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Joanne Iles

Hi Michael,
I learned on a fairly nice but mass-produced violin & after about 18 months, decided to upgrade.
I’m lucky that we have a good music shop in a nearby town & they sourced a number of instruments for me to try. Interestingly, they recommended that I try German late 19th century models to suit the folky & country music I play.
They were priced between £1800-£4000. I was amazed that even at my beginner level I could hear & feel the huge differences in the instruments. As you have discovered, the type of bow makes a big difference too.
If you can, then trying a number of instruments before you buy, is definitely the way to go. You will then know when you find “the one” for you.
I ended up with a 1920’s violin made in Plymouth, Devon! Not at all what I’d intended. It looked a state compared to all the others I tried but the sound is beautiful & moved me to tears when I first played it!(in a good way🤣)
As you found with your mandolin, it’s so lovely to be able to play on different instruments & find the right one for you eventually. I think you have to enjoy playing an instrument & be happy with it’s sound otherwise it takes the fun from your practice.