Stentor Violin Buying Guide

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Stentor Violin Buying Guide

Violins are bowed stringed instruments in the violin family. The family also includes violas, cellos and double basses. Violins are the smallest and highest-pitched instruments in the family. They are sometimes confused with violas, which have a similar construction and method of playing, though they are slightly larger, with heavier strings and a deeper pitch. The violin family was developed in medieval Italy. Today the violin is frequently used in many music genres, especially classical and folk but also pop and rock. People who play violins are referred to as violinists, and the violin is also known as a fiddle, especially with regards to folk and country music.

About Stentor Violins

Violins are generally played by drawing a bow across their strings, which is why they are known as bowed string instruments. The pressure of the bow vibrates the strings, which produces sound. The type, tone and pitch of sound are dependent upon several factors, including the violin’s shape, the type of wood it is constructed from, and even the type of varnish used to finish the violin. Old violins are sought after partly because aged wood is said to give a sweeter and more melodic sound.
Violins have various elements to their construction. The main part of the instrument, with its distinctive shape, is broken down into the lower bout, the waist and the upper bout. The bow is drawn across the waist. The holes are known as F-holes. At the top of the lower bout is a chin rest. The portion of the violin extending from the upper bout to the tuning pegs is known as the neck, and the end where the pegs are is the pegbox. The fingerboard, where fingers are placed, extends across the neck and upper bout. At the waist, between the F-holes, is the bridge, a piece of wood that transmits the strings’ vibrations into the sound post inside the violin. Strings are anchored at this end of the violin by the tailpiece, and there are also fine tuners on the tailpiece.
Violins are typically made out of solid spruce and solid maple, with spruce used for the top, or the soundboard, and maple used for the back, sides, neck and bridge. The sides are also known as ribs. These woods are used because of their acoustic and mechanical properties as well as their weight. Ebony is traditionally used for the fingerboard, though other woods are also used and painted black to give a similar effect. Other woods used in violin construction include box, willow, poplar, lime and rosewood.
Stentor is a world leader in violin manufacturing, producing more instruments than any other violin manufacturer. Stentor has a large range of violins to choose from, with all kinds from basic models aimed at the beginner to advanced models for more experienced players and professional musicians. The company has a dedicated factory in China as well as UK workshops, and all Stentor violins are handmade to rigorous standards of quality, precision and craftsmanship. Stentor also produces violas and cellos.

Choosing a Stentor Violin

There are several factors to consider when buying a violin. These include size, materials used in construction, and set-up as well as price and whether to buy new or second hand.

Violin Size

Many people are not aware that violins come in nine standard sizes, though smaller custom made violins exist. This makes considering size more important than in some other instruments. The standard sizes are given in fractions, but these are given for convenience and do not correspond to the actual proportions of a violin.
The size of the violin required is generally dependent upon arm length or age. Arm length is measured by taking the distance from the neck to the middle of the left palm when the arm is raised out from the body. Some people use the distance from the neck to the left wrist instead. Basically, the neck-to-palm distance indicates the largest instrument that can be used and the neck to wrist distance indicates the most comfortable size. When buying for a growing child, many people prefer to buy a violin on the larger size, but it is largely a matter of personal preference.
The table below gives standard sizes with the arm length measurements and also approximate corresponding ages. 4/4 is a full size violin for adult players and 1/32 is the smallest size for very young children. The 7/8 size is usually played by smaller statured women as well as by those with muscle and tendon injuries. It has the depth of sound of a full size violin but is slightly smaller, especially with regards to the string length and required finger length.

4/4

23 inches

11 years to adult

7/8

22 to 23 inches

11 years to adult

3/4

22 inches

10 to 11 years

1/2

20 inches

8 to 9 years

1/4

18.5 inches

6 to 7 years

1/8

16.5 inches

5 years

1/10

15 inches

4 year

1/16

14 inches

3.5 years

1/32

13 inches

3 years and younger

Materials, Construction and Set-Up

High-quality violins are made with high-quality solid woods and superior strings. Even budget Stentor violins are made with excellent-quality materials, and the higher-end models are made with premium materials.
Strings were traditionally made of sheep gut, but many are now made of steel or other synthetic materials. Rope core strings are multi-stranded steel strings with a good bow response and less harsh sound than some solid steel strings. They are flexible and comfortable under the fingers. Synthetic gut strings aim to give the same melodic sound as natural gut strings. They are typically long lasting and often give a more reliable sound than those of natural gut.
Violins must be constructed in the right way to high standards of precision if they are to play well. All the components must be the right shape and size and put in the correct place. Stentor violins are hand made using traditional methods, resulting in superb quality instruments.

New or Used

If on a limited budget, it is always worth considering a second-hand violin. Second-hand violins from a top brand such as Stentor will generally stay in excellent condition if they have been well looked after. This can be a better option than choosing a lower-quality new violin. Stentor produces economy entry-level violins for when budget is a key factor.

Stentor Violin Models

The Stentor range is divided into categories. Instruments in the first categories are aimed at beginner and intermediate students, while those in the later categories are aimed at more advanced students through to professional players. The table below outlines the complete Stentor violin range, giving an indication of the player level they are aimed at as well as available sizes and further information on construction and accessories.

Stentor Student I

Entry level violins

Solid wood construction with rosewood fingerboard and pegs. Includes bow and lightweight case.

4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16,1/32,1/64

Stentor Student II

Intermediate level student violins

Solid wood construction, with ebony fingerboard and pegs. Rope core strings. Includes bow and case with pockets and carrying straps.

4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16

Stentor Student Standard

Economy entry-level violins

Hardwood fingerboard and pegs and alloy tailpiece. Includes bow and case.

4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16

Stentor Graduate

Intermediate-level student violins

Constructed of solid wood with quality satin finish. Ebony fingerboard and pegs and synthetic gut strings. Includes quality bow and case.

4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8

Stentor Conservatoire

Advanced-level student violins

Constructed of solid wood with quality varnish finish. Includes quality bow and deluxe case.

4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4

Stentor Conservatoire II

Advanced-level student violins

Similar to above but with premium tailpiece and strings. Includes brazil wood bow and deluxe case.

4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8

Stentor Messina

Economy advanced-level violins

Maple and spruce construction with hand applied varnish finish and professional quality strings.

4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4

Stentor Elysia

Advanced-level violins

High-quality wood construction with hand applied varnish finish and professional quality strings.

4/4, 7/8

Stentor Arcadia

Advanced-level violins

Fine-quality construction with traditional varnish finish and professional quality strings.

4/4, 7/8

Stentor Arcadia 'Antique'

Advanced-level violins

As above, but with aged appearance

4/4, 7/8

Find a Stentor Violin on eBay

Go to the eBay home page, scroll over the All Categories tab on the left, and select Muscial Instruments from the list. Click on String and under Type on the left select Violin. Size, condition and price range can also be selected. To look specifically for a Stentor violin, type Stentor into the search bar at the top of the page.

Conclusion

There are several models of Stentor violin available, from basic entry-level violins through to fine professional-quality violins. Size is an important factor when buying a violin and depends primarily on arm length. Other features to consider include the wood used in construction, type of strings and accessories such as the bow and case. Buying from a leading brand such as Stentor gives the security of purchasing a well-constructed, high-quality violin that will enhance any playing practice.

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