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Cheap violin or cello-- worth it?
Old 21st November 2009
  #1
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DanGo's Avatar
 

Cheap violin or cello-- worth it?

I compose and record trailer and ad music professionally and am looking to augment my string samples (East West Platinum) with me playing live violin and cello. I've seen really cheap violins and cellos on Ebay (200 bucks or less). I am a complete novice string player, so the price seems right. However, I would hesitate to buy a guitar for that price (I'm a pro guitarist), as the wiring would likely be crap. Is it worth it to buy a cello or violin in this range? Any suggestions for makers or price ranges for entry-level instruments that sound good recorded?

Thanks!
Dan
Old 23rd November 2009
  #2
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40 views and no thoughts?! All opinions welcome. Many thanks!
Old 23rd November 2009
  #3
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

I would definitely play the instrument before buying. Just like a guitar, some cheap ones aren't that bad to play but you've gotta try to see....
Old 23rd November 2009
  #4
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Good point MPCist. Buying on Ebay, you don't get that chance to play the instrument, but maybe they've got a return policy... Hmmm. I guess I've answered my question partly. Anybody actually own or have experience with student or entry-level violins or cellos?
Old 16th February 2010
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanGo View Post
I compose and record trailer and ad music professionally and am looking to augment my string samples (East West Platinum) with me playing live violin and cello. I've seen really cheap violins and cellos on Ebay (200 bucks or less). I am a complete novice string player, so the price seems right. However, I would hesitate to buy a guitar for that price (I'm a pro guitarist), as the wiring would likely be crap. Is it worth it to buy a cello or violin in this range? Any suggestions for makers or price ranges for entry-level instruments that sound good recorded?

Thanks!
Dan
I bought a Violin off ebay for around that price. With tons of rosin could'nt even get one sound out of it- now its art on the wall!!! They are a total frickin joke!!
Old 17th February 2010
  #6
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I own a cheaper student viola and I'm assuming violin and cello would be the same thing...

Great to have for demos and working out parts, but you're probably not going to get any kind of really nice classical sounds out of it even if you have a lot of experience with the instrument. The combination of an amateur string player and a cheap string instrument will not give you a result that you'd want to use on a final product IMO. . On the other hand, sometimes a cheap fiddle for more traditional folk type songs can sound right in it's place. So in the end I guess it depends all about context and how well you know how to play the instrument. As with anything, if you are really good you can take something cheap and make it sound not quite as cheap, but this is less true with string instruments than say guitar in my experience.

-Danny
Old 17th February 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
I own a cheaper student viola and I'm assuming violin and cello would be the same thing...

Great to have for demos and working out parts, but you're probably not going to get any kind of really nice classical sounds out of it even if you have a lot of experience with the instrument. The combination of an amateur string player and a cheap string instrument will not give you a result that you'd want to use on a final product IMO. . On the other hand, sometimes a cheap fiddle for more traditional folk type songs can sound right in it's place. So in the end I guess it depends all about context and how well you know how to play the instrument. As with anything, if you are really good you can take something cheap and make it sound not quite as cheap, but this is less true with string instruments than say guitar in my experience.

-Danny

totally off topic but- Whats the difference between a fiddle and violin??
Old 17th February 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
totally off topic but- Whats the difference between a fiddle and violin??
The instruments are basically the same, but some trad players like lower flatter bridges to reduce the arc of the right elbow when crossing strings, particularly to the E. Violinists will frequently play the E with the fourth finger on the A string, fiddlers almost invariably cross-- in fast tunes, a flatter bridge can help. A lot of "fiddlers" also prefer playing a 7/8 violin, and finally, a fiddle will often have four fine tuners.
Old 17th February 2010
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
The instruments are basically the same, but some trad players like lower flatter bridges to reduce the arc of the right elbow when crossing strings, particularly to the E. Violinists will frequently play the E with the fourth finger on the A string, fiddlers almost invariably cross-- in fast tunes, a flatter bridge can help. A lot of "fiddlers" also prefer playing a 7/8 violin, and finally, a fiddle will often have four fine tuners.
Thanks
Old 12th March 2010
  #11
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Play's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
I own a cheaper student viola and I'm assuming violin and cello would be the same thing...

Great to have for demos and working out parts, but you're probably not going to get any kind of really nice classical sounds out of it even if you have a lot of experience with the instrument. The combination of an amateur string player and a cheap string instrument will not give you a result that you'd want to use on a final product IMO. . On the other hand, sometimes a cheap fiddle for more traditional folk type songs can sound right in it's place. So in the end I guess it depends all about context and how well you know how to play the instrument. As with anything, if you are really good you can take something cheap and make it sound not quite as cheap, but this is less true with string instruments than say guitar in my experience.

-Danny
Well, you say you use a cheap viola, what would you consider to be expensive enough to record with?

It's so easy to go for broke with string instruments, if you aren't daddy's little girl or something.
Old 17th June 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

If you are in L.a. go to a decent string shop...I dont think I could play on a ebay chinese factory violin... but then again im spoiled with my inherited 1746 Castagneri. I would just tell them your price range and then just play all the ones they can bring out...Its best to try scales and intervals to really see the harmonic qualities of the instrument.
Old 5th August 2010
  #13
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cheap violin worth it?

I studied at the Royal Academy from 14-18...played in the stuttgart chamber orchestra (and quartet)...when i started to play violin again after a 16yr stop I played on a fiddle that cost 60 pounds...cathedral make...I did solo concerts and some session work on it...with good strings, and a good player, and good recording gear you can get good results...especially if you are multi-tracking the fiddle for string ensembles then wouldnt bother buyin an expensive fiddle...
hope that helps...(late than never!)

Bill Stewart billfiddle
Old 7th August 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play View Post
Well, you say you use a cheap viola, what would you consider to be expensive enough to record with?

It's so easy to go for broke with string instruments, if you aren't daddy's little girl or something.
Old post... I have no idea what would be "expensive enough to record with", again it would depend on the player/context/budget. I should have originally clarified that I do use my student viola for my own recordings sometimes. If all I owned was an even cheaper string instrument I would play that too, and use it to record. But on my own personal stuff I go for more of "a good demo" sound rather than commercial "finished product" sound. Though I am starting to pay more attention to "sonic character" and so I would probably not recommend this for a commercial project unless it was somewhat experimental in which case it would depend.

-Danny
Old 9th August 2010
  #15
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kafka's Avatar
Old thread, but I think I can say categorically that there is no such thing as a cheap violin that is worth playing. Those eBay things, in the violin world they're called "Orange VSO's". i.e. Orange Violin Shaped Objects. They are to violins what American Cheese is to cheese. They're mostly made so that junior can have something to carry back and forth to elementary school so he can play in the orchestra - and that's only if junior is expecting to quit the instrument because he isn't taking private lessons.

The cheapest violin worth recording? That's hard to say. A $5000 violin is still considered a student grade instrument. I've seen plenty of very good students playing instruments in that range. I've seen a handful of skilled students playing something cheaper, but just listening you can tell by the sound that the instrument is failing them.
Old 18th August 2010
  #16
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fatcatstrings's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
As with anything, if you are really good you can take something cheap and make it sound not quite as cheap
1. get a chinese fiddle
2. replace supplied strings with half-decent ones (e.g. Dominant)
3. practise, practise, practise
Old 19th August 2010
  #17
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1. Buy a cheap chinese cello
2. Head into the studio with Jeff Lynne and overdub tons of cello layers onto his latest song
3. Profit
Old 23rd September 2010
  #18
i hear "Jay Haide" are the cello's Apocalyptica use live, as to not take their ridiculously valuable antique instruments on the road with them.
Ifshin Violins > Jay Haide Instruments

looks like some good advice on this link.
How to Buy Your First Cello
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