We Test and Improve the CHEAPEST $ 29 Violin from AliExpress | Violin Lounge TV #381

by | Sep 2, 2020 | 14 comments

Can we make this cheap beginner violin sound good with a master setup?

In this video we let you hear the difference of each step of the upgrade:

Can we, a violinist and a violin maker, make a cheap violin sound great?

That was the question violin maker Rob van der Haar and I took up when buying a complete violin set at AliExpress for just $ 29. You can find this violin right here, but we recommend watching the full video before considering to buy it.

The playability and tuneability of this violin are the biggest problems

As a beginner violinist you might want to settle for the sound quality. However you wouldn’t want to settle for snapping strings, a violin that can’t be played in tune and a bow that really can’t do it right.

Strings

In the video above you see what difference the strings make as we put a set of over $ 100 on the violin (Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold strings).

Bow

With several bows, including my own, we hear what difference a bow makes. Getting a $ 29 Yinfante bow would be a sensible upgrade to this AliExpress violin.

Master setup

As a violin maker Rob is specialized in sound optimization. Want to know more about Rob’s work? Check out his website.

In the video Rob does various measurements and makes an analysis of this instrument.

After he makes a new bridge and soundpost, which makes a huge difference.

Beginner violins we suggest you buy instead

On a VERY tight budget, you could consider a Glarry violin outfit for $ 67. Watch my review right here.

For around $ 250, the amount that the AliExpress is worth after our improvements, you can better get yourself a Tower Strings Rockstar violin outfit I review right here.

It would cost $ 500 to make the AliExpress fully playable. For that amount you can get a Fiddlerman Concert violin that in whole sounds and functions a lot better. Besides that it comes with a good bow, case and more.

What do you think about the results?

I’d LOVE to read your opinion in the comments below!

Hi! I'm Zlata

Let me help you find a great bow for your violin, so you can improve your bowing technique and sound quality:

14 Comments

  1. Annette Toop

    This was a very interesting video!! The difference in bows was profound. Really makes me glad I have a good bow. I could hear a great deal of improvement with all of the changes. It would be silly to pay to upgrade a $29 violin when you can pay the same to get a decent beginner instrument. I Have you thought about giving the violin to a young person who wants to learn, but can’t afford the instrument? Might want to keep those Evah golds for your German violin though

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, I’ll definitely give it away. Oh, so many people underestimate what difference a bow makes indeed.

      Reply
  2. joeri

    i could feel the plastic fingerboard in the sound…

    Reply
  3. Terry Armstrong

    Hello Zlata,

    I was impressed by the white violins’ sound after Rob’s setup. I live in a poor rural area in SE IL, and taught violin/fiddle to children that parents could not afford a violin. So, I bought several of those cheap violins $30-$50 on E-Bay, I had my good friend, a violin maker set one up at $200. She taught me how, so I started setting the many colors of violins up, then gave them to the children. Besides a new sound post, custom bridge, re taper the tuning pegs, new Thomastik strings, I would also take the violin apart, and replace the bass bar, and shave down a little with strong sandpaper instead of it being totally flat, and Wow, the sound was amazing! Some sounded better than my Grandmothers Gagliano. So, I appreciate your video with Rob. Their violins will sell for a higher price from a better sound, ie, bass bar moved or replaced for that Big low G note!

    Thank you!

    Terry Armstrong
    SE Illinois, USA

    Reply
  4. Lusa

    I love the very useful information you gave here! Thank you. I have an idea for the use of this rather cute violin. I saw, on a recent trip to a violin shop in Colorado (USA) a violin that was – let’s say way past it’s prime – for playability. The shop owner placed it above his main door (upside down) on the shop wall and had something on the top edge of the door that would strum the strings as the door opened and closed. Pretty unique and fun!

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      That sounds awesome! We hope to move from our apartment to ‘real’ house soon and I might have my own studio again.

      Reply
  5. Lida Schaap

    Hello Zlata,

    Shopping on AliExpress is fun. Especially when your looking for nice cheap clothes, a nice bag or some ‘bling bling jewelry.’
    For music instruments, watches, televisions, smartphones and camera’s, AliExpress is not the place to be. Low prices often means poor quality. For clothes it’s not so bad, you wear it for half a year instead of a year and that’s it. But with music instruments and electronics it’s a different story.

    A 29 dollar violin. That’s a bargain! You think! To make the A.E. violin playable you’ll need another 500 dollars. Is it still a bargain? Certainly not. But a much to expensive violin it is!
    The violin is built from cheap wood and plastic material. Strings, and pegs and some other parts can be replaced and you can play with a better bow. But no matter how much money you ‘throw after it’ it still is a nice looking violin made from wrong, cheap wood and cheap plastic.

    My advise is to spent 500 dollars at once on a good violin instead of a high investment in a bargain made of bad material.
    Twenty-nine dollars for a violin, the case only costs more!

    What to do with the violin, you asked in the video. Well if you like the color you can put it on the wall for decoration. But if the violin is fully playable and suited for a student, you can raffle it. Or just give it to someone who wishes to play the violin but can’t afford to buy one.

    All the best wishes from, Lida.

    Reply
  6. kathy

    Thank you for this, the information is great. I have a $30 ebay violin to just start learning. I have done ok but the E string is very shrill and now I know why. I will be upgrading to something better, this clearly isn’t worth the price of new strings!

    Reply
  7. BRIAN CLARKE

    Hi Zlata. Most enjoyable exercise. I have a belief that 80% of the violin sound is the player. Your super playing made it sound ok.

    Reply

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