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Should I Buy A Violin From Ebay?

Updated on June 25, 2012

Buying A Violin Online

As a grade 8 violinist (UK associated board) I have been through the violin buying process many times.

And a few years ago when I was teaching music lessons, one of the most common questions I was asked, was:

Should I buy a violin from ebay?

Well, the answer to this question obviously depends on what you want your violin for.

Buying a violin based on cost

If you want a violin that does the basic job of a violin, my advice would be yes, buy one online.

What makes me say that? Well, violins can be expensive.

I remember when I was young, I asked my teacher how much his cost him. He added up the cost of:

  • The Case
  • The Bow
  • The Violin

And it came to a grand total of nearly £20,000.

Yes, a lot of money - but believe it or not, you can pay a lot more!

But if you're just looking for a cheap kit that does the trick, I've seen them on ebay for Buy It Now as low as £44.99.

Buying a violin based on quality

Unless you know exactly which model, size, quality etc you want and are absolutely sure that the seller has listed the item right, then if you want the top quality my advice is to buy it from a place you can go and test it.

Many music shops will allow you to try out the instrument before you buy it, allowing you to check how well it sits with you (the shoulder comfort, the desired sound, the weight etc).

Be Warned that online there are a lot of people trying to sell mass-produced products as antiques. Watch out for phrases like:

  • Stradivarious Copy
  • Based on the model by Stradivarious
  • Stradivarious style violin

These all give the impression of being made by a high quality and well renowned historic violin maker whose products will sell for hundreds of thousand - yet will actually wind you up with a tinny mass-produced copy most of the time.

You shouldn't pay more than around £200 for a low-quality violin

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    • nbhumble profile image

      nbhumble 4 years ago from Staffs, UK

      This should of course not be taken as meaning that there are not good violin sellers on ebay. You do need to be very careful though and I would recommend that you thoroughly check all feedback the seller has received, the information that they give (look for good descriptions of the violin, personally taken photographs and preferably a video of the violin being played so that you can assess the sound quality) and most impoortantly get to know the seller. Exchange emails through the 'Ask a question' function. You will soon get a feel for how genuine they are. Are they willing to give you their time and assistance, giving full and helpful ansers to however many questions you want to ask. Also look for a guarantee that if you are not happy with what you receive that you can return it within a reasonable period (say 7 days of receiving) and that they will give you a full refund (although you can reasonably expect that you will not get the shipping costs back). Even a really good violin may not suit you, produce a sound you like or feel comfortable. It is a very individual thing. So if you can not get something of quality that you like locally, why not try ebay. Follow the advice above and be prepared that you may not hit on the right one first time and you may have to return it, or then again you might just hit the violin of your dreams first time. Another point to remember is that even on ebay you get what you pay for (from a genuine seller), so don't expect to get a violin worth thousands for under a hundred pounds. Although you can expect to get them at substantially lower prices than buying from a bricks-and-mortar establishment.

      And no, I don't sell on ebay, but I have bought and had a great experience doing so. Although that has been through one (what is now highly) trusted source.

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