Product Reviews

Crystalcello MV100 3/4 Size Violin

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Rating: ☻☻☻☻☻

I bought this for my 9-year old daughter, who decided she wanted a violin. Since this new found interest could just be a passing fad for her, I looked for a cheap instrument (in case she later lost interest, I wouldn't be out a lot of money.) I went to a local music store to measure her size (between 1/2 and 3/4). Then I ordered the 3/4-size on-line.

When it arrived I was astounded at how beautiful it was -- real wood, very nicely finished, and came in a "backpack" case. The violin came with the bridge in place, a real horsehair bow, and a cake of rosin. Both the violin strings and the bow were shipped loose, and have to be tightened to play. The bow won't make a proper sound until it is tightened and rosined. The rosin cake has to be scratched first to produce a white powder. It is the combination of the white rosin powder on the bow hairs that produces the sweet violin sound.

I think people who complain about the sound of this violin when they first get it don't follow the instructions to scratch the included rosin cake first to produce the white powder, and rosin the bow -- and/or don't tighten the bow so the horsehair strands are taut -- and/or don't tune the violin properly. Then they go buy instrument that has an already taut, rosined bow, and a tuned instrument and think there was a real difference in products.

I sat down with my older daughter's electronic tuner, and tuned it. (Tuning is really easy with an electronic tuner. If you don't have one, get one.) Remember to tune the strings in order - from thicker string to thinner strings. Otherwise it will be harder to tune, and you are more likely to break a string. You also have to go through the tuning process a couple of times, as each turn of a tuning key will affect the affect the other strings a little. Each string has a fine-tuning adjuster at the bottom of the strings.

One of the recurring complaints on this and other "cheap" brands is that the tuning pegs loosen. That's another result of not heeding the instructions. The tuning pegs and peg holes are tapered, so as the peg is turned, it has to be pushed inward firmly in order for the peg to properly seat and hold (Not like a guitar's geared tuning head, which can't loosen by itself). Once I started pushing in on the pegs as I turned them to tune, the pegs stayed in place.

Once the violin was tuned, the bow tightened and rosined, then my 9-year old took over and, amazingly enough, started making nice sounds with it.

I have to say this -- some people make nice sounds on the violin from the get-go, and some never seem to get the hang of it. Its like the flute - some people can make it sound, and some people can't.

All in all, I think this violin is a great buy, and I would recommend it to my friends. But, for those who can't, or don't want to do their own prep and tuning, it would probably be better to buy an instrument already set up and tuned.

Now, to find inexpensive violin lessons for a 9-year old.

First posted 5 May 2012 at

2012  Simon Revere Mouer III, PhD, PE, all rights reserved