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May 28, 2019 - 11:47:36 AM
11 posts since 5/28/2019

Hi. My daughter is going into high school and wants to continue on playing in the orchestra. She's been playing for 4 years. We used to have a rental and now I'm looking to purchase. Can I please get your input on these brands? Which do you prefer and/or recommend for an intermediate player. Ton-Klar Kayser or Dancla, Cremona SV-600, Scherl & Roth (circa 1987) or Strausberg VL20-44 "shop adjusted by Yamaha Musical Products to exceed M.E.N.C. Specs". Thanks in advance!

May 28, 2019 - 3:11:37 PM

Earworm

USA

56 posts since 1/30/2018

Do you have a local music shop, where where violins are sold so she can try out some instruments firsthand? It is the only way for her to really know what she's getting.

May 28, 2019 - 3:37:04 PM
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DougD

USA

9122 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

That's true, but have you checked out the online offerings from shops like Shar, Johnson Strings, Quinn, Southwest Strings and others? They will send instruments on approval, and if you don't like it you can return it. Also the instruments from Eastman and Gliga are often considered good values.
Without knowing your budget its hard to advise, but I think some of the violins you mentioned would be considered beginner/student instruments at best.

May 28, 2019 - 3:40:58 PM
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373 posts since 9/1/2010

I agree with Donna. However, if I had to pick based on brand/make from those you listed it would be between the Scherl & Roth and the Cremona SV-600. You can get a lot for your money with certain makers on ebay too. I have purchased two Yita Music violins there and they are the two that I play the most. I paid less than $300 each for both of them and I think they sound better than my others that exceed the $1,000 mark.

Even with the deals to be had online I recommend going to a store where she can demo instruments. Also, you need to consider the bow as an equal investment too. A good bow goes a lot further for me than a good violin.

May 28, 2019 - 4:04:23 PM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Earworm

Do you have a local music shop, where where violins are sold so she can try out some instruments firsthand? It is the only way for her to really know what she's getting.


Thank you. Unfortunately the music shop near us where we rented wanted $1300 for an intermediate Pegasus brand. Couldn’t find much reviews on that brand either. 

May 28, 2019 - 4:08:20 PM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

That's true, but have you checked out the online offerings from shops like Shar, Johnson Strings, Quinn, Southwest Strings and others? They will send instruments on approval, and if you don't like it you can return it. Also the instruments from Eastman and Gliga are often considered good values.
Without knowing your budget its hard to advise, but I think some of the violins you mentioned would be considered beginner/student instruments at best.


Thank you for the suggestion on checking online music shops. I didn’t know some shops will do that. I’m trying not to spend more than $500 on a violin because my daughter has been playing both violin and bass tho she’s leaning more towards the violin for high school. I’ve found some of the above mentioned brands in good-very good conditions for less than $400. I don’t mind spending a little bit more for a well made violin of course.

May 28, 2019 - 4:11:44 PM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by rosinhead

I agree with Donna. However, if I had to pick based on brand/make from those you listed it would be between the Scherl & Roth and the Cremona SV-600. You can get a lot for your money with certain makers on ebay too. I have purchased two Yita Music violins there and they are the two that I play the most. I paid less than $300 each for both of them and I think they sound better than my others that exceed the $1,000 mark.

Even with the deals to be had online I recommend going to a store where she can demo instruments. Also, you need to consider the bow as an equal investment too. A good bow goes a lot further for me than a good violin.


Thank you for your response. I found quite a bit of info on the cremonas except i think they are made in China?  I couldn’t find much info about the other brands so I’m hesitant. I’ll check out the Yita too. :)

May 28, 2019 - 4:13:15 PM

Earworm

USA

56 posts since 1/30/2018

Does she take lessons? That teacher and/or her conductor are bound to know something about local resources. Also, she plays with other students, no doubt, and those students or their parents (who may also play) may be trading up, and looking for buyers. You don't have to pay $1300 for an intermediate instrument, but IMO, the lower the price, the smarter you have to be.

Edited by - Earworm on 05/28/2019 16:15:12

May 28, 2019 - 4:35:09 PM

373 posts since 9/1/2010

The Yita Music violins on Ebay that I mentioned are coming out of China as well. My experience has been excellent, but you really are taking a chance buying any instrument online.

Doug's idea of dealing with Shar, Johnson, etc...is a very good one because that way she could at least decide after playing a few.

I have pics in my profile of the last Yita Violin I purchased and the one i'm playing in my profile pic is the other one. They auction some and have others at set "buy it now" prices. The deals are to be had with the auctions if you decide to go that route.

I wish you luck in finding the right one.

May 28, 2019 - 5:21:16 PM

DougD

USA

9122 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

The problem with local "general purpose" music stores is that their prices are often inflated and they also may not even know much about violins. If there's a specialty violin shop in your region it can be worth a longish drive to visit. The advantage to the online stores (most of which are actual brick and mortar shops) is that you can see what they have in your price range and then call them for advice. I think most will be genuinely helpful.
Of course there are also used instruments, but you might need a little trusted guidance there.
Several members here have purchased Chinese violins on ebay and been very satisfied, but sometimes it took a couple tries.

Edited by - DougD on 05/28/2019 17:24:27

May 28, 2019 - 7:06:37 PM

bluenote23

Canada

102 posts since 7/27/2016
Online Now

For $500 you could get a used Eastman 305 or 400 series (or maybe higher number series. Eastman's go up in series number as the price goes up). Out of all the chinese violins, they probably have the best reputation (partly because they have been making them seriously for longer than the other chinese workshops).

May 28, 2019 - 9:00:14 PM

2209 posts since 12/23/2007

Almost all violins under $2000-3000 are made in China. You cant escape it, but there really are good instruments , you just have to buy from somebody trustworthy and knowledgable.

Setup is just as important or more than the instrument. Improper string height etc could result in discouragement, or even injury.

There are not many big brands. There are no monoliths like Yamaha here. Every good shop will have their China factory make the instrument, and then slap their own label in it. Because there are so many makers and so many sellers, the only way to know is to play them yourself.

$500 will not typically get you an intermediate violin. Maybe a good fiddle.

Save yourself the headache of the chase and buy from Shar or SW strings. They generally have good prices and are extremely reputable.

May 29, 2019 - 6:04:41 AM
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11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bluenote23

For $500 you could get a used Eastman 305 or 400 series (or maybe higher number series. Eastman's go up in series number as the price goes up). Out of all the chinese violins, they probably have the best reputation (partly because they have been making them seriously for longer than the other chinese workshops).


Thank you. I’ll look into the Eastmans as well. I have seen them in the sites I’ve been stalking. :)

May 29, 2019 - 6:11:15 AM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

Than quote:
Originally posted by amwildman

Almost all violins under $2000-3000 are made in China. You cant escape it, but there really are good instruments , you just have to buy from somebody trustworthy and knowledgable.

Setup is just as important or more than the instrument. Improper string height etc could result in discouragement, or even injury.

There are not many big brands. There are no monoliths like Yamaha here. Every good shop will have their China factory make the instrument, and then slap their own label in it. Because there are so many makers and so many sellers, the only way to know is to play them yourself.

$500 will not typically get you an intermediate violin. Maybe a good fiddle.

Save yourself the headache of the chase and buy from Shar or SW strings. They generally have good prices and are extremely reputable.


Thanks so much for the advice. I’m giving myself 3 more weeks to chase and research and then jumping on one. We went to other music stores in the area and they’re all quite expensive and definitely the online stores have better pricing by the hundreds. Did pull up SHAR and SW sites yesterday and will dig in more today. :)

May 29, 2019 - 9:19:19 AM

mrneil2

USA

9 posts since 4/7/2018

I agree you can’t go wrong with an Eastman. Well made with a pleasing sound. Good resale value also as they are a known entity. VL-200 and above as fits your wallet. 

May 29, 2019 - 9:34:14 AM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by mrneil2

I agree you can’t go wrong with an Eastman. Well made with a pleasing sound. Good resale value also as they are a known entity. VL-200 and above as fits your wallet. 


Thank you for the info and for including a model number I should be looking at. Very helpful! 

May 29, 2019 - 9:57:59 AM

bluenote23

Canada

102 posts since 7/27/2016
Online Now

I have an Eastman 908 which is a pretty nice violin. The VL200 is a student violin. I have never played one and I don't really know what that term 'student' implies.

Some folk here play VL 305s and report good results. The VL401s and 402s (Ivan Dunov) also have good anecdotal internet reviews. These are a step up from 'student' violins but cost new, a lot more than your budget.

On ebay however, these instruments get lumped in with other chinese violins and can be found at pretty good prices sometimes (sometimes, you have to be patient and diligent). As used instruments, unless they have been abused, they are probably also set up to play.

Edited by - bluenote23 on 05/29/2019 09:59:46

May 29, 2019 - 10:02:25 AM

4118 posts since 9/26/2008

But know this: amwildman sold me his Eastman which was a few notches above the VL-200 and he sold it because he needed a better violin for playing up the neck (as per his instructor). That and a few other reasons. Aaron can correct me if I'm wrong.

May 29, 2019 - 10:04:49 AM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bluenote23

I have an Eastman 908 which is a pretty nice violin. The VL200 is a student violin. I have never played one and I don't really know what that term 'student' implies.

Some folk here play VL 305s and report good results. The VL401s and 402s (Ivan Dunov) also have good anecdotal internet reviews. These are a step up from 'student' violins but cost new, a lot more than your budget.

On ebay however, these instruments get lumped in with other chinese violins and can be found at pretty good prices sometimes (sometimes, you have to be patient and diligent). As used instruments, unless they have been abused, they are probably also set up to play.


Thank you for the advice. I’ve been searching several auction and sales sites for different brands. Knowing which model to look for is very helpful. I’m in no hurry to purchase since my daughter is currently playing the bass and she doesn’t start high school until Aug. Wanted to give myself time to replace/upgrade easy parts to have it play better. Also been looking at bows. What do you think of carbon fiber bows? 

May 29, 2019 - 12:32:27 PM

bluenote23

Canada

102 posts since 7/27/2016
Online Now

A friend had an inexpensive Fiddlerman carbon fibre bow that I tried. It was okay but the tone of my relatively cheap Ebay Yita bows were much nicer and I think they handled a bit better.

A forum member bought a Yita carbon fibre bow. It was $125 or $165 or so (it was their most expensive model) and was very impressed with it saying it compared well to his pernambuco bows worth several hundred dollars.

As a result, I bid on some of Yita's pernambuco Master model bows. On auction these average a little under $200 before shipping. It's not exactly hit or miss but you need to understand the weight and balance points in order to have an idea of what you are bidding on.

I won three auctions. One of the bows, I really like a lot. The other two are okay (better than the Fiddlerman carbon bow) but not as nice as my favorite to my taste.

For Eastmans, just remember that the higher the model number, the better the instrument should be. My Eastman 908 sold for $2695 in 2002 but I have seen three for well under $1000 in the past on Ebay (though one had a grafted neck). When I got my violin, the same seller only managed $400 for an Eastman Ivan Dunov 405 on auction. So you can find them heavily discounted.

Edited by - bluenote23 on 05/29/2019 12:39:43

May 29, 2019 - 2:10:03 PM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bluenote23

A friend had an inexpensive Fiddlerman carbon fibre bow that I tried. It was okay but the tone of my relatively cheap Ebay Yita bows were much nicer and I think they handled a bit better.

A forum member bought a Yita carbon fibre bow. It was $125 or $165 or so (it was their most expensive model) and was very impressed with it saying it compared well to his pernambuco bows worth several hundred dollars.

As a result, I bid on some of Yita's pernambuco Master model bows. On auction these average a little under $200 before shipping. It's not exactly hit or miss but you need to understand the weight and balance points in order to have an idea of what you are bidding on.

I won three auctions. One of the bows, I really like a lot. The other two are okay (better than the Fiddlerman carbon bow) but not as nice as my favorite to my taste.

For Eastmans, just remember that the higher the model number, the better the instrument should be. My Eastman 908 sold for $2695 in 2002 but I have seen three for well under $1000 in the past on Ebay (though one had a grafted neck). When I got my violin, the same seller only managed $400 for an Eastman Ivan Dunov 405 on auction. So you can find them heavily discounted.


Thanks so much for all the helpful info. I found a couple Eastman 305s that I’m watching and waiting on. :)

May 29, 2019 - 2:23:35 PM

DougD

USA

9122 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

As far as carbon fiber bows, they are probably more durable, and potentially more consistent than wooden ones (I'm a little out of my depth here as I've never even played one). Better than the worst wooden ones, and probably not as good as the best. However, carbon fiber bows are available in a wide range of quality and price, but quality may track better with price than with wood bows. In other words, you mighf be more likely to "get what you pay for." The bow is very important, and it would be good if your daughter can "try before you buy." Again, the good online stores will send bows on approval so she can try them.

May 29, 2019 - 2:29:51 PM

11 posts since 5/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

As far as carbon fiber bows, they are probably more durable, and potentially more consistent than wooden ones (I'm a little out of my depth here as I've never even played one). Better than the worst wooden ones, and probably not as good as the best. However, carbon fiber bows are available in a wide range of quality and price, but quality may track better with price than with wood bows. In other words, you mighf be more likely to "get what you pay for." The bow is very important, and it would be good if your daughter can "try before you buy." Again, the good online stores will send bows on approval so she can try them.


Thanks so much. We’ll definitely go to a local store and check out the bows. We’ve been concentrating on the violin that I didn’t even realize the bow plays a major part too.

May 29, 2019 - 2:36:54 PM
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DougD

USA

9122 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

Yes, some people would say that the bow is even more important than the violin. You may find the same problems in local stores that I mentioned earlier - inflated prices and lack of knowledge. Your daughter really needs to play the actual bow you might buy - even with carbon fiber there may be variation. Here's a discussion of carbon fiber bows that seems pretty good to me: consordini.com/best-carbon-fib...lin-bows/

May 29, 2019 - 2:41:27 PM

DougD

USA

9122 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

PS - There is also a review of violins at the bottom of that page. It does not include Eastman or Gliga instruments, but I suspect there mighf be commercial reasons for that.

Edited by - DougD on 05/29/2019 14:48:29

May 29, 2019 - 2:42:58 PM
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2209 posts since 12/23/2007

My Eastman 305 was just fine. It just only had a basic setup. There fingerboard didn't have much scoop etc. It would play, I just had to work to get clean tone in the upper positions. My normal luthier was not doing repairs at the time, so I elected to get a new fiddle.

Setup is just as important the instrument itself.

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