|Frequently Asked Questions
about Bowed Strings
Finding a good violin or other bowed string instrument
Evaluating a bowed string instrument
Trying out a bowed string instrument
Bowed string instrument setup
Ebay pros and cons
Woah! How can violin prices range from $50 to $10 million!!!?????
We don't handle either $50 violins or $10 million violins. Violin price depends on the condition, the maker, and its utilitarian
value. The difference between a simple student violin and a professional level instrument is greater than that between a
Ford Ranger pickup and a NASCAR racer. Think about it; they each have a chassis, an engine, tires, etc. But every piece
is slightly to a great deal better engineered, constructed, and uses better materials - at least for the context of racing. Just
as with vehicles, a simple pickup truck might be all you want or need. But some very good drivers with special professional
uses will want more. Check out Finding a Violin.
What's the main difference among violins in general and the violins you carry?
The main difference is the way they are made. At the top of the pile are violins made one at a time by one person in that
person's personal workshop. These are called benchmade instruments. There's something magical about good
benchmade violins. We try to keep the work of several benchmakers in stock, including Stephen Perry and Marchello
Radoni. We can also order other benchmade violins from Bulgarian makers.
The next level are master shop violins built in the traditional European model, where specially trained luthiers specialize in
the various aspects of violin construction. Some will carve scrolls, others make rib garlands, yet more specialize in carving
the arching, and so on. The most experienced luthiers assemble the components, ensuring the acoustic and esthetic
congruence of the final instrument. This process produces very good instruments at a fraction of the cost of benchmade
violins. Young apprentices work on the lower level instruments. Upper level instruments are generally made by luthiers
capable of making benchmade instruments themselves, workers with many years of experience. Very small European
master shops produce the Frederick Wyss and other fine European instruments we carry. Our instruments from Eastman
Strings are made in an expanded shop based on the European model, accounting for their excellent quality and
consistency, as are the instruments in our Gianna models.
At the bottom end of the spectrum are "factory" instruments built in bulk by factory workers. While these large facilities tend
to produce objects without the refinement of small-shop or European model products, the better ones serve beginners
adequately. Unfortunately, some are only crude lumps with sprayed on finishes.
With all bowed stringed instruments the setup is crucial. We do our setup on the majority of the instruments we carry. Our
standards are high and very consistent.
Please contact us with any questions.
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