July 11, 2018 at 4:55 PM #63049
Wondering if anyone can offer a little direction?
I’m interested in a new violin, maybe in the $1,000 range. I play bluegrass and Celtic style, and would really like something with a darker, richer tone. Over the years, I’ve found myself shifting many tunes from G to C, just to avoid the screech of the E string. Something in a larger build also appeals to me.
Appreciate any advice!
JimJuly 11, 2018 at 6:49 PM #63057
Maybe you should think viola ?
Fiddle man or Kennedy violins worth a look ?July 11, 2018 at 7:43 PM #63059
Firstly , for that darker tone that you are looking for, you might like to investigate the Guarneri model of violin as opposed to the Stradivari model. The Guarneri style of violin is generally considered to be deeper, darker sounding with good projection. It has a slightly (slightly) different shape (bouts) and is slightly larger with the distinctive Guarneri sound holes shape. That said, it is always possible to find some Strad model violins with similar sound characteristics, especially if you look at pre-1950-made violins. If you decide on a Strad model then I would suggest that you look at the violins from Bulgaria — Gliga being just one reputable brand. The Gliga violins are considered to have a darker , warmer tone.
Second, where to buy? I have seen video reviews of some of the violins that Shar music has on offer. Most of those violins were the Carlo Lamberit brand from China but they also sell violins that are made in Europe. I personally would NOT pay the money for another Chinese – made violin. To me, they are way overpriced, especially when you consider the low wages that the workers in mass production in China are being paid. This seems to equate to huge profits on the side of the violin store. I personally think that to get anything decent in a violin, you should expect to pay a minimum of $1,500; however, you may still be able to find what you are looking for at a cheaper price.
With all due respect to Fiddlerman; and as much as I do business with his shop, I am sure that just about all of his violins are coming out of China. Therefore, I would suggest that you investigate Shar music, Kennedy’s and smaller string stores in your area. If I discover other places to buy or other information then I will post it here for you.July 11, 2018 at 7:58 PM #63061
That’s great information guys! Thanks!July 11, 2018 at 8:41 PM #63063
Jim, I’d say it’s a gamble to actually know what it sounds like unless you can try it out. Shar has a trial deal, where you can try it out and return it if you don’t like it. I live in a remote part of Canada which makes it really hard, so I called Shar and talked to a young fellow there on their staff that was a good player. I told him my situation, and decided to trust him to try out a bunch of fiddles in their stock and send me the best one of a quality model, with the particular qualities I was looking for. He took it as a challenge and did his best and responded to my blind trust by sending a fiddle I was really happy with. I didn’t realize at the time I could have done the trial thing, but this worked for me. Unless you can travel to the big shops & try them out, you just can’t have access to much of a selection.
You can get a great dark sound without sacrificing the high end also. It may be more sensitive to harmonic response on the high end, which forces you to learn how to nail those notes right on or they sound awful, but it is worth it, whatever it takes to get a fiddle that has a great sound. You may cringe at spending more to get that…until you try one out and learn how to get the sound out it, and you will consider it a great bargain.July 11, 2018 at 9:28 PM #63064
Kennedy Violins also has trial deals !July 12, 2018 at 6:31 AM #63070
JoeParticipantJuly 12, 2018 at 6:58 AM #63071
Hope you get your hands on the fiddle you’re looking for. You’ll have to show and tell here for us so we can drool over the choice you end up with!July 12, 2018 at 9:54 AM #63076
Found a store in Fargo, ND that will rent out violins. May give that shot.July 12, 2018 at 9:54 AM #63077
I live in Newfoundland, Canada. I’m guessing dropping by for a look won’t be convenient. However, I travel throughout the US and Canada for work on occasion, and depending on where you’re located, something just might work out. I’d love to check it out. Where are you located?
JimJuly 12, 2018 at 2:44 PM #63090
Jim I am near Tulsa, Oklahoma. I guess thats a far stretch from you.July 13, 2018 at 12:45 PM #63123
Hi Jim – Did you ever think of contacting Natalie McMaster about helping you find a violin. She plays your kind of music 😋
Just a thought. ⭐️July 13, 2018 at 1:56 PM #63124
Hey You said your violin is to sharp or bright try the Octave strings it will make your violin dark and mellow , check out the link !July 13, 2018 at 4:38 PM #63127
My first thoughts re: “the sound of your violin vs. the tone you wanted to achieve” was maybe a viola tuned as a violin; i.e., GDAE would be your answer. Then I thought that maybe you just need to change to a different brand name of strings.
Steve and I are “on the same page” 😊
Below is a chart that may help you.
Note: I remember reading an article, a while back in my STRINGS magazine, that some violinists do change their E-string to s different brand nane. I think it has something to do with what score they were playing.
My thought about checking w/Natalie McMaster was because she plays in Canada a lot and lives in Neva Scotia and probably has a lot of contacts (should you decide to purchase another violin). – nancyJuly 13, 2018 at 9:11 PM #63128
I owned German-made instruments for 50+ years. Very happy with the rich sound.July 14, 2018 at 7:15 AM #63129
I’m pretty happy with my genuine Chinese junque, 200 dollar thangs…lol…just sayin’…that works too…although maybe could I be less squawky with a higher grade? humm… possibly yes, probably no (a quote from Leonard Bernstein…remember him?)…anyway…happy shopping for the exact violin and strings you are seeking. But anything that holds pitch and can be played seems to conjure up a good amount of happiness.July 14, 2018 at 7:54 AM #63134
If you make it near Lexington, Kentucky, in your travels, there is a Quality Violin Shop there, called Old Town Violins…
They have Violins from $1000.00-$20,000…and will be happy to have you try any of them.July 14, 2018 at 8:18 AM #63135
OH gosh… or you could buy a new car…lol. Are you around the Lexington area, Ed? We’re not too far from there and we have a house fairly close.July 14, 2018 at 8:41 AM #63137
LoL….it’s amazing to me, too, Cricket, how much a musical instrument can cost. As a retiree, hobby player, I don’t think I could ever justify, or afford one, that cost that much.
And no, to living near Lexington. I live just north of Knoxville, TN. I just learned about Old Town Violins, recently, and thought that maybe, one day, I might ride up there to see and play, some of these nice instruments…to hear the difference.
I will echo, the thoughts posted by Scott, regarding Chinese Violins. They are affordable, beginner instruments…but lack any real depth or character. Those characteristics can only come with time, and age. I started with a Cecilio Cvn-300; upgraded to a higher quality, beautiful Violin, bought directly from a Chinese Luthier, after a couple of months. But, even with more expensive strings, it still lacked any depth in tone. Once I played the older instrument I now have, the difference, was immediately evident. Here was that deeper tone, the character, the quality I was looking for. Now, the limiting factor, on the quality of the music coming out of the instrument, is me, and my lack of ability. But now, when I do progress, or pick up a new skill, I am rewarded with that quality sound, I enjoy.
July 14, 2018 at 12:12 PM #63143
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Edmo45.
I rented a viola, removed the low C string, moved the remaining three strings up a notch, then added a violin E string. As a result, I’m now in standard violin tuning!
It’s ok, but the E has too much tension, and sounds out of balance with the three original viola strings. Still working on that, and I think there’s potential. Maybe it’s just a matter for finding the proper string gauge for the E? The viola feels much better in my larger hands, so I’d love to make this work.
I had a listen to the octave violin strings, and I love the tone, but I don’t think the tone would “cut through” with a band. Maybe for a special arrangement, or for recording though?
Really appreciate all your contributions!
JimJuly 14, 2018 at 1:37 PM #63144
Ed, we also have a house just north of Knoxville…Halls, or Halls Crossroads as it’s officially called. We used to live in Lafollette for a while…and very close to Jellico, but on the Kentucky side.
July 14, 2018 at 10:49 PM #63162
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by cricket.
Kennedy and Shar are to good online dealers.
Also, check out Great Scott’s article on Fiddles Under $500. You may find a good instrument for less!July 15, 2018 at 6:32 AM #63166
Because of Great Scott’s article, my grandson has a half size violin, and I’ve got my viola and cello. It was so easy to read up, in one spot, and compare low cost instruments to try to get the best we could afford. I’m still amazed at the Cecelio brands…my grandson’s violin, my viola, my cello…I can’t believe the quality of isntruments we have, each one for less than 200. I keep thinking…somethin’s gotta be wrong with that cello…lol. But so far…as an amateur fumbler, I think the sound is coming out much richer and better than it should be, for me. There are some great lower cost ones out there right now. But if you’ve got the dough for an expensive one…why not?July 24, 2018 at 10:48 AM #63540
I recommend you call Michael Richwine at KC Strings. He brings in made to order Chinese, then tweeks them to suit you. And is in the price range you indicate, if not less.July 24, 2018 at 10:50 AM #63541
I have a couple hundred to set up and sell myself, but have not done very well in getting them done, sooo busy enjoying retirement.July 25, 2018 at 7:48 PM #63563
Michael Richwine’s contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone 913 972-1521, nice shop next door to Krutz Violin Shop. He specializes in quality new “fiddles”. Build to his specs and set up for fiddlers rather than violinist. He has 5 strings and vintage instruments as well.July 26, 2018 at 11:25 PM #63608
Hi fishnfiddle, thanks for the reference! It’s always nice to find good dealers who are endorsed by our members.August 2, 2018 at 8:21 PM #63772
Thanks for the positive feedback re my article, Cricket. Glad to know you got a few bargains and are enjoying playing them.
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