Archive for the ‘Student 1/2 size violin’ Category

A 1/2 Size 1985 Suzuki Violin. Anno Model. No 220.

April 16, 2021

Ursula Donnelley Plays the Suzuki 1/2 size Anno model violin No. 220

This violin has been approved by the Suzuki school of violin in Japan. Suzuki is one of the most respected violin methods in the world, making this a great choice, for a student’s first ever violin, or as they step up in quality, the next violin for a student of classical music. I teach the Suzuki method and learned this way myself.

This violin is 1/2 size, which suits children of around age 7-9 depending on the length of your child’s arms. You can measure this by Googling “violin sizing chart”.

From the moment I picked this violin up I just wanted to play Baroque music on it, due to its sensitivity and ease of playing. I much preferred the lower strings to the E string but for a new starter violin, the tonal quality is phenomenal. Suzuki are all about developing a great tone from the beginning so I can see how this violin has been approved by them.

It was easy to play, which isn’t a surprise given it’s origins either. However, what makes this violin stand out from the rest is that the set up is particularly good, as are the strings. The violin has been set up by Dr Mike Sutton, who is passionate about refurbishing old instruments with new strings and optimising the set up.

If you bought a 2nd hand violin on ebay ordinarily, the chances are it is not set up correctly. Over time, violins need adjusting by someone who knows what they are doing to optimise the sound and playability. This one has already been set up meaning that you will not have to pay someone else to do this for you.

This would be an absolute no brainer first violin owned for a talented student. It would be a shame for this to sit in a cupboard so unless you have a musical child who is desperate to learn the violin, leave this well alone.

Ursula Donnelley (Professional Violin Teacher and Performance Violinist)

History, repair and refurbishment notes

Surprisingly, these violins are relatively rare in the UK.

This was the first violin my youngest daughter played – other than the dreadfully set-up Stentor her school provided us with as a rental instrument. When I bought this violin on eBay the bridge was the wrong size, being a far too big full sized bridge, and the stings were a poor quality all steel variety. I paid a visit to a very respected violin dealer in Nottingham whose Luthier carefully fitted it with a refurbished far better quality vintage bridge. I was surprised to hear that he had never worked on a Suzuki violin of any kind before and knew nothing about them.

I later fitted a new light alloy tailpiece with integral fine tuners. Next, I improved the set up by cutting and then fitting a new sound post in the optimal position and giving the violin a set of Alphayue good quality synthetic core strings.

This very robust little violin is in very good condition of its age.

My youngest daughter first learnt to play on this instrument with the above set-up and loved it until she outgrew it and then adopted a nice 3/4 size German antique violin from my collection. This violin gave her a love for playing the violin that is now seeing her progress with dedication through her ABRSM grades.

Dr Mike Sutton (Violin collector, restorer, repairer and patron of the arts)

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Romanian 1/2 Size Violin (Reference ♪)

April 9, 2021

Romanian 1/2 size violin

This violin may not look like much at first, but it is a cut above the standard factory made half size violins making it a great first instrument. The sound is sweeter than you’d expect for such a tiny instrument, and boy can it handle Romanian folk music! Hardly a surprise given it was made in Romania.


It’s tone is muted yet loud at the same time. This means that it isn’t over resonant (bright) making it easier for the student to get a nice sound when they are first starting, without being screechy. It has a soulful silkiness to it that is completely unique to this instrument. At the same time, it carries through so would suit a more confident player. It has character, it’s enjoyable to listen to and is very playable.


I personally love the sound of this instrument as I love Romanian folk music. However, it would be perfectly good as a very first or second purchased instrument for a classical student as well.

Ursula Donnelley  (Violin teacher and professional performance violinist)

When this circa 1970’s Romanian violin came into my workshop it had not been played in quite a while. All it needed was a careful clean, setting up with new strings and a light alloy tailpiece with integrated file tuners. A new sound post was made and carefully fitted. I chose a high arched Zest bridge for this violin, which was very carefully tuned to the instrument. Good quality Ascenti D’Addario synthetic core stings complement the set-up perfectly.

This Romanian violin certainly is a cut above the standard Chinese student instruments. Maybe a lot of that has something to do with the renowned qualities of spruce wood of Romanian violins, sourced from the Carpathian mountains.

This surprisingly nice student violin is ready to play, right out of the case.