Violin/Violin Purchase

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Question
Hi Jim,

My name is Devashish Vartak. I am from Mumbai, India and I am a beginner level student of the violin.

I intend to purchase a violin and my budget is $200 and I have shortlisted the Legacy LVN 700 from 'The Instrument Store', New York. For your perusal, I have enclosed the link below :

http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-LVN-700-Fittings-Thomastik-Dominant/dp/B003WKTO3E/r

I write this email, to request your feedback about the above instrument and would highly appreciate your assistance.

Answer
Hi Devashish,

Thank you for your question.  I can't speak to this violin in particular, as I have never played this model, nor have I played anything sold from this dealer.  However, as a general rule, I would say that anything sold new for this price is unlikely to be setup correctly, be easy to play, or have a favorable tone.  

The Instrument Store appears to be a general merchandise music seller, stocking a wide range of instruments for band and orchestra.  I would advise purchasing from a dealer who specializes in bowed string instruments, if possible.  And, to get a playable instrument, I think you may have to adjust your price up a bit.  

The instrument itself is not the vital concern, for a student level violin.  So, it is possible to get a violin that is reasonably priced ($400 - $1000), if you don't mind the tone being somewhat closed off.  The vital thing is to get an instrument that is properly setup - with the strings the correct height off the fingerboard and from each other, with the bridge the right height, properly fitted and tuned, etc.  A good violin shop will insure that all their instruments (even the low-end student models) are properly setup.  But, online shops, and particularly general merchandise music shops, are not know for their quality setups and adjustments.  

It is quite common for parents to bring students to their first lesson, along with the violin that they happily purchased online for $100, thinking they were getting a great deal.  And, it is often my job then to tell them that the violin they purchased will take another $350 in adjustments and new strings to bring it to a playable condition; and that even then it will be a poor instrument.

So, again, I can't speak to this particular instrument.  But, personally, I would pass on this and start a relationship with a local violin shop of good reputation.  

Best of luck to you,

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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