Many people ask me about violin brands, types, and models when they want to purchase a violin. Violins are more art work than “brand-able” products. Therefore, just like art, an artist critic has to examine the instrument to judge the quality. Violin “brands” only have reputation based on the track record of quality of such brand.
Making stringed instruments is a high art, and you can take it to very high levels – as well as “junk” levels.
Violins that are of good quality for a beginning student may not be appropriate at all for an advancing one. The bottom line is that a violin needs to be played easily in the learning stages to be considered appropriate. The quality of sound and playability will vary according to the artistry of that instrument making.
And there are some who attribute magical proprieties to very high quality instruments. Violins can be so individual in their sound and playability as the number of violinists. No two violins behave the same in the hands of a skillful performer.
Take this article‘s extract, for example:
Antique Italian violins, such as those crafted by Antonio Stradivari or Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesu”, can fetch millions of dollars. Many violinists truly believe that these instruments are better than newly made violins, and several scientists have tried to work out why. Some suspected at the unusually dense wood, harvested from Alpine spruces that grew during an Ice Age. Others pointed the finger at the varnish, or the chemicals that Stradivari used to treat the wood.
But Claudia Fritz (a scientist who studies instrument acoustics) and Joseph Curtin (a violin-maker) may have discovered the real secret to a Stradivarius’s sound: nothing at all.
The duo asked professional violinists to play new violins, and old ones by Stradivari and Guarneri. They couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. One of the new violins even emerged as the most commonly preferred instrument.
Violins are art. You don’t want to buy high quality art without an expert guiding you, do you?
I have some advise on violin shops here.