Strictly Strings, Debi Maier, 116 Mobrey Lane, Smithtown, 864-6512
Charles Rufino, Long Island Violin Shop, Huntington Sta., 427-3569
Alan Howard Sherman, Patchogue, 654-8430
Family Melody, Patchogue, 475-3210
Music Land, Lake Grove, 585-2323
Gil Breines ("Bryans"), Deer Park, 586-1410
Donato Family Music, East Islip, 277-4898
Murphy's Music, Huntington Sta., 549-4510
Sam Ash Music, Huntington Sta., 421-9333
Integrated Midi Systems, E. Setauket, 751-3583
3 Village Music, E. Setauket, 941-4499
Maximum Music, Port Jeff , 928-8400
Medford Music, Medford, 112, 654-8449
Ninow’s (“Neeno’s”) Music, Riverhead, 727-5595
MusicSmith, Bohemia, 589-1653
TRY THE INSTRUMENT BEFORE YOU RENT IT- MAKE SURE IT WORKS AND IT’S THE RIGHT SIZE- MOST STUDENTS NEED A 1/2 SIZE INSTRUMENT. Accidents can happen, and instrument insurance can keep costs way down- ask your music store for insurance. Label your instrument case with your name and class.
Most of the stores above will allow you to rent with the option to buy. PLEASE WAIT UNTIL YOUR CHILD HAS GROWN INTO A FULL-SIZED VIOLIN OR VIOLA, A 3/4 SIZED CELLO, OR A 3/4 SIZED BASS BEFORE BUYING ONE. THEY MAY GROW OUT OF A SMALLER ONE.
*PLEASE* DO NOT PURCHASE CHEAP INSTRUMENTS FROM EBAY- THEY CANNOT STAY IN TUNE AND USUALLY DON'T LAST THROUGH OCTOBER.
The following locations also offer quality instruments:
Strictly Strings, Smithtown, 864-6512
Charles Rufino, Huntington Sta., 427-3569
Huggler Violins, 471 S. Wellwood Ave, Lindenhurst, 226-8185
Family Melody, Patchogue, 475-3210
House of Strings, Bellport, 335-2280 or 286-1592
Things to check when purchasing an instrument:
Instrument Body- make sure there are NO open cracks or splits in the wood. These can cause rattles or buzzing. Instruments are now available in an amazing array of colors- click on my weblinks below...
Pegs- Turn them to be sure they aren't too loose or too tight- if you cannot get them to stay put, neither will I.
Bridge- this is the light-colored curved wedge of wood under the strings. It should be carved SPECIFICALLY FOR THAT INSTRUMENT, since no two instruments are exactly alike. The carving may only be completed by a trained string repair person at the music store.
Strings- They make all the difference in the the world! The better the strings, the better your child's sound and success, and the more you'll appreciate the smoother sound around the house. I recommend "Thomastik Dominant" or "Pirastro" Strings for a really smooth, long-lasting sound. It's a great idea to keep and extra D and A string on hand, since those strings are used the most. Replacing all the strings with good-quality ones will make a ho-hum rental instrument sound wonderful with the least investment.
Bow and Bow hair- Besides strings, the bow and hair can greatly improve the sound. For the first few years, fiberglass bows are durable and practical. Wood ones (Brazilwood and Pernambuco) are becoming increasingly expensive as exotic rainforests disappear. The newest "compromise" material is carbon fiber which acts/sounds like wood but is durable like fiberglass. Bows are also available in colors! For bow hair (also colored!), fiberglass is the cheapest and most durable, and horsehair is more expensive and sounds the best. Be aware that a horsehair bow left in a hot closed case all summer will attract tiny (harmless) mites that will cut the hair in half. Mites hate sun, fresh air, and cooler temperatures. To avoid them, open the case and practice!
Violin or Viola Chin Rest- this is the black "cup" that's attached to the bottom front of the instrument where the strings end. Make sure it's attached well; many fall off after a few months. Also check that it's not too "hilly" or thick, but relatively shallow and smooth. Your child will rest their jaw on this cup all year and if it hurts them, they won't enjoy playing. The newest accessory is the "Chin Chum"- a small cushion for your sore chin.
Cello and Bass Endpin- this is the silver rod that protrudes out of the bottom of the instrument when you turn the screw. It stabilizes the instrument on the floor and is height-adjustable to grow with your child. PLEASE, if you can, request an endpin that has a black rubber BALL on the end, NOT A TINY RUBBER TIP. The tip wears thin after a month and the instrument slides on the floor, causing injury to your child and/or damage to the instrument. The inexpensive ball will pay for itself many times over and your child will thank you.
Stringed instruments will keep their value and stay in tune if you care for them correctly. Please review the following suggestions on how to keep your instrument in top condition:
*Please keep your stringed instrument away from extremely hot or cold conditions, such as a hot car or a cold basement. If the temperature is uncomfortable for you, it is also uncomfortable for your instrument.
*Very wet or very dry conditions are also hazardous to your stringed instrument. Cracks and open seams can result from extreme conditions.
*Please remember to loosen the bow hair after playing. Turn the screw counterclockwise (to the left). This keeps the bow from warping.
*Your stringed instrument is a musical tool, not a toy. Let only an experienced player you trust or your string teacher play it, not your 3-year-old sister.
*To transport your cello in its soft case, stand the cello up in front of you, turn the cello so its side is against the front of your leg and grasp the handle strap on the case. When not playing, ALWAYS REST YOUR CELLO STRINGS UP ON THE FLOOR.
*To transport your violin or viola in its hard case, check to be sure the latches are closed.
*Always wipe your instrument off after playing it. This keeps the dirt and rosin from building up. You may polish it with Pledge Furniture polish, and remove scratches with Old English Light or Dark Scratch Remover.
If you follow these simple rules, your instrument will keep making beautiful music for years to come!