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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2005
I bought this violin a few weeks ago and it is a super deal at the price. The finish is good, came with all the necessary accessories but more importantly, the notes are perfect. I am not sure if this violin will work if you perform in an orchestra but if you are an amateur musician like I am and just want to make some good melodius music, this is perfect.

I love it. It also fits within my gifting budget.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2005
The violin looked nice enough, and the sound is pretty good for a beginner instrument. However, we took it to our luthier to have the bridge shaved down because the action was so high it was nearly unplayable. He also said that he needed to recut the nut because it was crooked. $84 later, we have a decent violin.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2008
Verified Purchase
After seeing several positive reviews, I decided to purchase this for my wife, who played violin for years when she was younger. You do receive a violin that is nice and shiny-- which is what some people consider to be a sign of quality. Look closer and you see some serious issues. The top piece and bottom piece are both made of laminated wood (make just like plywood) and anyone with some acoustic knowledge can confirm that this will never produce a good sound-- even with Dominant perlon-core strings as another reviewer suggested. Plus, the heavy finish I mentioned, while looking pretty to most people, also ruins the sound.
Another sad fact is the quality of the components. The fingerboard isn't ebony, or any sort of durable wood-- it is painted black and easily dented with a fingernail. To fix this, it would be more than the cost of a much higher quality violin. The peg holes for the D-string tuner were drilled oversize on my instrument and the far end of tuning peg protrudes more than 1/4" out of one side of the pegbox in order for it to fit. To fix that, you would need to re-bush the hole, which again is cost prohibitive. The pegs do slip, much more than they should. The frequent tunings, even after several months of use, made playing this even less tolerable and is another reason I am discouraging it's use by beginning players. The bridge is a generic, poorly cut piece, which will need to be professionally adjusted and fitted unless you have some experience. To properly set up this instrument you will end up spending $35 - $50 on top of the purchase price plus the cost of new strings. You are much better off buying something much better, even if means you need to add another $100 to your credit card bill.

I was surprised that any violin teacher would say the sound from this instrument is good. As you would expect, this violin has a muddy sound and it doesn't resonate well at the higher frequencies. Before you get upset, I know the music world is full of snobs but I'm not one of them. I would never suggest that any violin with a price tag less than $1,000 is a toy and I've played enough instruments to know there is little reason the average/beginning player needs to spend over $500 for a quality violin. Prior to the internet, a $900 violin was usually a $300 violin which was marked up by the store owner. Now, it's not too hard to find that same instrument for $350 from an online retailer. The same applies for entry-level instruments which used to retail for $500, they are now available for under $200

Yes, it's cheaper than anything around. Yes, you get a case... but with a $150 violin outfit you get something that is much higher quality, is easier to use, and will provide better sound. For beginning instruments, there are several good choices and you'll be happier as the years go by if you bypass this in favor of something slightly more expensive-- but many times better. Please check out the violins made by Bonn, Helmke, or Cremona (unfortunately some of these brands aren't sold on Amazon). All have solid spruce tops, real purfling, better hardware, better bows, and some vendors even properly set up the instrument for free prior to shipping it. You will find very good instruments in an affordable ($100 - $200) price range, which is what you would have invested in this piece from Austin Bazaar when you consider the purchase price and the additional costs needed to make it playable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2006
I read the numerous reviews on this violin before purchasing it, thinking it was a great value for a great violin. It shipped super fast-less than a week, but when I received it, there was no "Austin Bazaar Product Guide." I had to look up online everything from installing the bridge to tuning to tightening the bow. What I soon found out is that the bridge does not come with notches in the top for the string to fit it. I had to figure that out for myself. But the basic installation was easy. The bow came with a broken hair but that was okay, I know that happens with the bow. Also, I was a little upset with the general look of the violin. There was dust all around the strings from the f-holes that looked to have just been sawed out before the violin was placed in the box, they look a little rough. Also the neck of the violin is not stained. It is a very light wood color, almost the same color as the bridge-this is not depicted on this website. Also, around the edges it is barely stained, with edges and corners completely lacking any color. I am still yet to sit down and actually try to play it, but hopefully it will sound better than it looks!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
When my Son had this on his list I thought it my be junk but it is a great unit
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
I actually bought this violin three years ago with the intentions of learning to play it. The need to take some college courses for my job took a lot of time away from me, and I packed the violin away for a while.

At the beginning of this year, 2008, I was free of college classes, and it was time to take violin lessons! My instructor was impressed with the price I paid for this violin. He thought I paid at least $200. I had similar comments when I took it to a music store to get a string replaced.

It is a great beginner's violin, well worth its price. I am sure one day I will upgrade to a more expensive violin, but this one will hold many memories and the enjoyment of learning something I have always wanted to do.

I recommend this violin for any beginner, student or adult. It is made well for its price. I have been very pleased with it from the first time I touched the bow to the strings. Great violin for its price!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2009
I was warned from previous reviews that the pegs would be loose on the instrument, So I knew what I was getting myself into. Luckily, I only wanted more for the novelty than actually playing it professionally. At any rate, with some peg compound and professional advice(I went to a music store to see what could be done) on how far to push the pegs in, this isn't really a problem. I do wish they had included something to advice on how to get the thing to actually make sound, I had to look up a tutorial on how to rosin the bow(the rosin has to be sanded a bit the first time you use it). Once I got it making sound, it sounded fairly well. You get what you pay for, and for what I payed, I far exceeded my expectations.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2007
First off, this is not a $50 violin. If you really want to learn to play violin, you'll probably want to buy peg drops, a shoulder rest, new strings, and a new bridge -- the one it comes with is way too high. Otherwise, though, it's a fine instrument. The replacement strings are especially nice, as it's likely that you'll break one or two during the initial tuning. The rosin isn't great, but it works.

The violin itself sounds fine. I'm an amateur musician (VERY amateur), but I've played with violinists before, and I'd say that no one would notice the difference in sound between this and a $500 violin, if you get your bridge placed and adjusted right. But I don't know that for a fact. If you are a classical musician or member of an orchestra, you can probably tell that this isn't quite up to par.

My biggest complaint, apart from the bridge being monstrously huge and not curved enough, is that this violin just _looks_ cheap. The pegs have grunge around the pegholes that obviously weren't sanded, and the back of the neck isn't stained at all. I know, the neck is always left lighter, but this just looks bad.

Overall I'm satisfied, but I do wonder if it could've hurt too badly to step it up another $50 or so and get the Cecilio or something. But this is fine for what it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2008
I was a little hesitant about buying this instrument. I was worried that the quality of the sound would not be good. However, after some minor adjustments, I was quite pleasently surprised by its tone. Not only me, but the lutheir, who did the minor repairs, even mentioned that it had a very nice sound.
I will mention that I did have to have the sound post cut and fitted to the violin. This made a difference in the quality of sound. I also had to have the bridge cut, to prevent the strings from slipping.
I would definitly recommend this violin as a starter instrument, and maybe even for intermediate level students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2014
Verified Purchase
The violin itself does not seem to be that bad, but I have just a few gripes. Firstly, the bow. It came to me so loose that even when I tightened it all the way, the hair was too loose andt just flowed everywhere. This may be an issue of humidity, as I am in Hawaii where it is immensely humid, but then the hair just came out of the frog. It just *came out*. When I took it to a luthier, he said the bow was just a s*** beginner's bow (as I already knew), and he suggested I buy a new one. His cheapest new bow was $125, but he sold me a very nice used blackwood bow for $50--the same price they charge to rehair a bow. $50 I did not hope to spend, but at least I now have a good bow out of the deal.
Another issue was the bridge. Now, it was not installed when it arrived, which I expected. Bridges are not really "installed" because there is no mechanism to hold it in place aside from the tension of the strings. That is a fairly simple thing to put in, and helps reduce strain and extend life of the violin while shipping. My problem is--another thing this luthier informed me--that the bridge was not even *shaped*! It was not cut down to the proper size and there were no notches for the strings! He did not ask me if I wanted him to do it, as no doubt he could tell I did not even want to spend $50 on a bow. I would have asked him, but I knew it would be costly. This may or may not have been a mistake, but i went ahead and did it myself. It is a beginner violin anyway. Well, as it so happens, I may not have done such a bad job after all, because now that I have a good bow, and have installed the bridge and tuned the violin, the sound quality is actually alright. It is not even on the radar of a Stradivarius, but then again, neither am I. It'll do, but the bows need to be quality checked, and if the included bridge is going to be blank, the money to pay a luthier to do it should also be included.
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