2024’s Eastar Violin Review: Buyer Beware

by | Jan 16, 2022

The Eastar violin (and, in fact, pretty much all Eastar products – stay away from this brand!) is quite a treat if you are looking for a good example of what a violin-shaped object looks and sounds like. If you want a usable beginner violin, however, you will definitely want to look elsewhere. The Eastar I reviewed cost $110 on Amazon and was purchased by one of the families I teach. Fortunately, they were able to return it in time. Consider Shar Music’s Franz Hoffman line, Gliga Violins, Fiddlershop, Bunnel (also on Amazon), or DZ Strad (also on Amazon) instead.

Eastar Violin Review

Some of the treats you have to look forward to with the Eastar violin include painful strings, a painful bow, and a quality of tone befitting a zombie flik – because zombies need a violin that can moan just as lifelessly as they can. Zombie Paganinni, here’s your anti-Strad!

Jokes aside, it’s bad. Here is a brief but educational breakdown of what is going on with this violin. This will help you know what to look for when shopping for a *real* violin.

The Bridge

This outfit comes with two bridges. To the unsuspecting and honestly uninformed buyer, this might seem like a good thing. Let me disabuse you of that notion here and now: It. Is. Not. (a good thing).

The bridge needs to be custom cut to each instrument. At the very least, the bridge feet need to be carved to perfectly match the top plate of the violin it is meant to go on so that transferance of sound from the strings into the body of the instrument can happen cleanly and clearly.

The Eastar violin bridges are not carved at all. They are what you would call ‘blank’ bridges, or templates. They are what a bridge is before it really becomes a bridge. Sort of like a ‘bridge larva’, which the luthier then (magically) entices a lovely butterfly or ugly but serviceable moth from after being cocooned within the luthier’s caring hands for a bit. Proper beginner violin bridges typically come in the shape of drab moths that get the job done, with a few being genuine butterflies or lunas.

But carving a bridge takes time and skill, and that costs $$$, which Eastar doesn’t want to spend so it can charge a lower price and sell you what they pretends to be a violin.

Eastar EVA-2 bridge is not cut for the violin
Professional violin bridge flush with top of violin

The Strings

The EastarĀ violin strings legitimately hurt to play on. Typical beginner violin strings cost $10 to $15 for the set. The strings on this violin I would estimate to cost around $2 to $3 per set (if they were retailed). The higher cost of the cheaper trings mean they are engineered to both be easier to work with the fingers as well as produce a nicer tone. The Eastar strings are just strips of thin metal strung from peg to tailpiece of your larval bridge.

The Fingerboard

A beginner violin worth purchasing will have a fingerboard made from ebony. Or at least made from pearwood but shaped properly and not coated in plastic paint. The Eastar violin’s fingerboard is not that. It is super straight, has none of the careful sculpting a proper fingerboard should have, and feels like plastic things to its black top-coat.

All this means that intonation will be bad and the violin will be harder to play. “But what about the dots! Won’t those tell my kid where to put their fingers so they sound nice when playing?” No. They’ll teach your kid how to sound like a dead zombie cat while playing.

Eastar EVA-2 finger markers are out of place

The Sound Post

The sound post, the soul of the instrument, has been crushed. The Eastar violin truly is as soulless as the walking dead. They achieved this masterpiece by placing the soundpost directly beneath the bridge. This puts too much pressure on the sound post and literally pinches off the resonance of the instrument, condemning it to a harsher tone fit for any army of the damned.

Properly placed, the sound post should be roughly 5mm behind the bridge. This gives it room to breath as the soundwaves resonate through it.

Eastar EVA-2 sound post is improperly placed below bridge

The Bow

Of course, no outfit is complete without a bow, and what bow more fitting for the Eastar violin than a Pain Master 5000? Due to the unfinised nature of the frog and its astute pointy-ness, your child is sure to have a massive blister blossoming on their delicate little thumb in a week or two. Sorry, Timmy; no pain, no gain.

Eastar EVA-2 bow is rough on the hand

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