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Guide to Buying Violins
Some people say that music is the reflection of the soul. It is a form of self expression and helps people articulate without words. It is in music that most people find a way to express themselves and share their feelings to the world.
Hence, there are a lot of musical instruments invented to allow people to release their happiness, anger, sadness and sometimes even their frustrations through the use of music. Studies have shown that music is a good outlet. In fact, studies have shown that music is a very good outlet and everyone should learn an instrument or two.
Other than the guitar and the piano, one of the most famous of all the string musical instruments and perhaps, one of the most classic is the violin.
What is a Violin?
A violin has the highest pitch of all the string instruments in the violin family. It has four strings and is played by using a bow. To make a sound, the bow is drawn across the four strings. To make a harmony, the fingers pluck the strings simultaneously with the drawing of the strings.
The violin is often played in the classical music genre but it is also played in the genre of jazz music, country music, bluegrass music and in some varieties of folk music. Informally, a violin is called a fiddle.
Parts of a Violin
The violin has a smooth surface and a sturdy bow. It has 9 different parts and 1 separate part that may be as important as other attached parts. The creators of violins are called luthiers and they undergo a very rigorous process before making 1 complete set of violin.
The parts of the violin are listed below:
- Four Strings – The four strings represent 4 chords – D, A. E, and G.
- The body of the violin. The body is the largest part of the violin. The body is in the shape of an hourglass and is made of finer wood compared to a guitar or a banjo. The standard body of a violin is 14 inches.
- The neck and the fingerboard. The neck is the handle of the violin. It ends with a fingerboard before the pegbox. The fingerboard is the area at the end of the strings where the violin player plays the harmony. The fingerboard has no frets and is a smooth surface.
- The Pegbox – The pegbox is located above the neck of the violin. Much like the guitar, the peg is where the player can adjust the tunes by tightening or loosening the strings.
- The Scroll – The scroll is the top of the violin which is merely decorative and does not really have a function.
- F-holes. The f-holes are where the sounds of the violins would come out of. They can change in length, size and in shape in order to change the sound of the violin.
- Bridge – The bridge is stops the vibration of the strings and allows sound to travel.
- Tailpiece – The ends of the four strings connect to the tailpiece.
- Chin rest – as the name suggests, the chin rest is where the musician’s chin is put to rest while he or she is playing. It is important that the chin rest is clean and smooth but not as smooth as the violin surface to prevent slipping.
The separate and second part of the violin is the bow. The bow is made of horse hair and a stick. The horse hair is rubbed against four strings which produce vibrations that are stopped by the bridge and produced in the f-holes.
History of the Violin
The violin that we know today has undergone a lot of small changes through the years. The origin of the violin can be traced back to rebec, lira da braccio, and the fiddle. The first known violin to come into existence had three strings and was part of early paintings that date back to the 1520s. It was only 30 years later that the four string violin that we know today has been invented.
While the Amati family is considered very significant in the violin making industry, it is Stradivari that is considered as the greatest violin maker in the history of the industry. By the 19th century, the modern violin was invented and the modern bow that violinist know and love today was invented by Frenchman Francois Tourte.
The addition of the chin rest, however, came only in 1820. This was the dawn of the classical concerto music being played in concert halls and large groups. It became a necessity because of the demanding nature of the concerts and the smooth surface of the violin made it slippery.
Tips in Buying a Violin
Before buying a violin, here are some of the top hacks that one must keep in mind.
- Price is a determining factor. In the violin making industry, the higher the price of the violin, the higher the quality. The minimum price for a good violin is pegged at $500 by industry experts. Remember, horse hair does not come cheap so your violin will not come cheap as well.
- Take home the violin. If there is one thing that most violin shops allow, it is that their customers may bring home their violins and take them for a test drive. Ask the shop you are eyeing if they have this offer but only do it if you are really 100% sure that you are going to buy a violin.
- Go online over buying the student set. There are student specific sets made by manufacturers. They are usually made of cheap materials and will not replace the real violin. If you plan on buying a violin, you can buy online and check the manufacturer’s name.
- Check the construction of the violin. If you are buying on a shop, you will have a firsthand opportunity to check the quality of the violin, take advantage of this opportunity.
- Look for the right violin size. Check the right violin size for your body type. You cannot buy a standard size violin if you cannot handle it structurally.
Top Violin Makers
The top brands of violin makers are Stentor, Knilling, Cremona, Mendini, and Cecilo. Stentor is famous among beginners and students who are still trying to learn their ways around the violin. Knilling is the perfect brand for teachers and enthusiasts who play in open spaces such as parks. Cremona is a top brand because of the fine woodwork quality and the reasonable prices. Mendini and Cecilio are also top brands among beginners.