Jim Clinton Violins Greenville, SC

Client Stories

Heyyyy, this is fun!

Heyyyy, this is fun!


Smart idea to play the violin

Smart idea to play the violin

Create-Your-Own Case ID Tag

Receive your free Case Identification Tag and create your own personal design for your instrument case. When you Rent to Grow, Rent to Upgrade, Rent to Own, or Purchase your violin, viola, cello, or bass from Jim Clinton Violins. We will provide the glitter glue, stickers, pens and workspace so you can create it right here in our shop. Here are just a few creative musicians with their own personalized, hand crafted name tag. These case ID tags were handmade right here in our town.


Eye think Eye see what you are saying about fun!

Just a few ideas



Ocean Theme



Talk, talk, talk



Aaah, very satisfying.



Me and my case tag


Here’s an e-mail that came in recently from Ed Yazijian, Furman University faculty member.

Dear Jim,

Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner. I just want to let you know that I’m very pleased with the work you’ve done on my violin. It’s much easier to play and sounds great! I only wish I had brought it in sooner, but hey, better late than never.



Email from a client wishing to sell a violin she purchased at Jim Clinton Violins:


Message Body: Hello, We purchased a violin from you in 2007. It is a 2006 Sandro Luciano full size violin. We are now looking to sell it. Are you able to help us with this or do you have any recommendations?

Thanks, M.


Hi Ms. M,

I am sad to hear you may be getting out of the violin business. We have enjoyed doing business over the years while your daughter was learning the violin. Here are a couple ways we may help you. After each suggestion are tips and associated warnings. This is a nice upgrade violin model.


1) We may buy it from you.

Tip: We would need to look at it for condition and usually will buy it below wholesale price since it is preowned.

Tip: We are rather proud of our instruments and are usually excited at the prospect of having it back again.


2) We may consign to sell it for you. You name the price, then we add our part to it to determine the asking price.

Tip: You control the price, but if you end up asking too much, your instrument will not sell.


3) Trade up to another model. We can give you up to 100% of what you paid us when trading in toward a higher priced upgrade.


4) Sell it to a friend, or sell it to a friend of a friend. You may not receive as much money as you would like, but you will feel good about passing your violin on to an aspiring musician, especially since your violin was an upgrade model. They will feel good about who they are doing business with while getting a fair price, and everyone will be pleased with the transaction.

Warning: Make sure your violin is in very good condition before you sell it to a friend as you do not wish to have bad feelings over a string that breaks or some other unknown issue evidencing itself after the sale.

Tip: We will be happy to inspect it for condition at no fee.


5) You may sell it in the Greenville Newspaper. Few people think of this idea, so yours may be the only listing. They may offer an online option, expanding your audience. Some listings are free.

Tip: You may get the best price here, at minimal cost, but you must be prepared to meet people for showing it, discussing it, and negotiating the final price.

Warning: Please do not invite someone to your home.

Warning: Always meet in a busy, public place to show and make the sale.

Warning: Share minimal personal contact information.


6) Ebay, Craigslist, Online selling. 

Tip: You have to be internet savvy to do this and usually, you will get less than half the price you should.

Tip: You will need to post pictures and give a good description, and will incur associated fees.


If you don’t mind, I am going to post this email correspondence (without your name) so others will find the answers to your question. You never know, someone may ask us about this violin and we may be able to help you sell it.

Thank you,


Strings, Winds, Choral Instructor: Calvary Christian School

VP Southern Violin Association Member

Violin Society of America Member


Past President: Foothills Philharmonic

Jim Clinton Violins 3400-D Rutherford Rd. Ext. Taylors, SC 29687



Hrs: 10-6 Weekdays, Sa. 2-6



My experience with ipe started when I needed a bow rehaired in the middle of a recording project.  I was playing fiddle for a singer-songwriter, and the hair on the good pernambuco stick that I reserved recording sessions and high profile gigs just was not getting it done.  I dropped by Clinton’s Violin shop and was trying out bows.  Jim said, ”Try this, it is new.”  He handed me a bow with a light color wood and a very nice looking frog.  It was heavy but very well balanced.  It produced a warmer if not quite as bold sound as the pernambuco bow, but it was more alive than my very good carbon fiber bow.  It tracked well and followed the strings very nicely.  It was not quite as stiff as either of the other bows but was not nervous either.  There was some give but I didn’t fight it during difficult bow passages either.  I took it to the recording session a few days later.  I was warming up in the studio and trying to figure out what bow to use since my main one was still being rehaired.  The singer-songwriter heard the ipe bow and said, “That sounds good. Use that one.”  So I used it on the session that day.  The combination of warmth and the smooth ease of performance make it a good choice for a bow.


As musicians, we tend to be more introspective. We tend to be aware of the spiritual aspects of life and the world around us.  To care for our environment, as commanded, is obedience to God.  As believers we will show good stewardship by accepting the responsibility that was given in the beginning.  As musicians, we are constantly striving for a better sound.  We want the best tools we can afford.  We search for that right instrument, and want to marry it up to a complimentary bow.  As the world strains under the load of supporting ever more people and a small fraction of those people take up bowed instruments, the amount of resources available for each person is diminished.  As more activities take place in the rainforests of Brazil, fewer trees remain uncut.  As a result, pernambuco, the wood of choice for violin bows, is an endangered species.



Many efforts have been made to find a substitute wood for pernambuco. Ipe (pronounced ?’-pay) is regarded as one of the best candidates.  It shares some of the properties that make for an excellent bow. Ipe is a dense tree from Brazil and has been utilized in making furniture, decking, and other outdoor uses. It is increasingly popular as a decking material due to its insect resistance and durability.  Indigenous peoples of the Amazon made hunting bows from the wood, which is the source of its common name pau d’arco, “bow stick”.  It is proving to be a very good source for violin bows. In recent years, some bows made of ipe even won gold metals in international string instrument making competitions. Good ipe bows certainly outperform the moderate level pernambuco bows. One bow maker claims, “Ipe bows are ideal for advancing players, with a medium firm to strong stick that is quick responding and offers full tone projection. Ipe makes for a bow with a medium to heavy weight, an excellent balance and a warm tone.”


Ipe is a fast growing wood that shares 90% of the physical properties of a high quality pernambuco. This makes it an extremely good choice for making bows. While this wood is more commonly adopted in Europe and among European makers, it is less commonly used in the US and Asia. In double blind tests, this bow has outperformed pernambuco bows. Many European bow makers have used ipe and continue to use it in their bow lineups. Prestigious bow making competitions have been won with ipe bows. The best advantage ipe has over pernambuco is cost. It is a fast growing tree, so it is easily replenished, therefore making it a candidate for sustainable usage.


Pernambuco is not the only wood that is getting scarce, so is ebony, a material of choice for making the frog of the bow.  In late 2011, Taylor Guitars and Madinter Trade, S.L, an international distributor of guitars and tonewoods used to make musical instruments, partnered to purchase Crelicam, an ebony mill located outside of Yaoundé, Cameroon. The new ownership shares a forward-thinking vision for the procurement and milling of ebony, one that offers both investment and enrichment to the local community and ensures that ebony is legally, sustainably and ethically harvested.  Ebony, a material used in lots of musical instruments and for frogs on bows, has become quite scarce.  This prompted Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars to buy an ebony plantation so he could manage his supply.  When he found out that the wood cutters may cut ten trees in order to find one that was all black and let nine lay in the forest to rot because they brought less money due to color variations, Taylor announced that from now on ebony will display these color variations.  There is not enough ebony to meet the demand.  Taylor said, “We need to use the ebony that the forest gives us.”


Much of the same thing is happening with pernambuco.  While it is increasingly being grown in sustainable plots, it is becoming more expensive and harder to get.  Ipe has many characteristics that make it valuable as a bow material.  We are living in a world where flexibility is required.  We cannot remain dogmatic that only one wood is good for an application.  We all need to be to be ready to embrace change.




In researching this article I found quite a number of bows out there made from ipe and they range from inexpensive to quite pricey.  Jon Paul Ipe bows start around $200 with nickel-silver and range up to $450 with fully mounted silver.  Comparable pernambuco bows made in Brazil, start at $400 for nickel-silver and $700 for fully mounted silver. Asian imports range from less than $100 to a couple of hundred dollars, and European makers charge more for their work.  There is a bowmaker in Montana who makes bows out of bamboo, but they start at $1,000.  A bit more than some players want to spend.  Good carbon fiber bows start in the $300 to $400 range, and while they are no match for the very best bows out there, they are a definite step up from fiberglass and Brazilwood bows often offered as part of beginner outfits.  Ipe makes for a warm sounding bow with good handling characteristics.  Ipe makes for a reasonably priced bow that produces a more dense and live sound than a carbon fiber bow.  So in this time of an ever so fast changing world, it is good to know that while not everyone is a bow maker, there are bow makers out there finding what will work best for you in a bow in the future.


Bob Buckingham performs in the southeast region on a variety of folk instruments, but primarily plays fiddle. While teaching and playing Old Time and Bluegrass fiddling styles, Bob uses a bow of pernambuco, carbon fiber, and now Ipe.

To try an Ipe bow or discuss its attributes Contact Jim Clinton Violins.


“Dear Jim,

It is just amazing how you are able to personally size up your customers’ personalities and match them with the right instrument.
You did an awesome job selecting the J. Grandjon for me.  I fell in love with the violin as soon as I saw it. It is a present from my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary, a beautiful gift.

I am only sorry that J. Grandjon will turn over in his grave listening to me since I am a beginner.  Every false note I will play on it will still be music to my ears.

Thanks, Jim

Ursula Tull”