Huthmaker Violins

3949 Russell St., Suwanee (Atlanta), GA 30024 • 770.945.1188

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


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.

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Keeping a Safe Orchestra Room During COVID-19

(Download Document)

First and foremost, remember…

  • a) Nothing is perfect
  • b) None of this will be easy or convenient
  • c) Some of these will not be possible in your teaching situation
  • d) The most important thing is that you do your best and implement what you are able

Here are some thoughts, suggestions, and ideas for keeping an orchestra classroom as safe from COVID-19 (and the flu, and colds) as possible.

1. Preparing Your Room for Students.

To practice social distancing, you will need to arrange your room to accommodate spacing. What can be moved to make more room? Get rid of any tables, shelving, etc. possible to increase floor space.

Plan for student arrival and departure. If you are going to have them sanitize their hands first, make a station or stations to keep the students moving. Students must have dry hands (no sanitizer or alcohol products) before they are allowed to unpack their instruments or touch a school instrument.

Have a plan for the movement of students in your room so that they are not going to different stations before they sit.

Students should not move chairs or music stands.

2. Sanitizing Instruments

Any cleaner, sanitizer or product that contains alcohol will damage the varnish of string instruments.

The best and safest approach is to sanitize the student. Giant jugs of hand sanitizer, and supervision of how the sanitizer will be used, is the best approach.

KEEP IN MIND-HAND SANITIZER WILL DAMAGE VARNISH SO MAKE SURE HANDS ARE DRY BEFORE UNPACKING/PLAYING INSTRUMENT

There is no safe sanitizing agent for the wood of string instruments. The varnish on instruments could easily be damaged and will be very expensive to repair. Most of the modern Chinese and Eastern European instruments that we see in orchestra programs fall under this category.

Only teachers should use alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer on instruments. The teacher can use a paper towel to clean/sanitize the fingerboard/strings/chin rests/pegs and frog of the bow ONLY.

Never give your students alcohol-based sanitizers to apply themselves. Beware that some instruments have painted fingerboards, pegs, and chinrests and that paint will come off with alcohol or sanitizers of any kind.

Keep in mind that the frog, neck, strings, fingerboard, and chin rests are the most touched surfaces when handling and playing an instrument. Keeping these clean will go a long way towards keeping your classroom safe.

  • Good- Sanitize all touch surfaces on instruments at the end of every day
  • Better- Sanitize all touch surfaces between ever use
  • Best- Have each instrument reserved for a single student use
Remember- None of this will be easy or convenient

3. Sanitizing Orchestra Equipment

Spray down chairs, bass stools and music stands with Lysol, or another anti-bacterial spray, whenever possible.

Spray all doorknobs frequently

Do not allow sharing of daily items like rosin, rock stops, pencils, shoulder rests and method books.

If at all possible, no sharing of instruments.

Do not allow students to share music stands. Separate stands will allow for more social distancing.

  • Good- Spray anti-bacterial spray onto all chairs and music stands at the end of each day
  • Better- Spray chairs and bass stools twice a day, and require students to bring their own music stands
  • Best- Spray chairs between classes, do not allow any shared accessories or books at all
Remember-Some of these will not be possible in your teaching situation

4. Safety in the Classroom

Make hand sanitizer readily available in multiple places in the room. There are on-line resources for buying this in bulk.

Demonstrate how to use sanitizer to cover fingers and in between the fingers/thumbs.

At this point, the rapidly changing science points to the aerosol of breath being the most worrisome aspect of COVID-19 transmission. From the standpoint of combined breathing and possible surface contamination, violins and violas could be at a higher risk of harboring germs. Mask wearing by the musician would help cut this down immensely.

Do not allow students to congregate at the door, in the teacher’s office, or in storage rooms.

  • Good- Spread students out as much as possible and discourage contact with each other
  • Better- Encourage mask use
  • Best- Require mask use and make sure each student has their own assigned instrument, method book and supplies
Remember- None of this will be easy or convenient

5. Student/Staff Safety

Resource after resource states that the best approach to safety in the orchestra classroom is to sanitize the musician, rather than the string instruments. This will do the best job of keeping germs out of your classroom

  • Good- Provide hand sanitizer and encourage its use
  • Better- Recommend students wash their hands before class
  • Best- Require handwashing and hand sanitizer before each class
Remember- The most important thing is that you do your best and implement what you are able

6. Teacher Safety

Given the number of students you see in a day, or week, you must take every precaution to protect yourself from Covid-19.
  • Wear masks as much as possible
  • Use hand sanitizer liberally throughout the day
  • Maintain a stringent hand-washing routine
  • Resist touching your students
  • Sanitize objects on your desk such as drawer pulls, pens/pencils, your computer, regularly
  • Make sure you practice social distancing both in your classroom, in the hallways, during meetings and other places, when possible
  • Be extra cautious with doors in the school (outside of your classroom). When possible, push open with shoulder or foot. If you must use your hands, sanitize them as soon as possible and avoid touching your face.
  • Use caution taking items back and forth from school to home. (i.e. computers, tests to grade, lunch containers). Try to keep your home as free of potential contaminants as possible.
  • When you get home, change clothes and shower as soon as possible.

7. Final Thoughts...

Instrument Availability- The idea of one student per instrument is a difficult one to attain for most programs. Here are some ideas for getting more instruments for you students.
  1. If you have the resources, rent some extra instruments for the year from your local music store
  2. Ask your local music store/violin shop if they have any instruments that they would be willing to donate or lend to your program for the year
  3. Put a call out to your community. Many people have instruments in their home they are not using. Ask if they will donate them or lend them to the program for a year. (consult your local laws and school guidelines regarding liability)
We realize that many of these recommendations are impractical if not impossible. Their usefulness will depend on your orchestra size, the resources you have at your disposal and the support of your administration However, the idea is to take these suggestions and implement the ones that you can.
  • Take them to your administration to show them what you are implementing in your classroom to keep your students safe.
  • Take them to your parents to show them how important the health of your students is to you.
  • And finally, use them to keep yourself safe.
  • .
Keep yourself safe. Without you, there would be no orchestra at all.


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Tips for Instrument Safety and Sanitization

How do I sanitize my instrument?

Resource after resource states that the best approach to safety in the orchestra classroom is to sanitize the musician, rather than the string instruments.

  • Wash your hands before you handle/play your instrument
  • When that is not possible, use hand sanitizer

KEEP IN MIND-HAND SANITIZER WILL DAMAGE VARNISH SO MAKE SURE HANDS ARE DRY BEFORE UNPACKING/PLAYING INSTRUMENT

There is no safe sanitizing agent for the wood of string instruments. The varnish on instruments could easily be damaged and will be very expensive to repair. All Huthmaker Fine Violins instruments and bows fall into this category.

Most of the modern Chinese and Eastern European instruments that we see in orchestra programs also fall under this category.

Do not let anyone else handle or play your instrument. At all. Washing your hands, and not sharing your instrument or bow, will keep it safe to play

Can a Violin get Corona Virus??

The science is rapidly changing, but as of today, scientists are suggesting that the virus could possibly live on wood surfaces (violins/violas/celli/basses/bows) for 3-4 days.

If your instrument or bow has been handled by others, we suggest starting with a quarantine period. Let it sit in it’s case, in a temperature-controlled environment for a few days. That will allow any germs to die off.

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What is Huthmaker Violins doing about COVID-19?

Inside the Shop:

We have a strict cleaning protocol that includes:
  • Wiping down all touch surfaces between each customer
  • Cleaning frogs, fingerboards and chinrests of all instruments regularly
  • After an instrument or bow has been played or handled by a customer, they are quarantined for a minimum of three days

For Customer Safety and Comfort:

  • We offer free masks for your convenience, should you choose to wear one
  • We offer four kinds of service
    • a) Curb-side service
    • b) Front porch service
    • c) On-line service with delivery
    • d) In-person service

Staff Safety

  • We are requiring mask usage at all times
  • We are requiring hand washing between customers
  • We offer paid time-off for any staff that feels ill
  • We require social distancing at all times

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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.

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.

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How much should my student practice every day?

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.

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Which is better:rent or purchase?

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.

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