What do I need to take to a violin trial appointment?
One of the great joys of our work is that it’s hugely varied: we get to work with everyone from very young musicians to brilliant professional players from lots of different musical traditions.
This variety means that there are no hard and fast rules about what to bring along when you’re trying instruments or bows with us: hopefully this list will give you some ideas but feel free to disregard anything that doesn’t suit! In general, we suggest the following:
The instrument or bow you’re looking to replace
We strongly suggest that you bring along your current instrument or bow in order to compare it to the things that you try in the shop. Playing on a familiar instrument first helps you to get a good sense of the acoustic before trying anything new, and comparing it to other instruments is often a good place to start.
It can also be really helpful for us to play or hear your own instrument so that a discussion of its qualities and any issues can inform our suggestions of suitable instruments or bows to try.
Your own instrument or bow
When shopping for a violin, viola or cello we recommend that you take along your own bow. Although we have lots of different bows which you are welcome to try, playing unfamiliar instruments with a bow that you know well really helps to give you a clear sense of how that instrument plays.
Equally, if you are shopping for a new bow then we strongly recommend bringing your own instrument along to get the best sense of how the two would work together.
Some people choose to replace both instrument and bow at the same time, in which case this advice doesn’t apply!
Shoulder rests and chinrests
We have a selection of different shoulder rests to use here in the shop but you are very welcome to bring your own along if you would find that more comfortable.
If you have a particularly unusual chinrest then you are welcome to bring this along so that we can swap it onto an instrument you are considering.
We have a selection of violin, viola and cello music in the shop but bringing your own music can be helpful. It’s amazing how hard it is to think up pieces to play on the spot!
A friend, colleague, or teacher
Some of our younger clients choose to make an appointment to come with their teacher. This can be really helpful but remember that we are happy to offer trial periods so that instruments can be taken along to your lesson.
It can sometimes be helpful to bring along a friend who can play the instruments for you to hear: Tim is always on hand to do the same! Occasionally we have had whole string quartets turn up to support one member with choosing an instrument: this makes lots of sense when you realise that any new instrument has to work well with the existing instruments.
An extra case or space in your case for some bows
We offer two-week trials on all instruments and bows so that you can play them in the comfort of your own home. You may also wish to try them in various rehearsal and performance settings.
You might like to bring a case to take any trial instruments home with you or to leave a space in your case for an extra bow, but we do have loaning cases for this purpose.
Any instruments or bows you would like us to consider for part exchange
We are pleased to offer a part exchange scheme. If you would like to investigate this option then please do bring along anything you would like us to value.
Do I need to take anything else?
We ask for one form of ID if you would like to take instruments or bows away on trial.
Where do the trial appointments take place?
Appointments booked in advance take place in our private trial room. This is a large, comfortable room where you can play in peace. We also have a second trial room which is used when the trial room has already been booked. We completely understand that visiting a violin shop can feel quite daunting but we are always delighted to hear that clients feel at home very quickly here.
How long do trial appointments last?
There’s no set answer really! Some people prefer to spend a relatively short amount of time with us and then try their favourites in more detail at home during the two week trial period. Others spend much longer, sometimes over the course of several appointments.
How do I make an appointment?
Trial appointments can be made by visiting our contact page.