Are you a violin beginner who is just starting with this incredible instrument? The first thing you have to do is buy one.
The idea of buying a new violin can be daunting for beginners, especially if you've never bought one before. So you might doubt yourself and think you should play it easy by selecting a mock instrument at first.
Don't worry; there's no reason your first violin should be any less than the real deal! A beginner violin should not feel or sound like a toy but feel like a professional violin.
It should be rich, smooth, and produce the best quality of sounds for you to play. Hence, if you're hesitant about making a violin purchase, here's what you should be looking for:
Here is what you should think about when buying a violin:
Your Body Type
Violins are made in many different sizes and are usually customized to the violinist's body. Therefore, a child violinist should have a smaller-sized violin as compared to one for an adult.
If the violin isn't the right size, it can be difficult to adjust when learning to play the violin. And if you are a grown adult looking to buy a new violin, you do not have to account for size.
Hence, whether you're buying a violin for beginners or not, the standard full-sized variant should work for you, that is, if your body is in the average range of adult sizes.
Violins come in all sizes, starting from the smallest size of 1/16, which is meant for children aged 3-5 years old, to full-sized violins for adults.
The criterion for measuring a violin's size involves measuring the user's arm length and selecting a violin based on that measurement.
For younger people in their pre-teens, it's best to buy a one-size-fits-all model to account for their rapid growth.
You do not necessarily have to go to a violin shop to determine the best beginner violin size for you. You can even measure the specifics by yourself.
Grab a friend and ask them to help you measure your arm length. Do this by:
- Standing against a wall
- Lifting your left arm to your side with your palm up
- Hold your arms to your side and not your front
- Ask your friend to take measurements starting from your neck towards the center of your palm
- Mark out the number of inches on the meter stick and decide your violin size based on that measurement
And if we're talking numbers:
- 1/16 sizes are suitable for 15" arm length
- 1/10 sizes are ideal for 15-16" arm length
- 1/8 sizes are suitable for 17-18" arm length
- 1/4 sizes are suitable for 18-20" arm length
- 1/2 sizes are ideal for 20-22" arm length
- 3/4 sizes are suitable for 22-23" arm length
- Full-size violins are suitable for 23" or larger arm length
Should You Buy Or Rent A Violin?
When it comes to selecting a violin, you are faced with two choices; renting or buying. Remember, music shops sometimes allow rental options for their customers.
If you're a parent looking to buy a violin for your child, it is a wiser option to rent one since children tend to outgrow their violins.
Otherwise, you will need to buy another violin in a year or two for growing children. Some shops allow you to deposit some rent money to buy a good beginner violin from them later.
If renting is too cumbersome for you, you can always go for the more popular option of buying a violin.
Hence, if your child outgrows the violin, you can resell it and buy a new one. The choice depends entirely on the user as to which arrangement suits them best.
Invest In A Quality Model
Always remember that learning a musical instrument is like learning a craft. Hence, quality is of utmost importance.
The Downside Of Playing With Inadequate Equipment
You can't expect to paint an artistic masterpiece with shoddy brushes and low-quality paint. Nor can you expect to sculpt a figure with crusty clay that hardens or break quickly.
The same case rings true with music. Without the right high-quality instrument and components, you cannot expect to play good music.
Imagine a violinist who is just starting to learn the violin. They would have high expectations of going on to play classical tunes and make a distinction for themselves.
How would they feel if they were handed a shoddy, bad-sounding violin? It would put them off of violins altogether.
It can be incredibly frustrating to learn music on an instrument that cannot keep the tune, doesn't deliver properly, and creates more noise than melody.
Therefore, your instrument must sound rich and smooth if you wish to stay true to the beauty of playing the violin.
It's already hard enough for music teachers to get their students motivated and maintain a steady track. It's even more complicated when they're given substandard instruments and expected to play them with perfection.
For example, even playing beginner violin songs can be a chore if your violin isn't finely tuned. And for an instrument that is apparently healthy for your brain, this sounds counter-productive.
That is why choosing a violin of the highest quality is essential. Smaller violins are less rich than fuller-sized violins.
They also have more strain to their sound. Hence, when buying a violin for a beginner, it's important to avoid cheap, low-quality pieces.
Benefits Of Buying Quality Equipment
It would help if you bought your instrument from a reputable brand or maker, preferably someone specializing in pedagogy and lutherie.
Keep in mind that larger violins have better sound quality. They are richer and easier to manipulate due to the higher range.
However, beginners should only stick to high-quality violins to build a solid foundation and set themselves up for success.
Often, parents can show concern about their children having difficulties with handling delicate instruments. Fortunately, violins come in many different materials these days besides wood.
Nowadays, many synthetic carbon composite violin bodies are available. These are ideal for children who can be clumsy with the instrument.
Moreover, these non-wooden violins might not be all that traditional, but they offer other features. But no matter what violin you get, you will have to make sure you look after it.
Many families have a tradition of passing down musical instruments from one generation to the next. Therefore, you may have a violin heirloom in your family too.
However, an heirloom doesn't need to have the quality or tone you're looking for. These are items to be treasured, but they're not always the best for playing good music, except maybe beginner violin exercises.
Some people prefer older instruments for their vintage look and sound. But, in the end, it all depends on what kind of violin you're looking for. If you want a fresh sound, it's best to stick with a new piece.
The violin isn't the only thing you need to focus on. Read on as we discuss the rest:
One of the key features to look out for when investing in a violin is the bow. A good, high-quality bow is essential for a violinist.
Unfortunately, most bows are made of cheap material and aren't suitable for playing music. Therefore, if you're investing in a quality violin, ensure that you get an equally good bow.
A cheap bow will not give you the notes or the quality of music you're looking for due to the low-quality synthetic material it uses. As a result, it will be heavy to use and will fall apart quite quickly.
You might be thinking a quality violin and bow will cost you an arm and a leg. But you can find decent options at reasonable prices, and many music establishments even offer package deals that come with a violin and bow set, along with a case and rosin.
What if you invest in a violin and find out the strings are not suited to your desires; they're too high on the violin and are hard to press – what do you do?
Beginners who aren't accustomed to playing the violin frequently can often face this problem. However, you don't need to replace your violin. Instead, there are few quick fixes you can try:
- If you find your violin strings are raised higher than is comfortable, you can lower the part that holds the strings and slightly re-arch it. This will get rid of the problem and make it easier for you to play the violin
- If lowering the violin's bridge doesn't solve your problem, you can have the strings replaced. The cost for string replacement isn't a lot and comes up to around $50.
- Lastly, you can replace the small wood column inside the violin; find it by looking through the holes located at the front. This wood column serves to support your violin structurally and help project sound. Although it's not necessary to replace it, you can try doing so when all else fails
Where Should You Buy A Violin?
Most beginner violinists are puzzled about where they should buy their violins. But that's okay.
Some violin tips and review sites seem to recommend buying violins that you have tried out yourself and steer clear from buying violins online.
However, this advice is more applicable to advanced violinists. As a beginner, you won't have the expertise to distinguish between the subtle differences between each violin.
We recommend that beginners invest in an inexpensive violin to develop their skills, get a feel for playing the violin, and see what type of violins suit them best.
Then, once they have developed their skills, they can try out more advanced, professional violins from violin shops.
Cost Of Violins
If you're a beginner wondering how much you should be spending on a new violin, expect a price range of around $50 to $300 for a good, high-quality violin that will last you a decent amount of time.
And if you're going for a professional violin from a reputed brand, you can expect the price to go higher, even up to $5000.
We would recommend you select a violin that comes with a complete kit. This will save you a lot of trouble as a violin beginner since it comes equipped with a case and a corresponding bow for your violin.
Most kits also have an extra set of strings, rosin, and bridge. As for accessories, you can expect to find a shoulder rest and a digital tuner, but not all kits have them.
Reputable Brands And Where To Find Them
Some of the best and most reputable violin brands are:
- Franz Hoffman
- Scott Cao
The prices for each model vary by the size and type of violin you're looking for.
These days, you can find some good bargains for violins on online retail platforms like Amazon. While we would recommend buying professional violins from music shops, Amazon is a good option for beginners.
It offers a wide range of models and brands to choose from. Otherwise, you can find quality violins at the official websites for violin brands.
Get Tips On Buying A Violin and Learn From an Expert
When buying a violin for beginners, look for models with quality tonewood, preferably maple or spruce, which helps produce a clear tone.
The best sizes for adults are 3/4 or 4/4; check the size by holding out your left arm out and measuring from the neck to the center of the palm.
If you're looking for beginner violin lessons for adults and children near you, sign up with Superprof and access tons of violin coaches and instructors in your local area and city.
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