing, you can do somewhat better.

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Perhaps Pegheads don't detract at this level...which is why I mentioned fiddlers, but they often detract others.

 

And while eBay might be a good place to sell less expensive mechandise, I wouldn't sell on eBay either.  Or buy - for that matter.  So you have to allow for individual preference.

 

I just didn't want the OP to think that adding Pegheads adds to the value.

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I just didn't want the OP to think that adding Pegheads adds to the value.

Well, IME they do add value for a lot of people, classical players and fiddlers alike.  Knilling charges more for them, violin teachers like them, I charge more for them.   I recently sold a $6,000+ viola with Perfection Pegs to a symphony player. She loves them.

 

It might detract on valuable antique violins, and many people just prefer standard pegs, but value is generally determined by the market, not by individual opinion.

 

Just wondering - what's your experiential basis for your opinion?  Sell a lot of instruments? Sell many with geared pegs?

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Yes.  I'm an expert.  Like so many on the internet... :rolleyes:

 

Seriously...just 30 years of talking with people.  Take it for what it's worth.

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I'm not sure how I would go about selling cheap instruments other than craigslist or ebay.  I don't think the local shop would even take them on consignment.

 

In my (completely anecdotal) experience, people who are still in the market for instruments have no issue with them-and the more instruments somebody tunes, the more of a fan they are.  

 

Shame we can't check archived conversations of when fine tuners on the tailpiece(and then, on all 4 strings) came out.

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Actually you will never recover what you have put into your instruments, if you take into account the accessories and maybe repair shop visits you've had over the years, and music to play with them, etc.

The initial cost of the instrument is only a part of the cost of owning and maintaining them.

 

In the well-known book "A Thousand Mornings of Music" the author says he started very simply with the idea of owning four instruments, one representing the four main models, a Brescian, Amati, Strad and Guarnerius. He ended up owning a collection of very valuable fiddles but that's another story. Along the way he parted with some and kept others. A good read if you come across it.

 

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