Probably the #1 question asked by new violinists: “How much does a good violin cost?” Better yet, what should you look for in a good instrument? 🎻
How Much is a Good Violin?
To answer this popular question, we’ve created a guide that will provide useful guidelines for choosing a good instrument for yourself, or someone who has just started playing the violin.
You can find violins that start from around $100, then go up to tens of thousands of dollars. As a result buyers often get confused when it comes to the relationship between quality and price.
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Buyer’s Guide: What to Know When Purchasing a New Violin
There’s a lot to discuss regarding the various aspects that determine any violin’s price. From its build quality to accessories and sound quality, every violin is a mixture of multiple elements.
Depending on how you’ll use your instrument and how often you practice, you can decide whether an instrument is a worthwhile investment or just a hobby.
The craftsmanship of any violin is one of the best indicators of its quality and durability. A well-crafted instrument doesn’t have rough edges, and its varnish is impeccable.
When you see exquisitely carved scrolls and precise lines, that’s what a master luthier can create out of one chunk of wood.
To get the best wood, luthiers need to spend around $500. They then start working with the wood to create the body and neck of an instrument.
Sometimes, they use fine ebony to customize the fingerboard according to the future owner’s needs, or more likely, they’ll use a standard fingerboard.
One of the best examples of 100% fine ebony fingerboard, pegs, and fittings is the Fiddlerman Soloist outfit.
Of course, depending on the amount of work, the average violin price can start at around $1,000 and rise to astronomical heights.
As far as beginners’ violins go, your budget should be between $1,000-$2,000 if you want a premium instrument.
Fortunately, there are several great violins and violin outfits that fit that budget.
For some, this might be a shock, but almost all modern instruments come from the Far East. In the period between 1995 and 2010, nearly all the violins came from Chinese workshops.
The only other country that still produces high-quality violins is Germany, but European violins are too expensive for most players.
One of the most common classifications among violin sellers is the method of grading instruments according to the level of technique
A beginner’s violin is usually a synonym for a low-grade and low-quality instrument. Before, they were made from substandard wood as their sound was nothing but average.
Typical violin classifications are: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional.
Today, there are much better and ideal for anyone unsure whether they want to pursue violin or it’s just a phase.
Students dedicated to playing the violin and who don’t have the means to get an expensive outfit can find various mid-range, fine quality instruments with many useful accessories.
What’s more, all of these violins have been checked by a violin master to ensure their suitability.
One of the critical features of any violin is its size because it determines whether you’ll play comfortably or you’ll struggle with every note.
The size depends on the average arm length, and even if a 4/4 is a full-size model for adult players, there are ones that use ¾ to give their best performance.
Children often start with the 1/32 model until they grow up and start using the full-sized instrument.
When we compare the craftsmanship, sound quality, and price, several brands offer some of the best violins for beginner and intermediate violin students.
We’ll focus on seven of them to explain what makes them affordable.
Are you’re looking for an affordable instrument? If so, you should see what Mendini has to offer.
With a fair price on a cheap student violin, they are among the most famous brands for beginners.
The company’s goal was to produce low-cost instruments with quickly replaceable strings and easy maintenance.
Mendini’s violins are factory-made, which means that their sound is not high-quality compared to handmade instruments.
Even so, they offer decent value for the money and are considered to be good beginner violins.
Originating on a ranch in California, the brand got its name from St Cecilia.
What makes Cecilio’s instruments stand out are the instrument sizes, as the smallest ones are 1/32, ranging up until the 4/4.
This is what makes them an ideal choice for children as well as music students.
Cecilio violins are for players of all levels, from beginners to professionals.
Most music professionals and educators use Cecilio violins with their students as they produce a fantastic resonant sound.
Pierre Holstein started with testing and curating violins. Today, he’s two steps ahead of the competition because of the way the Fiddlershop helps customers find exactly what they’re looking for.
The Fiddlershop currently offers hundreds of instruments, including many of their own, from some of the top violin brands like Ming Jiang Zhu, Scot Cao, Nicolo Gabrieli, and Peter White.
Another brand with an excellent reputation among violinists is Scott Cao. Some of the finest handcrafted violins came out from their Chinese workshop.
It’s considered one of the top violin brands with a wide range of instruments for novices and music professionals.
Should you decide to buy a Scott Cao instrument, you can rest assured you’re getting the best value for your money.
Another famous brand is Stentor. Their violins come with top-quality accessories.
Stentor has been around since the early 19th century, but they were mostly known for importing instruments.
Today, they’ve built a reputation among music educators. For that reason, a lot of children spend their first days learning how to play Stentor violins.
Yamaha is a Japanese brand know for a variety of instruments, not only violins.
However, their instruments are not for the beginner and intermediate players as it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to play them.
The standard Yamaha violin is suitable for music scholars and advanced students, or professional violinists.
Some of their best violin models are inspired by well-known violins created in Europe by great luthiers.
They have a modern look, but they’ve managed to keep some exquisite features.
If you’re looking for a classical student violin, the brand everyone will mention is Knilling.
They created a workshop in 1922 and soon became one of the most favored brands among violin students and adult learners.
All of their products go through thorough inspections, and they dispatch their instruments customized and tuned.
Knelling 11VN Sebastian Violin
An average violin price is far from low as this brand guarantees the quality of their instruments.
That’s why if you decide to get one of their violins, make sure you order their famous pegs.
Violin Prices and Ranges
When it comes to prices, the differences between similar-looking products could be thousands of dollars.
If you start searching for a new or upgrade violin, you need to know what to look for.
Depending on the brand, craftsmanship, and features, the prices can vary. Nonetheless, we can give you a rough idea of what to expect.
Violins up to $500
If you are devoted to learning the violin, you can find a decent factory-made instrument in this price range.
When you’re looking for a low-cost violin, you might find a few surprisingly good models for up to $500, but we don’t recommend going under $300.
Keep in mind that when your technique improves, you’ll have to consider upgrading for better sound and projection.
Violins Between $500 and $1000
You can find excellent student violins that feature quality strings, fingerboard, and sound significantly better in this price range.
You can opt for a violin outfit that includes all necessary equipment like a bow, rosin, tuner, and a hard case. Students usually start with outfits and later upgrade only their instrument.
Depending on your progress and budget, you can’t go wrong with Fiddlerman Artist Outfit or Scott Cao 017 Outfit.
Once you’re serious about playing the violin, it’s probably the best time to choose a more serious instrument.
Around $1,000 is the best violin price for a student or semi-professional musician.
In this bracket, you can get nicely crafted instruments that allow you to develop your technique and use them in an orchestra or for a solo performance.
Violins $2,000 and Up
The more you spend on a violin, the more you’ll have to practice achieving the best sound quality.
If you’re serious about committing your time to it, your technique will advance faster than on a cheap instrument.
If a violin costs more than $2,000, that means luthiers made it with precision by hand.
Exceptionally skilled artisans, such as Nicolo Gabrieli, Peter White, Francesco Pierotti, Klaus Heffler plus many others, spend significant time and energy making these superb instruments.
Guide to Finding a Good Violin
Once you’ve decided to pursue the violin as your preferred instrument, you might wonder what constitutes a good violin for your specific needs?
In this guide, we’ll summarize everything you should look for in a good violin. Plus, we’ll show you some of the best-reviewed violins and violin outfits.
Violin Build Quality
Like any other physical product made by people, the quality of materials and amount of hands-on time put into an instrument will be reflected in it’s price.
Therefor, a good quality violin built by skilled professionals should have a reasonable balance of the two.
Wood is the essence of every violin. The older the wood, the better the sound will be. Usually, luthiers use maple and spruce that has been dried for at least five years.
However, the wood has to be dried for more than ten years to be considered a premium instrument.
Maple has a specific texture with flame-like lines, and you can see how wonderful it looks on a premium instrument like Ming Jiang Zhu 907 Violin.
Some violins are even made from pear wood or two wood types for a more refined look.
Nowadays, you can also find different types of violins made from carbon composite like the Glasser Carbon Composite and don’t have any wooden parts.
They require a similar amount of menial work as the handmade violins, but the materials are mostly polyurethane foam and carbon composite.
For many, carbon is a quality alternative to wood as it offers a lot of possibilities for instrument development.
Key Points of Well Built Violins
What’s excellent about well-built violins is that their worth is slowly rising; therefore, they are a sound investment.
After ten or twenty years, the instrument will either hold or significantly increase in value.
One of the best aspects of owning a beautifully made instrument is the quality of its varnish.
Whether you prefer red violins like Holstein’s Traditional Red Mendelssohn violin or high-quality yellow varnish, all of them have a refined look that you can’t replicate on cheaper models.
Another lovely example of a wood pattern is Ming Jiang Zhu 909 violin, one of the best violins from Ming Jiang Zhu’s workshop.
- Beautiful varnish
- Strong body
- Lifetime warranty
- Growing value
- Slow aging process
Build Qualities to Look For
Overall, all models will feel relatively strong once you take them in your hands. Granted, they’ll move while you play them, but that’s one of the best qualities of aged wood.
Another upside of these valuable instruments is their superior sound that has layers and deep overtones.
With radiant and joyful projection, the sound you’ll hear can’t compare with violins made from other materials or cheaper wood.
That’s why the best violins shine on solo performances, in string quartets, or with an orchestra.
Only in front of an audience will a well-made, handcrafted instrument show its depth and real value.
What You Should Be Aware Of
When you take everything into account, it’s more than sensible that a premium-quality instrument can’t have the same price as one made from cheap components and assembled in a factory.
That’s why an average violin price rises depending on the materials used.
Another downside of wooden instruments is their sensitivity to humidity, rain, or extreme warmth or cold.
Fine wooden instruments need extra care to guard against the elements.
That’s why you’ll hardly ever hear and see pricey violins outside, as they’re mostly used in concert halls.
Lastly, maintenance is a rather big issue since wood changes over time, and you’ll have to polish it regularly to maintain the color and fine lines.
Build Quality in Summary
- Strong violin body
- Wonderful deep sound
- Strong projection
- Ideal for solo performances
The Not So Good
- More expensive
- Hard to play outside or in the rain
If you were wondering how much a violin costs, it often has a lot to do with sound quality.
Since you now have electric and acoustic violins, this question becomes even more complicated.
The real difference between the sound of the student-quality violin and a professional one makes all the difference to the audience and the performer.
It depends on the quality of wood, or in the case of the electric violin – the amplifier.
Inexpensive student violins often sound good in small rooms or enclosed spaces, but once they’re in a concert hall, it becomes hard to dazzle everyone with their sound.
Violins that cost more than $2,000, like the Sima Traian Violin, produce a beautiful sound in all ranges and spectrums, and their projection is robust even in a large concert hall.
What matters most for electric violins is the volume intensity, and once they’ve set the amplifier and all the equipment, everyone will be able to enjoy the sound.
Its properties are different from the wooden instrument, but they’re great at concerts or outside performances.
In terms of sound qualities like tone color, beginner violins are one-dimensional, while more expensive instruments are far more versatile.
What’s more, they sound solid even when they’re playing deep tones, and noticeably, they can easily switch registers.
Key Points Regarding Sound Quality
Every violinist wants to play an instrument that offers room for experiment and trying out new techniques.
Wooden instruments like Holstein Workshop by Ming Jian Zhu Violin are more expensive, but they encourage virtuosity.
Electric violins are slightly sturdier, and their sound is more aggressive.
Bottom line – it’s a matter of preference whether you enjoy one instrument or the other.
However, as long as the sound you’re creating is complicated and nuanced, you are holding the right instrument.
- Great sound uplifts any performance
- Strong projection
- Provides clear tone
- No unpleasant sounds
- Warm undertones
What to Consider Regarding Sound Quality
Overall, the more expensive the violin, the better the sound. If you apply this way of thinking, you can’t go wrong.
You should consider every violin’s brand and origin and the type of wood used to ensure you’re getting the best instrument.
What To Be Aware Of
For many people, the quality of sound is very arbitrary and subjective to the individual. While some music educators and players agree on the basics, there’s no consensus.
Sound Quality in Summary
- Warm sound is always good
- Ability to try out distinctive styles
- Strong projection
- Supports a variety of styles
The Not So Good
- No consensus on the general definition of good sound
When you’re looking to buy or upgrade your violin, the second thing you need to check is its accessories.
How much a good violin costs is also determined by the quality of features and the brand.
Violin accessories are there to help musicians uplift their performances and use their instruments to their full capacity.
The use of accessories helped beginners to enhance their playing skills and learn new ones.
At the moment, every violin comes with around sixteen accessories that have become a standard in the industry.
The first and, according to some people, the most essential addition of all is the bow.
The bow, though technically an accessory, is in fact a critical component requiring just as much consideration as the instrument itself. It’s essentially an extension of the violin.
While entry-level and intermediate kits will include bows for the price-point, individual premium bows will often cost many hundreds of dollars.
In use, the bow creates a mellow sound when you move it over the strings. In construction it has five different components that make it strong and light.
Regardless of the variety of materials used to make bows like carbon, bamboo, boxwood, or Brazilian wood, they all work the same way.
One of the notable features of any well-made bow is the quality of its hair, which usually comes from horse.
Depending on the breed, horse hair can be silky or slightly brittle, and of course, the hair has to be taut, but it mustn’t be too tight, or it will break.
Dealing with the pressure correctly and learning how to apply it on the strings is essential for sound quality.
Usually, students learn about fixing the bow in their first violin lessons, and it remains one of the most important aspects of any performance.
Rosin’s primary function is to keep the bow’s hair highly frictional. That’s why it’s essential to use it regularly so that your bow won’t slip from the wires and create an unpleasant sound.
Once the player has more experience, they can continue playing without an unpleasant, squeaky noise.
Since violins are extremely sensitive, a case is a must-have item. They come in distinctive designs, shapes, and sizes as they need to store your instrument and everything else you need to play it.
Usually, you can place one bow, violin, notes, strings, maintenance kit, rosin, and whatever else you might need.
However, in the case you can get with Fiddlerman Master Violin Outfit, you have space for up to four bows and several other accessories.
Basically, there are two options to choose from: a case or a backpack. For people who travel from one concert to another, backpacks are often more comfortable as they can store many other things.
Most of the cases are a bit more stylish and made from waterproof materials to protect your instrument and everything else you have in the bag.
This accessory is vital as it provides a comfortable place to put your chin. It’s attached to the violin and facilitates long hours of pain-free playing.
The shoulder rest is an additional cushion to make sure you’re comfortable while playing.
It’s made from cotton, wood, or plastic, and it has soft lines to allow the violin to sit comfortably between your shoulder and chin.
It’s not always easy to find the perfect shoulder rest, so be sure to find one that suits you best.
Both children and adult violin players use them to prevent shoulder or back pain after long hours of practicing.
One of the essential elements that determine the sound of your instrument is violin strings. Different wires can produce an entirely different feeling on the same instrument.
It heavily depends on the materials, quality, and gauge. Before buying strings, make sure you do your research and know how everything will sound with those wires.
On modern violins, you’ll usually get an instrument equipped with strings, but you might need something different.
Another valuable accessory that secures strings and holds them in their place is the tailpiece.
Its position and grip are heavily influenced by the wires. Plus, it’s great for correcting the overall sound and vibration of the strings.
The tailpiece is often used to improve the resonance, and that’s why violinists have at least four or five tailpieces depending on what they’re playing.
As tailpieces are made from wood, ebony, or even carbon, they can enhance your violin’s appearance. Depending on their shape and weight, your violin can look quite different.
Nowadays, there’s an abundance of brands that sell accessories for good beginner violins, and it can be hard to find one brand that gives you all the best features.
If you feel overwhelmed, you can buy a complete outfit and get all of them with your violin.
With outfits like the Fiddlerman Symphony Outfit or Tower Strings Rockstar Violin Outfit, you’re getting everything you need.
Luckily for you, once you buy most of the accessories, they will last for years.
Since most of them are made from hardened and resistant materials, you might have to change some of them after years of constant use.
In the case of the Mendini MV400, you can get two bows. If one accidentally breaks, you can use the other one.
But before you start using them, be sure to customize them to fit your performance style and sound.
Getting the Right Accessories
Every accessory influences the performance and sound of your violin. More specifically, to get a rounded and warm sound, you’ll need to get a lot of things right.
However, if you still don’t have enough experience to do it, every violin you purchase from the Fiddlershop will have everything set up for you.
All you need to do is choose or ask for their recommendations.
- Improve the playing technique
- Make sound more resonant
- Easy and comfortable to play
- Ensure that the strings are in tune
- Protect the instrument from water and harsh weather
What to Look For in Accessories
Accessories are essential for any good violin. With the wrong strings or a bow that’s too heavy, you won’t be able to hone your violin’s potential.
Keep in mind that high-quality accessories keep your instrument in decent shape while you’re practicing your skills.
What You Should Be Aware Of
If you’re a beginner, it’s hard to find the best accessories on the first try. In terms of individual components, it takes time and effort to figure out what works best for most learners.
Of course, you need to know how to use a tailpiece or bow to make sure you’re using it the right way.
Accessories in Summary
- Accessories protect the violin
- Use its full potential
- Improve the sound and reduce vibrations
- Make it more comfortable
The Not So Good
- It takes time to find the best ones
- Knowledge is required
What Is the Price of a Good Violin?
Depending on the overall prices, different violins suit players with varying levels of skill. For a beginner, a reasonable violin costs on average between $500 and $1,000.
Once you start practicing more and working on your playing technique, you can reconsider updating your violin with better strings and bow.
Any advanced student usually leans towards specific brands that offer handmade instruments with premium features like an ebony fingerboard and pegs, high-quality strings, and fine tuners.
Playing a more refined instrument can significantly improve your technique while you and your audience can appreciate a warmer sound with rich overtones.
How Much Should I Pay for a Beginner’s Violin?
Depending on your budget and options, we can say that a beginner’s violin is in the violin price range between $300 and $700.
Keep in mind that anything above $500 is considered a good violin, and the ones below that limit are fine for those who never had prior experience with the instrument.
Violins for children are much less expensive due to size and price expectations.
When it’s about how much a violin for children costs, most of them come at a fraction of the price since they’re significantly smaller than a full 4/4 model.
That’s how you can buy a perfect instrument for a lesser price.
How Much Does a Professional Violin Cost?
A professional violin can cost anywhere from $2,000 and significantly more. The price can rise to several hundreds of thousands for antique instruments.
Hilary Hahn’s J.B. Vuillaume, 1865
Those prices are different depending on the different types of violins, their origin, the master luthier that made them, and the brand.
What’s the Best Violin for Beginners?
There are many instruments suitable for new violinists from various brands, but those that music teachers often recommend are Mendini, Cecilio, and Fiddlerman.
They should be simple instruments that are easy to use.
If you’re willing to get a considerably better outfit and a good instrument, another recommendation is the Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin Outfit.
The outfit features Fiddlerman Violin strings, a carbon fiber bow, and a nice oblong case that will protect your instrument.
For adult novices, the options are almost limitless. Hopefully, you’re spending around $1,000 because that’s how much a starter violin cost for an average adult player.
Are Cheap Violins Any Good?
Cheap violins are usually made in factories from low-quality pieces of wood.
Since the production costs are relatively low and there’s little hand labor involved, many don’t have any character or specific sound.
Cheap violins will not have as good a sound or quality as higher value instruments. As with anything, you get what you pay for.
They are suitable for novices to practice posture and technique, but as soon as they start advancing, a new violin would allow them to grow faster.
Why Are Good Violins So Expensive?
The craftsmanship that a good violin requires is the reason why its price is so high.
Since all premium instruments are handmade, that means that a luthier spends hundreds of hours making sure that every detail on it is perfect.
That’s why it’s the price has to be higher than factory-made instruments.
Another vital aspect is expensive accessories that will help the violin correctly adjust to its new player.
When you combine all the intricacies and details, it becomes clear that achieving excellent quality requires a lot of work.
Do Violins Hold Their Value After Some Time?
Student violins hardly keep their value because those instruments don’t have anything exquisite about them.
With more expensive violins that came out respectable workshops, you might get a better deal after a few decades, but often those price differences can be surprisingly small.
A good brand-name violin or fine instrument will always have a reasonable resale value.
On the other hand, quartet musicians and orchestra players’ professional violins can be worth up to six figures because they come from some of the best luthiers’ hands.
Lastly, violins worth the most were made in the 18th century by Italian masters.
Final Thoughts on Violin Prices
Buying a violin can be a lengthy process, especially when you’re unsure what to buy and where.
You’ll have to spend some time researching to make sure you’re getting the best instrument that suits both your needs and budget.
And when it comes to figuring out how much a good violin costs, we’ll have to conclude that it depends on the player’s needs and requirements, as well as the quality of build and accessories.
Many known brands whose violins are premium quality offer mid-range prices.
When it’s time to purchase your violin, remember to check the size you need and whether you want to get a violin outfit or only the instrument.
Of course, make sure that you’ve heard the instrument’s sound and that it’s appropriate for your skill level.
Listen to the instrument and use your ears to guide you toward the models you’ll be willing to settle for.
Of course, the most challenging part will be to assess your budget and make the right decision.