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How much for a full-size violin?


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#1 suzukimum

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 18:40

Please can people advise me on how much I should expect to have to pay for a full-size violin that makes a decent enough sound for my daughter who is just post G8 but has no ambition to play professionally in the future (she's 14)?

 

It's a while since I bought my son's but I seem to remember people saying that there is not much difference in quality between a £1K violin and a £5K violin - you start to see a difference over £10K. We can't afford £10K+ !

 

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can give.


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#2 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 19:26

No idea I'm afraid, but congratulations on your daughter's grade 8.


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#3 BadStrad

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 20:30

Firstly - does she need a new violin? What is lacking in the one she has? Have you spoken to your luthier about how it might be improved?

Have you considered a new bow? It may be her violin is perfectly fine but a different bow would suit it better.

If you are set on buying a new instrument, set a budget then look at violins (lots of them) a little below that (as it may need tweeking by the luthier or new strings etc). I would also advise having your daughter's teacher or your luthier (or both) check over any instruments she likes.

Price isn't necessarily an indication of quality (of sound). You could buy a beautiful looking violin which might be difficult to play, or have a poor tone. Conversely, one friend (ex-professional) has a very scruffy looking instrument (which was cheap because of that) which makes a superb sound.
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#4 fsharpminor

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 20:40

My daughter is about Grade 8. (now in her 40's)   We bought her last violin many years ago now for about £1000, though last valuation she has was £3000. She plays in Hertford S.O., mainly amateur with a few pros thrown in. Good enough to have had Stephen Hough play a Beethoven Concerto with them.


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#5 Minstrel

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 22:21

How much does your daughter love playing, and what are your priorities ?
Has her teacher said she needs an upgrade?

Grade 8 is only the end of the pre-serious-student pathway , and marks the start of real learning , not the end . Rather like passing a driving test is just the beginning of being a driver, with all there is to learn and experience.
Violin prices are not too dissimilar to cars - £1000 gets you a starter run-about , £5000 something more reliable with a bit more power/reliability , £10,000 - £15,000 something more versatile and flexible ...... . And that’s before you factor in a good matching bow, which becomes more and more important at this stage.

Talk to your daughter’s teacher to get as much advice as you can .
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#6 Bremmer

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 15:13

Firstly,  It may be worth having the set up looked at or  changing the strings on the violin she has as it is possible to make immense improvements to a violin that way. Can I ask what is wrong with that one ? 

 

I have been to well known violin shops and played instruments into several 10s of £1000s & I can say that the value genuinely does not necessarily correlate with the tone. Sadly you are dealing with a market somewhat akin to the art market where prices are artificially high - it's an investment market. There are Picassos I'd love to own, but I may not necessarily like them.

Now, if you have the money to spend on a violin that sounds nice, has a genuine known and respected label and is also worth tens or hundreds of thousand pounds or ( a lot )  more, you are lucky, as this instrument will certainly appreciate in value. In fact over time just about any half decent instrument will appreciate in value, but the now ridiculous prices are very much governed by that investment market, which is why the moment interest rates are low, the price of things such as paintings, violins, and bows goes up.

There are people who own violins worth hundreds of £1000s who prefer the sound of an 'inferior' instrument they own. It's very much a personal preference. If your daughter has no intention of becoming a musician ( a decision which TBH this year would seem to be eminently sensible ) then you have a couple of things to consider - the tone and the carrying power and if possible something that also looks quite nice. 

Just about the first question you get asked when you walk into a luthiers shop and say you are looking for a violin is 'what is your budget' Somewhat suspiciously, most violins are also not labelled with a price but an 'antiques dealer' code.... 

 

I have played as Minstrel would call it, a 'starter run-about' modern English violin for most of my violin playing and teaching career. It not only looks nice but it can knock spots off many other violins I have played, some  worth many thousands of pounds. I have played Bruch, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Bach concertos and the 4 Seasons on this violin as well as numerous other violin solos of the symphonic repertoire on it. It was a lucky find, a warm powerful even tone that can compete with an orchestra. I have other violins worth more money, but this is the best - as well as a small collection of various instruments I have bought on spec, some of which are cheap but good quality Chinese and cost just a very few hundred and are really superb. So, she needs to play lots of violins, borrow them, show her teacher, get her teacher to play them so she can hear what they sound like externally. If I can say one thing, do not accept you need to spend x amount of money. Violins are not like cars at all. 

 

As Minstrel says, a good bow is very important, more than that, it is vital. Again, do not discount more modern bows as 'inferior', she doesn't need a Peccatte.


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#7 John Cockburn

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 13:22

 

It's a while since I bought my son's but I seem to remember people saying that there is not much difference in quality between a £1K violin and a £5K violin - you start to see a difference over £10K. We can't afford £10K+ !

 

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can give.

I wouldn't take hard and fast rules about prices too seriously. You don't need to spend 10k to get a great violin. Last year, I was involved in a public violin"play off" at an international chamber music festival. The violins (all modern) ranged in price from 8k to 25k. The least expensive one did rather well.  :)

 

As Minstrel says, a good bow is very important, more than that, it is vital. Again, do not discount more modern bows as 'inferior', she doesn't need a Peccatte.

Yes, a good bow is vital. And many great pro players (including famous soloists) use bows by contemporary makers. The current standard of contemporary bow (and violin) making is extremely high.


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