I have no idea how I do it. It is really tough to do it right away, just try until your skills are more than just a little rusty, but that’s not all. I found the following to be the most helpful: Use a violin to build the foundation of your instrument, learn to feel the string and tone it, use your feet to tune it, and practice.
Make sure you don’t have to tune it all the way to the highest point of the neck as that will get messy quickly. Try to have the bridge at or above the highest point of the neck (so when you play the back you get a great stretch and feel).
Take good care of your instruments. Make sure you check them often and have them cleaned out regularly, and they should last you many years. Keep a few around in case you need one.
I know that when I bought that violin (the Stradivarius) that I was disappointed to find that my first lesson was not worth the purchase price! But that was the age of the instrument when I learned to play. In addition to that I also had been playing the violin since kindergarten because it is the best instrument for the child!
The bottom line is that the music theory for violin playing is very intricate, very well-written text that I am not sure I have ever mastered. For beginner to intermediate players to be successful with violin is going to involve much more than learning the “old-time music theory” (which I can learn to understand very rapidly).
How much should I pay for my violin? I don’t know, but it really depends on the amount of music for your level, what size of violin, the sound of the violin, how often you need lessons, how you are taught (or what teaching method you are using) and how much you can give up for the pleasure of playing the instrument. You cannot go wrong learning to play anything a little bit below the “old school” playing standards. In addition, if you are still working on your basic playing skill, then it is definitely worth the investment. Most professional violin shops and classes in your area will give you some basic instructions to help you get started, but those of you who are still learning the basics of the instrument are best served with a great teacher.
One important point to keep in mind is that when you are doing what looks like an expensive lesson (and you may be, but make sure to compare the price to the price you would pay