Decided to buy an instrument? You've come to the right place! Have you checked out the Instrument Marketplace? If not, please search there first.
If so, there are many things to consider when purchasing an instrument. First of all, everyone has a price range. In the instrument world, you usually "get what you pay for," but not always. There are many different violins and violas for $1000 and cellos for $1500.
Use the information below only as a general guideline. I've based this guide on what questions are asked of me every year. I usually recommend to rent (ESPECIALLY cellos and basses) until you are ready to spend at least $1000 (violins/violas, at LEAST $1500 for cellos and $2000 basses) for a quality instrument. I do not recommend buying instruments over the internet, ever. (except for the vendors below) Especially not on Ebay. You never know what you're going to get and most of the time you get plain, unplayable junk. (Hey, I love ebay. I buy and sell all the time, but I don't buy instruments, for the most part. I'm saying all this for the benefit of your child's musical education! Stay away from those low priced websites too. They sell instruments that are equal to plywood and are make me feel sorry for the child who has to practice and play on it. If you have a question about an instrument online or on ebay, send me the link and I will give you my professional opinion. The better the instrument sounds, the more the student will want to play it. If you are dead set on buying on ebay, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send me the link before your purchase!!!! Models to watch for are Eastman 100 or higher (not 80), Suzuki -model 101RR or 220, Snow, Scott Cao, anything pre -1950 and in good condition and a few others. Ones for my students to always avoid are Palatino, Cecilio, anything BRAND NEW for an entire outfit under $300 ...)
As for North Shore Students, you can bring the instrument in and I (along with other NS string teachers) will play it and give you our opinion. You can and should do this with your private teacher as well.
The best way to do it is to get at least 3 instruments on loan to try. Get 1 in your price range, 1 on the low side, and 1 a little over what you wanted to spend. Then, don't look at the price tags. Let your child play the instruments and form their own opinions based solely on the sound and feel of the instrument. I will do the same thing. You never know, sometimes the lowest priced instrument is the best overall. Also remember that a quality instrument is NOTHING without a good bow to play it with and a decent case to protect your investment. Many dealers will give you a break on the case and sometimes the bow when you spend a fair amount on an instrument. Oh, and know that buying an instrument can be a long and sometimes tedious process. Sometimes, it can take months. You might go to 2 or 3 different stores and try 3-6 different instruments and not find the one thats right for your child. Don't give up. You'll find one and when you do its a beautiful thing. :)
I can't make you follow these guidelines, all I can do is provide the information and my time to help. I am happy to help, just ask. :) good luck and happy instrument hunting!
Here is an article from String Magazine that may aid in your search of a violin
Tonys Instrumental Service- violins, violas and celli (plural of cello :)
79 Searingtown Road
Searingtown, NY 11507
Phone: (516) 625-0007
Long Island Violin Shop- violins, violas and celli
24 Balsam Dr.
Dix Hills, NY 11746
Phone: (631) 427-3569
David Herman Violin Maker & Repair- Eastman instruments
1511 Dieman Ln,
East Meadow, NY 11554
Samuel Kolstein & Sons- mostly basses, but they do carry other instruments
795 Foxhurst Rd, Baldwin, NY
there are many more vendors in the city....