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Timbob

Good beginners violin

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Hi my son has been learning the violin for a few months now and im wanting to start learning with him. Looking for a decent rig to start with but unsure of what to look for. Any advice on something not too pricey but up to the task of performing as a violin should.  Ive been looking at a Livingstone 4/4 on ebay but unable to find any reviews on this violin if anyone knows anything about them.  Thanks in advance for any advice I can get.

This is what i was looking at?

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F283340594223

 

Tim

Edited by Timbob

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What is your price range?  I am always skeptical of ebay and amazon violins.

There are so many luthiers that offer very good beginner violins these days.  If your son is advancing and enjoys playing, I would shell out a few hundred more and get him something with a little more longevity.

The other alternative is craigslist.  With craigslist, you usually inspect the instrument prior to buying.

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If you dont have a violin shop near by, I suggest Shar, they have some low priced options, and your setup etc will be better.

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I haven't come across livingstone however there is a reason they are painted black besides being easier to manufacturer. It'll either be ply or very low quality wood. Similar violins usually have atrocious setups including glued in sound posts and incorrect string spacing and bridge height making them unplayable. Cleaned up with an adjusted setup they can work and are functional. 

I would suggest looking at your local classifieds, kjiji, craigslist etc., if you can wait a few weeks usually you can pick up a better student grade for the same price or less. You'll probably be better off getting something with a decent setup though. Either check with a ruler before you buy or factor in set up costs.

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1 hour ago, gtd said:

...

I would suggest looking at your local classifieds, kjiji, craigslist etc., if you can wait a few weeks usually you can pick up a better student grade for the same price or less. You'll probably be better off getting something with a decent setup though. Either check with a ruler before you buy or factor in set up costs.

Problem is, unless you know what you're doing, buying used off the internet might not be a good option.  

You need to know enough to look for cracks, etc., and determine repair costs.

Plus, any used instruments will need a new set of strings (almost guaranteed), so at the very least, expect to factor in that cost on top of the purchase price.

And of course - buying a 'too cheap' new instrument is also a waste of money.  If the instrument is so cheaply made and set up that it is unplayble, you won't play it.

I bought a $50 dollar package several years ago, for fun.  I could make it work, but it was HARD work and it sounded awful.  But, it was awesome entertainment value.  Kept me laughing for hours...

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8 hours ago, Timbob said:

Hi my son has been learning the violin for a few months now and im wanting to start learning with him. Looking for a decent rig to start with but unsure of what to look for. Any advice on something not too pricey but up to the task of performing as a violin should....

.....Thanks in advance for any advice I can get.

Tim

If you’re new to the violin, I strongly  recommend going to a good violin shop (NOT a music store) near you. These days there a lot more good options.

If you’re not sure which shop to try, just ask your son’s teacher or any serious players you know.

Tell the shop your price range and how you intend to use the violin, then let them give you some suggestions. A lot of places have inexpensive but decent violins that they set up and label; something like that might serve well for your purposes. 

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10 hours ago, Timbob said:

Hi my son has been learning the violin for a few months now and im wanting to start learning with him. Looking for a decent rig to start with but unsure of what to look for. Any advice on something not too pricey but up to the task of performing as a violin should.  Ive been looking at a Livingstone 4/4 on ebay but unable to find any reviews on this violin if anyone knows anything about them.  Thanks in advance for any advice I can get.

This is what i was looking at?

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F283340594223

 

Tim

I have a Livingstone in the garage somewhere which I purchased to put in the kids toy box when they were little.  I would not recommend it as a serious beginners violin.

With a beginners violin, the set up is at least as important as the violin itself so buying online is a risk unless you are able to set it up yourself, or get a luthier or specialist violin shop to do it, in which case you are probably better getting one direct from said luthier.  Doing it yourself requires specialist tools as well as knowledge / ability.

Non specialist music shops may also neglect the set up.

If you still want to buy on ebay, then see previous reviews on maestronet, but in my experience yitamusic and old-luthier-violin seem to offer reasonable instruments, but you can still expect to have to adjust the bridge and nut, replace the strings and adjust and treat the pegs and peg holes to get them working nicely. (If you're in a Northern  Australia climate I find Perfection or Wittner mechanical pegs make it easier to manage.)  The fingerboards from these two sellers have been reasonable, so far not requiring immediate adjustment.  I also find life is easier replacing the tailpiece with one with integral fine tuners.  You also need to be able to put the sound post back up as it often falls over in transit from the seller.

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3 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

 

If you’re not sure which shop to try, just ask your son’s teacher or any serious players you know.

 

Agreed;  you need advice and help from a player, a teacher, or a repair person.

Also, many shops that sell student violins also rent them.  That's usually the best way to start.

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On 4/24/2019 at 5:29 AM, Timbob said:

Hi my son has been learning the violin for a few months now and im wanting to start learning with him. Looking for a decent rig to start with but unsure of what to look for. Any advice on something not too pricey but up to the task of performing as a violin should.  Ive been looking at a Livingstone 4/4 on ebay but unable to find any reviews on this violin if anyone knows anything about them.  Thanks in advance for any advice I can get.

This is what i was looking at?

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F283340594223

 

Tim

G'day, Timbob, welcome to MN.

Rule #1, avoid anything varnished or painted in colors so you can't see the wood underneath.  Stuff like that really screams VSO (Violin Shaped Object).

While my usual hunting criteria on eBay differ considerably from what you are looking for, IIWY, I'd be looking at things more like this Suzuki set up with Tonica strings: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Suzuki-FS-10-Nagoya-4-4-Full-Size-Violin-Outfit-Package-With-Pro-Setup/152034160117?

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I would avoid anything painted. The paint is undoubtedly hiding low-quality laminate. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with laminate as such, but these instruments always look suspicious to me. Start local.

 

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