Beginning Violins
Beginning Violins at SHAR
Beginning violinists are working to learn and master the basics of stringed instrument playing, including fingering, bowing, rhythm, dynamics, note reading and tone production. They require a violin that possesses a pleasing tone, balanced response, contrasts in dynamic range (volume) and forgiveness of general response to help instill confidence in an inexperienced player.

Beginning violins are typically manufactured in a production setting, where a good deal of the carving is done by a machine to keep costs to a minimum, and for consistency and predictability of tone. The violin set-up is the single most important stage of production, where a skilled worker's careful attention to detail brings out the best possible tone and playability.
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How to Choose a Student Instrument
There are many choices available to beginning players. Deciding among them can be difficult, as the differences between instruments are not always easy to tell, especially for new players and their parents.
First, we recommend that you speak with your teacher. They can give you guidance and sometimes specific recommendation for an instrument.

Second, we recommend that you consider more than price alone.  While there are good inexpensive violins available, there are many more that are simply not playable.  On behalf of Teachers, Violin Shops and Beginning players across the country, we encourage parents to avoid the temptation to buy a cheap internet-auction violin outfit, commonly known as a V.S.O. – Violin Shaped Object.  V.S.O.’s look like violins, but a very high percentage are virtually unplayable due to innumerable structural and set-up problems.  Many well –meaning parents bring their V.S.O.’s to violin shops around the country (including the Shar Repair shop) and are disappointed to find out that the repairs needed to make their instrument playable far exceed both the price they paid for the instrument and the price of a properly made and set up instrument without any of the problems of a V.S.O.
When buying a violin, there is no substitute for holding it in your hands and trying it. If you are buying from a catalog or web site, be very sure that you can return the violin if you do not like it. A picture will not show you if the pegs turn properly - and if they don't, you cannot keep the violin in tune, making it unplayable! No matter where you buy your violin, please be sure that you speak with a knowledgeable person there - preferably a violin player, who can guide you through the choices.

At Shar, we have been selling violins in our store and through the mail for over 45 years. We understand that the set-up of the violin is the single most important factor to playing success. The violins we sell are made to our exacting specifications in workshops in China, Romania, and Germany, and then each instrument goes through a rigorous inspection or set-up process in our Ann Arbor workshop where our highly-trained staff ensure that the violin we send to you will be the best in its class!

Questions about Instruments

How can I tell the quality of my student violin?
Of course, a violin must sound good in order to motivate your young student. But a high quality instrument must also have easy-turning pegs that stay in tune. The bridge, fingerboard, nut and soundpost must be carefully shaped and fit so that the violin is easy to play and feels good to the hand.

What makes one violin more expensive than another?
The two biggest factors are the quality and age of the wood and the skill of the makers. Only a skilled maker is able to make all the parts fit together properly so the violin will work perfectly.

What size violin does my child need?
That is best answered by the child's teacher. The musicians who answer the phone at Shar are well qualified to make a recommendation based on your child's age and arm length, but there's no substitute for having a good teacher who can see them holding the instrument. Our 30 day guarantee assures you that returns and exchanges will be quick and easy.

Why does it matter where I get an instrument?
There are so many places offering "great deals" on student violins these days that it can be overwhelming. You need to be sure that your instrument will be playable, and that the staff can answer your questions so that you select an appropriate instrument that is right for your child's level of playing. Many parents call Shar because they are frustrated at the poor quality of a violin they purchased on an internet auction or discount instrument site.

- Catherine Portis, 2007 Shar Apprentice and Violinist

Franz Hoffmann Instruments: you can hear the difference!

The Shar 30/365 Guarantee
We want you to be satisfied with everything we sell. If you are not completely satisfied with any instrument or outfit you purchase from Shar, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund. Of course, if the instrument has been damaged, repair costs or depreciation may apply. We will repair or replace anything that proves defective in materials or workmanship in the first year.

The Shar Trade-In Policy
As you grow musically, you may find that a better quality instrument will allow even greater musical possibilities.  We offer you a generous trade-in credit of 100% of the original purchase price of Franz Hoffmann instruments and outfits and 100% of the original purchase price for Shar Violin Shop instruments (Carlo Lamberti, Otto Ernst Fischer, Karl Joseph Schneider, John Cheng workshop, Collector’s series and those from our Fine collection). Please click here for more information on the Shar Trade-In Policy.

Other Questions? Call us at 800.248.7427 - Only Musicians Answer the Phone at Shar!