How To Buy Your First Violin.
How to buy your first violin
Buying your first violin can be pretty challenging: there’s not a lot visually to separate good ones from bad ones, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, how do you separate a cheap, toy-like instrument from a high quality instrument that you're actually going to enjoy playing? This guide should help:
Get the right size of instrument (yes, there’s more than one!)
A full-sized violin is known as a 4/4, and then the smaller they go, the more the fraction reduces: 3/4, 5/8, etc.
Typically, you should choose your instrument based on how big your arm is. This is simply a case of trying a number of different ones in the correct position and seeing which instrument fits.
This is important: if you have to constantly over-stretch or strain to play, you will end up in some discomfort. You'll also damage your chances of learning the correct muscle memory (which is a vital part of playing an instrument).
Don’t be too cheap.
A good violin will usually cost at least £400 or so. This may seem like a lot (especially if you know any guitarists, who're able to get decent instruments for under £200), but it's still worth making the investment: it is possible to get violins for less than this, but they will be sub-standard and almost toy-like. (It's worth noting that professional grade instruments tend to start at around £2,500).
Test the sound out by getting someone else to play it.
Instruments simply don't sound the same from the front as they do to the player. As a result, it's a good idea to get someone to actually play the thing to you, whether they're a friend who also plays or one of the workers in the shop you’re buying from.
Is it worth renting?
It can be tempting to rent an instrument rather than pay up front, simply because it means having to have less money in the bank initially. However, this is usually a bit of a false economy. Fees, for instance, can add up pretty quickly: a year’s worth of rental is typically enough to pay for a good violin. Also, a well-chosen, quality instrument will typically retain its value, and return a lot of its cost should it be re-sold. Indeed, because sound in wood instruments improves over time, they may even increase in value.
Make sure you can get a return
Any reputable seller knows that beginners might not get on with a particular instrument, even if it’s a perfectly good one. As such, they will usually have returns policies in place that will give you a week or so to be really sure that a particular violin is for you. Take advantage of this!