How to find the violin that suits you the best.

FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS IN THE CHOICE OF THE VIOLIN

The choice of the instrument is generally linked to the level of the person who acquires and is influenced by the needs / budgets of each.

We could divide this section into two blocks:

A) Types of violins
B) Level of the person who purchase it.

It is advisable that if you do not have much notion about the instrument, your teacher should choose it for you or at least advice you, as he knows your level and what violin suits you.

Variety of violins:

We could say that there are 4 types of violins which adapt to the level of the student or professional:

1.Professional Violins:

These violins are manufactured for teachers, since for them the sound of the bell is more demanding, they must have an authentic appearance, with character and richness in their musical notes.

2. Concert Violin:

These are manufactured 100% by hand and very good materials, their designs are outgoing and their manufacture allows you to have an advanced violin configuration.

3. Study Violin.

These violins cannot compete with those previously named, but it has certainly been their aim. The way it’s built is convenient for beginners because it is made without high mechanics and low woods quality.

4. Advanced Study Violins.

There are violins that have wood of 5 to 7 years of drying for their manufacture. It´s made 100% by hand but their price is reduced due to its a mass-produced to lower costs because they are expecting to reach more public. They outperform the study violins in quality.

Focusing the purchase according to the student degree:

 We will be able to do a partition of the degrees in 3 levels:

Level 1: Beginner Degree.
Level 2: Advance Degree
Level 3: Graduate and Postgraduate Degree/ Professionals.

Level 1.

Beginner Violin. As this will be your first musical instrument, it would be advisable to buy it with someone who has notions about the violin. That person who usually is your teacher will tell you if it sounds better than its price indicates or vice versa. Ideally, go to specialized and trusted stores.

Above all, these violins do not sound very good but they are resistant enough and withstand quite well the abuse of a beginner.

The first thing we should look at is the brands we have within our reach.

Recommended brands: 

– Cremona

– Stradella

– Palatine

– Giuseppi

– Gliga

Not recommended brands: 

– Corelli

– Strasse

The usual and easy brands that we can find in many countries are Stentor, Kreutzer, Corina, Rapsody, Carlo Giordano among others.

Once decided, you should check that the violin doesn’t have manufacturing defects such as curved fingerboard, the wood is not cracked, etc.


We have to take into account the bow and make a review of it. To do this, place the screw of the bow between the eyes and look towards the tip ensuring it is straight.

Violins are built just for them to sound but it is convenient to make a tuning. This includes checking and adjusting pegs so that they work properly; review the nut that is usually too high; Check the sound-post and adjust to the best position if it ́s possible. If it´s damaged it need to be replace it. Have a look at the bridge and furbishing it to have the perfect height and fit on the lid.

(All this check must be done by a Luthier)

Level 2.

In this moment of your career, we recommend high and semi-professional studio violin. We can add in this category  the Luthier ́s violins, Top brands of high ranges, recognized brands, etc.

We need to find out the type of wood with which the violin was make. (This is a very important point that we will talk about in another post).

Maple wood on the bottom cover and on the sides. It is recognized by the flame, look through the sound holes to be sure that it is not a false flame, you must also see it inside.

There are several types of maple woods:

• Maple negundo.
• Maple palmatum.
• Maple pseudoplatanus.
• Maple saccharum.
• Rubrum maple.

It depends on which one we use will be more or less flamed.

Flame maple (tiger maple), also known as flamed maple, curly maple, ripple maple, fiddleback or tiger stripe, is a feature of maple in which the growth of the wood fibers is distorted in an undulating chatoyant pattern, producing wavy lines known as “flames”. This effect is often mistakenly said to be part of the grain of the wood; it is more accurately called “figure”, as the distortion is perpendicular to the grain direction. Prized for its beautiful appearance, it is used frequently in the manufacturing of fine furniture and musical instruments, such as violins, guitars, and bassoons.

There are few points to consider before we buy it:

1.We use spruce for the top cover which draws fine lines along the wood and Ebony (black wood) for the fingerboard.

2. It is also advisable to look at possible manufacturing errors such as the fingerboard is not
curved, the wood is not crack, etc.

3.The varnish: It must be a natural varnish. The difference in finish will be noticeable.

4. Carving and finishing in general: The wood must be well carved and not disfigured, disproportionate, crooked, patched, etc.

5. It is important to play it before you buy it.

Level 3.

In addition to what was seen in the previous level, when purchasing a professional and high-end violin, the ear must be taken into consideration, at this point you need to look for something more than a beautiful aesthetic in your instrument, you need to play it, feeling it and especially listening to it.

We have to buy a violin that suits our tastes, technique and style.

When you are going to buy a violin or any another instrument you have to play it and have several to choose from, it is recommended that someone else also play it so that you can hear the instrument’s sound from another perspectiveThat would give you a clearer idea of the type of sound, its scope and volume.
You have to take into consideration when buying an old violin that it has no repairs and if it does, to do not have too many. An old violin is generally more expensive than a modern one although sometimes a new/ modern violin can sound just as good as an old one.

Where to buy them?


You can buy the violins in music stores, luthiers workshops or internet (the last choice is not the best idea since it is better to play it before you purchase it).

The best place where to buy them is in a luthiers workshops since they can advice you better than anyone due to their profession is to build them so as a result they can help you choose the one that best suits your needs and at the same time give you information about constructive characteristics of it, which are very important if you are going to buy a professional or concert violin.

The Luthier´s shops usually have all range of violins adapted to the level of the person who is going to purchase them and a wide range of prices.

There are also rooms inside the shop with good sound quality where you can play the instruments that you ́ve selected, to clarify it will help you to decide which one you want to buy. 

In conclusion, as we ́ve said in several occasion the most importantly it practices with them before you purchase the violin that suits you better.

Webgraphy

Living pianos video. Choosing the right musical instrument to study.(2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkvlCPrACJk

NPR Music. Finding True Love: Helping Your Kid Choose The Right Instrument (2019).

https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2012/06/14/155034276/finding-true-love-helping-your-kid-choose-the-right-instrument?t=1587728553703

Bibliography

González Portillo, T. (2016). La guía del músico profesional. España: Gran Pausa.

Siminoff Roger, H. (2002). The luthier´s handbook. Hal Leonard

Irene BejRod.

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