How To Get A Fiddle
My fiddlosophy on buying a violin
Whether you rent or buy, the most important thing is to have a decent quality instrument. Learning the fiddle is challenging. You don’t need the extra challenge of playing a poor quality instrument that sounds bad, has poor action and does not stay in tune. It may seem cheaper in the short run, but it’s more expensive in the long run.
With a cheap fiddle, you will be more likely to get frustrated and quit. It’s a good investment for your peace of mind and well-being. It also makes financial sense, because if you stay with fiddling, you’ll waste less money on other less meaningful stuff.
On the other hand, too many people obsess over which violin to buy. They miss a big point: you have to play the thing. If you have a $10,000 violin but barely pick it up, then it may as well be a $100 violin.
So to sum up: get something you can afford, but don’t go the super-cheap route.
How much should I spend on a fiddle?
You don’t have to break the bank. You need a decent instrument with good tone that stays in tune. I recommend spending $350-500 for a full violin outfit.
Fiddlershop makes their violins overseas, then sets them up by hand. So you get the best of both worlds; an affordable instrument that’s been adjusted and checked by a master craftsman.
Again, some good entry-level fiddles:
Another nice thing about buying from an online dealer like Fiddlershop, is that they offer a return policy. So if you feel like you got the wrong instrument or that you just don’t want to continue, you can get your money refunded (I think with Fiddlershop you have to return it within 45 days).
To Buy or Rent a Violin: A Beginner’s Dilemma
Still undecided about buying or renting? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons.
Renting a violin becomes a smart choice when:
1. You’re undecided about your commitment to the violin. Renting allows you to explore without investing heavily in a potentially short-lived interest.
2. You’re seeking a string instrument for a rapidly growing child. As they size up, so will the violin, leading to recurring expenses.
3. You’d prefer gaining some expertise before committing to a lifelong musical companion.
On the flip side, buying a violin has its merits:
1. You’re determined to master the violin. In the long run, buying can be more economical than continual rental payments. A good-quality beginner’s violin could be yours for approximately the same cost as a year’s rental fees – about $300.
2. You view it as a worthwhile investment. Fine violins retain their value, and most violin shops offer trade-ins when upgrading, helping you financially when stepping up your game.
3. You’d rather avoid rental liabilities. Accidental damage to a rented violin can be expensive! 😱 Plus, rented violins may come with pre-existing wear and tear.
How Much Does a Good Beginner’s Violin Cost?
For a complete violin outfit (bow, rosin, case, strings, and other accessories included), I recommend a starting budget of at least $300. If your finances allow, consider extending this to $600. Investing in a decent violin paves the way for joy-filled practices and eventual mastery.
The result of owning a decent violin? You’ll naturally want to practice more. And you’ll enjoy it more. Which means you won’t waste money buying other meaningless stuff (that doesn’t bring as much satisfaction as playing violin). So a decent violin is not only an investment in your personal growth, but can wind up saving you money. Sounds like a win-win, right? 😍
Should I buy a used violin?
I don’t recommend this option for beginners. That’s because you don’t yet know how to play, and so it will be harder to make a good decision.
Once you get to a more intermediate level, you’ll have a better idea of what a good sound is. When something does not sound good, you’ll be more aware of how much of this stems from your technique and how much from the instrument.
Once you have played a while (let’s say you’ve learned 40 tunes), then you can start visiting violin shops and trying out different used instruments.
One advantage of a used instrument is that it has been broken in. The wood has settled and it has a nicer tone.
What size should I get?
Most adults play full-size violins. If you have short arms and think you might need a smaller violin, then you can do an arm test. Hold the violin at your chin and stretch out your left arm. If the scroll reaches past your wrist, then it’s too big.
If I’m left-handed, should I get a left-handed violin?
The short answer is no. Playing a regular violin requires a high degree of dexterity with the left hand. The left hand allows you to play melodies. The only time I think it would make sense is if you’ve already mastered another stringed instrument, like guitar with a left-handed instrument. Otherwise, lefties and righties can both enjoy a standard fiddle setup.
Got a question?
Just ask in a comment below.