4 Reasons to Not Buy a Full Size Violin Before You Need It

by | Oct 22, 2021

A parent asked, once, “I have a friend selling a full size violin for a good price. Should I go ahead and buy it even though my daughter does not need it yet?” I could see why this seemed like a good idea to the parent. They reasonably expect to need a full size violin in the future; they have the cash now; and the opportunity presented to them seems like a good deal. Buying a full size violin before you need it is actually not as sure a bet as it seems. Here’s four reasons why I ultimately advised that parent against it (and what you should do instead)!

1. You might not need the full size violin

First and foremost is the simple fact that you’re child may not end up needing the instrument. This could be a) because they have fallen out of interest in the violin; b) because they need a nicer violin when they reach full size (possible if your child started young); or, even, c) because your child will not grow to be big enough to need a full size violin (the daughter of the mom I mentioned before will likely stop with a 7/8 violin – she is very short).

2. Liquid cash is better than a violin you aren’t using

Which brings us to point number two. When you buy the violin, you take liquid cash and bind it up in a solid object. Best case scenario, you end up using the instrument later (but see point 3 below) and it all works out. Medium case scenario, you end up having to sell the full size violin at the price you paid for it, incurring costs to your time and energy. Worst case scenario, you don’t use the instrument and take a loss on reselling it. Ask any business and they will tell you: having liquid cash is better than all three of these scenarios. This is especially because of point three.

3. Full size violins sitting in closets are financial liabilities

Whether it is 6 months or a couple of years, it is not a good idea having an instrument laying around that is not being used. Ultimately, it is a financial liability. During this period, the strings are slowly aging and going bad, their best days lost to the violin case. If the violin has been sitting a couple years, the strings will have to be replaced before it can be played again ($30-$80). Another risk is that the bow may get invaded by bow mites and lose all of its hair. In the event of this (reasonable likelihood), the bow will have to be replaced for $30-$50. Lastly, the violin may develop a crack in it. Cheaper beginner instruments are made from greener woods that are more prone to developing cracks over their life. If this happens, the instrument (and the money you spent on it) is a total loss.

There is a better way… (plus reason number 4. )

So, to recapitulate things, buying a full size violin before you need it means you would be tying up liquid cash in something you may not end up needing, all while risking incurring additional costs or even a total loss of the investment. There is a better way that will allow you to be more responsive to your child’s needs: open a savings account in your child’s name and stuff the cash in there, plus maybe a monthly remittance to that account to grow it until the day you do finally need it. And when they do finally need it, you will likely be able to get them a better instrument, a better bow, and a nicer case (reason number 4 – I said there were four, didn’t i?).

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