I've just given a 1st lesson to a 38yr old complete beginner on violin.
He didn't have a violin, and phoned me asking if I had one to lend, or whether he had to get one. I said I didn't have any available to loan, but pointed him in the direction of a good music shop that specialises in violins. I told him to ask them for a violin suitable for beginners - knowing that they wouldn't rip him off, or give him something unsuitable. They have new and second-hand violins ranging from Â£70 to Â£12,000, and repair and renovate violins too.
Anyway, he came for his lesson today and I asked him how he'd got on at the music shop. He said he'd looked online instead and had found one cheaper. He paid Â£45 (which included delivery) for a new, full-size violin and case and bow.
It was the worst violin I've ever seen. The bridge was too close to the fingerboard by a long shot (easily adjusted - I could manage that!) The pegs refused to stay put. The tail piece was bent and pointed to the left.
I adjusted what I could, but it was beyond me. The lesson wasn't a total write off - it was only 1/2hr and we looked at posture, bow-hold etc, and I gave him things to practice that didn't need the actual violin to play. I lent him my violin so he could get a note out of it before he left. Then I told him to take the violin to the music shop I'd recommended and ask them to have a look at it. I didn't tell him I'd never seen anything like it obviously....I just said that it could do to have a few "adjustments" and that the music shop would be very helpful and were better suited to adjust it than I was.
Feel bad for him....he thought he'd got a bargain