How to Buy a Violin

If you are starting to learn to play the violin, you will need to have a violin of your own to practise with. Violins come in different sizes, making it possible to learn from a very young age.

A full size violin (suitable for adults and teenagers) is known as a 4/4. A 3/4 violin is suitable for approximately 11 to 13 year olds, and a 1/2 size is suitable for a student of 8 to 10 years. There is also a 1/4 and an 1/8 size for younger children. It does depend on arm length and height, so this is only a guide.

There are violins to buy that cater for a wide range of budgets. A student beginner's kit (violin,bow and case) starts at just under £100. Stentor Student Standard Violin, is a good and reliable make. The more you can spend on your violin, the better the quality and tone you will get. Better quality strings, bridge and pegs all help to provide optimum performance.

There is a strong market in second hand violins, and they hold their price very well if they have been well looked after. But be careful. Check that any second hand violin is in good working order, otherwise you can end up taking it to a violin repair shop and discovering lots of things that need sorting out at great cost. Watch out for cheap buys on ebay! Instead buy from a reputable company or a specialist violin shop. It will be worth it.

Do not give your child a cheaply acquired violin to take in to their group violin lesson at school. I have seen cheap factory made violins, proudly brought in by a young child, which then need to be set up- i.e bridge set up, strings put on and adjusters fixed. This can take up to half an hour to do, and there goes an entire lesson! I have also seen violins bought at car boot sales, or found in a relative's attic - bows with virtually no hair, broken strings, wobbly chin rests, pegs that are old and worn and slipping, cracks in the body of the violin and the very worst- mould covering the wood of the violin body. That one, I refused to touch!

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