Playing an instrument comes with ups, downs, growth and plateaus – but all musicians have something in common: they will need to upgrade their instrument eventually. Upgrading your violin is an exciting time for you get to try new instruments, learn their histories, and visit your local luthier shop until you become their best friend. All in the hopes you find that one violin that resonates with your soul, your needs, and your wallet.
All in all, we have to wonder – when is the right time to upgrade your violin? We know that children, teenagers and adults all have different requirements, so let us take jump into the question at hand. We will define at what point is an upgrade suitable, what type of budget you may what to aim for based on age group, and professional growth that leads to inspiring and aspiring towards a new instrument.
Upgrade a Violin for Your Child
Children grow fast, really fast. So, that tends to make teaching them instruments difficult – especially when their arm spans change almost instantaneously month over month. But this is something to continuously monitor for your little one. They will need multiple upgrades. If you keep your child on the same size for too long, it could hamper their progress and create bad habits in their play style.
As an example, as a child’s hands increases in size, they will have to make adjustments to gain the right intonation, so on a smaller violin with less finger board space, their fingers will begin colliding together to fit into place. To combat this, you simply purchase a bigger instrument as the hands and arm span increases to account for the growth.
Now, when it comes to price, children are rough on instruments. They may not be as careful, or they may not continue with the hobby at all. So, investing in expensive instruments may not be the goal unless you know for sure they will continue with it. It also may be best to purchase something more expensive when they stop growing so you know what size to truly go for. Dropping a lot of money on something they will outgrow may be a waste in some people’s eyes, however if your local shop has a great trade-in policy many times all of the money that you spent will simply rollover to the next larger size instrument. It is also a great time to upgrade not only the size but the quality during this trade-in process. A couple hundred dollars invested each time you go up in size will result in having a great deal of equity once you reach the full size allowing you to retain your investment that you have made along the way. What better way to reward your kiddo than to encourage musical growth than by providing them with a better sounding violin each time they reach the need for a larger instrument.
To recap upgrading for your child:
- Children’s hands and arm spans grow exponentially faster
- That growth will hamper their progress on an instrument of the wrong size
- Upgrading the level of the violin is a smart way to retain your investment and build equity in the instrument that you currently have all the while laying the foundation for having a quality instrument once the full size is reached.
Upgrading Your Violin while Climbing the Skill Ladder
Age plays a big role in upgrades. If you are an adult, and just starting out, you may want to opt for a less expensive instrument just to see if you will keep with it. But, you are an adult, and if you want to buy something more expensive – no one is stopping you. Some of the benefit in jumping right into an intermediate/professional instrument can be that the price keeps you motivated. We all know that if you invest in the risk of something, you are going to try to make it successful no matter what – so it may be a good way for you to keep yourself inspired to practice.
Adults learn quickly. So, when you begin to play, you will notice a lot of subtleties on a lesser instrument that sound really off compared to a better instrument. Those subtleties can end up hampering your growth because you may not be able to hear the resonance of the different notes as well, or you may feel like some notes are hard to reach based on the set up of the instrument.
Upgrades to an instrument as an adult can come in several different fashions. You can upgrade strings, your bridge, your bow or the whole instrument itself. Any of these moves come with an improvement in sound. A complete instrument upgrade is the most expensive option, so these others may be more suitable to the budget you have – no matter the case, investing in any of these options while you progress are great ways to gain an improvement in sound quality of the instrument, thereby increasing your enjoyment of practice and play.
As you become more skilled, you will notice different aspects of the violin you had not before. Does your violin finger board set up make it easy for you to reach the G string and E strings easily? Is the instrument light on your shoulder? How does the sound progress up the musical register? Do you like a warm rich sound or maybe a bright sound? As you begin to note the discrepancies in the musicality of the instrument, then it may be a good idea to swap out for something that meets your needs.
Let’s recap upgrading based on skill ladder:
- As an adult beginner, a beginner violin could hamper faster growth since adults take in information differently – it is up to you whether to start with beginner or more advanced instruments
- You can upgrade different attribute to your instrument if budget is a concern. Try the bridge, bow or strings – you will see a difference!
- Purchasing a more expensive instrument may push you to practice as a beginner
- When you begin to hear and feel the negative attributes to your instrument, it may be time to swap things out
Upgrade Your Violin through Inspiration
We mentioned this before that a new and more expensive instrument may inspire more practice time, and that is true. A new instrument also inspires an attachment to the instrument that comes with the violin learning journey. When you hold something that feels natural in your hands, that provides an extension of yourself and pushes you to take on a new plateau – that feeling is unmatched.
Walking into a luthier shop is taking a step back in time. They utilize old blueprints from master makers from the 1700s – tools, styles, and craftmanship built on historical foundation. Walking into a shop is like walking into another word full of curiosity. As adults, we do not get to be kids often. But as adults looking to find a new violin, we get to feel that way once more. We see the intricacy of a violin’s creation. We see the beauty in its woodwork. We identify with the artistic nature of its curves and symmetry. The experience adds to the inspiration, and if you are a professional player, hobbyist, or beginner, we can all agree that these instruments inspire the best in us, and finding the next violin match marks a steppingstone in our violin journeys that pushes us forward just one more step.
When you reach a certain level of skill, sometimes it is the inspiration of playing on a new instrument that moves you forward. If you are a beginner, utilize it to make you practice more. If you are intermediate or advanced, find that next violin that speaks to your musicality. If you love your instrument, you will love your music!
Upgrading Your Violin Conclusion
Upgrading your instrument is a big decision, and there are many reasons to upgrade. Whether you are a child growing too fast, an adult beginner who wants a nice instrument right from the get-go, a professional looking for their next inspirational violin, or an intermediate/advanced student aiming to find the instrument that speaks to them, the process of upgrading brings joy and fun to those involved. We love seeing our customers happy with their instrument of choice, and we invite you to always join us at our shop where we can take you back to the time of the great wood workers of the past.