When shopping for a new violin, it can be overwhelming to make a decision with so many options amongst so many price ranges. There are so many factors to consider, including the quality of the violin, where you buy the violin, and the level of the player.
How much does a good violin cost? Let’s explore.
What determines the cost of a violin?
While the price of a violin may seem rather arbitrary, there are some defining characteristics that determine the cost of a violin. Such qualities include: who made the violin, how old it is, where it was originally made, and its craftsmanship.
A violin made in a factory or by a branded company is going to cost a lot less than a violin that was hand-crafted by a luthier. Unlike other expensive items like cars, violins appreciate in value over time.
So the older a violin is, the more it will cost. The craftsmanship can also play a factor in the cost of a violin. The higher the level of craftsmanship, the higher the price tag will be.
Generally, higher-priced violins tend to equate to better quality – however, this is not a steadfast rule.
Where should I buy a violin?
Buying a violin online can mean a very different price than buying from a violin shop, often cheaper. When you buy from a violin shop, the shop is always marking up the violin to make a profit. When you buy online, you will find a cheaper price.
However, you are often sacrificing the care and maintenance that can come with working with a violin shop.
When you buy from a shop you can usually count on them to be available for care and maintenance of the violin over time. For instance, if you buy a student violin online and the bridge collapses three months after you buy it, you won’t be able to bring it to the seller and have them help to fix it.
Whereas with a violin shop, you can always bring it back in for them to assist with minor adjustments and repairs.
How much should I pay for a good violin?
Violins can have a wide price range depending on the quality of the violin, as well as where you buy it.
Often times, price ranges can correlate nicely to the level of the player. While price often correlates to quality, it isn’t a strict rule of thumb. This is especially the case when comparing violins that are in a similar price range.
Of course, a $20,000 violin is going to sound better than a $200 violin. However, a $200 violin may actually sound better than its competing $300 violin. Such small differences in price have less to do with the quality than the bigger differences in price.
Beginner violins typically come in a “package,” in which the violin, bow, and case are all included.
These aren’t typically the most top-notch violins, but they are often enough to get a beginning player started. Also, beginner violins may be smaller than a full size violin to accommodate young players.
This generally means the prices are lower because dealers know that you are going to have to upgrade, eventually, when the child grows into a new size. Or, the student may eventually quit. Student violin packages usually range anywhere from $100-$600.
Intermediate players are often students who are slowly growing into a full size violin, or they are an adult player who is advancing in level. An intermediate player is also likely to continue playing and is at less risk of quitting.
Intermediate players need a good violin that can accommodate the level of music they are learning. Also, they need a violin that can produce a more nuanced and beautiful quality of sound.
At this level, such an upgrade may mean that the violin is no longer sold in a package; perhaps the violin, bow, and case are sold separately. Price ranges for intermediate players start going up more significantly, hovering around $1000-3,000.
Advanced and Professional Players
Advanced and professional players are in it for the long-haul and have been playing for many, many years. They are seasoned players looking for even more complexity and facility in their sound.
They are more likely to shop around for a year or two before finding the perfect violin.
Many violinists travel great distances to find just the perfect violin. At this point, the maker of the violin, the year the violin was made, and the origin of the violin play a major role in the price of a good violin.
Many advanced players are known to pay as much as $10,000-$20,000 for a violin, not including the bow or case. Many professionals are known to pay as much as $30,000-$100,000 for a violin.
How much is an expensive violin?
While $30,000-$100,000 may seem “expensive,” in the professional violin world, that’s a pretty standard price to pay for the best quality violin.
What would be considered “expensive” in even the most advanced violin communities are those that are considered almost priceless, such as those made by Stradivarius, Guarneri, or Amati.
These violins can literally be millions of dollars! As of July 2019, the Messiah Stradivarius violin is considered to be the most expensive violin, at an estimated worth of $20,000,000!
The Best Violin is Priceless
While there are many factors to consider when choosing a violin, such as your own budget, the strength of your motivation to keep playing, your level of playing, and even where to purchase the violin – ultimately what matters most is choosing the violin that is best for you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the price tags and be fooled into thinking a higher-priced violin is going to be better than the one your heart really wants. In matters such as these, it’s better to go with your gut and choose the violin that you enjoy most within your budget.
At the end of the day, the best violin is priceless if it brings you joy and many years of music-making!