FAQs

Violin

Our favorite violin string set of a single brand is Thomastik-Infeld – Dominant.

However, we highly recommend mixing multiple string brands to get the best sound since different string brands bring out different quality sound from each string on a violin. Our favorite violin string combination is a Jargar E, Dominant A, Dominant D, and Dominant G.

You can read more about our favorite violin string brands in our violin string recommendations article.

 

Category: Violin
Tag: violin

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You call someone who plays violin a violinist or a violin player.

Category: Violin
Tag: violin

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Finding the right violin for a beginner that sounds decent, but is affordable, can be challenging. Fortunately for you, we have curated our recommended beginner violins in our guide on the best beginner violins.

Our favorite violin brand for beginners is Stentor because they look and sound better than their price range.

Beginner violins typically sell for between $100 and $500.

Category: Violin

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Violins generally cost between $200-$5000 depending on the level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) of the instrument. The main determinant of violin price is whether the instrument is factory or hand-made. To learn more about the differences between the different violin levels and what you can get at each level, read our review of the best violin brands.

Violin Price by Level

Violins come in different levels for players on different stages of their musical careers. Many students start out by renting violins for practice until they are ready to own one. Essentially, violins fall into three categories:

  • Student and Beginner Violins: These are for beginner violin players and are generally factory-made to reduce costs but maintain tone quality. These instruments are best for those just starting out on violin and are great for the first few years of playing. These players tend to be rough on their violins so maple (dyed black to resemble ebony) is sometimes used for the pegs and fingerboards, areas that are exposed to more friction. These violins are quite affordable. Prices range from $200 – $2,500.
  • Intermediate to Advanced Violins: With intricate and fine workmanship, the sound of an intermediate violin is also much better. There are more dynamics and stronger projection. The pegs and fingerboards are crafted with ebony and most of the instrument is handcrafted. Prices range from $500 – $10,000.
  • Professional Violins: Pure craftsmanship using the finest quality of wood, professional violins exude a rich tone and wide dynamics. Masterpieces like these are expensive. Prices go from $10,000 onwards. Some of the most expensive violins have sold at auction of tens of millions of dollars.

Typically, a better quality violin will be more expensive. A cheap violin that costs only a few hundred dollars may be great for a beginner or student who is unsure whether they will continue playing but is virtually unplayable by a professional. Of course, the price is not always merely an indication of product quality. Sometimes, it also incorporates the name of the violin maker and famous violin makers tend to sell their violins at premiums.

Category: Violin

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Deciding whether to buy or rent a violin is an important question that many beginner violin students face. There is no straight-forward answer to this question since it depends on your individual circumstances, but there are distinct benefits to both options.

The main benefit of buying a violin instead of renting it is that it generally retains its value throughout its life which makes trading it in for a larger size or higher quality violin very viable.

The main benefit of renting a violin is that you don’t own the instrument, so if it’s damaged or your student wants to quit, you can just return it to the music store. No need to pay a repair bill or find a buyer.

To read more about the differences and see examples, read our guide on renting vs buying.

Category: Violin

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The violin bow price can vary widely from less than $50 to well over $5000 depending on the material, the craftsmanship, and weight. In general, you should look for a violin bow that costs between 20-25% of the violin price.

Typically, the following violin bow prices apply depending on the material used:

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass violin bows tend to be on the low-end of the violin bow price spectrum and are typically used by beginner violin students. Expect to spend less than $100 on a fiberglass violin bow.
  • Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber violin bows are usually priced in the middle between fiberglass and wooden. They are known to be extremely durable so they are a great all-purpose violin bow material. You should expect to spend between $50 to $300 for a carbon fiber violin bow.
  • Wooden: Wooden violin bows are typically made from Pernambuco wood from Brazil. Depending on what part of the tree was used to make the bow, wooden violin bow prices can range from around $50 to well into the $1000s.

If you want to learn more about what to look for in violin bow, you can read our guide on buying violin bows.

Category: Violin

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Viola

The violin family is large, with a slight difference between each member. This makes it hard to figure out which instrument is which exactly. And it is only natural to ask oneself what is a viola? It looks a lot like a violin. What is really the difference between the two?

Much like the violin, a viola is a stringed instrument, most often played with a bow. But the main difference is in the size between the two instruments. The viola is slightly larger than the violin. The sound that it produces is slightly lower and deeper than the sound of the violin. Its forms and sizes have varied a bit over the years, but since the middle of the 18th century, it has become the alto voice of the violin family. But now, the average viola is between an inch and four inches longer than the violin. This makes its average length around 16 inches. This is the first big difference between it and the violin. While the violin has a standard size, the viola might vary.

violin vs viola size
Source: WikiHow

History of the Viola

Throughout its history, it has seen many name changes in the countries that had a tradition of developing and making bowed instruments in the violin family. Those countries were Italy, Germany, and France. The word viola itself is Italian and means of the arm. They also used to call it Brazzo. This lead to the German nickname for the viola Bratsche.

On the other hand, the French had two different types of violas, each with its very own name. The Cinquisme was a smaller version of the viola and the Haute Conte was a larger iteration of this stringed instrument. Nowadays the French just call it alto, similar to its place in the violin family and the sound it produces.

One of the most famous violas was constructed in Germany in the 18 century. Hermann ritter produces a very special, and unusually large viola (19 inches) for the productions of many of Wagner’s operas. Another big creator or maker of violas was A.E. Smith, who worked during the 20th century. Some even hailed him as the Stradivari of the viola. The majority of his violas now reside in Australia and are being used by the Sydney philharmonic.

But the experimentations with the viola and its size, and the tone it produces didn’t end there. Even today, there are many people who try to create a lighter version of the instrument while keeping its tonal range the same.

This instrument reached the height of its popularity in the 18th century. It was a core instrument in a five-part harmony set up, popular during the age of the Enlightenment.

The Viola Player

The violist is what you call a viola player. Since it is longer than the violin, the tones are more spread out. This means that if you want to play the viola, you will need slightly different fingering compared to the violin. The bowing of the instrument is also quite different. The strings of the viola are less responsive, which means that the bow will be heavier. The bow is also used in a different way than with the violin.

The Music and Clef

Music written for the viola is very different from other instruments for one big reason. unlike other instruments, the music for the viola is written in alto clef. The only other instrument that uses the alto clef is the trombone, but it doesn’t use it all the time, just in some instances. Because of the way it is tuned and for its use of alto clef, many cello musical pieces can easily be transcribed for the viola as well.

The violin is a staple of both modern and classical music, but the viola is not far behind. Numerous modern bands use the sound of the viola for their music. Some notable examples include. The Velvet Underground, in a song like Venus in Fur, Imagine dragons, The Gorillaz in their smash hit Dirty Harry, Van Morrison, Nick Cave, and the Bad Seeds, Brian Eno, The Doobie Brothers and many more.

The viola might not be as popular as its sister the violin. But slowly, with time, it is becoming more and more popular, both with those who play classical, but also modern music.

Category: Viola
Tags: viola, what is

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Our favorite portable viola tuner is the Korg TM50 because it offers a lot of features including a metronome and tuner, plus the battery lasts a really long time.

To learn more about other viola tuners we recommend, check out our review of the best viola tuners.

Category: Viola
Tag: viola

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Someone who plays viola is called a viola player or a violist.

Category: Viola

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Deciding whether to buy or rent a cello is an important question that many beginner viola students face. The answer depends on your individual circumstances so we cannot provide a definitive answer, but there are distinct benefits to both options.

The advantage of buying a viola instead of renting it is that it generally retains its value throughout its life which makes trading it in for a larger size or higher quality violin very viable.

The advantage of renting a viola is that you don’t own the instrument, so if it’s damaged or your student wants to quit, you can just return it to the music store. No need to pay a repair bill or find a buyer.

To read more about the differences and see examples, read our guide on renting vs buying.

Category: Viola

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Cello

Our favorite portable cello tuner is the Korg TM50 because it offers a lot of features including a metronome and tuner, plus the battery lasts a really long time.

To learn more about other cello tuners we recommend, check out our review of the best cello tuners. If instead, you’re looking for a cello tuner app to use on your phone, we also have a review of the best cello tuner apps.

Category: Cello
Tag: cello

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You call someone who plays cello a cellist or a cello player.

Category: Cello

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Our favorite cello string set of a single brand is Evah Pirazzi Gold/Regular.

However, we highly recommend mixing multiple string brands to get the best sound since different string brands bring out different quality sound from each string on a cello. Our favorite cello string combination is a Larsen A, Larsen D, Spirocore Tungsten G, and Spirocore Tungsten C.

You can read more about our favorite cello string brands in our cello string recommendations article.

 

Category: Cello

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Deciding whether to buy or rent a cello is an important question that many beginner cello students face. The answer depends on your individual circumstances so we cannot provide a definitive answer, but there are distinct benefits to both options.

The advantage of buying a cello instead of renting it is that it generally retains its value throughout its life which makes trading it in for a larger size or higher quality violin very viable.

The advantage of renting a cello is that you don’t own the instrument, so if it’s damaged or your student wants to quit, you can just return it to the music store. No need to pay a repair bill or find a buyer.

To read more about the differences and see examples, read our guide on renting vs buying.

Category: Cello

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Cello costs range widely since the price is mostly based on the level of craftsmanship used in making the cello which typically affects the sound. A higher-quality sound uses costs more.

Student cellos built for beginners are usually machine-made so they can be much cheaper averaging around $300-$400. On the higher-end, professional level cellos can cost well over $10,000.

Many students start out by renting cellos for practice until they are ready to own one. Essentially, cellos fall under three categories for pricing:

  • Student Cellos: Student cellos are designed for beginner cello players. They are generally machine-made so that costs remain low for students who aren’t sure that they will continue playing cello. Since young students are typically learning how to play, maple (dyed black to resemble ebony) is sometimes used for the pegs and fingerboards, areas that are exposed to more friction. Student cello prices range from $200 – $2,500.
  • Intermediate to Advanced Cellos: With higher workmanship, the sound of an intermediate cello is also much better. There are more dynamics and stronger projection. The pegs and fingerboards are crafted with ebony and most of the instrument is handcrafted. Intermediate/advanced cello prices range from $500 – $10,000.
  • Professional Cellos: Pure craftsmanship using the finest quality of wood, professional cellos exude a rich tone and wide dynamics. Masterpieces like these are expensive. Professional cello prices go from $10,000 onwards.

Typically, how much one pays for a cello is how much one can expect from the quality. A cello priced at the extreme low hundreds tends to be “unplayable” while the more expensive ones can balance both playability and sound production better.

Of course, the price is not always merely an indication of product quality. Sometimes, it also incorporates the name of the cello maker. As a cello maker’s fame increases, so does the value of the instruments he crafts. The question of how much is a cello worth often depends on a variety of characteristics of that cello.

Category: Cello

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Double Bass

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