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buying a violin upgrade for a teenager


Orry
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One thing that would be interesting for you and your son is to take the trip to a real violin shop, and--dare I suggest this?--let him play violins outside your price range.  I've played very expensive violins that were...meh... and some that were...wow!  It is not a bad thing to learn what the range of experiences is, so that if you come upon a violin in your price range that has "it," both of you will know--and I think those deals exist in your price range.  In the meantime, in my opinion it makes sense to get a nice setup on the violin he has. 

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Based on my experience of bringing up 2 daughters who are now professional players, I would say:

1. Spare violins are not a necessity

2. Good teaching/ensemble coaching and performance opportunities (e.g. from a music college junior department) will bring more benefit than instrument upgrades if funds need to be prioritised (as they had to be in our case).

Not preaching, just my opinion (but as I say, based on experience).

 

 

 

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Dear All, thank you all for your insightful advice and sincere warning against auction. Sorry i have gone radio silence for the past few days, because i was busy committing a crime. Yes, i could not hold myself back and I eventually took the plunge and bid a violin. I decided to throw in a couple of hundred pounds, and it turned out I won this Mirecourt violin. I am a bit worried by condition stated as "sold as seen", sounded like it could fall apart at any time, but the image online looked OK to my amateur eyes. I will receive it soon, not sure how my son likes it and if he is willing to accept it as a back up. Should he refuse to use it, i am going to donate it to my son's violin teacher and hopefully it can be used to help some other kid to start learning violin. 

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54 minutes ago, Orry said:

Dear All, thank you all for your insightful advice and sincere warning against auction. Sorry i have gone radio silence for the past few days, because i was busy committing a crime. Yes, i could not hold myself back and I eventually took the plunge and bid a violin. I decided to throw in a couple of hundred pounds, and it turned out I won this Mirecourt violin. I am a bit worried by condition stated as "sold as seen", sounded like it could fall apart at any time, but the image online looked OK to my amateur eyes. I will receive it soon, not sure how my son likes it and if he is willing to accept it as a back up. Should he refuse to use it, i am going to donate it to my son's violin teacher and hopefully it can be used to help some other kid to start learning violin. 

Looks ok to my amateur eyes as well.  For the price you paid there seems to be little downside.  If it works for your son (after modest adjustment) then that's great.  If not then you're not out too much.  Beware of the "plunge".  It can be addicting. 

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2 hours ago, Orry said:

Dear All, thank you all for your insightful advice and sincere warning against auction. Sorry i have gone radio silence for the past few days, because i was busy committing a crime. Yes, i could not hold myself back and I eventually took the plunge and bid a violin. I decided to throw in a couple of hundred pounds, and it turned out I won this Mirecourt violin. I am a bit worried by condition stated as "sold as seen", sounded like it could fall apart at any time, but the image online looked OK to my amateur eyes. I will receive it soon, not sure how my son likes it and if he is willing to accept it as a back up. Should he refuse to use it, i am going to donate it to my son's violin teacher and hopefully it can be used to help some other kid to start learning violin. 

The photos look pretty, hope it is in good shape and sounds delightful.   Good luck, and please keep us posted on how it all turns out.  Happy Holidays. :)

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Congratulations on your buy! I am also an amateur without skill who risked a considerably higher sum on a bow in the same auction (reported in another thread).

There is a lot to be said for buying from a shop for violins and bows because a cheaper item might actually be 'better' than a more expensive one, but you would not have known that without a shop who provides some set up instruments to test.

However, if wanted a sub £1500 violin I'd probably have done what you did and bought at auction, and I'd probably expect to spend more on paying for professional setup than on the purchase. For personal taste I'd have picked an old German or new Chinese factory instrument over a French one, though preferably not a German instrument with the issues your son's had.

As a violin buyer, it takes a while to get used to how little relationship there is between price and playing quality. Although I did dip my toe in the auction, like you, usually I lean towards the theory that paradoxically, buying new is often better value than buying secondhand.

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Congratulations! I had noticed that violin but didn't bid - I decided that there was something I REALLY wanted from Amati so I got a spare violin there too.

If you buy an old violin, it is already fully "matured and developed". If you buy a new violin, it will become better and better as it is being played.

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2 hours ago, Felefar said:

...

If you buy an old violin, it is already fully "matured and developed". If you buy a new violin, it will become better and better as it is being played.

That is a bit of a myth...

A new violin that doesn't 'have' it....won't get any better...

And the good old violins were good new violins to begin with.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

That is a bit of a myth...

A new violin that doesn't 'have' it....won't get any better...

And the good old violins were good new violins to begin with.

Agreed Rue. I think people make similar claims about sound post tweaking. Someone can play a violin and say "oh that doesn't sound good", play it again 5 minutes later and "oh that's much better" This is happening to lots of players the world over all the time, whether the sound post (or whatever) is tweaked or not. Something happens in our brains that makes us underperform one moment and get our act together soon afterwards.

 

 

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On 12/15/2017 at 10:10 AM, John_London said:

As a violin buyer, it takes a while to get used to how little relationship there is between price and playing quality. Although I did dip my toe in the auction, like you, usually I lean towards the theory that paradoxically, buying new is often better value than buying secondhand.

 

15 hours ago, Rue said:

That is a bit of a myth...

A new violin that doesn't 'have' it....won't get any better...

And the good old violins were good new violins to begin with.

IMHO, what is happening here is that not each and every cheaply produced trade instrument is crap to begin with, neither is every $5K-$10K signed and dated benchmade violin a masterpiece (for that matter, neither are some of the astronomically priced Cremonese relics), and the only way to know is to play them.  :)

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