Sources for fractionals?
We're looking to move from 1/8 to 1/4 - wow. It seems like a huge jump in size! And if the tone is not very pleasing, well, you have all that much more of it. So I feel like we need to tread carefully.
Currently we have a rental from a long-distance shop - Summerhays in UT. Up to this point we've been fairly pleased with their selection of rentals. The one we are currently renting is a nice Andare. They also just shipped us a 1/4 Richter and a 1/4 Pygmalius to try. These two are miles apart in tone and I don't see us being happy with anything like the Richter. The Pygmalius, on the other hand, just rings in your ear. If I were a student I'd want something like that on my shoulder.
Rental for something like the Pygmalius is quite a bit more, and has made me consider purchase options. Is this a good time to buy? I would have to travel or have them shipped. Anyone have any recommendations about places with good selection and easy to work with over long distances? Are there some violin classified ad websites I should check? I could make a visit to SLC to shop hop and try a bunch. But it sure would be nice to have some other options.
I do think that this is a good time to buy. It gives you more selection for instruments, and it also softens the hit later. If you buy a quarter you'll have equity to offset the cost of buying what will no doubt have to be an even higher-quality more expensive half-size in a couple of years.
Unfortunately my luthier contacts are all in Canada, and since most decent fractionals are Asian-made these days NAFTA won't help if you shop across the border meaning you'd be hit with duties and all sorts of expensive complications.
Hope someone else has some US suggestions.