How to Buy a Violin for Beginner
So, you've made the exciting decision to delve into the world of the violin. Whether it's for yourself or your child, the prospect of learning a musical instrument is both thrilling and a bit overwhelming. The market for violins is extensive, with options ranging from dirt-cheap to astronomically expensive. Navigating through it all can be daunting, especially if you're not sure if this is a long-term commitment.
In this article, based on insights from Joel Kennedy of Kennedy Violins, we'll guide you through the crucial factors to consider when buying a beginner's violin. Avoiding common pitfalls can save you money, time, and a good deal of frustration.
1. Budget Considerations
When looking for your first violin, don't make the mistake of splurging on an expensive instrument right off the bat. Generally, you can get a decent beginner violin for around $250-$350. Violins within this price range may not offer the most exceptional sound quality or the most beautiful craftsmanship, but they can serve you well as you learn the basics.
Violin shops often offer higher-quality instruments compared to general music stores, but their prices might be steeper. Therefore, your budget may not allow for a shop-purchased violin, but if it does, you're more likely to get a quality instrument.
2. Choosing the Right Shop or Online Store
Purchasing a violin from a reputable source cannot be stressed enough. If you go to a local music shop that also sells other types of instruments like drums or band instruments, you should probably look elsewhere. Stringed instruments require specialized knowledge, and generalized stores may not offer the expertise needed for a quality purchase.
If you're considering purchasing online, it's crucial to look at reviews. In the case of Amazon, make sure to read several reviews and scrutinize them for authenticity. Fake reviews, usually identifiable by repeated phrasing and grammatical errors, can be misleading.
3. The Importance of Set-Up
Whether buying in-store or online, ensure that the violin comes fully set-up and, if possible, that the set-up is done in the USA. Many inexpensive violins come set-up from China, and the quality control can be lacking. From loosening strings to leaning bridges, the issues that arise from poor setup can make the learning experience frustrating.
Remember, some online stores might not offer a set-up service, expecting you to install the strings and bridge yourself. This is a red flag. A poorly set-up violin will lead to a plethora of issues that can hinder your progress.
4. Quality of Strings
The strings are your violin's voice, so their quality is critical. Look for American or European-made strings from recognized brands like D'Addario (Helicore, Preludes, etc.) or European brands like Thomastik or Pirastro. Most of the time, you'll find D'Addario Prelude strings on beginner violins, which are a decent choice for novices.
5. Bonus: Check the Accessories
A good violin case and shoulder rest can enhance your playing experience. While not a strict necessity for the quality of the instrument itself, these accessories are an added bonus. If the case is not a full oblong case or the shoulder rest appears tiny, this might be an indication that you're looking at a lower-quality set-up.
While there's much more to consider when investing in a violin, these five key points offer a strong foundation for making an informed decision. Navigating the world of violins can be complicated, but keeping these guidelines in mind will ensure that your first experience in this musical journey is a positive one.
So go ahead, apply these tips, and may your path in the world of violin be melodious and fulfilling!