Ok, so you made up mind and want to purchase a violin. Where do you go to buy your first beginner violin?
Amazon? Craiglist? Ebay? Online music retailer? Local music shop? Flea market?
So many options. My quick and simple advice is--Ask your teacher for recommendations!
Haven't found a teacher yet? No worries. Here is my recommendation:
1. Factory made instrument or handmade instrument?
The odds are if the violin is handmade, it is probably good quality.
If you go with a factory made violin, you might end up with a VSO (Violin shaped object)
Be cautious when considering a factory made violin.
Eastman, Klaus Muller, Yamaha, and Franz Hoffmann make decent instruments, however, I wouldn't recommend a violin that costs less than $100. The VSO may look great but after a while, things start to break. The bridge is not cut right or is too high, the strings are not good quality and break or become hard to tune, the tailpiece is one unit so when one tuner breaks, you can’t replace a single fine tuner, you have to replace the whole thing. The cost to fix up a VSO is just too high, it is worth investing a little more for a violin that will last you a while.
2. What is the right size violin for me?
Small sized violins are for younger players. Generally speaking, all adults and children over about 5 feet tall use full sized (4/4) violins.
If you want to find the right size for your child, the best way to do it is to try it out. Here are some tips when you try out the instrument--
If two violins (each a different size) seem to fit the player, choose the smaller size. It will be easier to hold up in playing position. This is especially important for a beginning player.
This size is perfect.
* The images above are from The Violin Shop.
If trying out an instrument is not an option, try the method below to find the correct size for you.
1. You almost always get the spotlight.
As a solo instrument, the violin section almost always gets the melody part in an orchestra, or in any combination of ensemble. That is because the violin has a higher pitch range, and it is much easier for the violin to stand out in a group. It is a no brainer for composers to let the violins play the melody.
2. You won't sound like the violin in your favorite music video for a long time.
You WILL hear some scratches and nosies when you first start on the violin. It is completely normal. It could take you days or weeks, but once you have found the perfect balance of weight using the bow, you are one step closer to playing your favorite song.
3. Your fingers/arm/shoulder will get sore.
This is the first thing I tell my beginning students, and my solution is---GET OVER IT. The violin position is unnatural, you can not find one activity in your daily life where you turn and lift your left arm for an extensive amount of time. Your left hand fingers will hurt from placing down on the strings. There is no way around it, but you will develop calluses over time, and you won't feel a thing by that time. However, if a student complains about pains in unexpected places or the pain won't go away, there is something wrong with his or her posture. Be sure to ask your teacher about it!
Welcome to the violin community! You will love it.
Welcome to my violin blog! After years of being asked the same questions over and over again, I realized there is lot of confusion and misunderstanding about playing the violin. I am super excited to start this blog and I hope it can help you answer some questions you may have about the violin.