If you don’t have a musical instrument shop near you, or their selection of violins is limited, you may look into the option to buy a violin online. While it’s always better to be able to play an instrument you’re looking to buy first, buying a violin online can often yield satisfactory results.
Advantages of Buying a Violin Online
Outside of big cities, you might have only a few musical instrument shops within easy driving distance. No shop can carry every violin you might want to try, but they will likely stock a few of the popular models. There’s nothing wrong with this, as popular makers and styles are usually so for good reasons. But if you need a slightly larger or smaller model, or you like a less popular maker, you might need to buy your violin online. Many online music instrument retailers also offer violins with novelty finishes, which might appeal to younger players.
One of the great benefits of shopping online in general is the opportunity to compare prices. Physical stores often have higher overhead costs than online retailers, so shopping online often yields cheaper prices. Even when you shop at musical instrument stores that do business online and in person, normal price variations can help you save.
Disadvantages of Buying Online
Online shopping is not perfect, of course, and there are some aspects that make it especially challenging for buying musical instruments. For one, you can’t interact with seller in person. While this isn’t essential for buying a violin, when you go to a physical musical instrument shop, you’re able to ask questions about instruments other customers either bring in or are considering, or the seller can direct you to a maker or model that you haven’t considered, but that might be right for you. Of course, if you are sure of the maker and model you want, then buying a violin online can help you get what you need at the right price.
Also keep in mind that not all violins are created equal, and while they last a long time, violins do show signs of wear after a while. When you buy a violin online, you won’t get to inspect the instrument before buying. That “new” instrument might be a shopworn floor model. What the seller considers “excellent” condition may vary from your own definition a great deal. With online purchases, it’s easier for sellers to misrepresent instruments or service. A violin that looks great from one angle under certain lighting might be a mess of damage and neglect when you see it in person.
Choosing a Good Online Retailer
When you’re thinking of buying a violin online, pick an online retailer that solely specializes in selling musical instruments. Avoid general re-sellers, who may buy a variety of items based on their resale value, as they are unlikely to be able to answer your questions about the instrument.
Some online retailers have guides for those buying a musical instrument. Consult these, and know that they are a sign of a knowledgeable retailer. Make sure to also check the return policy. Since your first time holding the instrument will be after your purchase, it’s important that you be able to return an instrument if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Trying Out Your Violin
Once your violin arrives, keep the packaging, and have it inspected by your instructor. Your violin teacher can also help you set up the bridge. However, if you have purchased a violin that was listed as new but shows clear signs of wear, that is a strong sign that you should return the instrument immediately, as any other claims about the instrument might be equally false. A few practice sessions should tell you whether or not this is the violin for you. If you find a small flaw or need for repair, your violin instructor should be able to determine whether the issue is serious enough for an exchange, or if the problem can be fixed by you or a local repair shop.
Buying a violin, whether online or in person, is a learning experience. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the different violin makers, and what styles seem to work best for you. As you become a more experienced violin player, your personal favorites will emerge, and they might even be the result of online purchases. Good luck!
Photo by Wystan