Your child has expressed an interest in learning to play the violin, and of course, you’re keen to encourage their interest in music! After doing some research online, however, you’ve learned that new violins – even student violins – can be quite pricey. It doesn’t help that you really don’t know how long your child’s interest in playing is going to last, so you think it’s probably best to start with a second-hand violin. We take a look at the do’s and don’ts when it comes to second-hand instruments so you can avoid any hiccups and make your dollar stretch as far as possible.
The benefits of buying second-hand
There are some very good reasons to buy a second-hand instrument when you’re just starting out.
- Save money: Second-hand violins are cheaper, and you may end up saving around a third of the cost of a new violin.
- Less commitment: If your child feels that playing the violin isn’t for them, you won’t have forked out hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars for an instrument that is just going to sit at the back of their closet.
- Better quality for less: You may be able to find a used violin from a better brand for less than the cost of a new, but less superior, model.
- Better sound: As the wood in a violin ages, the playing sound becomes more mellow. If the violin is in good condition, you may end up with an instrument that sounds better than its newer counterpart.
- Cheaper to upgrade: If your child is starting to learn at a young age, they’ll probably outgrow their violin much more quickly than a teenager would. This can start to get expensive, so buying a used instrument can help deflect some of the upgrading costs.
What to watch out for:
Buying a second-hand violin can have some pitfalls too – especially if you don’t have much experiencing with buying instruments. However, these can be avoided if you don’t rush into a purchase and keep the following points in mind:
- Make sure that the instrument has a warranty or guarantee: This will protect you against any defects in the timber or structural issues caused in the manufacturing process.
- Inspect the instrument before you purchase it: Look out for any major damage that the instrument may have sustained from its previous owners, e.g. cracks or warping of the timber. Also, make sure that all of the individual parts of the instrument are in good condition.
- Check for new strings: Strings will only last around 6-12 months so make sure they’ve put new strings on it for an optimum playing sound.
- Don’t forget the bow: You shouldn’t have to buy a bow separately, but make sure you check the quality of the included bow to make sure that it still has some playing left in it.
- Brand is important: When going with the second-hand option, make sure you’re buying a violin from the student range of a well-known brand. You can also talk to the staff here at Simply for Strings to find out the approximate value of a particular used instrument to make sure it’s not overpriced.
- Get the whole package: Make sure that you do not have to fork out for extras like a case and bow. You should look for a second-hand instrument that comes in an outfit, rather than making individual purchases that push up the price.
- The seller must be licensed!: Make sure that the seller has a current second-hand dealers license. This will ensure that you are protected by all applicable consumer guarantees for second-hand goods in your state.
Remember, if your child takes care of their instrument then you may be able to resell or trade it in when it’s time to upgrade to a bigger violin or require a better quality instrument for an intermediate player. Teaching your child how to care for their violin will not only boost their respect for the craft, but it will give you a better trade-in value in the long term.
Simply for Strings stock a range of pre-loved second-hand and ex-rental violins. Each of our used instruments has been fully reconditioned and is ready for sale. They also come complete with our professional setup and a six-month guarantee so you can feel confident when purchasing a second-hand instrument from us.
If you’re looking for a second-hand instrument but aren’t really sure where to start, talk to us today. You can even visit us in-store and try some out for yourself!