Choosing a Violin and Bow

Choosing a Violin, New Versus Used

So what do you need to know if you are choosing a violin or deciding between buying a new violin or a used violin?

When choosing a violin, there is a misconception about used violins—they are not necessarily less expensive. Good violins maintain their value by providing good violin tone. But it is up to the person who had the instrument to determine how was this violin “used”. By the time it gets to you it could be not worth your time.

Make sure to ask yourself this question when choosing a violin: Am I buying a good instrument or a dud? Let’s be more precise: there is a certain expectation, something noble about the violin. Just because used the violin brand name sounds foreign doesn’t guarantee quality. Don’t expect that the gold or silver accent pegs make a better instrument.

When you are choosing a violin, you have to realize that many violins are produced in Europe and Asia. Countries to mention are: Japan, China, Korea Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. Instruments are often give a good-sounding German or Italian name. But it is not what you want to look for. You want to check the violin tone and that can only be done by hearing it being played.

Rules for Choosing a Violin

When choosing a violin, you need to be very aware of the quality of violin tone you will get from that particular instrument. This will be determined by the violin itself and can be affected by the violin strings. You may want to check that the violin strings are good quality, you can just ask about that when you are choosing a violin.

There is no doubt that quality matters when choosing a violin, whether you have a violin rental or a new violin. When selecting a violin we recommend sticking to few basic rules:

1. Time — Determine if you are into violin lessons for the long or a short haul. If your student is just beginning, we recommend renting a violin for the first year to make sure they like playing and that they can stick to a practice schedule. If the first year is successful, in your opinion, then you can think about buying a new violin or a used violin instead or renting.

3. Merchant — Buy a violin from the merchant that has a good warranty. No question asked returns are always welcomed. It would be nice if they can help you choose the proper violin size and bow size. They also should not hestitate to work with you in selecting an instrument with good tone.

2. Tone — With time you will develop a preference for the violin tone. Keep in mind that the smaller the instrument, the more limited will be the violin tone. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that except wait for your student to grow.

4. Size — When choosing a violin, violin size and bow size is important. Improper sizing will lead to improper technique. Improper technique can lead to injury if the student plays long enough. Of course, for an injury to occurr will take years of playing improperly. Even when renting a violin, you need to make sure you have the proper size. Refer to the violin sizing chart if you need more information.

5. Ultimately it is practice, practice, practice. I know of a family that used for large part of their daughter’s violin education a Larkin and outfitted the Larking with quality violin strings. Now, many years later, they have allowed her to choose a high quality violin and are willing to spend considerably more because she has proven herself.