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Great Student Violins for Developing Players

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.

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.

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.

Best Advanced

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.

Lisa Walenceus Lisa Walenceus
Lisa Walenceus has 20 years of research and writing experience as an educator, news reporter, and freelancer. She writes to learn and digs deep to find how things work. Read Full Bio »
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