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Recommendations

The Beginner...

We recommend beginning with a rental instrument. In addition to providing you with a high-quality student instrument, our rental program allows free exchanges for size or preference and covers the cost of most basic repairs and routine maintenance. When you are ready to consider owning an instrument, our Rental Equity policy allows a portion of your rental fees to be put towards a purchase, and our friendly and knowledgeable sales staff is here to assist you every step of the way.

Your teacher will probably require a beginning method book. Whatever they want you to have, we’ve probably got it! See our books section or use the search to the left.

Suzuki students will need "Suzuki Book 1" for their instrument plus the CD to hear all of the music contained in Book 1. We also have many interesting and helpful books by and about Dr. Suzuki and his method, the most popular being "Nurtured By Love" and "To Learn With Love".

You may want to start with a shoulder rest for your violin or viola, to help support the instrument on your shoulder. If your teacher doesn’t have a specific recommendation, we suggest starting out with the simple Foam Rests - they're inexpensive and make learning basic violin position easier. Some young students and adult beginners prefer a more substantial shoulder rest, such as the Kun or Wolf brands, which offer more support and are more adjustable. See all of the shoulder rests we offer for violins and violas.

Tuning string instruments takes practice, and is one of the first difficulties a beginner faces. We offer several types of product to assist in tuning and help to train the player's sense of pitch. Traditional tuning aids include tuning forks and pitchpipes, which produce single notes to be matched by ear with the pitch of the string. The most popular option is an electronic tuner, a device that can listen to a note you're playing and then tell you whether or not it's in tune, as well as produce a reference pitch. Tuners can help to train your ear by giving you feedback as you tune. A good, easy-to-use tuner for the beginner is the Korg CA-1. Click to see our metronomes, tuners, and combination metronome/tuners.

The beginning cellist will probably need to get an endpin rest, something to help keep the cello from slipping across the floor while playing (it also protects delicate surfaces from getting scratched by the endpin). We recommend the Rock Stop for a beginner as it is very easy to use, or the Xeros Anchor, which attaches to the leg of your chair and is by far the most secure.

The Intermediate...

Are you wishing you or your player had a nicer instrument - but not ready to make a purchase? As you enhance your musicality by building your repertoire and tackling new techniques, it may be time to consider upgrading to one of our higher quality rental options. This is a wonderful opportunity to move into an instrument that allows a student to grow musically without losing the benefits of renting.

Take advantage of our vast selection of sheet music to aid you in your instrumental studies. From basic studies like String Builder and Essential Elements 2000 to classic method books like the Flesch Scale System, from "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to Mozart Concerti, we most likely have what you're looking for. You may also be seeking something "extracurricular" - in addition to your lesson assignments. We have a great collection of fun music spanning many styles, including fiddle, folk, pop, jazz, and classical, to keep things interesting and exciting. See our Books and Music section.

As you work to perfect your craft, we can help provide you with any other items you might need. From instrument cases to strings and rosins to fun games and learning aides, we are always happy to assist you in finding the right option.

The Advanced Musician...

Once you are committed to playing your instrument, it’s probably time to think about purchasing, if you haven’t already. Playing a string instrument is a very intimate experience, and enjoying the sound and feel of your instrument and bow is important - no matter what your skill level might be. A beautiful sounding instrument is always a great incentive!

There are many reasons to purchase your instrument at JSI:

  1. Our Rental Equity program (just by renting from JSI you can earn credit toward the purchase of an instrument).
  2. Our extensive collection of new and antique instruments.
  3. Our in-home trial policy allows you to try the instrument in various settings.
  4. Our generous trade-in policy.
  5. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff; we have helped many players find that ‘perfect’ instrument!

All instruments purchased from our Sales Department come backed by a full one-year warranty against any defect in craftsmanship or materials, and are eligible for a tune-up and sound adjustment within the first year of ownership. To ensure the purchaser's complete satisfaction, JSI will exchange any instrument in original condition toward an instrument of equal or greater value during the first year of purchase, regardless of the reason.

Please call 800-359-9351 or email info@johnsonstring.com if you have any questions, or to set up an appointment.