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Old 04-14-2005, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
Nobody Loves Me
 
Location: Irish In Madrid
Help me buy a violin!

My friend Dom wants to learn the violin, so he asked me to do some homework.
So, how much do they cost? Ive seen em on ebay for as little as a few bucks.
What should I look for when buying one for a beginner?
Electric violin or... acoustic! (?)
Any advice would be a lot of help.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-14-2005, 02:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Ellay
Your friend needs to decide whether he (she) wants to play electric or acoustic, violin or fiddle. I'd point out that you can put a pick-up on an acoustic violin, but you can't make an electric play and sound exactly like an acoustic. Then, Dom should find a teacher, because teaching yourself is really, really hard. The teacher can help recommend an instrument (or even try them out). As a musician, I'd rate it as very difficult to buy an instrument that you can't play yet, as you won't know what works for you or even the difference between good and bad (or better and worse). That, in particular, is why I'd recommend getting an experienced player to help you pick one out.

BTW, prices can range from a couple hundred bucks to several million. I'd stay at the bottom end of that range until learning how to play.
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Old 04-14-2005, 03:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Your friend needs to rent a violin at first. Buying one is silly, since if he gets good he'll want to upgrade to a much better instrument - one which would be a waste for him to buy now since we're unsure if he will continue wanting to play it
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: College
When I learned to play, which was over 10 years ago now, we hit pawn shops and found one for under $200. It also kinda depends on what they want to do with it. I played classical violin in school, but if you want to learn a different style, a different sort of teacher is required. In any case, I would highly recommend at least some classical training to learn the mechanics and how to read music (say, a year, six months mabye). Starting out, it's best to go cheap, and stay away from the electric stuff.

How does it scale up? You can get a decent violin for $600-1000. The one I have now is worth about $2500, plus a $600 bow and a $300 case. It's suitable for playing in a decent university orchestra, or in a part time local/small city orchestra.

Hope it helps. If you have more questions, pm me.
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Old 04-16-2005, 12:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would personally recommend looking at websites like www.sharmusic.com or www.swstrings.com. These are companies dedicated to stringed instruments and offer the best packages for incredibly cheap. A beginner could play on a $100 instrument with a $25 bow and that will be all you need for a good long while. To start, try to find a bow made of brazilwood or pernambuco(this is a more refined version of brazilwood and much more expensive) and make sure it has real horsehair on it, not synthetic. The violin should have a spruce top with maple sides and back, and an ebony fingerboard (not ebonized!). There will almost definitely be fine tuners in the tailpiece (little knobs to help tune) but if there is only one, that's ok (It should be on the highest pitched, thinnest string). Check to make sure that underneath the bridge (which should be straight and unwarped) there is a soundpost that is "wedged" between the top and bottom of the violin. Look through the f-hole to make sure it is there; if not, the violin could implode under the string pressure. Make sure the tuning pegs turn easily, with a minimum of sticking or slipping. This ensures they are properly fitted. If the violin matches these criteria, you'll be more than good to go, and don't worry about how it sounds just yet.

Last edited by Dbass; 04-16-2005 at 12:46 PM..
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