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Useful Info

New to the string instrument world, or looking for tips to improve your playing experience? The information below will help!

Musical Instrument Buying Guide: String Instruments


If you're in the market for a string instrument, whether you're a beginner or an experienced musician looking to upgrade, this buying guide will help you make an informed decision. String instruments come in various types, including violins, cellos, and more. Here are some essential considerations to keep in mind:

  • Determine your skill level:
    Are you a beginner, intermediate, or highly advanced player? Your skill level will influence the type and quality of the instrument you should consider.


  • Set a budget:
    String instruments can vary greatly in price. Decide how much you're willing to spend, considering that quality usually comes with a higher price tag. Remember to budget for a bow that matches well with your instrument.


  • Choose the right type:

    • Decide which type of string instrument suits your musical interests:

      • Violin: A classic choice for classical, jazz, and folk genres.

      • Viola: Excellent for harmony, in classical, jazz, and other genres.

      • Cello: Perfect for classical and orchestral music enthusiasts.

      • Bass: Ideal for jazz, rock, blues, and classical players.

  • Consider size and fit:
    Ensure you choose the right size for you. A well-fitted instrument (including a shoulder rest and chin rest) is crucial for comfortable and effective playing.


  • Research brands and models:
    Look for reputable brands and models known for their quality and craftsmanship. Reading reviews and seeking suggestions from experienced players can be helpful.


  • Playability and sound quality:
    Test the instrument's playability. Ensure that it has been professionally set-up and is comfortable to hold and play for extended periods. Listen to the instrument's sound quality. Does it produce the tone you desire?


  • New vs. used:
    You can find both new and used string instruments on the market. Ensure used instruments are in good condition, with any issues repaired properly.


  • Accessories and maintenance:
    Consider what accessories you'll need, such as a case, stand, strings, shoulder rest, rosin, and maintenance products, like cleaners and polishes. (Do not use furniture polish!) Learn about the instrument and bow's maintenance requirements and factor in the cost and time needed to keep it in good shape.

  • Try before you buy:
    Whenever possible, try out the instrument before making a purchase. Play a few notes or scales to get a feel. Compare it with other instruments of a similar level. Our shop will allow you to test an instrument at home before making a decision.

  • Consult a music teacher or expert:
    If you're uncertain about your choice, seek advice from a music teacher or an experienced player who can provide valuable insights.

  • Trust your instincts:
    Ultimately, choose an instrument that visually and musically resonates with you. Your connection with the instrument will inspire your musical journey.

Come visit our musical instrument store in Calgary and experience the world of string instruments firsthand! Remember that buying a string instrument is a personal decision, and what works for one person may not work for another. Take your time to explore your options and select an instrument that aligns with your musical aspirations and preferences. Whether playing a haunting melody on a violin or plucking a bass, the right string instrument can open a world of musical possibilities.

Have questions? Explore our FAQ page for answers to common queries and get all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Benefits of Using a Rental Instrument

With the global musical instrument industry projected to surpass $11.5 million by 2030, the financial burden of owning instruments can weigh heavily on musicians. Renting a musical instrument presents a cost-effective and flexible alternative that offers many advantages for seasoned and budding musicians. These include:

  • Cost-efficiency: Purchasing a new instrument can be a substantial financial commitment. On the other hand, rental instruments offer a much more budget-friendly solution, allowing musicians to pay a modest fee for instrument usage.

  • Variety of choice: Many aspiring musicians may need clarification on which instrument aligns best with their passion and talent. Choosing an instrument can be daunting. Renting provides the freedom to experiment with various instruments. You can easily exchange your current instrument for a different one, helping you discover your perfect musical companion.

  • Rent-to-own option: Falling in love with your rental instrument is not uncommon. For those who wish to keep it, (or purchase ANY instrument while you’re renting!), the rent-to-own option is available. This allows you to deduct up to 6 months’ rent from the total purchase price, offering a risk-free trial period. We also have an 80% trade-in policy for upgrading your instrument down the line!

  • Short-term solutions: Some musicians only require an instrument for a specific period, such as a school semester or a single professional performance. Purchasing an instrument is impractical in such cases, making renting the perfect solution.

  • Space saving: If storage space is a concern, renting allows you to obtain additional instruments only when needed. This is especially beneficial for professional musicians whose equipment can accumulate quickly.

Explore the world of music without the financial strain or commitment of ownership by choosing the flexibility and affordability of renting a musical instrument with V.A. Hill Fine Strings Ltd.

The Crucial Role of Musical Instrument Maintenance


Regular maintenance of musical instruments is not just a chore; it's a practice that can save musicians, educators, and parents from the headache of unexpected and costly repairs. While instrument maintenance may seem like a minor task, it is essential for keeping your cherished instruments in top-notch condition. Here's a closer look at why instrument maintenance is paramount:

  • Check-ups and adjustments: String instruments may appear in perfect working order on the surface, but hidden issues can affect their performance and sound. Twice-yearly maintenance (ideally after the first freeze of winter and the first rains of spring) involves inspecting and adjusting these instruments to ensure they function optimally, addressing visible and internal issues.

  • Proper handling and storage: Mishandling or improper storage can cause significant damage to instruments. Instruments should be stored in cases and kept in environments with suitable temperature and humidity.

  • Accessory repair and replacement: Music accessories like strings, string cleaners, instrument polishes, and rosins are important to have on hand. Regular maintenance involves ensuring these accessories are in good condition. Rehairing your bow is also necessary every 1-2 years, depending on the frequency of play.

  • Staying on top of wear and tear: Regular playing inevitably results in minor dings, scratches, and dents. Keeping instruments clean and scheduling routine tune-ups helps preserve their appearance and functionality.


In essence, musical instrument maintenance is not just a matter of preserving your investment; it's about preserving the joy of playing and the quality of sound. Visit our music store in Calgary for twice-yearly check-ups and invest in proper storage solutions. Let's keep the music alive and vibrant – together!

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
Best in Calgary
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