Buying a starter violin should be done only after you’ve considered the best violin brands for beginners. Find out which manufacturers are worth the investment our expert buyer’s guide.
- Yamaha Violins
- Cremona Violins
- Stentor Violins
- Cecilio Violins
- Mendini Violins
- Knilling Violins
- Bunnel Violins
What is the Best Violin Brand for a Beginner? Read the Reviews:
Committing to buy a starter violin should only be done after you’ve researched the instruments you’re interested in.
Since violins aren’t necessarily the most affordable musical instrument on the market, the advice In this article will help you discover some of the best violin brands. You’ll also be able to pick up some useful tips about making an informed decision in selecting a violin that’s right for you.
The Top 6 Best Brand-Name Violins Compared:
Now that you know what to consider when purchasing a violin, it is time to get to know the best brands of violins and why they are considered among the best.
1. Yamaha Violins
Although most of the best violins are handcrafted by an artisan, there are still some commercial brands that offer great choices when it comes to violins. Yamaha is one of these brands and they are known not only for their violins, but other musical instruments too.
For a beginner, it may not be best to purchase an artisan violin because they still need a lot of practice to play it. Most often than not, the best-quality violins are more difficult to play and learn from.
Top Yamaha Violin Choices:
Yamaha is a Japanese manufacturer and their violins are known to be sturdy and reliable. They have violins for players of different levels. The “Standard” line is meant for students and beginners.
They also have more professional or higher level violins that even the more experienced players will greatly appreciate. Some of their violins are inspired by the famous handcrafted violins that well-known luthiers have crafted in the past.
- Well-known brand for providing great-quality musical instruments
- Has models for various levels of players
- Known for producing great-quality soun
- Yamaha is a well-known brand and that makes them a target for counterfeiters, so buyers should be careful
2. Cremona Violins
Cremona is a brand that was founded in 1899 and is currently controlled by Saga Musical Instruments who maintain an exceptional level of quality standards for all of the many different instruments they offer.
They provide various models of violins suitable for beginners and more intermediate players alike. They produce high-quality violins because the makers were trained by the Italian and German masters themselves.
They are a well-recognized brand and are recipients of multiple honors and authentications because of how they create their products. They not only create quality violins, they also manufacture bows.
Top Cremona Violin Choices:
They make use of high-quality wood and are careful in their assembly to make sure that the product is properly made. This may be the reason why they price their violins at a higher price than other brands.
The great thing about buying a violin from this well-known brand is that you can easily resell it as a used violin if you decide not to pursue playing it. There are many people who would love to buy this kind of violin, even if used.
- Well-known brand and it can be easy to resell the violin when you don’t need it any more
- They make use of high-quality materials to create the violins
- They carefully assemble each of the violins
- Their violins are relatively expensive as compared to other brands
- They don’t manufacture locally and their workshop is found in China, so it is difficult to see their process up close
3. Stentor Violins
Another very popular brand, and one of the best is Stentor. They provide high-quality violins that are also very durable, which may be one of the reasons why it is one of the most recommended brand by teachers.
Stentor has been around since the late 1800’s but it was in the 1960’s that they first crafted their own violins instead of previously importing them. This means that the quality of their instruments has improved and since then, they have built a great name for themselves.
Top Stentor Violin Choices:
Most Stentor violins, such as the Stentor 1500 model, are meant for beginners, but they also have other higher quality violins that are meant for orchestra play. It makes it possible for students to practice with them, as well as grow with their violins as they reach higher levels of expertise.
They make use of high-quality tone woods which produce a warm sound. Most models, if not all, make use of ebony fingerboards and pegs, which not only improves the sound, but the appearance as well.
- High-quality hardwood is used to produce a warm sound
- Not only sounds great, but looks great too
- The company has built a good reputation for providing good-quality violins that most teachers recommend
- Violin produces a more balanced sound but is not really that special
- May be more expensive than other brands.
4. Cecilio Violins
Cecilio gives you a taste of what a handcrafted violin can do, at a fraction of the cost of an artisan violin. The company has built a name for itself as one of the best violin brands for beginners because it offers a range of options at reasonable prices.
They pride themselves on offering solid workmanship, and a wide range of different violins. The company may not be one of the most famous violin brands just yet, but that’s changing fast.
The company takes its name from the patron saint of musicians, St Cecilia. The techniques used by the luthiers have been handed down by craftsmen over the centuries.
Top Cecilio Violin Choices:
This is the best violin brand if you want a decent instrument at an affordable price, such as the top selling Cecilio CVN-300. The company prides itself on giving you access to higher quality instruments at reasonable rates.
So, if you have a kid who is just starting, you’ll find that this is one of the best violin brands to start with. These instruments provide reasonable performance and are perfect for honing your craft.
Can you do better? Yes, but not without paying a lot more money for one of the more established violin brand names. These instruments come very close to professional-level instruments. If your child becomes serious about playing, they’ll want to upgrade later.
Until then, though, they get a high-quality instrument without you needing to mortgage your home.
- You get great value for the money
- Most kits will have everything that you need in them
- The price point on beginner models is low
- Good quality and performance
- These are not artisan brands
- You’ll want to upgrade as you progres
This is one of the most popular budget violin brands. Cecilio makes the instruments on behalf of Mendini, but they come in at a lower price point. The advantage of this set-up is that you get the quality that you’ve come to expect from Cecilio at an excellent price.
If you’re a beginner, unsure whether or not you will continue, this is a good option. You’ll usually get everything that you need to get started with most instruments this brand offers.
What you’re not getting here is a hand-crafted, artisan instrument – the Mendini MV300 is a perfect example of this. But then, at this price point, you cannot expect that. That said, these do produce a good sound and are ideal for beginners to practice on.
Top Mendini Violin Choices:
One of the areas where the company does cut corners is with the strings. We’d recommend replacing the strings with something of better quality as soon as possible.
Nine times out of ten, you’re also going to want to look into upgrading your bow at some stage. The bows supplied are fine, but they’re not the highest quality.
Generally, though, this brand wins points as being the best budget-friendly option. You’ll find it necessary to upgrade as you advance. That said, if you decide that playing the violin is not an option for you, you won’t feel as bad sticking these models in the back of the garage or selling them.
- Great price
- Good quality
- Excellent beginner instrumen
- You’ll want to replace the strings and possibly the bow ASAP
6. Knilling Violins
Knilling has established a solid reputation since they started in 1922. It’s one of the most popular violin brands amongst students and teachers because of the high-quality craftsmanship they offer. They have established themselves as one of the leading brands of student violins.
Every instrument that leaves the premises is thoroughly checked to ensure that it is up to the high-quality standards that Knilling maintains. You’re not going to get a dud if you’re ordering a Knilling. As part of the inspection process, the violin is also set up for you.
Top Knilling Violin Choices:
That means that beginners can get started right away, without going to the extra expense of getting the instrument set up first. The price tag does reflect their popularity. These are not the cheapest on the market, so do expect to pay a little more.
That said, the extra cost is a worthwhile expense for a student who is eager to make progress. The pegs that Knilling makes are unique and one of the best selling points for their instruments.
The pegs have gears incorporated into the shank, which allows tuning to be as painless as possible and is one of the reasons that beginners love these models.
You can order the precision pegs, or request a model without them, as you prefer. We’d recommend sticking to the precision pegs because they make tuning so much simpler.
- Excellent quality
- Easy to tune
- Already set up when you get them
- A well-established brand
- On the pricier sid
6. Bunnel Violins
Bunnel is a range that is supplied by Kennedy. Kennedy Violins is based in Washington state and is a reasonably new name in the market. That hasn’t stopped them becoming extremely popular in the time they’ve been open.
The instruments are excellent quality and reasonably affordable as well. They are typically received with rave reviews. This is hardly surprising considering the care and craftsmanship that goes into every model.
They typically use spruce tonewoods and good-quality solid maple instead of composites. This does add to the cost a little, but it does make for instruments that are more durable and that sound amazing.
Top Bunnel Violin Choices:
The company was initially started by a music teacher who saw a big gap in the market. At the time, student violins didn’t offer the kind of performance needed for students to get the best out of their lessons.
Now, while there is a saying that a poor workman always blames their tools, quality does make a difference for a student.
The better the quality of the instrument, such as the Ricard Bunnel G2 Violin Outfit, the better the performance. Students using sub-standard instruments might well be put off because they sound flat.
Another aspect that we like about this brand is that it does offer great options for the intermediate user as well. So, as you advance, you can stick with the brand that you’ve come to know and trust.
- Great quality
- Hand-finished and properly inspected before going out
- Excellent sound
- Easy to upgrade later
- Costs are slightly higher
How to Choose a Good Violin
In selecting a violin to purchase, it is very important to consider the following:
Skill or level of expertise
One of the first things to consider is the skills or capability of the player. There are violins that are meant for beginners and there are also others that may best for more experienced or intermediate players.
It’s best to match the level of the player with the violin design so that the beginner player doesn’t get to frustrated in trying to play a violin meant for a more experienced one.
It also prevents the more experienced player from being limited with what they can do with the beginner violin.
The budget is another very important aspect to consider in purchasing a violin. Violins come at different prices and this depends on what materials are used, how it is constructed and even the brand that makes them. It is very important to compare the price with what you are exactly getting.
The most expensive violins are handcrafted and are mostly from Europe. Although they can be the most sought after for violin enthusiasts, there are also some lower priced ones that can be a great instrument too.
Make sure that the budget is realistic because violins don’t come cheap. You also wouldn’t want a very low-priced violin that is also low quality; you’ll just end up replacing it and spending more just to be able to play.
Type of playing
Some may want to learn how to play the violin for classical music, while others may want to play it, fiddle style, for folk music. Either way, the player should identify how they want to play so that they can find a violin more suited for them.
Violins that have a flatter bridge are best for folk music while those with an arch bridge are best for classical music players.
Usability of the violin
Another thing to consider is how long the player can use the violin. Although it is great that there are beginner violins, it is still best that the violin grows with the player. With that, the player won’t have to change and upgrade violins every few years.
Choose the Right Violin Size
With any brand of violin that you choose, you should also make sure that the size fits the intended user. Violins actually come in many sizes, with full sizes for adults, also known as 4/4 size, to the smallest for children, known as 1/32.
Measurements of the extended arm of the player from the base of the neck to the wrist will be taken to make sure that the right size is purchased.
If you are already an adult, then it will be much easier to buy a violin in the right size because you won’t have to change the violin every couple of years to accommodate growth.
What About Acoustic vs. Electric Violins?
The traditional acoustic violins may be more common to us but there are also electric violins. Just like electric guitars, they are fitted with electric pickups.
Electric Violin Choices:
Traditional acoustic violins produce a warmer and rounder sound because of the tone woods used. On the other hand, the sound produced by the electric violins can be easily enhanced or edited.
When it comes to appearance, the acoustic violins come in their traditional shape. Electronic violins, on the other hand, can come in different shapes. Due to the lack of the bulk of the violin, it can be very lightweight and modern looking.
Conclusion: How to Violin Brands for Beginners Stack Up?
Purchasing a violin should be carefully done and with research in order to end up with a worthy purchase. There are a few well-known brands in the market such as Yamaha, Stentor and Cremona, as well as Mendini, Cecilio and Ricard-Bunnel which all offer great-quality violins.
When purchasing a violin, it is important to consider your budget, the skill level of the violinist, type of playing done, and the usability of the instrument. Players can also decide whether to get a traditional acoustic violin or a more modern electric violin.
Choosing a violin to purchase is a personal choice, but that doesn’t mean that you just have to rely on your gut instincts. A better way to do it is to first do some research here so you end up with the right brand and model for the player.
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