At a Glance
- Size 4/4 (Full Size) satin antique violin
- Hand-carved solid spruce top with maple back & sides
- Maple fingerboard, pegs, and chin rest with an alloy tailpiece with four integrated fine tuners
- Includes: lightweight hard case, a Brazilwood bow with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair, rosin, adjustable shoulder rest, two bridges, and an extra set of strings
- 1 Year Warranty Against Manufacturer's Defects
Warm, mellow tone. Soft satin finish. Warm, clear sound. Simple yet elegant with its traditional-looking design. The Mendini MV300 solid wood, satin-finish violin delivers a lot of value for the price. This makes the MV300 a solid pick for students new to the violin or anyone wanting to try it out for the first time.
Note that the Mendini MV200 and the MV300 models have very similar specifications. However, the finishes are different and other tweaks differentiate the character of each one’s sound. The MV300 tends to be on the mellow side while the MV200 leans toward a more vibrant tone.
What’s included when purchasing the Mendini MV300? This relatively lightweight instrument—on the order of just 4 lbs.— comes with hard case to protect it. The bow is Brazilwood with unbleached Mongolian horsehair. The set includes some rosin, two bridges to choose from, one extra set of strings, and the adjustable shoulder rest.
Now let’s dive into the details on the Mendini MV300 model…
Fit and Finish: Mendini MV300
The spruce top is solid and hand-carved with maple on the back and sides. The fingerboard also is maple stained to appear ebony, but it is not ebony. The chin rest has an alloy tailpiece and there are four fine tuners integrated into it.
While much better than plastic, perhaps pau ferro or rosewood could serve better than maple and have given the Mendini’s fret a slicker feel—something closer to ebony. This is a beginner’s instrument, so it wouldn’t be fair to expect a costly tone wood, but we can always hope…
The pegs also are maple and the rosin cake does have a glaze on it, which prevents it from powdering up in the case during shipping. This hints at the reality of buying a new instrument—any new instrument—which is you need to be patient and take time to set it up.
This is not a toy or something you can just hand over to your future prodigy player, expecting him or her to jig and reel.
For example, you’ll need a nail file or a little sandpaper. You sand off the glaze from the rosin until the cake gets powdery. You need to follow the steps to prepare a violin before playing it. Some people go online and complain about this or that with Mendini and other beginner models—and it is just that.
Sorry, but it is people unaccustomed to buying an instrument for the first time who can really damage the rep of an otherwise decent product.
Fuel for thought: even a new lawn mower needs oil and gas, then you may have to prime and pull a few times, before you can fire it up, right?
How to Set Up a New Mendini
So, a new violin will not hold a tune out the moment you take it out of the case. Take off strings and apply the powdery rosin onto each peg. Then put some rosin to the holes at the headstock where you put the pegs into place. Now put the peg with the string back into the headstock.
You’ll feel a kind of stiffness when tuning the string this time. This kind of initial step can prevent strings from slipping—so they hold their tune longer and truer.
While it seems a fragile instrument, you may rap the heads of each peg with your knuckle. That gets it to seat itself in the holes. Just do it lightly, like knocking on a bedroom door.
Please note: do not try to tune each string as you do this. Get each of the string on, the pegs seated, rapped into place, and then you can begin tuning as follows…
First, don’t wind up one string and hastily tune it. That puts stress on the fret and joints. Start with the G-string, then tune from low to high. You’ll find that the bridge moves around. That’s okay, that’s what it does and you just keeping gently nudging it into place. And you’re not trying to tune each string perfectly, not yet.
What you’re doing is applying tension on each string, working them one at a time, low to high and repeat, nudging the bridge. Voila! The bridge suddenly stays in place. Now you can tune your Mendini true to pitch.
And the good news is, this is only done with changing the strings or needing to re-rosin the pegs and holes. That lesson is for another time…Just enjoy the ride that got you this far!
The Mendini MV300 Violin is really a good buy for beginners. It features classic design and a mellow, rich tone. The choice of woods isn’t perfect, but you simply will be hard-pressed to find a new violin or a used one is very good condition that comes decked out with ebony and all the trimmings for this price.
Follow the steps to properly set up the instrument, and you or your little maestro will enjoy it rather than find it frustrating. That is very important to a beginner—to have an instrument like this one, set up properly, so it holds its tune. That way, they can hear and feel success when they hit those notes!