Whether you’re renting a violin for a beginner or a seasoned professional, RentalInstrument.com has the right instrument for you. Different levels of playing require different setup and adjustments from string height to bridge thickness to material of tailpiece and bow. Rest assured, we’ll take care of all those details for you. Our aim is always to provide the correct instrument for the right player.
All our violins are custom-made, educator-approved and have been used by students and professionals in concerts, competitions, and even recordings. The company founder, Kenneth Kuo, is himself a professional concert cellist and recording artist who has extensive experience playing on some of the world’s finest instruments. Mr. Kuo personally oversees the production of the instruments, ensuring that they are constructed to exacting standards.
Our White Label violins are our most popular, entry-level series. Recommended for beginners who are just starting to learn, it represents our most affordable instrument. These instruments are extremely durable with scratch-resistant varnish to withstand accidental bumps and drops that might come from younger hands.
The instruments are specially designed for easy playability (for example, strings are a little lower and softer). The instruments are fully carved from spruce and maple, and available in sizes ¼, ½. ¾, or full. They come with Super Sensitive Red Label or Thomastic Dominant strings, four adjustable fine tuners, a wooden bow made of real horsehair, a hardcase with backpack strap, and name tag.
For more advanced players, the Black Label represents our premier line of custom-made violins. Like fine wine, the sound of a violin gets better with age so Black Label violins are constructed with wood that has already been aged, and are oil varnished. The ribs, back, and scroll of the instrument are made of beautiful flamed maple with a bridge that is aged maple. The instrument has a solid ebony fingerboard and the top is constructed of resonant spruce wood. The combination of these aged woods result in a mature tone suitable for more advanced students. The construction is inspired by great violin makers like Stradivarius, Amati, and Guarneri.
If you zoom into the Black Label violins above, you’ll see details you usually find only in premium instruments costing thousands of dollars. Notice the flamed lines in the maple wood on the back of the instrument, the one-piece back of the first instrument, and the two-piece back of the second.
These are beautifully crafted and constructed instruments, which you’ll be hard pressed to find offered anywhere else at this price. They are available in sizes ¼, ½. ¾, or full. They come with Super Sensitive Red Label or Thomastic Dominant strings, four German-made Whittner adjustable fine tuners, a wooden bow made of real horsehair, a hardcase with backpack strap, and name tag.
RentalInstrument.com has access to an exclusive supply of rare instruments originally constructed in Europe in the 1970s. These instruments were first built by European companies such as Hoffner and Pfreshner in countries from Germany to Romania. They have been carefully kept in storage for 30-40 years and are ready to serve their purpose today.
Because these violins were built and had their lacquer and varnish applied three or four decades ago, the wood has had time to dry and age. It’s rare to find aged instruments in such high quality condition.
Being a concert violinist for my entire life and a teacher for many years, the key element to be good at what I do is to have a suitable instrument, one that you enjoy to start with. Unlike piano, you take your own string instruments with wherever you go, whenever you need. Therefore, to have one that is truly suitable to your own level and comfortable to play on is most important. I have tried many of my students’ violins and violas, rented and owned, and have to say I am very impressed by the quality and playability of the rental violins and violas that come from RentalInstrument.com. They produce even sound across all strings, have warm and projecting tone, and are very comfortable to play with. Whether you’re beginning or advanced, the evenness of the fingerboard allows you to move fingers across the strings or up and down easily and smoothly. I have enjoyed playing them, and even use one to demonstrate when I give lessons. I highly recommend these rental violins and violas for their good quality, warm tone, and high playability.
About the Violin
In comparison to the viola, cello and double bass, the violin is the smallest member of the violin family, with the highest-pitch. The word “violin” means “stringed instrument,” and stems from the latin word vitula.
Created in the 16th century in Italy, the violin receieved many modifications during the 18th century by violin makers or luthiers, like Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati and Giovanni & Paolo Maggini. These luthiers constructed their violins from wood. Typically, violins are given a spruce top and maple back and ribs.
Believe it or not, the earliest known violins were played simply by being plucked. It was in Central Asia where the violin became considered a bowed instrument. Soon, the violin had become present in China, India and the Middle East. However, it was in Northern Italy in the 16th century when the violin became the instrument that we know today.
The modern day violin has four strings, and has been constructed as so since 1555 when Andrea Amati began manufacturing his own. In fact, the French king Charles IX arranged for Amati to build 24 violins just for himself in 1560, and before long the instrument had spread in popularity, among the noble and street performers alike.
While Amati was one of the very first to build violins, other families have left their mark in musical history by creating some of the finest instruments ever to be played. In the middle 1600’s, the Guarneri family and Strativari families were also constructing beautiful and rich sounding violins in Cremona, Italy. Instruments such as these from the “Golden Age” of violin production are worth millions of dollars and are highly hunted for by professional performers and collectors. On May 16, 2006, the most expensive Stradivari violin was sold at auction for well over $3,000,000.00. World renound violinist Itzhak Perlman plays on what is considered to be one of the premium violins constructed during Stradivari’s “golden period”, known as a Soil Stradivarius violin from 1714 as well as the 1943 Sauret Guarneri del Gesu.
As mentioned earlier, the top and back of the violin are typically made with two different types of wood: spruce and maple. The other parts of the violin consist of a neck, bridge, sound post, four strings, and fittings. Some people also prefer to have a chinrest attached over the tailpiece of the violin. The shape of the violin, which looks much like an hour glass, directly correlates to the type of sound it produces, as well the the type of wood, the thickness of the wood, and the coating of varnish on the surface of the instrument. As a violin ages, the wood and varnish contribute to the richness of sound the violin produces, which actually gets better with age.
Finding the perfect size violin is the first step towards becoming a great violinist. Violins are constructed using fractional sizes, except for the full-size or 4/4 violin. For children sizes can range from ¾, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16 and in some rare cases, even 1/32. Keep in mind, however, a ½- sized violin is not half the size of a full-size instrument. Not including the neck, the body length of a full size violin (4/4) is 14 inches.
A very important role of what makes a great violin is definitely its strings. In the beginning, luthiers made strings by stretching, drying and twisting sheep guts. While there aren’t too many strings still made this way, you can still find them. However, most modern violins have strings made of steel or synthetic material. While the strings of the violin may have come a long way from sheep guts, their lifetime is still restricted. Violinists generally change a string when it no longer plays accurately or loses its tone, or when a string becomes worn from playing. The power of playing, as well as the quality of the strings, definitely depends on the lifetime of your violin’s strings.
Of course you can’t make a violin sound the way we are accustomed to it sounding without the ever important bow. A typical violin bow is basically a stick with horsehair strung between the frog (where the hand holds the bow) and it’s tip. At the end of the bow where the frog is found, adjusting the tightness or loosness of the hair can be done by twisting the screw adjuster. Traditionally, the hair of the bow comes from the tail of male horses, however synthetic hair is also sometimes used to lower costs. Rosin is very important and should be rubbed on the hair to better it’s grip on the strings, causing vibrations. The bow’s stick itself is typically made of brazilwood, however most student bows are fiberglass or carbon fiber.
In order to ensure that the strings sound their best, a violinist must always play in tune. Violins can be tuned by turning the pegs under the scroll or top of the violin, as well as using the fine tuner screws at the tail piece. Turning one of the pegs clockwise will cause the violin’s pitch to become sharper, while turning a peg counterclockwise will cause a flatter pitch. Tuning a violin begins with the A string being tuned using another instrument, such as a piano, or a tuning device. The other strings can then be tuned comparing to one another in intervals of fifths while bowed in pairs. One might want to examine the violin’s bridge after tuning to ensure that it is centered and straight between the f-holes, as a crooked bridge could jeopardize the sound of the instrument.
Now that you know all about the violin itself, the next step is learning how to play! With the support of your left shoulder, the left side of your jaw can sit on the chinrest. However, this is not the ONLY way to hold / play a violin. In some Indian cultures, players prefer to play while seated on the ground, with their foot support their scroll of the violin. There is also a way of playing called pizzicato, where the player plucks the strings with their fingers instead of rubbing the strings with a bow.
Today, violins are used by performers outside the normal orchestra or classical settings we associate them with. Folk music, which was developed during the renaissance period in Italy, began to displace other stringed instruments due to the violin’s rich tones and agility. Even popular rock and alternative groups have found ways to incorporate the violin into their music, including Sigur Ros, Andrew Bird and Broken Social Scene.
How do you know which size violin is the best for you?
It is best to consult a violin teacher, maker or dealer , as violins come in many sizes. The best way to know if a violin fits you well is by holding the violin and placing your left chin on the chin rest. If you can hold out your left arm under the violin and with a slight bend at your left elbow, curve your fingers around the end of the scroll, then the fit of the violin is good. If you find that your fingers cannot reach the end of the scroll, it is best for you to try a size smaller.
Should I rent or buy a violin?
For someone beginning on the violin, it is recommended that you rent a violin first. If you do choose to purchase a violin however, make sure you choose a reputable source, such as a violin maker, music store or music school. It’s always a great idea to ask your music teacher who can always steer you in the right direction for finding a well made instrument that is worth buying or renting.
Violin Care Tips
There are a few rules that violinists should abide by in order to ensure the longevity and quality of their instrument.
- Before playing, tighten your bow by turning the screw below the frog.
- Rosin should be rubbed against the bow hairs before playing. Simply rub the rosin on to the hairs by moving the bow slowly back and forth against the rosin.
- Once you have finished playing, you can clean the strings on the violin with a soft cloth, removing any rosin build up.
- Before putting your bow away, make sure to loosen the hair on the bow.