Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #2027

    MarkG
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 5

    I’ve played violin for about 3 years, and my current violin seems to be doing pretty well. At what point should I be thinking about upgrading and is it necessary? Is there any playing skill criteria I should be aiming for before upgrading? I know budget is different for everyone, but is there a minimum dollar amount I should consider spending?

    #2032

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 567

    If you have an instrument under $500 and you have been playing for 3 years, I would recommend at least trying out other instruments in a higher affordable price range to see if you can tell the difference. There is no doubt (with the right instrument), you should see a significant difference right away with sound quality, ability to create a clean sound, and just overall better playing experience. Many shops have payment plans and try-before-you-buy programs that are no risk to try out a set of 2-3 instruments. That is normally how the process starts.

    Here are some further tips. When a student first starts playing, I try to encourage them to consider at least a nice beginner quality instrument. If they can afford something even nicer ($1,000-$1,500), that makes a big difference in sound quality. I see it time and time again, where students get frustrated, because they try to take the opposite approach to this (purchase cheap because they think they don’t have enough of a commitment yet). Often times players make it so hard on themselves with a weak instrument (ability to create a clean sound), that they end up quitting in frustration. I hate when that happens!

    And finally…Purchasing a premium quality instrument (I consider premium over $2,000) benefits players of all ability levels. I see it all the time where players that invest in this price range end up sticking with it, and enjoy a great sound quality right off the bat. Many companies will allow you to work out a payment plan with them, that makes it easier to get into this price range than you might think. I’ve never seen someone say it didn’t significantly improve their sound from a beginner quality.

    So to summarize, take advantage of programs that allow you to try out instruments in higher quality levels. It makes a world of difference.

    #2067

    margaretellen
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 98

    I just have to say I totally agree! I spent 10 years taking lessons and playing a very inexpensive instrument, and was always so frustrated at the poor tone, despite lots of practice and really great technical ability…that beautiful sound I was aiming for just never was there…until I tried the Elda Marina violin from Superior Violins…It was like I gained another 10 years of practice just picking up this beautiful instrument! That beautiful sound quality I had longed for all those years was just suddenly there…definitely upgrade to the best you can afford…for your self or your child. You won’t regret it! 🙂

    #2068

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 567

    Glad you had a good experience with me Margaret! The Elda Marina violin is truly beautiful and is an instrument that I personally branded for Superior Violins last year. The richness/depth on every string is what really makes it stand apart compared to other instruments in the price range.

    There are many different types of violins out there and I would sound very biased if I only recommended my own. I am the owner of Superior Violins and a lot of efforts in my business are to find some of the best instruments out there. We went to NAAM this past year, and with the help of Gregory Maytan (master violinist), we were able to find 3-4 dealers that had some outstanding quality instruments. I believe there are other shops out there using these dealers as well, but I hope I will always stand apart as much as possible as someone that will always value customer service and quality.

    Check out our about us page to learn more about my company! The guy on the left is the master violinist Gregory Maytan who is the professor of violin at Grand Valley State University. He has is doctorate in violin performance, and is a great resource for us. I’m the guy in the middle, and the guy on the right is 15% partner in the business. He runs west coast operations for our instruments and has 7 kids that all help out with the process!

    #2074

    Phillip Sindlinger
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 40

    I wonder how ones justifies a radical upgrade… in a violin from an intermediate to … perhaps just a more-expensive-yet-better intermediate violin.

    It seems like one can be chasing a better sound through more dollars and would not the money be better spent paying off credit cards…

    Sometimes however, I just hate having a mediocre violin even though my skill level might still still remain at slightly better than mediocre. I mean, what can I get in the way of a great violin for $3,000 instead of $1,500? It is a maddening bicycle. Since I live in Vegas I or you might as well go for Megabucks!

    #2095

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 567

    For a second I’m going to try to think of what you are saying with an instrument that I’m not familiar with. I haven’t personally played flute, so how could a $1,500 flute and a $3,000 flute be that much different and would it justify a purchase? Regarding quality differences –even if you have experience playing the flute, violin or any instrument, it really doesn’t bring light to differences in musical upgrades until you experience them for yourself. I would go for the $1,500 flute before the $3,000 every time if I didn’t know truly how much it was going to help me.

    I see your point about the never ending chase. It sounds horrible to be down that path you are saying if you have other obligations! There has to be a balance here where you feel that your dedication and spirit are enough to justify a higher purchase. Going from $1,500 to $3,000 is significant, and you would definitely want to feel you are dedicated and into playing enough to go ahead with an upgrade like that. But it wouldn’t make sense to do that if you did have high credit card bills and there are other things that have to be handled first. Obviously this sort of upgrade (even if it is justified) needs the player to have the funds to afford it. That is why payment plans are nice!

    So how much more would a $3,000 violin improve your sound compared to a $1,500 violin? Lots more. But it would make sense to go through the process of try-before-you-buy with various shops to prove that increase in sound quality. That is my suggestion to those that are on the fence of upgrading to something nicer.

    #2121

    Phillip Sindlinger
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 40

    I guess you make a good case for chasing better sound in a violin as long as one can afford it. Nevertheless, I am enjoying my year-old violin and my credit card bills are still barelymanageable; I just do not want them over what I can afford. However, it is more about the fact that I need to be sure that my house budget in the long run could afford having a $3,000 violin at home.

    Perhaps with my earlier reference to Megabucks–which is not everyone’s dream but many’s, of hitting a really big Megabucks jackpot here, there, or anywhere but in Vegas–I obfuscated the real issue: living and playing fiddle within one’s means.

    Is it indeed possible to try playing a $3,00 violin for a trial period? Just is more than an idea or a rhetorical question.

    #2122

    Tracye
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 91

    I can weigh in on this discussion.

    I have been playing the violin for about 1.5 years now wow…that sounds awesome to say/type 🙂 .

    I started out with a high end beginner violin $500.00 range and it was good, but after 10 months, I made the decision to trade it in and I bought the Elda Marina as well…and I can say with confidence it was well worth the upgrade.

    Even as a beginner, I could hear a distinct improvement in sound even with my very beginner playing. Another thing it did was make me want to practice, because I know how wonderful it is capable of sounding. So when I am having a frustrating time, I know it is not the violin, it is just me needing to push through whatever is not sounding right, until I get it right or close 🙂

    #2124

    margaretellen
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 98

    I agree with Tracye – a high quality violin makes practicing so much more enjoyable. Once I got the Elda Marina I couldn’t wait to practice. I

    #2131

    Phillip Sindlinger
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 40

    I see where the Elda Marina is comparable in price to the Damiano violin of the past contest. What is the difference besides $250?

    #2136

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 567

    There is quite a significant difference between the sound of both the Damiano and the Marina. Let me weigh in…

    The Damiano – This instrument has maximum projection and is great for students looking for something bright, and at the same time want something that will produce a clean and pure sound. It is a great instrument for players of all levels if they are interested achieving a louder/stronger tone. It also has characteristics of being warm/deep, but not as much as the Marina. There are many university level players that have chosen the Damiano after originally looking in the 5K+ range. It is excellent value for the sound quality.

    The Marina – This instrument has more of a blending tone, and has a beautiful quilted maple back. It is very rich/deep, and is very easy to play across the register. It typically is preferred by beginner players that are interested in a violin that has a very nice deep/rich sound, but don’t necessarily want to blow away their neighbors. Many people have taken my Marina and compared it to others and more times than not chose the Marina when there are many other candidates. It just sings and has a unique/beautiful sound. Many of you guys own one so feel free to weigh in!

    I like to send out both instruments for students to try out. It allows them to figure out which type of sound they might prefer, as there is only so much you can say until you try them. What I can say is that they have very different sounds, and both are excellent for the price. I have many customers satisfied with either the Marina or the Damiano all over the world. I would only recommend the best to you guys!

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