Buying a Fiddle
Here are a Few Ideas About Buying a Fiddle.
When students asked me about buying a violin, I sent them to a music store that sells the Palatino brand. It's an inexpensive Chinese student violin. For the low price of about $139 it's a very good buy. They have a good tone. You can see a picture of the violin outfit on the right.
Be aware that the fiddle does not look like that when you get it. You need to shape and install the bridge. You get an instruction sheet on how to do this.
It is not so difficult if you have a good sharp knife. That's the only tool required.
I had a funny experience with eBay. I won the bid on a violin. When I got it, it looked different. On closer inspection it turned out to be a viola! It was a small student viola, about the sizer of a fiddle, but proportioned differently. (Violas are larger than violins, and tuned lower: C G D A.)
This kind of instrument doesn't make a good violin. It is a good student viola. And, it was still a good buy. After a while, I sold it to a violist.
More recently I tried again. My luck was better, as I ended up with a fair quality student violin. That's the last eBay violin I've purchased. I just feel a little nervous about getting a fiddle this way. Most of the fiddlers I've talked with are very cautious about eBay.
Some of the Chinese violins now give you a good full sound. And the old German student violins are harder to come by at yard sale prices.
If you have a local orchestra, maybe a member of the violin section might have a student violin. Unfortunately, you cannot assume that a gifted player has any more integrity than a used car salesman.
Since the local store closed, I'm now referring my new students to an online music source, [discontinued].