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Ways to buy a Violin

Ways to buy a violin

(or viola or cello or double bass!). What are the options?

Well basically there are three options and each has its advantages and disadvantages. First, you can go into your local music shop and buy from them. I am talking here about a general music shop, one that sells a range of instruments but inevitably will be better stocked with guitars and keyboards than anything else. Choices for orchestral stringed instruments here will be very limited with only the biggest name(s) being sold. The shop staff may have some background in music but that may be any type of music and any instrument (if you were manager of a general music shop where most of the sales were of folk guitars, who would you employ?). You’ll get a decent price, you’ll get to see what you are buying. You probably won’t get expertise as far as the instrument you are buying is concerned.

Second, you can go to a specialist violin shop. This can make for a very interesting day out as you may have to travel some distance (don’t go on a Saturday, the shop will be busy!). You will certainly get expertise and you will get a nice room in which you can try instruments. If you are a beginner you may get someone there who can play the instruments to you (but if you are an elementary player, don’t be embarrassed, they will be very used to hearing elementary players!). You’ll get great service (we hope) and correct advice. You’ll pay top prices but the instruments will be properly set up.

Third, you can go to an online giant such as ebay or Amazon. Read the descriptions carefully, chances are that the set up will be non-existent (ie. you open the box and what you get is the violin as it left the factory, with strings that are likely to be unplayable and, if you are unlucky, the soundpost down as well as the bridge). But you might not – you’ll need to read the description carefully. However if it is un set up, you may struggle to find a repairer keen to do the job (repairers’ time scales can be almost archeological!). Violin shops want to sell, or they want to repair interesting and quality instruments. They are not usually desperate enough for work to be begging for the chance to set up your £40 ebay special.

So there are three different approaches, and what is the right approach for one person may not be the right approach for another. Think it through before committing yourself.