New Violin Recommendation?

Best Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Strings and Things New Violin Recommendation?

This topic contains 27 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Great Scott Great Scott 3 months ago.

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)
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  • #63049

    Jim Bradley
    Participant

    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!

    Thanks,

    Jim

     

    #63057
    Steve Srader
    Steve Srader
    Participant

    Maybe you should think viola ?

    Fiddle man or Kennedy violins worth a look ?

    #63059
    Great Scott
    Great Scott
    Moderator

    Hi Jim,

    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.

    #63061

    Jim Bradley
    Participant

    That’s great information guys! Thanks!

    #63063
    rodger
    rodger
    Participant

    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.

    #63064
    Steve Srader
    Steve Srader
    Participant

    Kennedy Violins also has trial deals !

    #63070

    Joe
    Participant

    I don’t know where your from Jim, but if your close I have a nice Fried August Glass  German fiddle close to that price range. I just rarely get it out and play it anymore, cause I have acouple of others I play all the time. You can try it out.

     

    #63071
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    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!

    #63076
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Found a store  in Fargo, ND that will rent out violins.   May give that shot.

    #63077

    Jim Bradley
    Participant

    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?

    Jim

    #63090

    Joe
    Participant

    Jim I am near Tulsa, Oklahoma. I guess thats a far stretch from you.

    #63123
    Nancy Parker
    Nancy Parker
    Participant

    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.  ⭐️

    #63124
    Steve Srader
    Steve Srader
    Participant

    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 !

    https://youtu.be/BgZdlEBpIBI

    #63127
    Nancy Parker
    Nancy Parker
    Participant

    Me. again😑

    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.

    https://www.sharmusic.com/Pages/How-To/Strings/Strings-Chart/Violin-String-Chart/

    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).    –  nancy

     

     

     

     

    #63128

    fiddleharlot
    Member

    I owned German-made instruments for 50+ years. Very happy with the rich sound.

    #63129
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    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.

    #63134
    Edmo45
    Edmo45
    Participant

    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.

    #63135
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    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.

    #63137
    Edmo45
    Edmo45
    Participant

    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.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by Edmo45 Edmo45.
    #63143

    Jim Bradley
    Participant

    Thanks everyone!

    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!

    Jim

    #63144
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    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.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by cricket cricket.
    #63162

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    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!

    https://bluegrassdaddy.com/forums/topic/review-of-fiddles-under-500/

    #63166
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    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?

    #63540
    fishnfiddle1
    fishnfiddle1
    Participant

    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.

    #63541
    fishnfiddle1
    fishnfiddle1
    Participant

    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.

    #63563
    fishnfiddle1
    fishnfiddle1
    Participant

    Michael Richwine’s contact information is fiddlemage@gmail.com, 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.

    #63608

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hi fishnfiddle, thanks for the reference! It’s always nice to find good dealers who are endorsed by our members.

    #63772
    Great Scott
    Great Scott
    Moderator

    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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