After weeks of testing and lots of thought, I have made my decision on which violin I will purchase. I’m going to the luthier next Wednesday to finalize the deal!
In my previous post about my search for a new violin, I mentioned that the luthier had put a new, higher bridge on the Wijn violin, to see if that would deepen the sound a bit. And boy, did it deliver! It felt as if the sound of the violin had been freed, and my violin teacher agreed. It’s a lot louder and the quality of the sound has improved as well.
With the old bridge, the strings were ~3.5 mm above the fingerboard. With the new bridge, the strings are ~5.5 mm above the fingerboard. Those 2mm make a huge difference. The bridge is the element that transfers the resonance of the strings to the body of the violin. The material, size, and thickness all play a part in how the violin sounds in the end.
The Wijn violin is very pretty, too. That’s actually the last thing I look for in a violin – at the top of my list is the sound, of course, and then the build quality, but having beautiful wood doesn’t hurt! The chatoyance of the maple of the back is really nice and hard to capture in a photograph.
The spruce that is used for the front of the violin has some interesting grain that is not always straight. I wonder what that does to the sound. I imagine that the structure of the grain makes a difference in how the sound resonates or gets absorped.
The peg box and scroll are elegant and well-cut. The luthier told me that mr. Wijn was a good woodworker. He may not have been very experienced with violins, but he sure knew his way around wood. And he did a really good job with this one! You can tell that it was made with love and care by someone who was passionate about what he was doing.
Just for fun, here are some examples of me playing this violin in different setups. The first few only have different strings, and the last ones for each piece have the new bridge. The other factors are always the same, for example, the volume of the piano, the mic settings, and my and the mic’s location.
I’m really happy with my choice already. My perception is that the violin has an intriguing, slightly rebellious sound. It’s not as traditional as the Ostler violin, which is nice and comfortable. The Wijn violin is a bit more capricious and challenging, and it gives me the feeling that there’s a lot to discover still. It’s interesting and it invites me to play, to explore, which is, in the end, what I want.
Making a choice can be hard for me. I usually try and weigh in all the factors, which already takes a lot of time because my mind goes everywhere like an oil spill. So then I end up with several options that have a similar level of quality, but in different areas, and get stuck because there is no right/best choice. My mind is a lot louder than my heart/gut, so the challenge is to take my time, to listen to other people, but to be patient and wait until I hear that little voice. Even if I want to rush things because making a choice costs so much energy. So, I’m proud that I took my time and that I didn’t settle for an option that was not heartfelt just because it would be easier or more comfortable. And I’m looking forward to getting to know my Wijn violin!