I just found a box outside with a 1/2 size Mystic Owl Blue Glitter Violin Outfit from Rozanna’s Violins! The box had a Rozanna’s Violins logo sticker at the top to helpfully let me know what is inside. I thought I ought to write about the violin, because I had a hard time finding useful reviews on them last year.
To start with, Rozanna’s Violins advertizes the violins with the usual Chinese factory violin checklist. I refer to such things as:
- Nicely aged wood for six years
- Front is solid Spruce
- Genuine Maple back, sides, scroll
- Nicely flamed back and sides
- Fine quality ebony fittings, including pegs, fingerboard, chin rest and tailpiece
- Fine quality strings
- Genuine Black Brazilwood bow, real horsehair
- Handsome lightweight shaped case, music pocket
- Case comes with deluxe velveteen interior, blanket, interior pocket
- Attached exterior pocket plus straps.
That was taken precisely as written off the site. That made me think that this would be a prettier version of the violins you can buy on eBay or Amazon.
And it sort of was.
This is what you will receive when you purchase an outfit.
The outfit included the necessary violin, bow, and case as well as cheap rosin, which one should upgrade from, and a pair of backpack straps. The inside of the case was a little messy when I opened it. At a quick, cursory glance, the design was nice, but the chin rest is a little big for a 1/2 size. That makes it not so ready-to-play. I am surprised that there is only a fine tuner on the E string rather than all 4 strings.
I tuned up the violin and noted that the bridge says “Cecilio”, which is basically one of these. It appears that Rozanna buys Cecilio violins, relabels them, and adds an attractive design. I also understand that she applies some quality control to the violins she receives; this is very important because Cecilios have a generally negative reputation for good reason.
Rozanna’s Violins are supposed to be prettier and more fun. The design is somewhat pixelated. That is not terrible, but it could have been higher quality. Speaking of quality, the “Deluxe artwork created by [a] top American designer” is unfortunately not applied very well. I touched a bumpy bit of paint and got dried paint over my finger. I now have a blue hole in the middle of the moon. Fortunately, it is beneath the fingerboard and somewhat hidden.
From what I can tell, a graphic was applied to the violin. Then, the parts not covered by the fingerboard were coated with a clear paint. On the bottom of the violin, the surface is generally is coated, but not the sides, so the end of the branch will likely come off, too. That means the part of the graphic below the fingerboard is uncoated and will probably come off as easily as the bit I got on my finger. Because the pretty design is the big selling point, I am not incredibly impressed by the paint coming off.
Oh, also, on my last look at this violin to check for any other issues, this violin came with an open seam and the fingerboard is not fully glued to the neck. It is most apparent at the end, but I can also see a total of ~2.5 inches of light horizontally between the fingerboard and neck when turning the violin to just the right angle. It is broken up by points where they do touch at times. The fingerboard is also only flush on one side and sticks out over the neck on the other side. Open seams are normal as the weather changes. I take violins to get their seams re-glued every year! The fingerboard not touching the neck is a bit more like… what?
Let me make my expectations clear: I expect a student violin to hold its tuning and be generally ready-to-play. I also expect it to stay in one piece. Those are the absolute minimums. A violin with its paint coming off does not really stay in one piece. A chin rest that is too big is not quite ready-to-play. On the bright side, the pegs seem to stay still so far. I will know in a week whether it holds its tuning properly.
- Pegs seem better fitted than Cecilios! Do not drive your violin teacher or yourself nuts trying to tune the violin!
- Nut looks right! A 1st finger on any string should be at the same distance.
- Pretty design. This is the sort of thing that can be important to help motivate some children to play their instruments.
- The design, the whole point of choosing this violin over others, may come off over time. Because there is a weak point and a hole, I can see the rest of the moon falling off in pieces over time.
- May not be ready-to-play. The chin rest looks too big for the violin, which means a child might think it is uncomfortable and that we need to switch it out for a more appropriate 1/2 size chin rest.
- Quality not completely there. What is going on with the fingerboard?!
This violin outfit is sold on Rozanna’s Violins for $399. A Cecilio outfit is about $100 on Amazon. In terms of playability, that this actually may hold its tuning, it is better than a random Cecelio— but is it 4 times better? It might depend on whether the butterfly or owl or whatnot persuades the student to pick up her or his violin more frequently throughout the week.
Edit: The E string keeps popping off the bridge because the notch is too shallow. One cannot pluck the E string.