With rental prices for student violins easily surpassing $150 per year, is purchasing a complete Cremona violin outfit for a starting violinist a wiser decision?
By Chris Loeffler
Anyone who's gone through the process of renting an instrument (often because their children are playing an instrument in school) knows why people rent... the first year of learning an instrument has the highest dropout rate and instruments are expensive. What if little Damien decides the violin isn't his thing and decides to play the sax next year? There's a convenience factor (especially when you're not familiar with the instrument's care and setup), and there used to be the relatively high cost of getting a playable instrument (anyone who purchased instruments before the early 2000's knows there wasn't a such thing as a "cheap" instrument that was a "quality" instrument"). Today is a different story and it's time to reconsider the options.
The Cremona SV-75 Violin Outfit comes in five sizes (1/10, 1/8, 1/16, 3/4, and 4/4) to accommodate all players and is offered as a one-stop solution to getting started playing violin. Included in the violin outfit is the violin, a hard case, a VP-71 bow, and a rosin/cloth combo).
What You Need To Know
- The Cremona SV-75 Violin comes in five sizes (1/10, 1/8, 1/16, 3/4, and 4/4) and features a hand-carved, solid spruce top that features an aesthetically pleasing wood grain under the warm brown stain, especially attractive for an entry level instrument. The sides, back, and neck of the instrument are hand-carved solid maple, which adds punch and visual highlight to the spruce top. The dyed rosewood fingerboard sits well on the neck and is mirrored by the fittings and pegs. The bridge is well machined and provides a solid connection to the top, and the hardwood chinrest sites comfortably above the tailpiece. Across the board, construction is solid and there are no glue overruns or jagged edges where pieces are bound… common complaints in instruments offered at a similar price-point.
- Included in the violin outfit is a hard case, VP-71 bow, and rosin. The VP71 is a wood stick bow with rosewood frog and unbleached horsehair. The bow feels appropriately weighted and has the right amount of give when the horsehair was tightened or loosened to accommodate different playing preferences. The included rosin is cheap and lacks the grip of higher quality rosin, but gets the job done until a later purchase can be made. The case is exceptionally well constructed and snugly hugs the instrument and bow in place while providing solid, padded cushion on the outside to protect against jarring impacts.
- The tone of the Cremona is tight and focused and has a solid presence. It is a little hollow in the mids and has low resonance, but the sound is pure violin. Those expecting the richness and depth of a professional violin might be disappointed, but they would also have unrealistic expectations. The included strings aren't the best quality and had issues with tuning and balance. A $15 set of strings changes that though, and after a break in period the violin held its tuning as well as others.
- Thefactory-setstringsare cheap andareclearlytheweaklinkintheinstrument. Buyingadecentsetofstringstoreplacethemwillcost $15andgiveyoutwicethetone.
- Theviolinshipswithminimalsetupworkdone. Althoughthisisexpectedinanentry-levelinstrument, itcanbeabarrierifitispurchasedforafirst-timeplayer and unfamiliarwiththeinstrument. Therearevolumesofresourcesontheinternet (includinghelpfulsetupvideosonyoutube) thatmakethisafairlyeasyprocess, butcompleteneophytesmayneedtobringittoalocalshop.
The Cremona SV-75 Violin Outfit provides a more-than-workable package for students or violin novices looking to get their feet wet in an extremely affordable package. Given that everything needed to play and store the instrument is included, a little bit of setup (even from a novice) and a couple of tweaks yields and instrument far more toneful than its modest price. As long as violin rentals run anywhere from $20-50/month for a student-quality instrument, the Cremona also represents a significant savings potential, even for fickle players.
Cremona SV-75 4/4 Violin Outfit at Musician's Friend (MSRP $149.995, Street $119.99)