Looking To Buy A Violin Online? What You Need To Know
We know that choosing a fiddle, especially online can be challenging.
There’s so many questions to be answered, such as, how can fiddles range in cost so much, why are their so many sizes to choose from, what is the appropriate size for me, whats the difference between fiddles and most importantly can you purchase something as sensitive and personal online.
When customers purchase fiddles and other instruments using our site, we want to ensure you are comfortable with your online purchase and are confident it’s the most suitable choice for you. Please see below for a few pointers on how to purchase the perfect fiddle, you an also contact me directly if you have any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly on 087-2569 672, or from outside Ireland +353 18322432
Let’s Get To Know The Basics Of The Fiddle
In most cases, fiddles are constructed the same way, they have four strings which are stretched over the fiddle body, they contain a tailpiece, chin rest, a neck and pegbox. The majority of fiddles don’t have huge design variations (other instruments have a lot more) however most fiddle players will tell you that each fiddle is created differently and are all unique in their own way.
One of the most important aspects of any fiddle is the quality of tonewood its made from and the skill performed constructing it. Thats why we here at McNeela Music, only use the best quality wood and all our fiddles are constructed to the highest degree of perfection in order for you to achieve that perfect tone.
The Different Types Of ToneWood Fiddles Are Made From
Tonewood types and the quality of tonewood which fiddles are made with is one of the most important factors, as it determines the sound. Thats why we only source and construct our fiddles with the most premium of tonewood. We know to achieve the greatest tone, this is required.
The majority of fiddles use the same type of tonewood, this includes spruce tops, maple necks, backs and sides, however the quality of wood greatly varies.
The top of the fiddle body is called the soundboard, the soundboard amplifies the sound from the resonating strings. The majority of soundboards are constructed using spruce wood. For hundreds of years, spruce wood has been used as it’s naturally stiff and a dense component, this makes it the perfect fit. As spruce is very strong it can be carved to shape and its density allows us to create better resonance in comparison to other woods.
The quality of spruce used to construct fiddles is very important and it can determine the price of the instrument. There are seven different types of spruce woods – Some experienced fiddle players have a preference of what spruce they prefer and this preference is mainly gained through experience of playing different fiddles.
Wood that is produced in cooler climates is denser and this is the most desirable type of wood for fiddle construction. The longer the spruce is allowed to age, the stronger it becomes. This is because it becomes drier. So in McNeela Music, we use spruce which is grown at high altitude, which has been seasoned for years as this is the most superior top wood.
Another factor which needs to be considered with spruce is the grain. The most premium spruce will have beautiful flame-like figuring. The highest standard fiddles will have attractive patterns and will be varnished flawlessly to bring out the underlying grain.
Fiddle back, sides and necks are made from maple wood. As with spruce wood, there are also different types of maple woods. In McNeela Music we use premium quality grained wood that has been aged and is made of tightly grained wood.
Ebony is usually used for the fingerboard and is the preferable type, but sometimes less expensive fiddles may have a less expensive fingerboard. Also some less expensive fiddles may have alloy tailpieces or plastic chin rests and lesser quality bridges.
In some cases, fiddles will be constructed with different types of wood. The woods which are used determine the fiddles durability, sound and value.
To summarise, the quality of wood and the fiddles finish in most cases will reflect in the price.
Different Fiddle Categories
While searching online, you may see different fiddle categories such as Student, Intermediate and Professional. A lot of sites describe the fiddles under categories to help describe if the fiddle is for a beginner, someone at the halfway point or an advanced player. However, fiddles do not have any universally accepted standards for any of these categories, they are purely used in the description to help educate customers about their purchase and are used as a general guideline to narrow your search.
A beginner fiddle can range in price, but are generally anywhere between €100 – €900.
Usually beginner fiddles are constructed with lower-quality wood, don’t get me wrong the wood is still of good quality however it wont have as much handcrafting such as carving, assembly and finishing. Generally, these fiddles have plastic parts this may include, plastic tuning pegs and chin rests. Beginner fiddles are well suited to people who want to learn how to play the fiddle but aren’t entirely sure if they will keep it up long term.
Intermediate fiddles are suitable for people who are between student and advanced level.
Some online sites don’t include this category as they only focus on student and advanced levels, however we think its important that customers get a well rounded purchasing opportunity. We also think that having an intermediate category is important as it allows the customer to find something better then a beginner fiddle but aren’t ready to spend a large sum of money on an advanced.
Advanced fiddles are suitable for professional players or aspiring musicians. They are premium fiddles, constructed from slow-dried wood which is grown in cooler climates. Advanced fiddles are very carefully handcrafted, and only contain the highest of quality components. They generally feature, ebony fingerboards and wooden tailpieces. Advanced fiddles can range in price but are usually a few thousand euro, the reason they are expensive is the quality of premium wood used – the most premium materials are used and a large amount of time and handcrafted skill goes into making them.
How To Choose The Correct Size
Fiddles are available in 8 different sizes: 4/4 (also called full size), 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16 and 1/32. Size 4/4 is the biggest and size 1/32 is the smallest. All adults, regardless of their size, use the size 4/4 fiddle.
To measure what size violin best suits you, you need to know the length between your neck and the middle of your left-hand palm (when your hand is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a fiddle). Most of the teachers prefer students to use the length from the neck to the wrist for measurement instead of the neck to mid-palm approach. The fiddle size determined by the neck/wrist approach would be the size that is more comfortable for students to hold. The fiddle size determined by the neck/mid-palm approach would be the biggest size students should use.
If you have a teacher, you should ask for your teacher’s recommendation. If you don’t have a teacher, we would recommend using the neck/wrist approach for students not using full size; for students who are deciding whether to used size 3/4 or size 4/4, use the neck/mid-palm approach. This is because it is always better for students to feel comfortable holding and playing the fiddle. However, while deciding between size 3/4 and size 4/4, if neck/mid-palm approach allows for size 4/4, then buying a size 4/4 is more economical since you don’t have to buy another bigger size fiddle later. This is completely based on economical consideration. You should still decide what best suits your need.
The following table lists the length of each fiddle size. Find your length using your preferred approach and use that to determine the size of fiddle to get.
The Advantages Of Buying Online
We know buying online can be challenging as the choice is large and buying a fiddle is a personal purchase however there are some perks of buying online, such as:
- Save time, you don’t have to spend hours going from store to store, you can shop around in the comfort of your own home.
- Its easier to compare prices and read customer reviews, also shopping online is a great way of gathering valuable information.
At McNeela Music, we offer a 14 day back money guarantee, so this allows you to test your fiddle and ensure that you are happy with it. If not satisfied, you can return it hassle free, however with the quality of our products we’re sure you will be happy!