How to choose a violin, viola, cello.

Choosing a violin, viola and cello.

1. Price

Are you considering buying a violin, viola, or cello?

Choosing a violin, viola, or cello is not an easy process for the first time buyers.

You don’t need to start with an expensive instrument from the beginning. Use instruments in the affordable price range for practice and beginners. However, affordable does not mean too cheap. Cheap bowed instruments are often not playable and the instruments cannot be tuned.

Never buy the violins under $200 even the buyers left good reviews. The buyers who left the reviews do not know the instrument. They are satisfied with the low price and think they are not very different from properly made and set up instrument. If you plan to use it for a long time or professionally, it’s good to consider a higher-end instrument. Since the choice of strings significantly affects the sound, it’s also a good idea to buy a cheaper instrument and change the strings.

✔️ Dominant strings are commonly used for violin string upgrades! Be aware. There are counterfeit strings on Amazon. If the price is too low compare to other sellers it is mostly counterfeit.

Dominant Violin String Set on Amazon.

2. Variety of Colors

The color/pattern/shine has no correlation with the sound. Choose according to your preference!

3. Health Check

Checking the health status involves looking for ‘cracks.’  it’s a big NO‼️ You might not notice it with just one, so ask to see multiple instruments for comparison. If you order online take it to a violin shop and have them check the condition as soon as possible and return it if there is a crack.

4. Bridge

The height of the bridge determines the height of the strings. When you place your fingers on the fingerboard, check if the string height is not too high, causing discomfort. Also, check if the gap between the bridge and nut, where the strings are attached, is consistent.

(Not too close together or too far apart‼️)

If you buy too cheap violin there is a big chance the bridge is not set up properly. Often manufactures do not set up the bridge and the let the retailers do setup. Online sellers for cheap violins do not know how to do it and just ship to the customer. If you order online I recommend take it to a close violin shop and ask if the violin is usable. Return it if they say it is not usable.

6. Bow

The bow is naturally slightly curved inward, and with use, it may become more flexible or change color. Tip📍 When storing the bow, loosen the bow hair slightly to prevent excessive bending or loss of tension. If the bow hair is falling out shortly after purchase, it’s a defect, so be sure to request an exchange.

We recommend the bowed instrument from the trustworthy string instrument shops. Again do not buy violins under $200, Violas under $250 and Cellos under $500.

7. Size

For young beginners choosing a violin, viola and cello start from choosing the right size. There are some websites about choosing the stringed instrument size on the web. Check the websites and ask the instructor if the size is good as soon as you receive the instrument. Ask for exchange if the size is not correct.

Violin, Viola and Cello Structure 

1. Scroll The scroll serves both as a decorative element and a support for hanging the violin. In essence, it’s just decoration. Although the mass of the scroll is said to have some influence on the resonance of low tones, its primary purpose is decorative, and it has minimal impact on the sound. In some old violins, the scroll is crafted in the shape of a lion’s head. It also plays a role in gripping for tuning or when inspecting the instrument.

2. Body The body serves as the resonating chamber and speaker of the instrument. It is divided into the front plate, side plate, and back plate. The front plate is usually made of spruce, while the side and back plates are made of maple. The body is essentially the entire violin. Even in surviving Stradivarius and Guarneri instruments, the only original part after 300 years is the body. The wood of this body is coated with varnish several times. The color of the varnish varies, and there are various methods of application.

3. Purfling The black lines around the edges of the instrument are not just for decoration. They create purfling by cutting a groove into the body and filling it with three layers of wooden strips. Purfling serves both decorative and functional purposes, preventing impacts on the edges from transmitting to the front and back plates.

4. Bridge The bridge plays a crucial role in transmitting the vibrations of the strings to the front plate.

5. Soundpost The soundpost transmits the vibrations from the front plate to the back plate and supports the violin’s front plate.

6. Bass Bar Visible through the left f-hole, the bass bar is attached longitudinally at a point symmetrical to the soundpost. It supports the front plate and evenly transmits vibrations to it.

7. Fingerboard The fingerboard allows changes in pitch by pressing on the four strings passing over it. Ebony, known for its high strength, is commonly used, although obtaining high-quality, jet black ebony from Southeast Asia, where it is protected as a endangered species, is difficult and expensive. Therefore, for the fingerboard of practice instruments at a standard price, stained ebony (not completely black) or other materials might be used.[5]

8. Fittings Set This includes the tailpiece, chinrest, endpin, sold as a ‘fitting set.’ Materials such as ebony, rosewood, boxwood, pernambuco, and blackwood are used. The choice of material can influence the sound, but it’s not necessary to match the wood color exactly.

  • Peg: String winder. It adjusts the tension by winding the strings and plays a role in tuning the violin. Ebony is commonly used, but various materials such as boxwood, rosewood, and ivory are also used. Among these, ebony is highly valued for its durability, as it does not wear down the wooden body significantly over time.
  • Chinrest: Not an essential item for the instrument but has become a staple in modern violin playing along with the shoulder rest.
  • Tailpiece: It serves the dual purpose of pulling and supporting the strings and significantly influences the sound by participating in vibrations. The wood material and the afterlength (the distance between the bridge and tailpiece) affect the tone.

The violin has four strings: G, D, A, and E, each tuned in perfect fifths, from low to high. Usually, tuning is done based on the standardized A=440Hz (ISO 16). In Baroque period performances, tuning may be adjusted, for example, to A=415Hz.

For choosing a violin, viola and cello online ask us before make a decision.

Thank you for reading “Choosing a violin, viola and cello.”

choosing a violin

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