If you are purchasing your first violin to learn on, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices and the wide variety in price currently available. Generally, a student violin is less expensive than a professional violin. However, it is still important that it produces a quality sound in order to learn on it and to keep your motivation to continue playing. You may be surprised by how inexpensive a decent student violin can be. However, before you purchase the cheapest instrument that you can find, you should look for these three traits to make sure you are purchasing a quality student instrument.
The Curve of the Bridge
The first thing that you should look at when deciding on a student violin is the bridge. The bridge of a violin should have an arch that allows you to play each string individually. The D string should be the highest, the G and A string relatively level on either side, and the E string should be the lowest. Many cheaper violins have bridges with an even curvature, making the A and D string on the same level. This makes it difficult to play with proper posture.
You can easily replace the bridge with a better option, but if the instrument comes with a low quality bridge, it is likely that the rest of the instrument is poorly constructed as well.
The Material of the Fingerboard and Tuning Pegs
Ideally, your fingerboard and tuning pegs will be made of ebony. This allows them to withstand the repeated stress of playing over time. You can look for quality ebony by looking in the holes where the strings fit into the tuning pegs. If they are light colored, then the pegs, and likely the fingerboard, are not ebony.
Some forms of ebony are not fully black. They may be a dark brown and stained to give the traditional black look. These are okay options, but are often not quite as durable as the black ebony.
Holding the violin in its proper position for a long time can make you tired. It is easier to practice longer and play longer pieces on a lighter violin. If you are deciding between two similar options, you should generally choose the lighter of the two. Over a half hour session, even a few ounces can make a big difference.
As you play more, you will be able to figure out the most important qualities for your next purchase. However, these three traits will get you started in selecting your first student violin.
If you're looking for other instruments, such as a flute or an oboe, check out companies like Mike's Brass & Woodwind.
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