Professional Violinist tries $ 67 Violin vs Her Violin

by | Jul 17, 2019 | 13 comments

I review the $ 67 Glarry violin set and demonstrate how it sounds!

Is it any good and suitable for a beginner violinist to learn on? Find out in this video:

‘I will review your cheap violin set, but I have to warn you that I’ll give my audience my honest opinion’

That’s what I wrote to Glarry as I was a bit reluctant and sceptic when they asked me to review their violin outfit

In the back of my mind I know that there are people who REALLY want to play the violin and REALLY don’t have more to spend, so I wanted to see if this violin is any good for beginners.

The Outfit

It’s a very complete set that includes the violin, a bow, a case, a shoulder rest, rosin, a tuner and a spare set of strings. Yup, everything you need!

The Violin

I noticed immediately that the sound post was rolling around inside. This wasn’t an issue for me as I have a special tool and experience, but it may not be possible for everyone to place a sound post.

You also must be able to place the bridge on the violin on your own, because the bridge was tucked underneath the tailpiece.

Something else to keep in mind is that it is common with factory violins that you order online that the markings on the bridge for the strings were also not equally divided. So you have to be place them by yourself.

The Sound

To be very honest: it’s not so bad at all! Listen to it in the video and judge! However due to the rough finishing and cheap strings, it’s very hard to play in tune and create a good sound.

The Bow

The bow was very wobbly and although it makes sound, I would recommend upgrading to a simple carbon bow as quickly as possible.

Shoulder Rest

The shoulder rest is simple and suitable for beginners. Since it’s not adjustable you may find yourself wanting to upgrade to an adjustable shoulder rest later.

Strings & Tuning

Tuning was a challenge since the strings are not completely even and are very basic. Considering the price point of this set it is understandable.  In general, the tuning stability of the violin’s pegs was good.

The tuner provided with this set works very well and it’s great for those who are just starting out.

Rosin

The rosin that was included was not suitable and I did need to utilise my own in order to get it playing. That’s always the case with cheap complete violin sets.

It’s not so bad at all!

It’s amazing how they can deliver this complete violin outfit for only $ 67. If you’re looking for a cheap violin as a beginner violinist and you REALLY don’t have more to spend, this is great value for money. However, don’t expect miracles and consider it’s downsides described here and mentioned in the video.

What do YOU think of this cheap violin?

Listen to the demonstration in the video and leave a comment below to let me know if you would buy this as your first violin or if you would spend a little more to get something nicer.

  • DELIVERY – The Glarry violin set arrived very quickly
  • COMPLETE SET – The set comes with everything you’d need to get started
  • SUITABLE FOR BEGINNERS – If you are only able to afford a violin in this price range then this is a good set to start with, but you’ll want to consider upgrading as soon as you can so you are able to play more easily and get the most enjoyment out of your violin playing.
  • BRIDGE IS OK – This violin is good enough for practicing open strings, string crossings, and play some simple beginner tunes
  • UPGRADE BOW AND ROSIN – If possible I recommend upgrading the bow and rosin very quickly
  • CONSIDER A HIGHER PRICE POINT VIOLIN – Sets around $200 like this one are set up properly, have a better sound and will motivate you more.
Most valued features:
Violin Strings | Violin Lounge TV #309 Violinist tries $ 29 eBay Violin Bow vs $ 8.000 Professional Bow | Violin Lounge TV #318

13 Comments

  1. Liz Bustamante

    Thank you for posting this! My own first fiddle was a very respectable Scherl & Roth student violin, circa 1960. I would most definitely spend the $ and go with the Fiddlershop outfit, still peanuts compared to what it’s possible to spend on even a beginner violin. The drawbacks of the Glarry fiddle (beginning with the fallen soundpost!!!!) would be too daunting for many, I think

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, I think so too, Liz, the Fiddlershop outfit is amazing for a beginner. However, the falling soundpost thing is something that’s always a risk with sending violins internationally. The risk is even higher with more expensive violin that have a nice fitting soundpost versus cheap violins that have a soundpost that is crammed in really tight. In my ‘violin shop years’ sometimes very good violins arrived with fallen soundposts. Oh, and you don’t want to know how the transportation companies handle violins… they literally throw the packages around.

      Reply
  2. Sherylin

    Actually, the way you played the cheap one it sounded pretty good 🙂
    Thanks for this video Zlata 🙂

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, it surprised me too, for the price this outfit really offers a lot of value and I can imagine that it’s a great deal for people on a low budget.

      Reply
  3. Dr. Alan L. Hensley

    I have done exactly as you have done in this video. I purchased a $100.00 violin. I was so frustrated with the inability of the strings to stay in tune and with the pegs. Next, I purchased an unnamed violin at an estate sale for $150.00, which looked an felt amazing, except the pernambuco bow tip had been broken and repaired. I took it to a local luthier, who maitains instruments for the Omaha Symphony. Upon his recommendation, I discarded the bow, replaced the bridge, and replaced the strings with Dominant strings. He also replaced the nut because the strings were not evenly placed. The result–Amazing sound!. The luthier advized the violin was worth approximately $1,000.00. Not bad for a $250.00 investment! I also purchased a $400.00 Sherl Roth violin, which came with a carbon fiber bow. I guess I am spoiled, but I prefer Pernambuco, so I spent the $200.00 to purchase one from the luthier. It cost about the same price to purchase one from Fidllershop.com. Mine was used and had been restrung, so new, it probably cost significantly more. This set has become my “go to” set for everyday use. Then, I purchased a German violin for $2,500.00, which has amazing sound with Dominant strings, but I find the Sherl Roth better for fiddling. That said, the sound and resonance of the German made violin is awesome for “Amazing Grace” and emotion-evoking sound.

    My advice — If you are looking for a good beginner violin, spend the extra couple hundred dollars. My belief is that, if you buy the cheap $100.00 violin, it will only lead to frustration and you will like not continue on your learning journey. The Sherl Roth comes with a decent carbon bow, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that. But, if you are wanting the best experience with a bow in terms of balance and performance, go to fiddlershop.com or musiciansfriend.com and buy a Pernambuco bow. Your learning experience will be far better. The cheaper violins typically come with a bridge that has not been properly fitted, a nut in which the strings are not evenly spaced, a misaligned or loose sound peg, inferior strings that are difficult to stay in tune and are “scratchy,” a poor laquer finish that does not “breathe,” and often a painted finger board, instead of ebony, which is very important. The bows are typically cheap and warped, so that you will not have a consistent tone through the lengh of the bow.

    If you buy a cheap violin set, you wil likely #1: Not follow through with learning, or #2: Be in the market for a little more costly violin and bow in the near future. Either way, it is a wasted expenditure. Just my two cents that I’ve learned through my violin/fiddle learning journey. The same can be said of my guitar playing journey as I upgraded from an inferior guitar to two Martin guitars. Buy the best you can reasonably afford, withour depriving yourself of food and other necessities. Budget $300-$400, and you will be in the safe range. Note: If possible, try out the instrument before you purchase it. There are tons of violins and bows for sale on Ebay, which may or may not be a good deal. I, reasonably, purchased a Pernambuco bow on ebay, which the seller stated was impeccable. When I received it, however, it was so badly warped, I had to return it. Other than Musician’s Friend and Fiddlershop, you can check Craigslist for violins for sale in your local area.

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Thanks for sharing and your suggestions, Alan, I’m sure they’re useful to others. Please note that pernambuco and carbon bows come in very different quality levels and types, so it’s hard to say something general about it. I’m working on some articles about that. Oh, and what’s wrong with living on cheap pasta for a while to get a good violin? 😉

      Reply
  4. Marlies van Sambeek

    Hi Zlata, pregnacy becomes you! You look beautiful. About this factory violin, it did not sound that bad under your professional hands. I wonder if aan beginner violinist would really enojoy playing it, I think he might easily become disappointed. I would go for the 200 $ violin. If you have a hobby, it may cost something.

    I will tell you about my factory violin. It is made by Kessel’s, Tilburg in 1911. It was left to me so it has a special meaning. When I got it, I brought it to a violinbuilder. A very old en very wise man and het said that this violin might be worth some thousands of euro’s. I consered to buy me a violin at your shop, I didn’t because of what he said. I would very much have liked a new violin, min is cracky and damaged, but he said dat it did not have any repercussions on the sound. So I am very happy with my violin.

    My point is that of course a hand made violin is probably the best, but is you do not have so much to spend, a factory violin can work quite satisfactory, I would suggest the 200$ violin.

    Thank you for this interesting video, Marlies

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Thanks for your compliment, Marlies :). Yes, it’s beautiful to have a violin that has some history or a special meaning to you. My old German is also covered in scratches, but that only makes we wonder what he did and see in the past two centuries.

      Reply
  5. Lida Schaap

    Hello Zlata,

    The sound of the cheap violin wasn’t bad at all, certainly not if you consider the low price. However, ‘die alte geige’ sounds a lot warmer and it has a far better sound in general. I also have the impression you played the German violin with much more pleasure and comfort compared to the ‘Glarry violin’ But then we are talking about the difference of a big amount of money.

    The ‘Glarry violin set’ may be a ‘real bargain’ but in my honest opinion also a bucket full of trouble if you are not familiair with the violin. Imagine yourself a complete beginner who wants to learn to play the violin and has ordered a ‘Glarry set’. Immediately you are confronted with placing a bridge, strings and even a sound post! What do you do? Pay a visit to a violin luthier. Then the bow, rosin and strings are not what they should be and need to be replaced. Considering this it turns out the ‘Glarry set’ is not a real bargain at all. It goes without saying $ 67,- for a violin set is real cheap. Nevertheless, adding the costs of the placing of bridge, strings and sound post by a violin luthier and the replacement of the bow and rosin the total costs are higher, if not much higher.

    A violin set of double the price has the advantage of ‘ready to play’! However not the quality of a lets say, $ 2000,- but still good enough to study and of very reasonable quality. Adding the extra costs to the ‘$67 Glarry set’, you can buy a ‘ready-to-play violin set’ for almost the same amount of money. For this reason it is wise to buy a violin set of $200,-.

    I started playing the violin a couple of years ago. I was a ‘rookie’ when I bought my violin. I bought my violin from Gabrielle Butler, a violinist who sells violins. My violin is handmade in Romania and it is a real good one with a good sound.I bought it for 175 euro with a case, bow and rosin and I am still playing this violin with pleasure. However I am now thinking about buying another violin and I would like to ask you if a violin set of approximately 500,- euro would be an improvement to the one I have.

    I am looking forward to your reply, all the best wishes from Lida.

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Hi Lida, haha, you certainly read my face right as it took SO much efforts and work arounds to make the Glarry sound good that I was relieved to hold my own violin again, but for the price the Glarry is a great bang for your buck. Please know that MOST violins around $ 200 have exactly the same problems and are not adjusted either, so require to go to a luthier too. Up until now I’ve found ONE exception and that’s Fiddlershop.com.

      To answer your question: think about how long you want to play on your upgrade. Do you want something better for the next years (in that case a student violin around $ 500 is ok) or are you really looking for a violin that you might play on for the rest of your life? If you want to go long term, you might hold your money in your pocket for a while, save some extra and go play and compare violins of around $ 1.000. Does this answer your question?

      Blessings, Zlata

      Reply
  6. Lida Schaap

    Goodmorning Zlata,

    Thanks for your reply. My own violin is fine, with a good sound and has a good playability. After playing this violin for a couple of years I want a better violin with a warmer and richer sound. ‘ Vioolverkoop’ en ‘Vioolvoordeel’ both sell violin-sets from around 200 euro up to 1000 euro and more. Do you think a 500 euro violin-set bought from either Vioolverkoop or Vioolvoordeel would be a good choice? And an improvement to my 175 euro violin?

    I read on their websites the violins are handmade in Tsjechië.

    Yes Zlata, from the expression on your face I could tell it wasn’t a pleasure playing that ‘Glarry’. For that reason I wonder if a ‘Glarry’ should be recommended for beginners and students. If it takes much effort to let it sound very well how much effort will it take for a beginner?

    I am convinced a good instrument needs to be played and the musician answers to that ‘call’ by playing it. That’s how the musician improves him/herself. In case of a very hard to play instrument it is the opposite. And I’ve come to the conclusion that instruments like the ‘Glarry’ might demotivate. But on the other hand it can also have a positive effect. It can reveal talent; the real go-getter won’t give up and will make progress eventually.

    All the best wishes, Lida.

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Hi Lida,

      Vioolvoordeel has ARS music violins around € 500, they are very good and European made. I’ve sold them myself for many many years and loved them. Maybe go there and compare the 024 to the 028. Give them my regards. Jan en Corry are very nice people. Vioolverkoop doesn’t sell violins from Czech, I believe they are from China.

      All the best, Zlata

      Reply
  7. Lida Schaap

    Hello Zlata,

    Thank you for your reply.
    My excuses for this late reaction but we are just back from a fortnight holiday in the south of France.

    I will certainly look at the ARS music violins. Can you really hear and feel a difference between an ARS Music violin from around 500 euro and my own 175 euro violin?

    When we bought my violin from vioolverkoop they sold violins from Romania, maybe that has changed. Still, a Chinese violin can also be good and have a good sound but nevertheless I prefer an European made violin.

    All the best wishes, Lida.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.