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Starting Violin - FAQs

What instrument should I buy?

Please avoid buying the very cheapest "violin shaped objects" available on the internet.  While many beginners have a limited budget, these so-called instruments are virtually unplayable.

Reputable factory makes:

  • Stentor - all sizes from 4/4 down to the ridiculously small 1/32. 
    The cheapest student outfits are around £80-£100 depending on where you buy them.  Generally bright sound.

  • Primavera - sizes 4/4 down to 1/16. 
    Similar price range to the Stentors; the Prima -90 is a popular choice for schools.

  • Hidersine - sizes 4/4 down to 1/8. 
    Cheapest model "Giovanni" is around £130-£150 and comparable to the Stentor models in the same price range.  Mellower tone than Stentors - this is a matter of preference.

    Adult students may want to look in the £300-£500 price range for a violin that will serve up to a good intermediate standard and possibly for life.

Where can I buy a violin?

Island Music stock or will order Stentor student instruments.
Broken Wind have ordered Hidersine models for us before.

If we can work out a time, I'm happy to come and help you purchase the correct instrument.  Alternatively, I can order a violin for you from Caswell's - their website doesn't allow for orders from Jersey, but they do post here and I have an account since I bought my own violin from their shop. 

There is a "Jersey Musical Instruments for Sale" webpage and you can also buy from Amazon or Ebay but I don't advise doing this.  If buying second-hand, please stick to the brands I've mentioned. 

What size should I buy?

If you're an adult, you need a 4/4 violin unless you are very petite.  This also applies to most teenaged starters.  However, for children sizing is best left to the teacher and when you first meet me I will both measure the child and try different instruments to check the fit.  This is necessary because every child is different and because sizes of violins are not very standardised, especially under 1/4 size.

The following is a very rough guide:

Age of Child
 Size of Instrument
 3-5 years old
 4-5 years old
 4-6 years old
 5-7 years old
 7-9 years old
 9-12 years old
 11 years old - adult
 4/4 (full size)
 petite adult/teen
 7/8 (rare)

What else should I get?

If you buy a new student violin outfit, the instrument should come with case, bow and rosin.

You also need:

  • music stand
  • spare strings (in appropriate size) - Astrea strings are fine for beginners
  • shoulder rest - a kitchen sponge and elastic band will do to start with
  • pencil
  • pitch pipes, tuning fork or electric tuner (or an app. that will tell you if you're in tune)
  • folder for music
  • a notebook may be helpful, though I try to email lesson notes