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there are a lot of dealers working the on-line auction market who know what they're buying and selling and so you get what you pay for
With a stringed instrument, you do *not* always get what you pay for. A child starting the violin is going to sound like a child starting the violin. Rent a violin, sure -- see if your son enjoys the instrument.

We just bought our dd a 1/32 size violin on eBay for $30 shipped. Included the violin, 2 bows, strings and a case.
I can give you the name of the online music store if you would like.

I won't go into how much money you *can* spend on a violin, but will tell you that it is the player, not the violin that makes the difference.
 

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We just bought a Steinway (upright grand) on eBay for $700! A piano technician picked it up from a high school music practice room. The condition was mint -- not much interest in piano, I guess. The exterior was where the artistry is displayed...the entire piano was covered in graffiti. We're having it refinished back to its original state. The soundboard was impeccable, and the hammers were all replaced. It is a wonderful piano! Last week a church was selling their Steinway upright on eBay -- it sold for $616!

As for my violin comment -- I think my opinion came off too strong. I do believe that a child should start on the best violin that can be afforded--to a point. My dh is asked at least once a month to listen to students trying new violins. Each time, the parent or student is convinced that if they had a more expensive violin they would sound "cleaner" or have a "warmer tone" etc, etc. And each time, it really just comes down to practice.

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I'm a Suzuki violin teacher and I would not teach a student on a violin of that quality. I insist the instrument have decent quality tone, proper perlon-core A, D and G strings and a properly and expertly-fitted bridge and soundpost.
And comments that sound like a student won't be accepted to a studio because of their violin feel discriminatory to me. A Suzuki student doesn't use much more than an A and E string for quite some time. However, a parent new to violin will rarely have a good ear for a high quality violin. It's like asking a first time wine-taster what she thinks of Franzia versus a good Bordeaux. Perhaps that comment was just worded poorly, but I would hate to think that children are being turned away because the the quality of their violin.
 

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Thank you for that post, Miranda.
I was misunderstanding some of your posts and most likely would not have any of those concerns if we had this conversation in person rather than on a message board.

Classical music has been (and still is, appears, and/or feels) somewhat classist. I really do appreciate teachers like you who generously donate time and energy to share music with our young people.

No hard feelings?
 
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