Instruments and Bows

How do I find best instrument and/or bow for me?+

First, determine what our budget is. Visit our shop and allow yourself about an hour to audition instruments. We will give you instruments in your price range to play and guide you through the process.

May I take out an instrument or bow for a trial?+

Up to two instruments may be taken home for a trial period of 7 days. And please show the instruments to your teacher and ask for her/his opinions.

What brands of instruments do you carry?+

We carry mostly European and American instruments—no Chinese instruments or bows. Most of our instruments are vintage instruments.

What if my teacher wants some changes made to the instrument before we buy it?+

We will be glad to work with you and your teacher to make the correct changes.

What is a "step-up" instrument?+

‘Step-up’ refers to the next level up from student quality instruments.

May I bring instruments from other shops into your shop to compare?+

We do not allow instruments from other shops to be brought into our shop. It is very unethical for us to look at any instrument (from another shop or private individual) that you are considering buying. And we do not allow our instruments to be taken into other shops.

What if I don't like the strings on your instrument?+

The bailment contract you signed states that no adjustments, no repairs, no changes are allowed on our instruments. You are welcome to make requests to us for adjustments.

How do I audition an instrument?+

The two most important factors in auditioning an instrument are sound quality and value.

Sound is subjective. Everyone has his/her opinion as to how an instrument sounds. What sound are you looking for?

Value in a string instrument is based on several factors: heritage (where it was made and age), wood, construction (workmanship), maker (or workshop), condition, rarity, certification and sound.

At Huthmaker Violins, after you have told us what type of instrument you want and what your price range is, we put you in one of our try-out rooms and bring you several instruments. Please bring your shoulder rest and your bow to the shop. Always use the same bow in auditioning each instrument. After discussing the history of each instrument with you, we leave you in private to play them.

How do I audition a bow?+

When trying out bows, it is important to always use the same instrument. Keeping the instrument consistent will help you easily discern the differences in bows.

Eliminate the bows that do not audition well for you. Add more bows to the mix until you have two or three to take home for a trial time. Play the bows in different places such as your home, an auditorium or hall. Perhaps another person or your teacher will listen to you and help with the decision.


How long will my repair take?+

We can give you an estimate when you bring your instrument to the shop. We do not work quickly. Some repairs only take a day or so; others take longer.

How much does a new violin bridge cost?+

Basic student violin bridges start around $75.00. Bridges have to be hand-carved and fitted to the instrument.

What if my violin is buzzing or rattling?+

There are many reasons why your violin buzzes. One of our luthiers will evaluate the problem. It might take some detective skills.

How often should I change my strings?+

We suggest changing your strings once a year. Or more often as needed.

How much does it cost for a crack repair?+

Repair estimates for a crack are done by instrument inspection only.

What should I do with my grandfather's violin?+

First, there is the heritage of the instrument. Second, is the instrument going to be played by anyone in the family? All family instruments deserve respect and care.

Help! My fingerboard is lying on top of my violin.+

Loosen all the strings and bring it to the shop.

What do I do if my pegs are sticking? Or slipping?+

Bring the instrument to the shop. You may only need for the pegs to be lubricated.

Pegs slip for several reasons. They may need to be cleaned and lubricated. They may not fit well. They may not be made from real ebony. Please bring your instrument to the shop for evaluation.

Can my father fix my violin?+

Is your father a trained luthier? Most fathers mean well but they do not have training or tools to do repairs. And no Superglue, please.

The wrappings on my grip are coming off. Replace?+

Please bring the bow to the shop so we can see what repairs are needed.

How much does a set of strings cost?+

A set of student violin strings start at $23.00. Some strings can cost well over $100.00. We install (and tune) the strings on your instrument free.

When should I have my bow rehaired?+

We suggest getting your bow re-haired once a year. If you practice several hours a day, you may need to get new bow hair more often.

What if my bow will not tighten?+

The bow may need a new eyelet or your bow hair may be stretched. Bring your bow to Huthmaker Violins so we can evaluate it.

What if my bow will not play?+

You may need rosin. When horsehair is new, it will not play until you have applied rosin.

How long will it take to re-hair my bow?+

Several days to a week.

Will you loan me a bow while mine if being prepared?+

We will gladly lend you a bow until the repair/re-hair is completed.

The faceplate on my bow is cracked. What to do?+

The faceplate is important to the stability of the tip of your bow. Please bring the bow to the shop.


Should I do rent or purchase an instrument for my student?+

Renting is better for beginners and small size instruments. Renting also has a maintenance program which will pay for most repairs. Purchasing works for full-size instruments when you don’t want to be bothered with making rental/maintenance payments. Still not sure? Discuss with your teacher.

What brands of student instruments do you carry?+

We carry European instruments and bows.

Should I choose Rent Only (RO) or Rent to Purchase (RTP)? +

You may want to choose RO for beginners or a short-term rental. Remember that you don’t get any credit with RO. RTP may the best investment of your money. All your rental fee credit can be applied to any instrument in the shop. You may switch from RO to RTP at any time.

What is a rental outfit?+

An outfit consists of the instrument, bow and case. Rosin and a nametag are included.

What else will my student need?+

A music stand, an extra set of strings, music and, for ‘cellos and bass players, a rockstop.

Which instrument should my student play?+

They should play the instrument they choose.

Isn't a cheap instrument good enough for a beginner?+

Never. When a young musician is starting to learn, you want them to have the best student instrument possible. Avoid online instruments and Chinese-made. Cheap instruments (especially internet ones or big-box stores) will not be set-up correctly and will need expensive repairs before they are playable. If cost is a concern, try renting an instrument.

Which maintenance program should I choose?+

If the instrument goes to school every day and/or if there are small children at home, we suggest Prime for complete coverage.

What size will my child need?+

Size depends on arm and finger length. Have the teacher or someone at Huthmaker’s measure your child correctly. We are all well-trained to measure all of the instruments. Warning: an instrument that is too big causes stress on a young shoulder, causing pain and frustration.

How much should a violin cost?+

A quality European student instrument should cost between $500 and $800. Violas are slightly higher. ‘cellos start at $1500 and up.

What kind of maintenance does the instrument need?+

First, find a safe place for the instrument when it is not being played (safe from brothers and sisters and dogs and cats). Have your musician wipe off the instrument (with a clean, soft cloth) after practicing and loosen the bow. Do not let the instrument get hot—never leave it in a car. At least once a year, take the instrument to Huthmaker’s for them to check everything. And don’t drop it.

Why should my child play a string instrument?+

You want to grow a well-balanced child. Research shows that children who play a stringed instrument have increased learning abilities. Music does that to the brain. Playing an instrument is lots of fun and makes well-rounded humans.