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Beware!  The $99.00 violin

Welcome to Frank's Violins' Comedy Corner,
a little laugh and a little lesson!

The $99.00 violin outfit usually features:

  • Heavily sprayed lacquer finish, almost "dipped" in appearance, shiny but not an open sound, unusually heavy instrument weight, sometimes an airbrushed faux finish that appears to be a highly flamed piece of wood, also know as "photo flame"
  • Unseasoned or improperly seasoned wood of questionable origin
  • Stained hardwood fittings (in lieu of solid ebony) for the fingerboard, nut, saddle.  Often called ebonized or ebonite
  • Plastic fittings which may include the tailpiece, chinrest, end button and saddle
  • Poorly fitted thick bridge and sound post made of soft, unseasoned woods, improper arching of the bridge makes playing one string difficult
  • Inexpensive steel core strings with a bright, tinny, piercing sound
  • Corner blocks and/or linings in the interior of the violin have been omitted to save production costs which lead to diminished structural integrity
  • Rough cut scrolls sometimes with glue-on scroll eyes with poor peg placement causing strings to rub on pegs and become frayed and eventually break
  • A "mystery wood" bow (not brazilwood) with synthetic hair (not horse hair), half lined plastic  frog (not ebony), usually weak or flimsy, sometimes straight
  • Case that provides a low level of protection with an inexpensive zipper that breaks easily
These outfits are available by special order for only $89.95  That's almost less than the cost of a good set of strings, a well cut French bridge and an ebony fingerboard!  They are not set up and have a limited manufacture's warrantee.  If you are looking for a "VSO" (violin shaped object) as a toy, a tree ornament, a prop, or an art project this outfit is for you.  If you desire an encouraging musical instrument don't make the $99.00 violin mistake.

How to spot a "VSO"!


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