Super Student Sustainable Violins of Nottingham, England.
3/4 size and 1/2 size
I fully restored and re-voiced this lovely 7/8th size folk fiddle in late 2023 and january in 2024. In Febriary 2024 the folk Fiddler Dave Marsden played the 1850 John Wilson violin (made in Ashover in 1850) in The Crispin Inn, Ashover, Derbyshire. Dave played the folk tune Bonnie Kate from the famous old Ashover Book of tunes and dances. The violin has a beautiful warm tone, which is due in large part to the lovely British Cherry tree tone wood that forms the back and the incredibly fine spruce of the instrument's top. That night this lovely old violin came home, perhaps for the first time in over a century and a half. The violin was bought by me on Ebay in late 2023 in need of quite extensive repair and full restoration and re-configuring the neck angle. I learned from the Ebay seller that he had bought it at a Manchester auction house but - as is always the case with privacy protection of the seller - we don't know who it belonged to before that auction.
“This violin is absolutely gorgeous to look at and just as beautiful to listen to, a real gem. It’s the sort of violin you fall in love with before you even try it.
In general, the tone of this violin is clear, bright and sweet. The top end is incredibly responsive and can really handle showman pieces like the Hungarian Dance by Nolck. The lower end to be less responsive and a little more muted than the top end, but it still carries its weight and is not off putting by any means.
This would be a great violin for a first violinist or soloist in a more advanced student orchestra as it’s volume and clarity of tone would cut through above the rest and certainly do justice to a more confident player.”
A Very Nice Antique BIENFAIT VIOLIN 3/4 Size
"This violin is a great violin for an intermediate student looking for something that can produce a far more listenable sound than the standard entry level violin brands. It’s the perfect entry violin for the serious player."
In the video below, Ursula Donnelly plays Grave Adagio by Albinoni on it and writes that she "... found it to have a very clear, full bodied, no nonsense tone that could handle Baroque music very well. A great orchestral instrument. The higher end is a little on the brighter side and the lower end also full toned without being harsh on the ear. All in all a very solid, dependable instrument."
"The Maidstone" Good 3/4 Size Antique and Vintage Violins made in Saxony
A Little Red 3/4 Antique Saxony Violin
This 3/4 size violin is perfect for a child of around age 9-12. This violin is a great all-rounder, balanced in terms of sound and playability between the high, mid and low range of notes.
Ursual Donnelly writes: "If your child is a good player, they will be able to get a good sound out of this instrument,which is really, really important! This means that they will be able to play the intermediate to advanced grades on this instrument without being limited by the quality of the instrument.
The only very slight drawback of this violin is that the tone is a little thin, or reedy, in places. However, this is not unusual for a smaller violin and in comparison to what else is available today, it sounds significantly better."
A 1/2 Size 1985 Suzuki Violin. Anno Model. No220
This violin has been approved by the Suzuki school of violin in Japan. Suzuki is one of the most respected violin methods in the world, making this a great choice, for a student’s first ever violin, or as they step up in quality, the next violin for a student of classical music.
Romanian 1/2 Size Violin
Ursualla Donnelly writes about this violin:
"This violin may not look like much at first, but it is a cut above the standard factory made half size violins making it a great first instrument. The sound is sweeter than you’d expect for such a tiny instrument, and boy can it handle Romanian folk music! Hardly a surprise given it was made in Romania.
It’s tone is muted yet loud at the same time. This means that it isn’t over resonant (bright) making it easier for the student to get a nice sound when they are first starting, without being screechy. It has a soulful silkiness to it that is completely unique to this instrument. At the same time, it carries through so would suit a more confident player. It has character, it’s enjoyable to listen to and is very playable.
I personally love the sound of this instrument as I love Romanian folk music. However, it would be perfectly good as a very first or second instrument for a classical student as well."
7/8 size violins are hard to find and are between 3/4 and full size. l lent this particular 7/8ths violin to a friend's 11-year-old daughter, who was too big for the 3/4 Stentor school violin assigned to her by her primary school, and yet she was too small for a full size. She told me the violin was far better than the Stentor in every way. And I have to agree with her. I have yet to find a Stentor that I like. Stentor violins are made in China. This Skylark was made in Canton in China, most likely in the early 1970's.
I have repaired several Skylark's and once properly set up with the correct bridge, soundpost and strings they actually sound rather surprisingly good for a starter violin. I fitted this violin with a good quality vintage bridge, a good quality aluminum tailpiece and Thomastik Alphayue strings. The violin is suitable up to Grade 4 ABRSM.