“You get what you pay for“
This statement is probably made at least once a day if not more. When people try to economize and lower their spending, it does not always work and their ears hear that phrase from their friends and relatives. This process also works for violins. There are violin brands to avoid because those violins are not made that well, have a lot of flaws and just do not sound right. With violins, you do get what you pay for.
To find out which brands you should avoid, just continue to read our article. It has the list as well as other vital information to help you keep you and your children on the right musical path.
Why is it important to have the right violin
Some people may not think twice about this issue and go out and buy any old violin that meets their budget. There are people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a violin as it is possible that they or their children do not have the dexterity, the ear, or the talent to play this instrument.
The cheap violin is just a test to see if those qualities are present. Unfortunately, a badly made violin just does not have the right sound for beginners and that make sit harder for them to master the instrument.
That is a shame as the hidden talent may be lost as young learners give up , thinking they cannot play the violin. The world loses another talent to the influence of a badly made violin.
This reason alone should be enough motivation to sacrifice a bit, go out and buy a better violin brand and give you or your child the helping hand you and they need.
Violin brands to avoid
No one wants to be sued so specific brand names will not be mentioned here. Suffice it to say that if the violin is being sold on eBay, chances are it is a brand of violin you want to avoid.
But to help you identify those brands without harming someone’s reputation. Here are some criteria you should look for in those cheaper violins and avoid them like the plague if they are there:
1. The tailpiece, pegs and fingerboard are made from plastic-
Not only is the plastic fragile and easy to break, the plastic needs frequent tuning and cannot hold the pitch very well
2. The violin body is made out of composite wood-
There is a lot of pressure placed on the body even when it is inactive. Composite wood can’t handle the pressure
3. Its too good to be true-
Famous brands advertised for a price far under its value usually mean that the violin is no good. Although, gems have been found under this category so don’t ignore the ad right away. Learn what to look for in a good violin and compare the one on sale with a quality violin
4. There is paint on the fingerboard-
The color should be ebony and unfortunately the ethics of some sellers have them painting the fingerboard black. If you see paint— run.
What are Chinese violin brands to avoid
This is a difficult question to answer and some people respond with the simple phrase, “all of them.” Those people may be right as violins made in China are not hand made by one person as potential buyers are led to believe.
Usually, the way it works is that the violin factories sell ‘blank’ violins to the distributors or wholesalers who then place their own brand on them. These labels are numerous and designed to mislead people into thinking the violins were crafted by someone in Europe or some other respected country.
If a label doesn’t sell well, all the wholesaler does is change the label and continues to sell the same violin made by the different factories. In fact, 2 violins have been made one after the other in the same factory at the same time but leave China with 2 different ‘brand’ names on them
Also, if those Chinese violins are being sold over the internet at too good to be true prices, then you should avoid them. While you can get good deals shopping online buying violins need for you or your child to hold them to see if they fit their reach, have a good sound and you can check the wood and the fingerboard etc., to make sure it is a good instrument.
Be careful of the term hand made. That term usually means that one person spent hours perfecting the wood, etc. Put the instrument together with loving care borne out of years of apprenticeship and experience.
A how to buying guide for violins
When thinking of spending a lot of money on a musical instrument like the violin, it pays to have as much help and good guidelines to follow as you can. Here are some of the top guidelines to make your search fruitful and help you avoid those cheap violins no one should own:
- A Stradivarius for sale is not always a Stradivarius. More copies have been made than you think.
2. Look at the integrity and character of the seller. The good ones have a money back guarantee and other warranties to help you have peace of mind.
3. Look for the label and make sure the owner knows where it was made and when it was made. Factory made violins do not have this information.
4. If it is under $150 then you are not getting a good violin unless you stumbled on a divorce sale or an estate sale, etc., where the people do not know the value or it is a revenge price.
5. Avoid mass produced violins made in South-East Asia especially China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
6. Check the height between the fingerboard and the strings. 5 to 7 mms is ideal. Avoid any violin where that height measures 1 cm or more.
7. Read or obtain as many references as possible.
8. Check the size. A full size violin is for adults. The standard for fitting children is that they should be able to turn the violin upside down, rest it under their underarm parallel to their arms and have their fingers touch or wrap around the scroll.
9. Cheap is not always a bad thing. Sometimes you do find good violins at a very low price.
Things to consider when buying a violin
There are a lot of details that go into buying a good violin and there are many good brands to choose from. To tell them apart you need to know about these little details so you can be assured of avoiding purchasing a bad violin.
- The shape of the bridge should complement the shape of the violin.
- Do not buy any violin that has plastic parts.
- Nylon bow hairs are okay. They will do a good job in place of horse hair bow which is the ideal.
- Have the seller present you a professional evaluation of the violin. If you think the violin is not real don’t buy it.
- Do a test run- these should last several days so you can check the tone. Compare it to other violins, is the bow heavy or light? is it easy to play and can you play in different positions and more differences should be checked.
- Unless broken good violins never depreciate in value but don’t get fooled into paying more than the violin is worth.
- Check the balance of the bow.
- Check the quality of the strings. These are expensive to replace.
- If you can’t try or there is no refund policy don’t buy it.
Three types of violins
In spite of the millions of violins out there, violins fall into basically 3 main categories: The student, the intermediate and the professional. The children’s violin is better dealt with in the different sizes topic.
these are entry level violins and are not made for the long haul. While they give you a good sound, are made fairly well they are cheaper and do not have the longevity that a professional violin will have. When you or your child is not sure if the violin is for them or not, go with this model.
this class of violin is made better and from better materials so it lasts longer and probably gives you a better sound than the student class violin. If you are going to stick with your lessons and master the instrument this is the class of violin to go with
the violins in this class are a work of art and should last you over 200 years if taken care of by you and your descendants. It is expensive as it is made with top quality materials and a lot of talent, experience, and knowledge are built into this instrument
How to tell a Stradivarious from a fake
It is fitting to talk about this topic in the violin brands to avoid topic because for every Stradivarius there are a myriad of copies and fakes. Even the label, Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis; Faciebat Anno 17, inside the violin can be a fake.
There is a very good reason why people think they have a real Stradivarius violin. The real ones can go on sale for $16 million or more. It is no wonder experts are inundated with calls every day from common people claiming they have found one.
The sad news is that there are only 650 of these instruments left and experts know where they all are. New ones that turn up are not the real thing and some even say they are made in Germany which automatically disqualifies those violins from being real.
For experts, the shape of the violin will indicate if it is a real Stradivarius or not. Non-experts will have a hard time seeing the difference. Sometimes even the experts disagree with each other. So do not feel bad if you were fooled.
Violin Brands To Avoid: FAQs
#1. Should I sell a violin I know nothing about?
If you have an old, used violin lying around the house you should not just slap a price tag on it and place it in a yard sale. Get a professional valuation so you know how much you are selling it for and what brand of violin it is.
#2. Can I find a good violin in a yard sale or estate sale?
Sometimes you can. But do not count on it.
#3. How do I know I have a valuable violin?
Usually professional class violins are valuable but it is the way the instrument sounds to the owner that makes it valuable
#4. What is the best brand of violin to buy?
There are a lot of good brands out there making good violins. Often, the high price reflects the quality of the violin no matter the brand
#5. What violin should I buy when I am not sure I want to master the violin?
Go for a cheaper student class instrument until you are sure. They have good sound to them as well.
Some final words
Finding a good violin is a matter of knowing what to look for and what brands make good violins. Avoid the cheap ones especially if they have plastic parts. Also, do a little research on top brands today to get a better idea of what you should be looking for in a violin and how much it will cost you.