Rental FAQs

Below are the answers to some of the most common questions we get from our customers regarding our rental program. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact us! Below are further links to resources helpful to prospective musicians and current students alike.


how does the "rent-with-ownership work?

All of our rentals involve an equity component. As you continue to rent, you will accumulate equity that can be used to purchase an instrument whenever, if ever, you choose to do so. Equity accrues at 2/3, so there remains a rental component, but you may buyout whenever you choose, or convert to a no-interest finance plan.   

what if my child quits? do I still have to buy an instrument?

You are only obligated to continuing to rent through the end of your current term, at which point the instrument can be returned with no further obligation.

what is the advantage for enrolling in a longer term?

One long term is significantly cheaper than a series of short terms—up to 30% cheaper! But it’s a bigger commitment; remember terms are pre-paid and non-refundable so you want to be sure the player is committed before signing on to a longer term.

when can I change term lengths?

You can switch to a longer term anytime you want. If you switch mid-term, we’ll charge you the new term rate from that date forward at the lower rate, giving you a credit for the months already paid at the higher rate. You can switch to a shorter term at the end of the current term only.

what if I don't like my rental instrument?

Rentals may be exchanged at any time, for any reason. A child can decide s/he doesn’t like the color and we’ll happily exchange the instrument. We want you to love the instrument! It’s our mission….and good business. If you have had the instrument for over 30 days, we will charge a small switch fee to cover the use of the strings, but with that small print understood, you may exchange at any time.

Of course, your child will ultimately outgrow their fractional instrument, so we fully expect switches to happen in any event! And if the switch is made within 30 days of receiving the instrument, we waive all fees.  

I have two kids renting, but only one wants to continue. Can I merge equities?

Sorry, as generous as we are, there are some limitations on what we can do with equities. Equity pools will always remain separate, although we’ll be sure to keep the larger pool active and retire the smaller pool.

Can I use my rental equity to buy a bow?

Bows and instruments work on different margin structures, so while we generally allow pernambuco bows of $400 or greater value to be traded in, they can only trade towards other bows of equal or greater value. Conversely, instruments may only be traded for instruments of equal or greater value.

Note too that rental equity is not the same as shop credit: it cannot be used store-wide, but only towards the purchase of an instrument.

We love our rental violin, but our child is ready for a better instrument. Can we rent a more advanced instrument?

Of course! We love our student instruments too, but there is a point when it makes sense to upgrade to a better one! All your equity can be transferred 100% to the next level and we offer a series of premium rentals to you, along with generous options for purchase and time-payments. Please call our shops and speak with one of our professional players to discuss options that might make the most sense for you!

should I wait for my child to be in a full-size violin before buying?

Because the violin can be traded in for full value towards another, the purchase of a fractional instrument is just a down-payment on the full-size you will ultimately own. In most cases, you will save money by purchasing earlier than later, but remember, if the child quits, we don’t buy them back so the rental makes sense if you are still experimenting.

Do I have to buy the instrument I am renting?

Equity can be transferred to any other instrument of equal or greater value. We do charge a small switch fee, but you are never “stuck” with the instrument you have. We want you to love your instrument!

Should I wait until the end of a term to purchase an instrument?

No. It’s generally cheaper to purchase earlier rather than later. If there are unused months remaining in your term when you opt to buyout your rental, we’ll credit those months 100% (instead of 2/3) towards the buyout price.

Why do I have to give a credit card/debit card number?

Mostly, we require these to accommodate our auto-renewals. Much like a newspaper subscription, your rental term will renew at the end of the term automatically with a charge to your credit or debit card (and we take all cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express). Unless, of course, you have returned or purchased the rental.

If you forget about the rental and are surprised to see a charge hit your card, never worry: you have a 30 day grace after the renewal date to change gears.

Using a credit card allows us to forego any other sort of billing which can be very expensive and time-consuming. The autopay system was implemented by customer demand, and most of our clients appreciate the ease and convenience of not having to remember the recurring payments.

why do you charge switching fees?

Unlike most of the programs we’ve encountered, we never send a rental out with used strings or excessive wear on the bow. Between every renter, we exhaustively go over the instrument and change strings, restring bows and often cut new bridges, pegs, plane fingerboards, reset soundposts and replace tailpieces. And a good, solid polish to delight. This is expensive work, so we charge a small fee to offset our costs to do this.

When you rent a car, rental companies charge for the gas. Strings on a violin is like the gas in the car: a necessary, consumable aspect that keeps the violin running….and in need of replacing.

The Switching Fees are significantly less than either our cost or our retail prices for the work we do. It simply makes it easier for us to offer outstanding quality while maintaining competitive rates.   

what happens if I break my instrument?

Hopefully, you will have purchased our Damage Waiver! This low-cost insurance covers almost everything parents worry about when giving their child a fragile object to play: dropping, hitting, weather, or just clumsy mistakes!

There are a few exclusions: loss, theft, fire (something must come back to the shop, even if it’s a bag of shards…), replacing strings, bow rehairing (strings and bowhair is usually covered by the material fee, but if they need replacing while you have it we do charge the cost), shipping damage from you to us (so buy UPS (etc.) insurance), air travel accidents, damage occurring outside the United States, Intentional Damage (eg magic markers, intitials carved in….), home repairs or third party repairs (we like to do our own work).

If you do not have the Damage Waiver and break the violin, we will charge you our shop rates as if you owned the instrument up to the value of your buyout. We highly recommend purchasing the Damage Waiver: violin repair is highly-trained work, time consuming and ultimately often expensive.