Good points about played violins sounding better than unplayed ones. I gave up the first time in part because I was never comfortable, and because I was stupid and thought that because I needed private lessons to sound okay, that meant I was hopeless. Now I know...that's the way it goes. Pretty much no one does well just learning at school in a group of 25 string players.
I'm still at the point where I can play a scale right 6 times out of 10 and no, I can only think in vibrato and not play it.
Never was even told about vibrato the first time around. Go figure.
The instrument I'm using is the Very Old Violin I posted about last year, which I just spent an obscene amount of money to repair and is apparently worth quite a bit more than we paid to repair it. It's got a really sweet sound. TOo bad I'm torturing it with off-key renditions of Happy Birthday To You.
Thanks everyone for the encouragement.