CHEAP VIOLINS FOR KIDS
Buying a beginner violin can be a little scary if it’s the first time you’re doing it. You have an overwhelming number options.
Especially confusing is the fact that there is no real consensus as to what the specs are of a “student violin” vs. a “professional violin.” But, a professional violin usually doesn’t have a model number, is painstakingly hand-carved using rare wood, and costs tens of thousands of dollars. You don’t need all that for your beginning student.
So, why not just go on amazon and get a cheap violin? Doesn’t it make sense not to spend much so that your budding young musician can “try it out” before making a bigger investment? A cheap violin seems to make perfect sense.
But wait, a cheap violin on amazon always requires a lot of work to make playable. You’ll need to spend money to get it properly adjusted, better strings, a decent bow (not the lame one that came in the case), a fitted bridge and sound post, possibly new tuning pegs and fine tuners. Hold on! You just spent more money than it cost to buy a decent student violin.
MAINTENANCE AND CARE
Like most musical instruments, the violin requires maintenance occasionally. You should expect a few broken strings from time to time. It just happens with violin family instruments.
If the same string breaks often, have your repair person examine the violin to make sure something is not out of adjustment. Upgrading to perlon core strings can give a violin a much more pleasing tone, and is often worth the investment. Violin bows need to be rehaired every year or two depending on the amount of playing.
Because the instrument is made of wood and is held together with glue it is very susceptible to heat and humidity changes. Leaving the violin in a car in the heat will often cause it to come apart or crack. If an instrument gets too cold it can crack also.
When transporting your violin, keep it in the passenger compartment of the car, not in the trunk because the trunk can get very hot or very cold and cause serious damage.
Rosin is used on the bow to make it grip the strings. Dust from the rosin will collect on the fingerboard and on the top of the violin. This rosin dust should be wiped off with a soft cloth regularly or it can build into a hard unsightly layer which will have to be professionally removed.
CHEAP VIOLINS ARE NOT CHEAP
Cheap violins come out of the box with low-quality strings that ride too high on the violin, making them harder to press down, especially for beginners. The bridge is often “down” and not fitted for the violin. Tuning pegs often slip and finer tuners are often non-existent. The bow is frequently so inferior that it will never play properly
Many violin buying guides will tell you not to buy online, and to only buy violins you have tried out first while other say it is best to first start with an inexpensive violin, develop skills and experiment with personal preferences and get a general feel for the violin. Then, when you are ready, we can show you what to look for when you visit violin shops to find a professional violin.
But getting that “feel” is impossible with an instrument that basically doesn’t work. We call these instruments “VSOs” = which is short for “Violin Shaped Object”.
You might be tempted to buy one of the cheap violins advertised all over the Internet – “cheap violins” being anything under about $300.
Don’t do it.
Having a cheap violin will make an already-difficult skill even more difficult to learn and will cause persistent frustration in your practice. Your violin will refuse to be in tune, the angle and placement of the strings will be off, the tone of the instrument will be squeaky and unappealing, and the tuners will likely bend and break. Your child will become frustrated and quit. Why do this?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Violins are made of wood, and wood is affected by the environment. Because of this it is important to examine the body of any violin (new or used) to make sure that there are no cracks in the top or back.
Well repaired cracks in the top of an older instrument may not be a problem (Seek the advice of a teacher or violin maker), but cracks in the back of an instrument can depreciate its value as much as 75 percent.
Examine the ribs (sides) of the violin to make sure that they are not bulging out beyond the edges of the top or back. This happens because wood that is not well seasoned will shrink noticeably when it dries out.
As the top and back shrink, the ribs begin to bulge. Most instruments of reasonable quality do not have this problem, because close attention is given to curing the wood properly. It is also not uncommon to find this problem in used instruments over 50 years old regardless of quality.
If everything else is in good order, this may not be cause to reject a used violin, but consult your violin repair shop concerning repair costs before making such a purchase.
Check to make sure that the neck of the violin is straight. Occasionally an instrument is made wrong, and somehow slips through the adjusting process unnoticed.
Make sure the bridge is centered between the f-holes, then sight up the fingerboard to see if it aligns with the bridge. If the bridge must be off-set toward one side or the other to make the strings and fingerboard line up you have a problem.
“Set up” on violins is very important. This includes proper bridge and string nut fitting so that the strings are a proper height from the fingerboard, fingerboard planing to make sure the strings don’t buzz, peg fitting so the pegs turn smoothly and stay in place, and setting the soundpost for proper tone adjustment, etc.
As a general rule, pegs should be made of ebony or rosewood because most other woods are not dense enough to retain the smooth roundness that is necessary for easy tuning.
Some music stores do not set up their own instruments, but well-known brands generally are shipped in good adjustment. Many violin shops do their own “set ups,” and work to meet the desires and specifications of local teachers and professional players.
Most violin outfits will have a case and bow included in the price. A fiberglass bow with horse hair is a good bow for beginners. A good wood bow can add $100 or more to the cost of a beginning violin outfit.
For step up violins, you will find the instrument, bow and case priced individually.
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Eastman Music Company
Founded in 1992, Eastman Music Company has established a reputation for their quality, traditional sound, and craftsmanship. Eastman is highly regarded for creating some of the finest instruments and accessories, and stands at the forefront of the creative development and marketing of musical instruments heard around the globe.
Superior durability by Yamaha
Woods are thoroughly dried under environmentally controlled conditions to increase durability and to create a reliable instrument.
High quality fittings by Yamaha
Chin rest, pegs and finger board are all made from ebony; offering value that is a step-up from instruments in the same price range. These are not cheap violins but they are affordably priced.
Carefully crafted by hand by Yamaha
Our fractional and full-size violins are crafted and finished by hand, to provide young musicians quality, without compromise, in their beginning instrument.