We tried to make them wait for 8th grade graduation (same as we did for Dorito) since it is such an inve$tment. But the twins had REALLY outgrown their 3/4 size violins. So, we shopped a little bit in Minneapolis, and we looked at a few on CraigsList. Then yesterday Captain had the afternoon off work, so we went to KC Strings Violin Shoppe and browsed their 50-some instruments. Eventually we picked out the only two "antique" ones they had on the shelf! We like the richer sound and the interesting history of an older violin. We even talked to the head lutier (violin maker) who invited us back for a tour. Winger chose right away--a light-oak violin from Germany made by the Anton Schroetter company from Mittenwald, which has been famous for the manufacture of violins since 1930s. PolarBear took longer and finally picked a darker-wood violin from the turn of the century, also German-made. Both boys decided on black cases with burgundy velvet interior, plus new pernambuco wood bows, and new gold-label rosin. We're all set for a new teacher next week! Note: Ben wanted to hold his new violin/friend during read-aloud time after lunch :-) ALSO: I was very pleased when the salesman took $800 off our buying-in-bulk upgrade.