Is Buying a Used Violin a Good or Bad Idea?

Whether buying a used violin is a good or a bad idea depends on a few important factors. Buying a used violin can prove to be inexpensive while offering a good use-value. However, it could prove to be a risky purchase if the instrument needs more repairs than you originally thought it would need. If you have a used violin insight and find yourself at the crossroads of buying or not buying, consider answering the following four questions before making your final choice.

How Is the Working Condition?

Yes, we are heading with the toughest question first. A beginner violin will need less attention than that demanded by intermediate or advanced instruments; however, it still needs to be in excellent working condition. If you are only beginning to learn, you cannot be fighting with an instrument in poor condition.

An ideal beginner or intermediate violin will have a bridge and strings no older than a year or two. Further to that, the instrument should have sealed seams, pegs that do not slip or get stuck, and it should have no cracks. If a used violin needs repairs for any of these items, the purchase price should reflect that cost.

Music stores are safer for the purchase of used violins since a professional individual checks for any defects and a technician sets up the repair of the instrument. Purchasing a used violin from a private party, such as consumer-to-consumer sales portals, is much riskier.

After checking for any defects and playing the instrument to see if you like the way it sounds, here are some other things that you must look for.

Is the bridge upright or warped?

Does it have a complete set of strings?

Does the body have any cracks?

Are the seams fully sealed, or are they opening up?

Do the pegs move easily?

Is the fingerboard straight or warped?

What Is the Use History?

When you are considering purchasing a used violin, it is always helpful to ask about the instrument’s history. Has it been played recently, or was it sitting unworked? How long has it been before it was last played? Naturally, used violins that have not been played for some time will require more repairs, thereby making it a more economical purchase. It is also wise to ask the store manager or the independent seller about any past troubles or complaints they may have experienced with certain parts.

Does it Come With Accessories?

It is highly likely that if one is looking to purchase a new violin, one is also looking to buy accessories that go along with it such as a case, bow, rosin, and shoulder rest. Usually, advanced instruments are sold without any or just a few of these accessories. Beginner and intermediate instruments, however, come with at least a bow and a case.

Am I Getting the Best Value?

A part of the process of purchasing used violins involves researching to find out how much would it cost to buy a new instrument of the approximately same level of craftsmanship. Make use of online resources to compare prices. Often, a direct and accurate comparison between a new and a used instrument is not easy to make, however, it is safe to say that, ideally, you should pay less for a used violin than that for a new one at the same level.

In general, purchasing a used violin is a great idea for someone who is already familiar with violins and can make an accurate assessment of an instrument. If you do not find yourself comfortable assessing an instrument, but are still keen on buying a used instrument, find a reputable music store near you. Taking help from your violin teacher to check out the instrument and give you a second opinion is also a wise choice.

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