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CF Violins: MezzoForte, Luis&Clark, Gayford, Glasser, Elena


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My daughter currently is playing on a 3/4 but coming up to an upgrade to a 4/4.

I currently own and play a Luis and Clark violin.

I would like to purchase a CF violin for her; for one it's near indestructible; and weather resistant.  But here are my struggles:

1)  From all accounts; the most affordable is the Glasser; but most say it's heavy and not great sounding.  But it's $525.

2)  MezzoForte violins look ugly to me.  I should care only about how it sounds; but I can't get past the look of it..

2b)  MF has 3 lines; the Evo is about $1K, Design is about 2K, and the Pro is about $5K.  The fact that you can't change out the chin piece bothers me greatly for some reason.

3)  My kid is not a prodigy by any stretch of the imagination; on the one hand; a better sounding violin makes you want to practice more and play better, on the other; she's gonna be in 6th grade, and there should be a $$$$ within reason.

4)  The Gayford and the Carbon Klang Elena look very sexy...  But they are all in the $6kish range..

5)  Y'all who have kids that play will need to give me some perspective on how much to spend / the fact they are kids and drag a violin to school everyday.

6)  I've only seen ONE video of MF vs LC; and I thought the MF sounded better as well; but then again; on youtube, you can't tell anything..

7)  I don't particularly like the look of the Elena, and it's the most expensive; so more than likely that one is going to be out of the race.

 

Violins listed by price in ascending order:

 

Glasser $525

MF Evo $1399

MF Design $2499

MF Pro  $4899

Luis and Clark $ 5539

Gayford $5729

Carbon-Klang Elena $6500

 

Currently; I'm debating between a MF Evo and the Gayford..  My line of thinking is that the MF Evo will probably be better than any crap student rental violin.  The other end is getting a Gayford; which would hold her over all the way to college I would think.

 

So any advice (especially if you own or have compared several of the brands!!) is welcome.

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1. Really?

2. What does the teacher say?

3. What genre of music is she learning?

4. What is your end goal for your daughter's music education?  Or rather, what is your daughter's end goal?

5. Really?

 

I ask numbers 1 and 5 out of jest.  If you read the forums here, there is a ton of valuable information for your situation.  Lots of sound advice and some crass humour as a bonus.  My ultmiate answer to your question is "no." None of them. No. 

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I agree.  Unless she was ever only going to play at outdoor events, or take all her lessons outdoors :lol:...I'd stick with a regular, old, run-of-the-mill, wooden violin.

And...should it come about that she ever only does play at outdoor events, you can buy her a CF violin then.

That wouldn't happen for probably, hmm...maybe 10 years still?

BTW...I've had 3 kids in band (no strings program in school)...I've seen what happens to school instruments.  If you currently have the urge to shop (and have been bitten by the 'buy more violins' bug), you could buy her a serviceable beater to take to school and a nicer violin to use at home or to take to lessons.

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I see kids schlepping 5k violins around their schools all the time, it's not a huge deal if you teach them to be careful.  Plus, she will "stand out", and not in a good way.  

You can get a better violin for less than the upper-tier CF instruments, and a policy to insure it for not much money in case something DOES happen.

I'd go with a traditional violin. 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, dpappas said:

I see kids schlepping 5k violins around their schools all the time, it's not a huge deal if you teach them to be careful. ...

There are two factors at play here.

1.  The kid that owns the violin.

2. All the other kids that don't own the violin.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

You could compromise: Get her a real wooden violin and a carbon fiber bow.

I bought her a $200 outfit from amazon (3/4).. and...  the strings are crap and it came with 2 bows; both are crap.  So I had; the bridge replaced, the sound post adjusted so it was in the correct position, replaced the tail piece, and replaced the chin rest. And she's using a CF bow right now.  So her $200 outfit is now closer to $450.  But she says her violin is WAY louder and much better sounding than the rest of her classmates.  

Her teacher likes my Luis and Clark a lot; so much so she's probably going to buy one for performance.

Here in Houston; the summers are 98% humidity; and so if I want to grow mold on wood; this is the place to do it.  So while I hear y'all saying get her a wooden one; it's not really conducive to the environment she will be in; and also when you go from a 100+ degree car to the classroom that's like 68 degrees; CF for me is the way to go.

I've only "heard" my own CF violin before; only CF I know of; and it sounds quite good IMHO; but I hear horrible things about the Glasser. 

My daughter WANTS a CF; so not forcing one on her, she also finds the maintenance easier.

A "beater violin" for school and a nicer one at home is an interesting concept; but as I play a violin; I find playing on as nice of a violin as you can afford will encourage you to play more.  While in the upper strada; might not be that big of a difference; in the lower price range, most sound like trash.  

 

The other factor that I failed to mention is; I have to listen to her practice everyday; and selfish as it sounds; I can't really buy her a crap sounding violin; not just from a motivation side on her part; but also because I have to listen to it everyday; and I might go insane if it sounds like crap.

 

Those of you who recommend a wooden one over a CF; have you owned a CF before?

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11 minutes ago, 2blink said:

Those of you who recommend a wooden one over a CF; have you owned a CF before?

So my comment was somewhat snarky, but I have heard enough Glassers to fervently hope that I never hear another one. CF bows, on the other hand, can be very nice.

Your story about the $200 violin on Amazon is not surprising. I am not sure what you were expecting.

I would be quite confident in predicting that the vast majority of violins in Houston are of the wooden variety and are not moldy as petri dishes. High humidity is more likely to cause seam separations than mold, but if it is played and stored in air-conditioned spaces, there should be no problem with either.

 

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Well...if she's playing the good violin at home, that's the one you'd be hearing, and that's the one she'd be learning on. Hopefully it'll be great and she'll be motivated. ^_^

The beater is to get through school rehearsals. You are not there. It still has to be "good enough". I wasn't suggesting she play on something only suitable for kindling.

She'd also use the good violin for performances.

It doesn't hurt to use/play on more than one instrument. If anything it's a benefit.

Regardless...if you BOTH want CF, then get CF. Ultimately there's no reason you can't. Should it not work out, it's not the end of the world. As to which one...I'd have her try the ones within budget out and settle on the one she finds most appealing.

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3 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

So my comment was somewhat snarky, but I have heard enough Glassers to fervently hope that I never hear another one. CF bows, on the other hand, can be very nice.

Your story about the $200 violin on Amazon is not surprising. I am not sure what you were expecting.

I would be quite confident in predicting that the vast majority of violins in Houston are of the wooden variety and are not moldy as petri dishes. High humidity is more likely to cause seam separations than mold, but if it is played and stored in air-conditioned spaces, there should be no problem with either.

 

I don't mind snarky...  I hear a LOT about the Glasser CF and so it's very unlikely to make it as a pick.

That being said; every single violin in my daughter's orchestra is a "local rental" and looks like a chew toy; and sounds like one as well.  She's the only one that "owns" her own violin and from what I can tell; I'm the only parent that plays a violin.  After I posted this; I got curious; and including a more robust case; her entire current package is $581.38 (Before tax).  

The other problem I see with a "beater" concept is; if the sound of the beater vs the nice one is drastic; then she won't want to play on it.

 

Makes me think... so this is why musicians are always poor...

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Also, don't overthink it. ^_^

The beater isn't required to sound bad at all.

My "outside" violin was inexpensive and sounds just fine.  I enjoy playing it. The change is fun. 

Edited by Rue
Autocorrect is out to get me...
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15 hours ago, 2blink said:

Here in Houston; the summers are 98% humidity; and so if I want to grow mold on wood; this is the place to do it.  So while I hear y'all saying get her a wooden one; it's not really conducive to the environment she will be in; and also when you go from a 100+ degree car to the classroom that's like 68 degrees; CF for me is the way to go.

So, I live in Gainesville which has the same climate as Houston and I went to school in Houston. I know only a few people with CF instruments, they're all outdoor beater instruments. I've never heard of anyone's violin molding from the climate.

Under no circumstances should a wooden violin be left in a hot car. Ever.

You'd get much more bang for your buck if you bought a $2,000 or $5,000 wooden instrument.

But, then, we also need people trying out the new tech.  Every CF instrument I've heard is kinda buzzy/fuzzy and mediocre. But I haven't heard too many with any frequency.  Maybe they're getting better.  The bows certainly got better.

I think you need to try out the instruments to see. Ideally, a dealer would carry a few of them, but you may need to order a couple to try out.

You play violin.... are you any good?  I only ask because putting an instrument through its paces is sometimes better done by a professional. If you know any excellent violinists, I guarantee you they will be interested in helping you out with this shopping project. (Or at least I'd jump at the opportunity to try out a mid-range and a high-range CF violin...)

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3 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

............................You'd get much more bang for your buck if you bought a $2,000 or $5,000 wooden instrument.

But, then, we also need people trying out the new tech...................

1)  Agree enthusiastically!

2)  Yup.  Where would science be, without sacrificial guinea pigs?   :lol:

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12 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

So, I live in Gainesville which has the same climate as Houston and I went to school in Houston. I know only a few people with CF instruments, they're all outdoor beater instruments. I've never heard of anyone's violin molding from the climate.

 ( ... ) 

When travelling through Asia, there were many instruments that were damaged, not just bowed instruments. Humidity + time...

Some tropical areas of the globe do not dry out so much. Ever. In modern buildings or homes with at least one room with air conditioning, pianos and stringed instruments manage to survive.

Some host family homes are small. I will inevitably have to perform in their homes, so have been taking instruments that sound nicer at smaller volumes and for practice. Playing on a more powerful instrument is not effective in a small room. I remember watching all the little children covering their ears even at lower volumes, mostly to make fun of me, but they had a point. 

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15 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

 

You play violin.... are you any good?  I only ask because putting an instrument through its paces is sometimes better done by a professional. If you know any excellent violinists, I guarantee you they will be interested in helping you out with this shopping project. (Or at least I'd jump at the opportunity to try out a mid-range and a high-range CF violin...)

Is my playing any good..  that's a hard NO.  But my ear is excellent.  Her violin teacher's violin is $80K; and she is one of those that has a few dozen trophy's on her shelf; and she wasn't/isn't a fan of CF violins but mine changed her mind so much she's probably going to buy one.  So I would like to get a few sent to me at the same time and audition them..  And I would like to do a double-blind; having her play all of them; and us blindfolded so we aren't biased; and pick #1,#2, #3 etc.. based purely on sound quality.   And then visa versa. 

 

On another thread; someone tried to argue with me that CF's sounds never improve... which is BS.  I OWN one; and so I can tell the sound has changed drastically just like any other instrument.  I also play a saxophone and my sax sounds quite different 10 years later.   

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1 hour ago, 2blink said:

...

On another thread; someone tried to argue with me that CF's sounds never improve... which is BS.  I OWN one; and so I can tell the sound has changed drastically just like any other instrument.  ...  

What's changed is how you play it and interpret the sound...

...in conjunction with any changes in set-up of course.

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7 hours ago, 2blink said:

Is my playing any good..  that's a hard NO.  But my ear is excellent.  Her violin teacher's violin is $80K; and she is one of those that has a few dozen trophy's on her shelf; and she wasn't/isn't a fan of CF violins but mine changed her mind so much she's probably going to buy one.  So I would like to get a few sent to me at the same time and audition them..  And I would like to do a double-blind; having her play all of them; and us blindfolded so we aren't biased; and pick #1,#2, #3 etc.. based purely on sound quality.   And then visa versa. 

 

On another thread; someone tried to argue with me that CF's sounds never improve... which is BS.  I OWN one; and so I can tell the sound has changed drastically just like any other instrument.  I also play a saxophone and my sax sounds quite different 10 years later.   

 

The double-blind test is a great idea.  Let us know how it goes.

But, really, $5,000 gets you a really nice sounding wooden violin...  

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7 hours ago, 2blink said:

I also play a saxophone and my sax sounds quite different 10 years later.   

We know for a fact that hearing changes over a person's lifetime, and it is therefore impossible for anybody to credibly say that the sound of their violin or other instrument has changed strictly because of age or playing because they cannot hear it with the same ears they had ten years ago. This is also assuming that no other tone-changing modifications have been made (identical strings, sound post, bridge, set-up, bow, etc.), which is also virtually impossible to prove or ascertain.

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4 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

We know for a fact that hearing changes over a person's lifetime, and it is therefore impossible for anybody to credibly say that the sound of their violin or other instrument has changed strictly because of age or playing because they cannot hear it with the same ears they had ten years ago. This is also assuming that no other tone-changing modifications have been made (identical strings, sound post, bridge, set-up, bow, etc.), which is also virtually impossible to prove or ascertain.

Carbon Fiber is just a interwoven sheet of carbon fiber encased in a epoxy like resin.  That's a liquid; and as I see when I had old cheap wooden bows "sag" on one side because it's been sitting in the case lying down one way quite a bit; epoxy is a liquid; and so it will change over time as well.  Micro-dents occur at nodal intervals depending on the sounds you are playing; and epoxy in extreme conditions will start to crack.  So physically the violin itself changes; and so to say those changes don't effect sound is ridiculous.  That said; is my hearing what it use to be?  Nope.  And can I guarantee that it's changed for the better/worse?  Nope.  But I adjusted the bridge the other day and the sound changed drastically..  to the point I got a flashlight and took a peek at the sound post to see if my moving of the bridge had loosened so much pressure that sound post moved a little...

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