Finding a new instrument can be overwhelming—there are a lot of options out there! To help simplify the process for you, we’ve compiled four of the most important things to remember when choosing a beginner violin.
1. Know What’s Important
Two of the biggest factors in choosing a violin are the construction and the sound. The price range you’re shopping in determines which quality you should be looking for when assessing instruments. While more expensive instruments perform well in both areas, quality of construction should be your main concern with instruments under $300. Most entry-level instruments will have similar sound quality, adequate for a new player. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for these entry-level instruments to have cosmetic defects or be structurally weak. Thus, quality of construction should be the biggest factor in your decision at this price point.
To make sure you’re getting an instrument with good-quality construction, you should check the materials used. Ideally, the violin’s top should be spruce, the back should be maple, the fingerboard should be ebony and the bow should be wood or fiberglass, never plastic. Check out this article on the woods used to make a violin.
2. Find a Good Retailer
The second thing you can do to ensure you’re getting the best-quality instrument in your price range is to choose a good retailer. A good retailer won’t sell anything that is not up-to-par where quality is concerned. If you do end up with a problematic instrument, they’ll make it right. You can save yourself a lot of hassle by choosing to work with a seller who weeds out the worst specimens for you.
When choosing a retailer, you should make sure that they are a reputable company and have good try-before-you-buy and rent-to-own programs. Trade-in programs and financing options are two other things that can be nice to have available. You should also make sure that you understand the company’s return policy, shipping charges, and any warranties or guarantees they might have.
An online company that has a try-before-you-buy program is important because it allows you to send the instrument back if you don’t like it for any reason. Choosing an instrument is a highly personal process, and you should be able to try multiple violins to find the one that suits you perfectly.
You also should find a retailer with a good rent-to-own program. Buying a violin outright is certainly an option, but it’s nice to be able to pay monthly to build equity towards the ownership of the instrument. This alternative is great because you can return the violin at any time if necessary, and you can build ownership over time for a future upgrade.
3. Don’t Limit Yourself
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re a beginner, you have to start with a low-quality instrument. People who start learning on a nicer, intermediate-range instrument have more success. The reason for this is that when an instrument feels and sounds good, it will be more rewarding, inspiring and motivating to play.
As a long-time teacher, Michael Sanchez of Superior Violins has found that the odds of someone sticking with violin is much higher if they start on a nicer instrument. Violin is already a rather difficult instrument to play, and an inferior-quality instrument only makes learning harder.
There are two situations where a starting with a higher-quality instrument may not make sense: if you’re buying a fractional-size violin for a child who will outgrow it, or if you are not entirely committed to the idea of learning to play violin. In the latter case, keep in mind that getting a nicer instrument could be the deciding factor in whether someone sticks with violin. Be sure to at least look into a higher-quality option, and consider the possibility of rent-to-own so you can start on a nicer instrument.
4. Use Superior Violins
Superior Violins is the perfect place to purchase a new instrument. We have excellent violins that we personally look over, play, and quality check. We set them up ourselves, so they come to you completely ready to tune up and play. We have instruments in every price range, as well as bows and broad selection of accessories. Our try-before-you-buy, rent-to-own and trade-in programs are excellent (ask us about them), and we have great payment plans and financing available.
Superior Violins is a personal business. We place a high value on customer service, attention to detail and customer satisfaction. We want to make sure that our customers end up with an instrument they love, no matter their age, level of experience or budget.
After all, your playing is Superior Violins’ passion!