Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful.
Hard won wisdom led me to this instrument
By J. Tant
This is an instrument that I purchased to replace a Mendini MV300 for my oldest. The Mendini really required a lot of love to get it in shape to play, and though we got two years out of it, the instrument really started holding him back. Frankly, if I had it to do all over again (even not knowing if he'd like the violin or not...) I'd have gone with this rig.
If you're here, it's probably either because the school year has started and it's time to find an instrument for your son or daughter, or perhaps you're looking to learn the violin yourself. I found buying to be more attractive than renting for various reasons. But we aren't here to talk about instrument economics. We're here to talk about the Cremona SV-175, which in my mind is an ideal beginner or novice level instrument. Further, with enough love, this instrument will likely carry the student through the intermediate level. It's really quite good.
First though, is the obligatory word of caution: this is NOT a professional-level instrument. If you approach the instrument on those terms, you will be disappointed. It's not fair to judge by those criteria, particularly since Cremona is not selling this as a masterwork. No, this is a student violin, well made but nonetheless intended for students. It will not get in the way of the student trying to learn, nor will it encourage bad habits.
Now typically, I shy away from buying complete all-in-one, accessory-laden packages. In the music world, while price doesn't always equal quality, there is a point where that doesn't really hold true. If you're buying a ginormous outfit at about the same price as a violin + bow from another maker, then you have fewer dollars going into the actual violin...and it will show. You want your money to go to instrument quality, which means good tonewoods like solid spruce and maple, ebony fittings like the pegs and fingerboard, and good craftsmanship and setup. The Cremona offers you that, at a pretty good price point.
I had absolutely no problems receiving this via mail. The instrument was well-nestled in its case and packed/padded enough to prevent damage. Moreover, it looked as though someone actually did setup on this instrument (more on setup in a minute)...the bridge fits, the pegs fit, the soundpost was in place...so really, all I needed to do was tune it up, rosin the bow, and I was in business. As these were new strings (D'Addario Preludes), certainly they required a few days of constant tuning until they settled down, but settle down they did and the results are fantastic. Again, in this context, this is a very good instrument, especially after some time of regular playing to get it to open up. The tone is marvelous and certainly belies the pedigree of the instrument. It sounds great.
However, this isn't to say you have nothing to do here. When receiving this or any other violin in this manner, PLEASE spend some time looking at the setup and take it to a professional luthier when you get a chance. It's a small investment but will pay dividends down the road. In particular, consider:
-The peg box. If pegs are either slipping or are overly hard to turn (and I mean really hard) then either the pegs or the peg box holes are the wrong size/shape. The pegs should be conical and the ends should be flush with the peg box hole on the opposite side. If not, they may need to be reshaped. A lutheir can help with this.
-The soundpost. This should NOT be glued into place, instead wedged inside the instrument. It should also be in a very particular place...if it's misplaced, the violin will sound flat or muted. Soundpost placement requires some specialized tools and knowledge, best left to a luthier.
-The bridge. If you're handy with wood, you can probably do this yourself. Mainly you want the bridge to be standing straight up and perpendicular to the top of the violin. If it's leaning to or fro then that tells you it's in the wrong spot (it should be even with the little notches in the F holes) and the strings are too tight or too loose against the bridge. In addition, the feet need to be flush with the violin top with 100% contact, and that means they need to be cut so as to accommodate the curvature of the top. It may take a little fussing, but a properly-placed bridge makes a huge difference. it more efficiently transmits the vibrations of the strings to the body of the instrument.
-The strings. I like the Prelude strings these come with, finding them to have a nice bright tone. They are steel core, so they will be lacking a certain warmth. So that said, I typically gravitate toward synthetic core strings, like Dominants (although D'Addario has the Pro-Arte line that are nylon core which I like very much as well). Strings are not a trivial purchase, so resist the urge to scrimp here...I think they are the component that has the single biggest impact on the overall sound of the instrument. Again, note and note well that new strings always require a breaking in period and will stretch over the course of days before settling down. You'll need to retune very regularly until they do.
That isn't to say that there aren't *some* compromises here. The bow is functional and actually pretty good for a starter outfit, but it's not something that's going to last for the long haul. The case, on the other hand, is simply fantastic...it's sturdy with a nice big compartment inside to hold accessories like extra strings, rosin, a tuner, etc.
So to conclude (and I'm sorry this review is stretching on so long): I found this to be a simply fantastic instrument for the student, quite probably one of the best offered. And I say that knowing full well that it's made in China - but it's made with care and attention and craftsmanship, so that pedigree doesn't bother me one bit. This isn't a hastily-made, mass produced Violin Shaped Object. Varnish is appropriately applied and the instrument overall does not have any chips, cracks, loose joints, etc. The tone and playability are right on, so much so that this will encourage the student to learn and learn properly. It's simply a very good violin.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful.
By Amazon Customer
I bought this violin for my daughter because I don't want to pay for violin rental. This is not a perfect violin, but for what I paid for, it is a good value. The violin is well constructed and good quality. The case is light, but appears to give good protection. My daughter likes the case because she can it around with ease.
In my opinion, the violin is NOT ready out of the box. Here are the reasons:
1) The pegs have a tendency to slip, causing the strings to be out off tune. This is my biggest issue with this violin. Fortunately, it can be easily fixed with "Pegs drop" ($7.50). Just 1-2 drops in each peg and the pegs stay in place. (Note that the pegs drop has a glue like property, so you don't use it more than 1-2 drops.)
2) This is absolutely true, the original strings are not good, like other reviewers said. I bought another set of string "D'Addario Prelude" (another $15), which makes a whole lot of difference (like night and day). I had a little trouble getting G string into a peg because the string hole is a little too small. I had to pull out some of the protective material of the end of string in order to get the G string through the peg.
3) The violin bridge is a tad high for my daughter. Also, the bridge does not have string notches, where strings can rest and prevent the strings from slipping. If you are uncomfortable doing that, you might want take it to your local violin shop to have it properly fit. I cut the notches and sand it down a little myself. Now, I'm not very handy, so I was very nervous doing this.
4) The violin finish is glossy. Personally, I wish that it has satin finish or something less glossy.
After all said and done, the violin sounds quite pleasing and decent. The violin does not have sound resonance compared to the really good (and more expensive) violins, but keep in mind how much you pay for this violin.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful. See all 84 customer reviews...
Issues at first but the company made it right.
This is probably the fifth violin our family has purchased over the years, as the kids outgrew each of the smaller sizes. This particular violin was for my 15 yr old daughter, who takes excellent care of her instruments. The violin looked and sounded great for the first year. We purchased it from Amazon in February 2013. In January 2014 the bridge broke off, and we had it repaired at the local music shop for $35. No big deal. Then a couple of weeks ago, during a concert, the neck dislodged from the body of the violin where it had been glued together, rendering it unplayable. We took it back to the repair shop, where their luthier repaired it for $80. Then they called back saying that when the strings were reassembled the neck popped back out and won't stay in. At this point I have a choice of whether to try another more costly method of repair or just get a new violin. I realize this isn't a top of the line violin but I would expect that a $180 violin would last more than a year. I have no idea what the warranty info is on this instrument, but I fear it is only one year. The only contact I could find was a Chinese email address, so I've written to them and am awaiting a reply. If they do, I will update this review accordingly.
** Update 10/10/14
As seen in the comments below, someone from Cremona responded to this review asking if I had been given "proper attention". Through subsequent correspondence, Tom from Saga Music arranged to send me a brand new violin and return the old one after receiving the new one, so that my daughter would not go a day without an instrument. He also sent me a postage-paid return label so it wouldn't cost me anything. I've received the new violin and am very happy with it.
I've updated my review to five stars. Even though the original violin had issues, once the company found out about it they did the right thing.