Who is Chan Lee, anyway? Instrument wholesalers, band instrument suppliers, and violin shops often have their own trade names. “Chan Lee” was formerly my trade name for the less expensive Chinese instruments that I sell. I retired that name when I changed manufacturers for my entry level instruments, but  hundreds of “Chan Lee” violins, violas, and cellos are in use today in Central New York.  They have been sold primarily to individual players, and a small number have gone to schools.  Many are available used here at Hosmer Violins, especially in fractional sizes.  Currently I am getting my entry level violins from Henan-Huayun direct from China.  They are very well made, and they don’t have a ton of glassy varnish to muffle the sound.  One often gets the idea that Chinese instruments are inexpensive because the labor is so cheap; however to make a quality instrument that sells for $400 cheap labor is not the only factor.  If that was the case those junky violin-shaped objects from Shanghai would be quality violins.  I also have the “L”Aparenti” violins from GEWA.  The GEWA workshop in Beijing employs a computer controlled milling machine to arch and graduate the tops and backs.  This provides a consistency that is rare in an entry level instrument.  Every one of these violins I have set up has sounded very good.

My idea of an “entry level” instrument is a cut or two above that of many other dealers, and with our professional setup, a Bobelock case and a quality bow, you have a combination that is often far better than “entry level.” These instruments are usually offered as “outfits”—with a case and bow. Don’t hesitate to customize your choice with a different case, or a higher-level bow.

Higher-grade instruments come from shops of recognized makers—Yuan Ji (Eastman Strings), Xueping Hu (Snow), Xuechang Sun, Hua Chan Jun, Deng Yan Shan, Vasile Gliga, Calin Wultur, etc., and they are labeled accordingly. (“New intermediate and advanced” instruments.) Look under frequently asked questions for a more detailed discussion on the differences between the different grades of instruments.

Also remember:  many fractional instruments are available as used outfits at reduced prices.  All trade-ins receive a complete cleaning, new strings, and a new fiberglass bow.  Price is determined by cosmetic condition of both the instrument and the case.

How Cheap is Cheap? I get many phone calls from people who tell me they can buy a violin outfit on the Internet for anywhere from $49 up. Why are my violins so expensive? Instruments that are that cheap are always low-end Shanghai junk that are totally unadjusted. I tried a few of these instruments. By the time I got them set up with proper bridges, strings, and pegs; dealt with the warped fingerboards; replaced the bows; and fixed any number of other problems, they were still low- end junk—well-adjusted low-end junk—but bad sounding junk just the same. That’s not what people expect from me.

If you have been renting, perhaps this is the time to buy your first instrument. Before you take advantage of any incentives from your rental company, be sure to explore the large selection of instruments at Hosmer Violins. Our entry level instruments are the best available, and we keep the prices on our more advanced instruments very reasonable. Of course, our price includes our own meticulous setup and adjustment, which is especially important with less expensive instruments because they are never set up properly at the factory or at the distributor. With our variable climate, even the best setup needs tweaking (seam openings, neck angle changes, sound post adjustment, etc.), and we cover these adjustments free of charge for the first three years of ownership, after which time most new instruments have become more stable. With this in mind, a free tubular humidifier is included with all instruments.  We also include a free shoulder rest.

Here are the current prices of our entry level outfits, which are subject to change without notice considering how often I edit this website.

DENG YAN SHAN OR GCV VIOLIN OUTFITS 1/32, 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4 $350.00 and up
With Prelude strings, Foam Case and Fiberglass bow.
The instruments ½ size and above receive our full setup and adjustment. In order to offer ¼ size and below outfits at a competitive price, we include a foam case, less expensive strings(Prelude), and a less complicated setup; however they still must meet my standards. Bobelock cases and higher grade strings can be included for $60 additional.

DENG YAN SHAN OR KAI YANG VIOLIN OUTFITS 1/2, 3/4 $500.00 (Violin alone – $350.00)
With Thomastic Spirit or Helicore strings, Bobelock case and Fiberglass bow.  Ask about lesser case options to reduce the outfit price.

GEWA L’APANENTI VIOLIN OUTFITS  4/4  $550.00(Violin alone -$400.00)
With Tonica strings, Bobelock case and  fiberglass bow (Add $60 for  carbon fiber bow).  In addition, the 4/4 instruments may be set up as 14″ violas for the additional cost of $30 (to cover the cost of replacing the E string with a  C).

GCV VIOLA OUTFITS 15” TO 16½” $750.00 (Viola alone -$600.00)
With Dominant Strings, Bobelock shaped case,  fiberglass bow (add $70 for wood over carbon fiber bow).

JIAN MING LI CELLO OUTFITS 4/4 $1950.00 (Cello alone – $1500.00)
Fully carved construction–no plywood. With Kaplan Solutions/Helicore strings, Cocoon semi-hard case, and  wood over carbon fiber bow.  (Add $275 for Bobelock case)

Similar to above, but priced more advantageously. With Glasser fiberglass bow. The case and strings cost significantly less.