How Much Should I Spend On A Beginner Violin? (5 Critical Factors You Need To Know)
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How Much Should I Spend On A Beginner Violin? (5 Critical Factors You Need To Know)

It’s a fair and very good question: “How much should I spend on a beginner violin?”. Whether you’re looking for the price range of a good starter violin for yourself or a child, drawing on reliable information is a good place to start.

Let’s see if we have the answers you’re looking for.

What is a Good Price for a Beginner Violin?

A good price for a beginner violin is only a guess if you don’t know what to look for. Is it a hundred dollars? Five hundred dollars? Or two or three thousand dollars?

The answer is actually somewhere in the middle.

Depending on where it’s made, the price for a good quality, new violin outfit for a beginner should be between $400 and $700.

Of course there are decent starter violins that are much less expensive, and we’ve reviewed many of them, but for those who are more serious about purchasing a better-made violin, the mid-hundreds offers the best range of quality instruments.

There are underlying details that influence the price of a good beginner violin: the cost of raw materials, the cost of labor to craft the instrument, and what the manufacturer thinks is a reasonable profit on top of those costs.

For example, due to higher wages and material costs, good quality student violins traditionally made in Europe will be a little more expensive, ranging between $600 and $900.

5 Major Factors That Affect How Much A Good Beginner Violin Costs

1. The Brand

A reputable, well-established violin brand has a lot at stake when they attach their name to an instrument.

Compared to brands that are interested in quick profits only, better companies rely on happy referrals, good reviews and repeat sales.

Though reputable brands may not manufacture their own violins directly, they will partner with factories that are known for producing better quality violins.

Maintaining high quality control standards is a key factor. And that covers every step of the manufacturing process from the quality of source materials to final inspection.

Lesser companies may offer a cheaper violin at a lower price tag, but it can come at the cost of reduced quality and customer service.

Is a Setup Included?

Believe it or not, a good setup is a huge factor in whether you (the end user) will be able to fully enjoy the violin – or not!

In other words, a setup will make sure the instrument is fully playable and trouble free for the owner.

How Much Should I Spend On A Beginner Violin?
Setting up a violin

Because violins are a stringed instrument under pressure and usually made from natural materials that are sensitive to temperature, they require certain adjustments to work properly.

The setup process on its own is a very detailed process that requires a lot of skill and finesse, and as a separate service, can cost a significant amount of money.

Purchasing a violin that comes with a complete setup, ready to play out of the box makes for an excellent deal and is definitely money well spent.

What About Warranty?

How much you spend on a violin will also depend on the quality of care from the manufacturer.

As mentioned, better brands will take care of their customers with a solid warranty and customer service after the purchase.

Do Violin Reviews Matter?

If you’re buying your first violin, you’re probably trying to find out what others think about instruments that meet, or seem to meet your needs.

Violin reviews go a long way in validating your decision on a particular purchase.

Moreover, the number of reviews can be a very strong indicator to the popularity of a particular violin model within a certain price range.

For example, a violin that has a relatively high number of positive reviews will be a safer choice over an instrument with only a few reviews and little history.

To help you make better decisions, the team at NewViolinist.com carefully researches the best violins at various price points to make sure they’re the best possible fit at a given price.

Recommended Beginner Violins

Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin Outfit

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Current Price: $449

Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin Outfit
Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin Outfit

Includes:

  • Solid-carved slightly flamed spruce and maple tonewoods
  • 100% ebony fingerboard, pegs & fittings
  • Carbon tailpiece with 4 fine tuners
  • Hand-carved French Despiau or Holstein 1-star Bridge
  • Spirit-based durable dark brown finish (no thick lacquer)
  • Wood dried a minimum of 5 years
  • Case: Sturdy light weight high-quality oblong violin case
  • Bow: Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
  • Shoulder Rest: Wood Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Rosin: Select Dark Rosin
  • Mute: Rubber Practice Mute
  • Cloth: Polishing Cloth
  • Tuner: Digital Tuner AV10
  • Full Setup: ready to play out of the box

(Available in multiple sizes)

violin divider

Fiddlerman Concert Violin Outfit

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Current Price: $519

Fiddlerman Concert Violin Outfit
Fiddlerman Concert Violin Outfit

Features

  • Solid hand-carved, beautifully figured spruce and maple tonewoods
  • 100% ebony fingerboard, pegs & fittings
  • Carbon composite tailpiece with 4 fine tuners
  • Hand-carved Despiau or Holstein 1-star Bridge
  • Hand-rubbed, oil/spirit-based finish (no thick lacquer)
  • Antiqued wood – dried a minimum of 6 years
  • Case: Sturdy light weight high-quality FC30 oblong violin case
  • Bow: Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
  • Shoulder Rest: Wood Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Rosin: Select Dark Rosin
  • Mute: Rubber Practice Mute (not available for 1/2 and smaller sizes)
  • Cloth: Polishing Cloth
  • Tuner: Digital Tuner AV10
  • Full Setup: ready to play out of the box

(Available in multiple sizes)

Fiddlerman Artist Violin Outfit

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Current Price: $719

Fiddlerman Artist Violin Outfit
Fiddlerman Artist Violin Outfit

Features

  • Solid hand-carved, figured spruce and maple tonewoods
  • 100% ebony fingerboard & pegs 
  • Carbon composite tailpiece with 4 fine tuners 
  • Hand-carved French Despiau or Holstein 3-star Bridge
  • Hand-rubbed, oil/spirit-based finish (no thick lacquer)
  • Antiqued wood – dried a minimum of 7 years
  • Only available with a 2-piece back
  • Case: High Quality Oblong Violin Case FC50
  • Bow: Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
  • Shoulder Rest: Wood Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Rosin: Holstein Premium Rosin
  • Mute: Rubber Practice Mute (not available for 1/2 and smaller sizes)
  • Cloth: Polishing Cloth
  • Tuner: Digital Tuner AV10

(Available in multiple sizes)

2. Build Quality

The price of a new violin can be directly related to its build quality: the materials used and the experience and training of the craftsmen and luthiers that put it together.

The overall price of a violin is influenced by such things as:

  • The quality of the top, back, sides, neck and bow materials
  • The type of material used for the fittings – bridge, pegs, tailpiece, chinrest etc
  • The type of finish – lacquer, varnish, oil rub, or synthetic clear coat
  • The manufacturing methods and experience of the builder

How The Violin is Made

These days, modern manufacturing methods such as CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a popular way of reducing costs by controlling time and materials through precision programming.

This is not to say violins are now entirely made by machine. But the fact is nothing beats the hands-on involvement of experienced violin makers.

In other words, the more personal attention to detail a violin gets, the more expensive the instrument will ultimately be.

Materials and Finish

Violins are traditionally made from natural materials such as:

  • Spruce for the top (usually one piece) and soundpost
  • Maple for the back, sides and bridge
  • Ebony or Rosewood for the fittings

The type of finish has an influence on the cost of a new violin as well.

For example, a oil rub finish may be extremely attractive, but takes considerable human effort and time to apply.

On the other hand, a synthetic varnish is cheaper and can be sprayed on quickly which reduces working time and overall production costs.

The one thing we can’t manufacture, as in the case of Stradivari violins, is time.

Plastic vs Wood

It’s pretty safe to say that a violin that has plastic parts will be less expensive versus an instrument that has traditional wood (ebony or rosewood) fittings.

The same goes for the case if it’s included. With cases, man made materials are often used to keep price points at certain levels – and with very good cost-effective results.

Furthermore, violins, parts, bows and cases can be made of carbon composite materials making an excellent modern substitute for parts that would traditionally be made of wood.

The difference in price will depend again on the manufacturer and their level of quality.

3. The Size

To a degree, the size of the violin will have an impact on the overall cost. The major influence on price being related to material costs more than anything else.

For instance, a 1/10 size violin is about two thirds the size of full size 4/4 violin. Therefor there are less overall materials used to make the violin, plus other components directly related to size such as the case and the bow.

On the other hand, the time and effort to bring all the pieces together, craft the instrument, package and ship it are about the same – regardless of violin size.

4. Accessories and Inclusions

Compared to purchasing just the violin on its own, it makes much more sense for a new violinist to buy a an outfit that has all the essential items needed to get a good start.

The overall price of the outfit will depend on the quality of the instrument, along with the related quality, type and number of accessories included.

At the very least, a the most basic violin kit should have the violin itself, a bow and rosin.

Additional accessories typically found in a violin outfit can include:

  • Case
  • Rosin
  • Extra strings
  • Hygrometer
  • Extra bow
  • Mute
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Tuner
  • Chin rest
  • Shoulder rest
  • Educational materials

Unless it’s included, purchasing any additional violin accessory on its own will undoubtedly increase your overall cost.

Therefor it makes sense that selecting an outfit that includes as many of the essential accessories that meet your needs makes for an overall better buy.

5. Where You Buy It

If you’re reading this you’re probably familiar with how easy it is to find a source for purchasing a violin – whether new or used.

Online shops and services allow you the freedom of doing your own research on your own time, but also deliver an extraordinary number of choices to try and filter through.

Unless you have a very clear idea of what you’re looking for, you can get lost in the process of trying to decide if what you’re about to spend on a beginner violin is a good deal or not.

The alternative is to visit a local music store that sells violins and see if they have what you’re looking for.

While this is the best option for hands-on inspection, you may be faced with limited options, price points and, depending on the shop, varying degrees of expertise with violins.

Depending on what your primary motivations are – cost vs quality, we can make some recommendations.

If you’re more concerned about price point, online outlets such as eBay and Amazon would be good places to start.

The strength of eBay is in the variety of what you can find: new, used, unique, vintage, one-of-a-kinds and hard to find parts.

Amazon on the other hand, being one of the largest online retailers on earth, is also known for its customer review system – which is massive.

If your primary concern is quality and longevity, there are excellent online stores that specialize in violins and related stringed instruments such as violas, cellos and double basses.

Without a doubt, our favorite recommendation would be Fiddlershop.com, well-know for their extraordinary customer service and broad selection of violins and outfits at virtually evry price point and for all skill levels.

Other Common Questions and Violin Price Ranges

Should a beginner buy an expensive violin?

Choosing a high quality violin will always be the better choice. If you have the budget, a well made violin that comes ready-to-play will help you get started on the right foot. And help you avoid the disappointment that comes from problems associated with inferior instruments.

How much should I pay for my first violin?

As mentioned previously, a good quality starter violin will range between four hundred and seven hundred dollars.

Of course there are cheaper violins, and some of them are quite good quality, but your chances of finding a truly good instrument diminish as the price goes down.

How much should I pay for a violin as I get better?

Along with the beginner violin price range already mentioned, intermediate violins will slightly overlap starting at around $600 and go up to roughly $1,500 for university-grade instruments.

Depending on an individual’s expertise and experience, professional level violins can range from $2,000 up to many thousands of dollars.

At the highest artistic levels, price is less of a consideration. Instead, a seasoned musician will tend to be more concerned about the connection with a particular instrument.

Still, whether you’re just starting out or an experienced professional, the best violin for you represents a musical extension of your emotional self.

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