This next section covers the five categories that are important for the buyer of an instrument. The first is:
PriceAs a buyer you will need to set a reasonable price limit when you buy a violin, understanding that they range in price and quality from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars.
The following is a general guideline for the basic price groups. Add 10% to 20% more for violas and 50% more for cellos:
$200.00-$450.00- Usually beginner instruments. Lower -end factory or trade name instruments from China, Czech, Romania, and Bulgaria.
$500.00-$1800.00-Entry level step-ups. Better made factory from China, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany.
$1900.00-$5000.00- Includes above but with better wood and craftsmanship. Usually better attention to detail and sound.
$5000.00-$10,000.00- Handmade violins. Contemporary American makers and European makers.
$25,000.00-$50,000.00- Prize winning contemporary makers; well known 20th century English and French makers.
Any instrument that you are seriously considering should be able to be taken out on approval. This allows you to play the instrument in various settings, and receive critical feedback from friends, teachers and colleagues. Does your shop have a "trial policy"? Whatever factors are important to your decision making make sure it will fit into the trial period. For example: Will your teacher be in town to give you feedback? can you get into a hall if projection of sound is important?
Does your shop have any financing, or can they refer you to a bank that understands violin purchases? By the time you have made your decision, you need to be ready to tell the shop how you wish to pay for the instrument. If you wait until you fall in love with the instrument you may be left trying to beg, borrow or steal to make the purchase price, and considerable heartache will surely ensue if your plans do not materialize.
Does your shop have a trade-in policy? If in the future you or your child needs a better quality instrument or a larger size, what value will your present purchase carry forward? Also what is the selection your shop has in the next available range or size that might be the next step-up, if trade-in is important to you?