How do I find the best instrument and/or bow for me?
First, determine what your budget is. Visit our shop and allow yourself about an hour to audition the instruments. We will give you instruments in your price range to play and guide you through the process.
May I take out an instrument 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 is a ‘step-up’ instrument?
‘Step-up’ refers to the next level up from student quality instruments.
What is the difference between a student instrument and a ‘step-up’ instrument?
Student instruments are mass produced and do not keep their value. As you progress, you will need a better instrument. When you choose your ‘step-up’ instrument, we will provide a warranty. The warranty guarantees that if you need a more expensive instruments in the future, we will give you full trade-in value for your step-up (minus deductions for damage).
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.
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.
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.
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.
When should I get my bow re-haired?
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 much does a bow re-hair cost?
A re-hair cost starts around $55.00.
How long will it take to re-hair my bow?
Several days to a week.
Will you lend me a bow while mine is being repaired?
We will gladly lend you a bow until the repair/re-hair is completed.
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 sound post falls down?
Please loosen the strings and bring it to the shop as soon as you can. Putting up a soundpost requires special tools and training.
What if my violin is buzzing?
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 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.
How often should I have my instrument checked?
Bring it in once a year.
How much does it cost to have a crack repaired?
Repair estimates for a crack are done by instrument inspection only.
What does it mean to “take off the top of the violin?”
For extensive repairs to an instrument, the top may have to be removed to do the repair correctly. This is like ‘open heart’ surgery to an instrument. After the repair is finished, the violin will have to ‘recover’ as you play it.
What do you suggest I do with my grandfather/grandmother’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.
Is my grandfather/grandmother’s violin worth anything?
Yes. It has great sentimental value to you. For more information, please bring it to the shop for evaluation.
What do I do if my pegs are sticking?
Bring the instrument to the shop. You may only need for the pegs to be lubricated.
What if my pegs are slipping?
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.
Practicing is musical homework. If the teacher does not have guidelines, start with 15 minutes a day and increase as the student progresses. Find a time during the day when there are no disruptions. Make that time a daily routine. At Huthmaker's, we tell the students to practice every day that they like to eat. And bribery is allowed.
Should my child take private lessons?
If your child is enjoying playing the violin, the answer is Yes! Private lessons will give her/him more detailed instructions and help them progress faster. Also, students who take private lessons will be able to audition for many opportunities.
How much should a private lesson cost?
Most lessons start around $25.00 for 30 minutes. When contacting a teacher, always ask. Fees are based on a teacher’s education and teaching expertise.
Renting is better for beginners and small sizes.
Renting also has a maintenance program which will pay for most repairs.
Purchasing works with full-size instruments and when you don’t want to be bothered with making rental/maintenance payments.
Still not sure? Discuss the situation with your teacher.
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.
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.
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 instrument 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.
What is a rental outfit?
An outfit consists of the instrument, bow and case. Rosin and a nametag are included.
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.
What else will I need?
A music stand, an extra set of strings, music and, for ‘cellos and bass players, a rockstop.
Which instrument should my child play?
They should play the instrument they choose.
Why should my child play the violin/viola/‘cello/string bass)?
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.