What is that £20 new ebay violin really like?
PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BUY THIS VIOLIN. IF YOU DO, I WILL HAVE TO REFUND YOUR MONEY AND THAT WILL COST ME FEES. THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Hundreds of these are being sold on ebay. They come out at less than £25 including delivery (in September 2017 I saw one for £15.59 including shipping from Hong Kong, and some from the UK for £19). Who is buying them, I have no idea. But I bought one myself out of curiosity. Before you waste your money on something like this, read the description and study the pictures. Please. Don't imagine you can buy it and then get some repair shop to set it up for you; even if anyone is willing to do it, the final cost will be more than the cost of a respectable beginner's outfit by Primavera or Stentor.
The problems? Well, the composite wood isn't the problem (though I don't imagine it sounds very nice). The fingerboard feels horrible but perhaps you could live with that. You could perhaps live with the sharp edge. I guess you might be able to cope with the uneven string spacing. The bow, to be fair, does take rosin (it's only the second worst I have ever seen). The bridge is the biggest problem. I don't think any player, no matter how advanced, is going to be able to play all the notes even in first position on the D string - by the time you put your third finger down, it's impossible to stay on just one string. But never mind, if you put a piece of cardboard between the string and the bridge you might be able to do something perhaps. Or you could get a self adjusting bridge and fit that. Perhaps.
Seriously, just don't bother. Go to ebay and get something with a dirty great crack in it that at least was OK before it cracked. It will be FAR more playable than this.
Let me make it clear: I myself as a retailer could not even get a violin from either of my suppliers for this price at the factory gate - that means before shipping, VAT, import duty, postage, ebay and paypal fees ..... but then I don't deal with rockbottom outfits if I can possibly avoid it.
There are some good buys on ebay but this is not one of them. What do you expect for £25 including delivery, bearing in mind that the seller has to pay ebay and paypal fees out of that £25 and presumably is there to make a profit?
If your budget really is only £25, do yourself a favour and scour the used items on ebay instead. I'll be very happy to give you my opinion on any of them, advice is free and I never ever hard sell.
I would be genuinely interested to hear from anyone who has bought one of these, any teacher who has had a new pupil turn up with one, or any repair shop that has been asked to set one up. Let's share stories!