Whether you are looking for a violin as a beginner or upgrading to a new model after playing your old instrument for a long time, knowing how to choose a musical instrument is important. You can either rent or buy your own instrument so make sure to prepare your budget.
If you are just starting out then renting a violin would be a practical choice. However, there are good reasons in opting to acquire your own violin. For example, long-term rental fees can add up quickly compared to buying your own instrument which usually cost less than a year’s rental, or a well-chosen quality violin may appreciate in value over time.
Can you recognize a quality violin in just one look? Determining the quality of a stringed instrument can be done by simply looking at the material used. Check the grain of the wood on the scroll, neck, and the entire body of the violin. If you see fine to moderate grain, then it’s a sign that your violin is quality made.
When it comes to old violins, look for an evenly distributed grain spruce top and a beautifully flamed maple back. These are clues that you are investing in a quality stringed instrument. In addition, you also need to look at the varnish as it reveals quality of the violin. Varnish help determine the origin of the instrument while indicating the time and care during construction.
Italian violins generally have rich oil varnish with more than 40 coats to ensure excellent appearance and quality. However, it dries slowly that’s why it’s not really surprising that varnishing a violin could take up to several months before it gets completed.
An older violin often goes through gradual changes in terms of varnishing which can help determine its quality. One factor you can focus on is the patina, a proof of natural aging process which happens to different degrees due to varnish type and ingredients.
So you have decided to buy a new violin. Making a purchase from a luthier may give you separate violin, case, and bow. It’s appropriate to thoroughly inspect the instrument before buying it as there are different violin brands to choose from. Test the violin and bow, play on them, and judge the sound it makes.
Through the years, some violin makers tried to imitate older violins through antiquing. Therefore, it became an art in the violin making industry since the 19th century. This factor should also be considered as it represents the well-craftsmanship of the instrument.
If you look at your violin as an important musical instrument, assessing its craftsmanship and material is a natural instinct. Besides, you wouldn’t want to invest your time and money to just any instrument that would easily break, you should be investing for long-term use. The more you know about the violin you are using, the better sound it can make during your performance.
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