A suitable first violin for adult intermediate players.
When searching the market for a violin certain models seem to crop up often. A widely available model has its appeal, there’s a chance you can grab it locally rather than having to order it, but the real question is are they any good?
The Guangzhou Cremona violins are one such series that seems ubiquitous on the internet and beyond. We decided to look into them so we could give you our thoughts, specifically on if the Cremona SV-1220 Maestro First Violin (shortened for the sake of brevity in this review to Cremona Maestro) is a viable option for student and hobby violinists.
Defining features of the Cremona Maestro
The Cremona Maestro violin is one of the nicer Cremona violins. Other models include the Debutte, Cannzona, SV-500, and SV-600 all of which exist on a scale between very beginner to intermediate-advanced. The Cremona Maestro exists at the high end of this range, being recommended towards intermediate growing to advanced players by its makers. It stands out in the following ways:
Construction – The Cremona Maestro is one of a few Cremona violins that is constructed in a small workshop rather than a larger workshop or factory. So it’s not 100% handmade, but it is closer to that ideal than some of the other Cremona models. It’s also made out of aged spruce and maple (how long these woods are aged is unclear from our research), has boxwood fittings, and the Cremona maple bridge (which is not included in their other models).
Strings – Most of the time it seems the Cremona Maestro includes Anton Breton VNS-150 Perlon strings, though this depends on where you buy the instrument — we’ve also seen D’Addario Prelude strings included in the outfit instead. If you don’t mind the bright, slightly tinny sound of steel core strings you might want to go for the Preludes over the Bretons which aren’t bad but don’t suit the quality of the instrument in our opinion. Further, the Cremona Maestro isn’t may or may not be set up if you order it online, so unless you are an experienced luthier you will have to bring it to a local string shop to get the bridge set and to string the instrument properly.
Cremona Maestro Overview
The Cremona SV-1220 Maestro is an instrument best suited to adult violinists around the intermediate level. It’s sturdy and resistant to any everyday jostling or damage that you might run into so you can expect it to stay with you for a long time, which is a good thing too, because it’s certainly not one of the best deals you could get for an instruments at this level. You can find it from various sources around $530-$800. It is not pre-setup by the sellers so most likely you should take it to your local luthier to make sure everything is in playing order. However, it is made in a small workshop out of quality materials and has a warm sound.
Those who sell the Cremona Maestro at its cheapest (within the $500 range) often do not seem to offer it in any size smaller than full size, which is why we recommend it to adult players — it’s simply a better value, because a) the cost is lower b) if you are at 4/4 size you don’t have to worry about growing out of it — Perhaps making the investment more worth it.
What to expect from the Cremona Maestro
Bow – The Cremona Maestro comes with a J. LaSalle LB-17 brazilwood bow is, of course, a wood bow. It’s well-balanced and is precise, though it is probably best in the hands of advancing players rather than those closer to the early end of intermediate. Note: Although this wasn’t the case for us, there seems to be a trend of bows arriving broken or damaged in this outfit based on reviews people have left.
Outfit – The outfit that the Cremona Maestro comes in includes the above bow and the Travelite TL-35 deluxe suspension case. The case is a wide rectangular model that zips shut and has a lock built into the clasp. It has one interior and one exterior pocket, two bow holders, a hygrometer, and shoulder straps.
Ordering – You can get the Cremona Maestro from Amazon, so your ordering experience can potentially include all the Amazon bells and whistles. Free returns, two-day shipping, and free shipping but only if you have prime, etc, etc. Other suppliers may vary in terms of their shipping policies.
Should You Buy a Cremona Maestro Violin?
The Cremona Maestro violin, itself, is a decent violin for a first purchase, however, the outfit as a whole leaves much to be desired. If the convenience of being able to order off of Amazon and the price doesn’t throw you off, then go for it, but we guarantee you could probably find a better intermediate/early advanced instrument that will last you longer, that is higher-quality and handmade, that costs less. In fact, we have reviewed some intermediate instruments for which this is the case.
Though we won’t discourage you from buying the Cremona Maestro if your heart is set on it, we would encourage you to look through some of the other intermediate instruments available to you before you do.