Violin/Used Violin

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Question
I have a used Kobori 4/4 violin (2001) that I have to part with due to arthritic issues.  It wasn't an overly expensive instrument, I believe around $1,200, but is in excellent condition.  It also a Coda bow, plus two older bows to go with it and a like-new case.  It would be wonderful for a student, and I'm wondering how to price it.  I really hate to part with it, but teachers are limited in this area, I can't bend my thumb, and they can't seem to get past this issue.  Any thoughts?  Thank you for any help you can give.

Answer
Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for your question.  I'm sorry to hear that your arthritis is causing you troubles with your playing.  That's not an uncommon difficulty and can be hard to work around.  If it is just the bending of the first joint of your thumb that is the issue, I would thing you could get by without bending it by placing it below (on the slide of) the frog (rather than on the stick), particularly for fiddle music which does not necessarily require a great deal of bow pressure.  The thumb is the pivot point for controlling the bow and putting pressure on the string, but the bending of the first knuckle is not vital.  So long as you can move the larger, lower muscle of the thumb, to press the bow against the index finger and pinky, you should be ok.  (To place pressure on the string, you need to be able to push down on the index finger and up with the thumb.)  But, I'm sure there's more to it than that and I will defer to your teacher's judgement.  

If it's a matter of joint pain in the bow hand, you might try using a lighter bow, such an an Arcus M3; particularly if the issue worsens with hand fatigue.  Many players with tendonitis have had success with Arcus bows, but again, I don't know much about your situation, so I really should defer to your teacher's judgement.

If it really is necessary for you to stop playing, there are couple of ways you can try to get a fair price for your bows and instrument.  The ideal is to find someone local who you can sell to directly.  Check your local classified listings or list the items in the paper yourself to see what interest you get.  Or, if your local schools have a music program, check with the school orchestra director.  He or she may be able to put you in touch with a parent who is looking to buy.  If you don't have luck there, the next best thing is to take what you have to a local string shop and ask if they will sell it on consignment for you (or purchase it from you).  Local shops often get good or even inflated prices for used instruments (because a good used instrument is often a great deal nicer than the cheap new instruments that they also sell at inflated prices).  If all else fails, you can always try to sell on eBay.  The CodaBow bows in particular should do well there because people are familiar with the brand and know what they are getting.  It might be helpful for you to take the items to a local shop and have them checked for problems and appraised before you try to sell.  Ask them how they would price the items if they were selling them to get an idea of how you should price them.  You can't expect to get as good a price on Ebay as in the store, bit still it's a starting point.

Best of luck to you.

Regards,
Jim Fisher

Violin

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James S. Fisher

Expertise

Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.

Experience

I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins, www.fisherviolins.com.

Organizations
NAAM, ASTA

Education/Credentials
I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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