StringWorks Blog

Notes from the founder of StringWorks, Todd French. Please feel free to email me with your questions or comments, or even suggestions on blog topics I might tackle.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh, how important setup really is - walk away from 'factory setup'

One bit of information that is unfortunately not known by many purchasing violin family instruments is the importance (cannot stress enough just how important it is) of a quality, qualified setup. Many inexpensive instruments are sold with 'factory setup' - this means a bridge-shaped object, and poorly fitted soundpost, untrimmed nut and saddle, and a fingerboard that could serve as a washboard in a pinch. To make such an instrument playable, expect on paying a qualified local luthier $100-up, and be sure that you consider it when you are looking at the potential purchase, as it is a real part of the cost, and absolutely necessary. Feel free to contact me for tips or recommendations for your local luthier if you have trouble finding one.

Budget-restricted? Don't buy cheap, rent...

This is a topic that I find coming up often - it is rather timeless, and likely even more prevalent now because of the current state of consumer economy due to borrowing and credit concerns nationwide. It is natural for players to desire the best instrument they can get - it's healthy. Unfortunately for all of us in the bowed string instrument world, our tools are not as affordable as a flute or guitar on the 'acceptable' student end.

Don't force yourself to purchase an instrument that is not being sold by a qualified retailer, and is not made of acceptable materials, which likely will require several hundred dollars in proper setup (another blog post) to be playable. Many violin shops offer excellent instruments in a rental program - take advantage of this. Save up for the instrument you CAN afford WHEN you can afford it - purchasing an inferior instrument just for the sake of owning it can actually hold your performance back.

It's been a while, but I'm back...

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted here, but last night while driving, I thought of a good topic for the StringWorks blog, but now I cannot remember it. Still, posting even this alone gives me the chance to renew my activity with it, and if I ever recall the topic I wanted to write about, I can come back and post.