Basic differences between new, used, factory and luthier instruments. Advantages and disadvantages

Basic differences between new, used, factory and luthier instruments. Advantages and disadvantages

The first instrument

The purchase of the first instrument is a mandatory and difficult task on the artistic path of every beginner. The music market is full of all kinds of string instruments, and the price mismatch makes it even more difficult to decide what to buy. Although we often see in supermarkets tempting offers to buy a violin for PLN 200, if we take our future music education seriously, let us not decide on such an instrument.

Having inadequately built equipment will only make learning difficult for us, which in the first years will not be too easy. Very often cheap factory instruments are too massive and heavy, which makes it difficult to move fingers that are still inoperative, the sockets are too thick, which makes the sound screeching and breaks, the fingerboard is not made of ebony at all (you just have to look under it to notice traces). dark color), the scale is not even, which will prevent us from playing with the correct intonation, the ephs are badly cut and we cannot even count on a nice sound. Before being put up for sale, no one played mass-produced Chinese factory instruments, so in fact even the manufacturer himself does not know what goods he puts on the shelves.

Choosing the first instrument is a huge responsibility. A very good solution for children is to borrow an instrument – the child will grow and the instrument will not grow with it, unfortunately. If you are not financially ready for the hardware (which is the best option), try looking for one manufactured in-house before opting for a cheap factory instrument. For decent money you can find a really good-sounding, well-built instrument. Unfortunately, in the case of buying a violin, viola or cello on which we are to start our studies, the saying “better than nothing” does not work.

Leonardo LV-1512 violin – a good choice for a start, source:

Co dalej?

When we are a bit more mature instrumentalists or we have larger financial resources and we are considering a manufacture or violin making tool, we will surely come across new, used and even antique instruments when looking for the right equipment for ourselves. As a rule, vintage instruments have a higher price because of their historical value, but what we should evaluate before buying is primarily the sound. Contrary to appearances, it may happen that a manufacturer’s violin or viola sounds better than many masterpieces.

What is the advantage of used instruments over new ones? Well, the violin that has been playing for ten years will surely play another ten. Such an instrument is “moved”, the sound production is easier, and the sound is predictable. We don’t buy a pig in a poke.

On the other hand, new instruments, usually much cheaper, are unplayed and we are not sure what they will sound like when the wood starts moving and is stored at different temperatures. This is a certain risk that is often worth taking. It is best to buy a new instrument from a proven luthier who has released many good equipment from under his wings.

Professional Burban violin, source:

So what are the disadvantages of the old instrument?

First, it is not true that any vintage instrument will play beautifully. Ten, fifty, or even a hundred years ago, equipment of various quality was also built, and their age does not make them from bad to perfect.

Secondly, antique wood is more prone to sticking and drying out, it needs more careful care and care. Also, buying such an instrument should be more thoughtful – you should carefully inspect it from all sides, make sure that any cracks visible on the boards are old and harmless, that the wood is not dry, the instrument is not sticky or badly neglected, because the renewal of such equipment is necessary. very expensive.

Buying an instrument is not a daily matter, so this process may take up to months before we find the right equipment. Do not be afraid to test, try on, check, and after a few tries, we will certainly start to feel the difference and it will be easier for us to invest our money in something that will make it easier for us, not difficult to learn.

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