Chinese violins on ebay

Chinese violins on ebay

Hello!

I’m thinking about bidding on this fiddle on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/A-Beautiful-Bird-Eyes-M19-Violin-Advanced-Level_W0QQitemZ140003659448QQihZ004QQcategoryZ38108QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Seems like this company is selling a lot of these fiddles made by the same makers. Does anyone have any experience with these fiddles? Seems like good craftsmanship to me. But then again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they sound good.

I would greatly appreciate your opinions.

Thanks

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

They’re very good value for money - but they do have spirit varnish, which is easily-marked and doesn’t help the tone. However, they do look great and sound pretty good. With the case and the bow which they come with, they are a snip. Factor in import duty and the fact that the bridge and the soundpost will need to be reworked and you will need new strings. We haven’t got the birds-eye but it looks fantastic wood!

I don’t think you’d regret buying and we’ve been tempted by the birds-eyes, which go for a lot. We have a "normal" T19 model with a fancy fingerboard, which we’re putting in our shop shortly.

Think about buying decent strings (Warchals are new and very very good - we string all our new fiddles with them).

Hope that helps and good luck!

Mark

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Other than chinese violins you can find excellent violin on e-bay for celtic. I just found one outstanding and cheap.
Keep looking they are there.

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They do look great with that bubble maple and fancy purfling .But I can`t for the life of me see how a `master maker`,can knock out hundreds of fiddles a year at a few hundred dollars each.The average British or Irish professional maker ,and I know a few,can only turn out one,or two new fiddles a month and they`ll charge from 2 to 5 thousand sterling each for them.Having said that I`d love to try one out!

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Caveat Emptor!

Some of the chinese fiddles are great and others are horrible. My experience with e-bay fiddles in general has been disappointing.

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Thanks for the insight, Mark. In your opinion, would you classify these fiddles as beginner-instruments, or are they suitable for intermediate players to?

Michael has a good point. I too find it a bit fishy that these "Master makers" are able to produce quality instruments in such large numbers.

That being said, It makes perfect sense that they are able to offer them at such low prices, considering the low cost of labour in China.

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

That depends on what youmean by beginner-instruments.

A good violin is a good investment because it will increase in value and you will enjoy playing it so get better quicker.

An accomplished player can make a poor violin sound OK and a beginner will make a fine violin sound bad. But at least you will "grow into your violin" rather than grow out of it, and the violin won’t limit you.

With £500 and a bit of luck you can get a very nice oil varnished German factory violin from the last century which a luthier will not laugh at when you take it in for set up and will be a great instrument to start and even finish on!

These particular ebay violins can be good but you must allow for new strings and a bit of setting-up, plus import duty (you may be lucky and not have to pay that). You could always sell it again, but people on ebay are likely to want to buy a new one rather than a "used" one - these people have been operating for a year or so. For the price, they’re pretty good but bear in mind the above points. A luthier would find fault with them but for the price they’re OK.

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

The middleman is an Ebay Power Seller, that helps.
I bought my Scott Cao fiddle on Ebay from a guy who had a pretty good rating and claimed to be a classical muso who’d set it up well. For classical music, of course. I gradually did things my own way (new bridge, nut, strings). But I think it’s pretty good work for $350 - light weight, stays in tune, good tone.
In general I don’t like buying something online past a certain dollar value, unless it has unquestionable resale value (usually as an antique). I’d definitely Google the maker and find out if he really has a rep. BTW Scott Cao doesn’t make the fiddles that come out of China like mine - he taught the guys that run the shop in Shanghai that make these student fiddles. Probably this is a similiar situation.

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

I bought a lovely fiddle through eBay (supplier in Yorkshire) and the instrument was beautifully crafted. The sound was sweet and ideal for classical playing but lacked the ‘oomph’ that I look for in a session fiddle. The supplier allowed the insturment on approval and was happy to refund the price on return. I recommend that you purchase one through a Uk based supplier on approval before you buy.

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I would love a good violin, but alas I am sentenced to the nasty chinese one for many years to come. Food on the table, mortgage, clothes on backs come first.
Violins here arent cheap by any means. The nasty chinese ones start at $450. A good violin is on my ultimate wish list along with a fluval fx5 and the winston 6wt.

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

I like what Acetrace says about the difference between "classical" and session fiddles. I think they are slightly different beasties. Our experience with buying on ebay is that out of every 8 or so, one or two instruments will be write-offs, (usually sellers who don’t have the expertise to notice cracks or who take fuzzy close-ups: sometimes we just take a chance). Maybe one will be worth spending a lot of money and time one, a couple will be more or less OK as they are, with a quick bridge adjustment and new strings, and the others will need a moderate amount of time (regluing, new pegs, cleaning, that sort of thing.

I echo the advice about a UK seller (if you are in the UK) as if it’s a business, by law they have to give you the right to return within seven days. We personally extend that to 60 for our instruments, but seven is a legal minimum, and that would apply to a business selling its assets on ebay too. Not a lot of people know that!

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I have bought a few of these violins both finished and in the white (without varnish), most Chinese violins are not finished with oil or spirit varnish but with an oil modified resin which dries like steel killing the tone.
I have bought the same violins and finished them myself with oil or spirit varnish and the tone is very good. The violin you are looking at prabably has the resin varnish and my guess would be that it will sound
thin and shrill. Its a shame because the Chinese can make great fiddles that sound as good as any hand made ones from the West.
Good Luck
Mikea

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Agree with Mikea (unfortunately my original posting went astray and lost the bit about varnish) - the varnish is pretty brittle on these violins. We/ve not tried buying them in the white and varnishing them ourselves but sounds a good wheeze!

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

I found changing the tailpiece, bridge and strings made a huge difference.

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Thank you all for your comments!

I ended up buying a similar fiddle to the fiddle in question, from the same company.

I received it today and my first impression is that it is a good crafted fiddle, but I totally agree on the comments about the varnish.

It definitely seems to be killing the tone of the instrument. A shame really, because I think there might be a good fiddle underneath all that "concrete" varnish.

Does anybody know how much it would cost to have a luthier revarnish the fiddle?

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Hi
Varnish is hardly the correct word for the substance that covers most of the Chinese violins, I have tried all sorts of varnish and paint removers and none of them will melt this stuff. the only way i have found to remove it is by scraping it off. this is a long process and would make it costly for a profesional to undertake.
Mikea

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Tilrem, now that you’ve got your fiddle, I think a better option is to make sure it is set up properly with good strings, bridge, soundpost and tailpiece. A professional will do this for you and it will certainly be a tiny fraction of the cost of removing the varnish and then re-varnishing - which could well be more than what you paid for the instrument.
Most factory-built instruments tend to be sent out with bridges that are too high, and with strings that perhaps are not of the most appropriate quality for that instrument (that is, too cheap!).
New fiddles always need playing in, and this is where you come into the equation after the fiddle has been properly set up by a professional luthier. Your job now for the foreseeable future is to play that fiddle as often as you can and as powerfully as you can with full-length bowing. This is not only good for your playing but it will enable the instrument to achieve a decent tone in a reasonable period of time and show it who is the master - I’m suggesting anything from several months up to a couple of years.
The relative weak and short bowing that most beginners do isn’t really sufficient to help the instrument on its way to a good tone. This is where I would suggest that the beginner takes lessons from a teacher who can show and teach the pupil what bowing can do. It doesn’t matter if the teacher is a "classical" teacher; the technique learned will provide a solid background for any type of playing - classical, folk, jazz, pop.

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Tirem, I see from your bio that you live in Norway. Norway has professional symphony orchestras. The violins and cellos in those orchestras need professional attention from time to time, so you should be able to find a professional luthier.

Re: Chinese violins on ebay

I just sent a bargain off to the luthier for repairs. New bridge, pegs, soundpost, nut, balance, tune and overall tidyup. NZD$250. Considering it cost me $50 and is worth around $1000-$2000 cleaned up I am not complaining. What was most surprising was " It will be ready on Friday" What? I expected and budgeted on a month.

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Re: Chinese violins on ebay

Its an east european workshop violin btw. What instigated me to finally get it repaired was playing a sister to it at a session. It looks very much like this one
http://www.violins.demon.co.uk/236.htm

I think anyone who contemplates buying a chinese violin should play a good one then a chinese one.

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