Whether you’re beginning a study of the violin as an adult or child, for fun, or as a serious performer, you want to find a violin in your price range with a tone and sound that you like. We have recommendations that will help you in your search for your ideal starter instrument.
Prices for student violins can range quite a bit, but the sound doesn’t always directly correlate to the violin’s price—many violins at the lower end of the range will perform well for beginners.
In general, prices reflect the process of construction, with lower-priced violins usually made from pressed wood or nontraditional woods in a factory-style assembly process with multiple violin makers, or luthiers, involved. More expensive violins are usually made by a single luthier from traditional woods and with more attention to things like drying time and fittings; these instruments are great for violinists advanced enough to hear small differences in sound.
Finding the Right Violin for a Beginner
Here are some things to consider when buying a violin for someone who’s learning the instrument:
- Size: A violin that’s the right size is critically important for comfortable play. To determine the proper violin size, measure the length of the player’s left arm from the base of the neck to the middle of the palm; be sure the arm is fully extended and perpendicular to the body. A length of 23 inches or higher requires a full-size or 4/4 violin, a size that generally works for players 11 years and older. An arm length of 22 inches needs a 3/4 violin, 20 inches requires a 1/2, and 18 inches requires a 1/4. If the arm length is between sizes, choose the smaller size.
- Wood: The most common woods used for violin construction are maple, spruce, willow, ebony, and rosewood. Maple is typically used for the back plate of a violin and the rib, neck, and scroll. The front plate is the most important influence on sound quality, and spruce is most often used to make this part of the instrument because of its sound quality. Varnishes and finishes also affect sound quality, so pay attention to those.
- Extras: It’s best to get a violin that includes a case, chin rest, strings, and rosin. A good bow and good strings will make a real difference for a beginner, so check those before buying.
Remember, more expensive is not always better for a violin, so use these recommendations to find a great violin at a great price.
Best for Beginners: Mendini Violin Set
This incredibly well-priced violin comes in a wide range of sizes that work for very young players and adults. Made with a maple back plate, a spruce front plate, and an ebony fingerboard and chin rest, this violin performs well above what its price suggests.
Mendini By Cecilio Violin For Beginners, Kids & Adults - Beginner Kit For Student w/Hard Case, Rosin, Bow - Starter Violins, Wooden Stringed Musical Instruments
This affordable violin is great for learning.
Best Intermediate: Antonio Giuliani Etude Violin
This violin has a warm, rich, and mellow tone that’s sure to please. Handcrafted with solid maple and spruce, with genuine ebony fittings, it has a beautiful oil finish. The kit includes Prelude strings and a Guiliani horsehair bow. It comes with extensive extras that include a clip-on tuner.
Antonio Giuliani Etude Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size By Kennedy Violins - Carrying Case and Accessories Included - Solid Maple Wood and Ebony Fittings
This handcrafted violin comes with a clip-on tuner and a sturdy case.
More Advanced: Louis Carpini G2 Violin
The Louis Carpini G2 is at the top of student-level violins with a warm voice and beautiful resonance. Made with a flamed maple back, a hand-carved, custom-fit French Aubert maple bridge, and high-grade ebony pegs, chinrest, and fingerboard, this violin is perfect for serious students.
Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size - Carrying Case and Accessories Included - Solid Maple Wood and Ebony Fittings By Kennedy Violins
This beautifully-constructed instrument is at the top of student-level violins.
Also Great: Bunnel G1 Violin
With its smooth, mellow character and warm tone, the Bunnel violin is a great instrument for a serious beginner. It’s made with naturally dried maple and spruce from the Himalayas and completed with a satin oil finish for exceptional sound quality.
Bunnel G1 Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size - Carrying Case and Accessories Included - Highest Quality Solid Maple Wood and Ebony Fittings By Kennedy Violins
This violin has a warm tone and wonderful sound quality.