Review of Fiddles Under $500
July 31, 2015 at 9:21 AM #36203
Please see this knockout review of the best fiddles under $500, by Great Scott. So much great information — it really is a must-read for anyone thinking of buying an affordable violin.August 1, 2015 at 12:10 AM #25775
Scott, this is so well done. Great formatting, with photos and video. This is the best post on affordable violins I have ever seen. You continue to amaze me!
Perfect price break — “I’m looking for something under $500” is a phrase I hear all the time by folks looking for a good intro instrument for themselves or their children. After reading this post, I feel like I can speak MUCH more knowledgeably about the various options out there. GREAT work, my friend.August 1, 2015 at 11:49 PM #25794
Keeps getting better! Awesome post, Great Scott.August 2, 2015 at 1:10 AM #25798
Thanks, bro! Glad you noticed.! Seems you’re the only one who has shown any interest. I’m sure Piere’s menbers would like it, tho. I’ll head on over there! 🙂August 2, 2015 at 11:48 PM #25840
Hahaha Scott you’re a rock star. But you’re still selling yourself short. Maybe it’s time for a new manager! With posts like this one, you could start your own web site! Nice addition of the Raggetti by Scott Cao. The Scott Cao lines are really pretty good, and it’s nice to hear they are making some thunder down under. I’m all for making the fiddle more accessible to the masses, and the under $500 violin makers are doing just that.August 3, 2015 at 8:54 AM #25842RockParticipant
I really enjoyed this article, Scott. You put a lot of time and effort in it. I like my fiddle but had I have had your review before I bought mine, I might have bought one on your list!August 3, 2015 at 3:23 PM #25847fiddle campParticipant
Wow awesome work on this Scott. This would have been a great resource when I was first looking to purchase mine. The one I bought is not on your list (Ricard Bunnel G1 from Kennedy Violins) but this list sure is a great resource for someone just starting out.
Pete56August 3, 2015 at 7:52 PM #25848JustineParticipant
Scott, thank you for compiling all of this helpful information in one place: quality violins at reasonable prices. I’m still going through it and, though not in a buying phase right now, am grateful to have all this information for the future in case I need it. You’ve shown that it takes a lot of thought and research to find the right violin! Also, I think most of these violins will improve in sound as they are played.August 3, 2015 at 8:46 PM #25850
John, Rock, Pete and Justine ~~ Thank all for your very kind words. You are all very encouraging and make me feel the effort was worth the undertaking.
I sincerely hope the reviews in this thread can be of some assistance to someone who might be considering purchasing their first fiddle, or even upgrading, and doesn’t want to experience a heart break buy buying a non-descript fiddle, aka a VSO (violin shaped object) from an obscure source on-line that could otherwise disappoint them and totally turn them off wanting to play the fiddle for life. The fiddle is such a difficult instrument to learn to play as it is, so why not buy something half-decent to begin with for a few hundred dollars, and enjoy the sound of it as well as the whole experience. That said, there are some nice fiddles to be bought on the Internet “auction” site(s) but you are buying a pig in a poke, and good fortune does not always favor those who buy a fiddle “sight unseen” off the Internet. Always best to go to a dealer / stringed instrument store in person and try a number of fiddles out to get the one you like.
I am afraid there is not a whole bunch of information on a few of the violins that are in this thread, and so I will be slow to add whatever information I can find about them.
I have tried to stay with the more well-known / familiar brand names that offer a quality product for the price. The fact is that there are just SO many name brands out there that it would be a waste of resources to try to list them all.
Love you all, 🙂
GSAugust 3, 2015 at 11:10 PM #25855
Fabulous. I can’t wait for google to index this page. It really is a concise and informative resource.August 8, 2015 at 7:08 PM #25977
Great update, Great Scott. I feel like this is the best resource on the internet for someone comparing violins under $500.August 8, 2015 at 7:34 PM #25979RockParticipant
Hi Scott, googled the Stentor when I first read your post. They showed a tour of the entire operation. I really really enjoyed it! We all think, made in China eek,
but as any company anywhere you have things made to the specks you want. I was impresses. We have a company here and they build lawnmowers. They could be making Club Cadet and change over to Troy built. All to each specks. Thanks for all you put into this.August 9, 2015 at 8:53 AM #25986JoeParticipant
Good reviews with alot of information. I got a gliga violin from a pawn shop an I love it. Very nice sound to it. I dont know what model it is, has a label in it in a different language with I think year is 2005. Might have been before they gave them the different names maybe. My luthier (who did the setup on it I use in Tulsa) said it was a very well made nice violin, worth alot more than what I had in it.August 9, 2015 at 4:35 PM #25989The future streetfiddler!Participant
Great Scott, you do a great work… looking forward to next episode:-)August 10, 2015 at 9:21 PM #26005
Tell me about it! It just got even better.August 10, 2015 at 9:27 PM #26006
Joe, thank you. I am glad you got yourself a nice Gliga. I have not played a Gliga violin but I was very close to buying one when I first began looking around for my first violin. Since I bought my Stentor 2 fiddle, I have seen and held a Gliga violin — their mid-range one — and it was a work of art and looked so finely crafted with a lovely oil varnish. I never heard it played though, but I imagine the sound would have been very good. You are very fortunate to pick up such a good deal. I have read that the earlier Gligas are a lot better than the newer ones. It just goes to prove that people don’t have to spend a small fortune to get a good sounding fiddle when there are still some great used fiddles out there. It’s just a matter of knowing where to find them, what to look for, as well as being in the right place at the right time. 🙂August 10, 2015 at 9:36 PM #26008
Thank you, Boerge. I hope you don’t think I was speaking too negatively about the Stentor violins. I know you have a Stentor 2 violin and perhaps you got a good one and you are very happy with it. I tried playing mine the other day (in between reviews, LOL!) and although it is playable, there is nothing about it that inspires me or makes me want to learn to play; so I put it back in its cage after a minute or two of petting.
There is a certain sound that I like in a fiddle and I know it when I hear it. Sadly, even my more expensive fiddle doesn’t offer this sound, and makes me not want to play. Yes, even for a lowly beginner, I have extremely rare tastes (likings). Oh Holy grail !!! Wherefore art thou? 🙂August 10, 2015 at 10:04 PM #26011
After a concert yesterday evening, I had dinner with a friend who has actually held and played both a genuine Stradivarius violin and a genuine Guarneri. He is a fantastic mandolin/guitar player, but does not consider himself to be a great fiddler, but he said it was without a doubt one of the sweetest instruments he has ever played. However, he was not blown away by it like he thought he would be. Today’s violin makers have become so proficient at creating copies, professionals actually seem to prefer the newer instruments in a blind test.
My point is, the gulf between expensive handmade instruments and cheap factory instruments is not expansive today as it was in decades past. As technology improves, mass-produced instruments are improving as well. This post by Great Scott presents a deep field of inexpensive instruments that sound, feel, and play as well as many mid-range, hand-made violins. Do they sound like a Strad? Probably not. However, beginner violinists of today are getting a lot more bang for their buck than when I was first starting out.August 12, 2015 at 11:41 AM #26060nagumaqParticipant
Nice thread friends, very interesting, knowing me, How fixing the old and broken is a thing, John s right, I had discussions with my violin making teacher about more quality for your buck, and so with him it goes like this, the old that have been played a lot will have a warmer tone than an old that s been hidden behind glass, however the new, like in China, in the small villages where money is not really the goal in life or cant be do to their government there, quality becomes the violin makers goal, they even do the old oil varnish witch in countries like France are so rare , the fiddle would cost well above 500,yet the one in China being sold on eBay out of an old poor town could be of the same quality as the one from France but would sell for under 250,yikes ! The new ones made in factories around are even hooked to a vibrating machine to mimick the good effects that once was only in a fiddle if played over 200 years constantly, the more the fiddle vibrates , the more the wood gets tuned. Oh my, I just love restoring the old ones, thought, I thought about getting a vibrating machine ?, btw, I still look on eBay almost daily for old fiddles under 200$ that with just a new ebony fretboard of50$ and luthiers 75$ to install it, often we get a sound better than fiddles going for 0000$$$
Have a great day,
GuAugust 12, 2015 at 11:07 PM #26078
Hi Gu, that is great insight. A vibration machine — who would have known? My first fiddle teacher told me to put my fiddle in front of the stereo, so it would get vibrated every time I listened to music. I have no empirical evidence, but I think it might have helped!
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