10 Best Violin Brands for Beginners & Intermediate Students

If you’re a new violin player or simply want to upgrade your instrument, we have the facts you need to know before investing your hard-earned money. From the cost of the best beginner violin to the price of a higher quality violin, we’ll help you find the instrument for you! We’ll cover what violin brands you should avoid when buying the best beginner violin.

When you’re just starting out learning a new instrument you may not want to invest a lot of money into it because you’re just beginning to learn how to play. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t want the best sound quality you can get from the money you do spend. As you’ll see in this article, there are a lot of great options for a violin for a beginner that will give you the quality you need while learning to play.

Beginners violins can be hard to find because of the amount of information you need to know can be overwhelming. This includes the different violin strings materials, the right size violin, and whether hand carved or name brand manufactured is the best way to go. You can also choose from a student violin designed specifically for beginners.

Unlike a violin for beginner players, intermediate and advanced students looking to upgrade to a better violin may be interested in something more suited for their skill level. This could include a maple back violin or one with an ebony fingerboard. Some violins also have a solid spruce top and shoulder rest that experienced players lean towards as a personal preference.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the buying process from the perspective of an experienced violin teacher by talking about which violin brands you should consider, what violin features are important, and how one product is superior to another based on the pros and cons we highlight below. Of course, when buying a violin you need to consider the size of the violin compared to the size of the person who will be using it. While a full-size violin may be suitable for some players, others may find it difficult to use.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  
Stentor Student II 1500 Violin Stentor Student II 1500 Violin Long-lasting, good violin for beginners

Comes with a real wooden bow instead of plastic or fibreglass


Complete violin kit including a lightweight case, bow, and rosin included for an affordable price
Franz Hoffman Amadeus Franz Hoffman Amadeus High playability and easy feel 

Easy to tune violin for beginners with fine tuners and ebony pegs

Excellent customer service through SHAR music website, which clearly lists Amadeus Violin pricing with accessories and without
OUR TOP PICKCarlo Lamberti Sonata Violin Carlo Lamberti Sonata Violin Best value advanced violin for the price range

Great projection described as having a bright, clear, and rich sound

Beautiful craftsmanship and finish on this violin model
Kennedy Violins Bunnel Pupil Kennedy Violins Bunnel Pupil Great choice of instrument to last for the first 3-4 years of beginning violin playing

Custom carved bridge on every violin that provides the best quality sound

Solid carved spruce wood, grown specifically to make violins, with high-grade ebony fittings, such as the chin rest and fingerboard, made in the shop
Scott Cao STV017 Violin Scott Cao STV017 Violin Varnished by hand with a traditional oil finish that is more durable than a gloss spray finish

Beautiful rosewood pegs that hold their tuning

High-quality intermediate violin based on the Stradivarius model at a low price
OUR BUDGET PICKCecilio Antique Ebony Violin CVN-500 Cecilio Antique Ebony Violin CVN-500 Comes with superior grade strings to other online models

Excellent sound for a violin within the $100-$200 range 

Easy to order online, fast shipping, and free returns if the violin is damaged or defective by manufacture error

Is it Hard to Learn the Violin?

Learning to play the violin takes time and patience, as well as having the right tools. While some people may pick it up faster than others, if you commit yourself to learn the violin you’ll get better over time. It can be easier if you already play another musical instrument because you’ll be familiar with reading music and would have learned some of the basics because of your previous knowledge.

Also, having the right teacher is critical to your success. One of the top ways to find an instructor that matches your learning style is by speaking to other music students in your area. These students will be essential to finding a patient teacher who can move your training forward with less of a struggle than a less experienced teacher may be able to. You should make sure to include these lessons in your budget when buying a violin so you don’t over-extend yourself financially or commit to more than your schedule realistically allows.

What is the Best Violin Brands?

When it comes to finding the best beginner violin for your eager new student it can be difficult deciding on the right entry-level instrument for your budget. Fortunately for new players, there are more affordable quality violin choices available now than there ever have been before.

While searching online you should remember that most of the time the price you pay for the violin reflects the quality of the instrument. That’s why we recommend you set aside between $100 and $200 for a beginner violin. You should make sure you also have a similar budget for a student violin as one of these types

There are a few cheap yet high-quality string musical instruments online despite what you may find in online reviews. Keep in mind, however, that the price often reflects the quality of the instrument, which is why we recommend purchasing a beginner violin between the $100 and $200 price range. 

Most high-end violins are individually hand-carved by a luthier and are, therefore, more sought after. They can also include features such as a solid maple back, ebony fittings, Mongolian horsehair strings, and spruce construction. You may also purchase one with D’Addario prelude strings. These features don’t always mean you’re getting the best beginner violin but rather are investing in a violin for the future.

While lower-cost violins are often made in a similar manner to a more expensive one, the primary differences between the two types of violins are the quality of the wood used – usually a combination of maple and spruce, as well as some of the features we mentioned above.

Of course, beginner violins will work well for anyone new to playing the violin and will help you learn how to play the instrument well with time and practice. Whether you’re interested in a student violin or something for beginners, we recommend you check out these violin brands (sorted in no particular order) before ordering your new violin.

1. Kennedy Violins

Kennedy violins

Kennedy Violins provides excellence in a variety of high-quality violins for everyone from beginners and students to advanced performers. They offer some of the best choices you can buy online and are revered by both instructors and students alike due to their beautiful craftsmanship and the quality of the sound the violin produces. Based out of Washington, this popular North-Western musical workshop provides beautiful and affordable violins.

Some of the popular violin options from Kennedy Violins includes the Richard Bunnel G1 Student Violin Outfit, the Bunnel Premier Student Violin Outfit, and the Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit Full Size with carrying case and accessories included. These accessories feature solid maple wood construction and ebony fittings. Each of these violin outfits is available in different sizes depending on what you need from your violin.

If you are looking for the best violin models under $500, check out the Kennedy Violins online store

2. Fiddlerman 

Fiddlerman

If you’re searching for a reputable company for your violin with a history of supporting musicians by creating products that are the highest quality you need to check out Fiddlerman at Fiddlershop.com. Fidderman himself curates and tests each violin by working with various luthiers to create the best quality musical instruments. From the construction of the strings to the manufacture of the full-size instruments, each product you buy from Fiddlerman is made to last.

With the founders’ experience as a professional violinist, the instruments he sells are all made for musicians with an appreciation for quality and workmanship. On their website, you’ll find a large selection of violins and accessories such as bows, cases, and strings. There are solid maple back violins as well as spruce violins available for purchase. Most of the products are also available as a full-size violin and smaller size violin options based on your needs.

3. Franz Hoffman

franz hoffmann

Franz Hoffman is known for its consistency in creating great products for violin players of all levels. Their name is associated with reasonably priced full-size violin options that produce some of the best sounding violins for their price range. Each of their violins is also beautifully crafted, giving you one of the most attractive options when it comes to finding the best beginner violins on a budget.

The violins are sold through the well-known and dependable North American String Instrument supplies, Shar Music or here. You can also purchase the Franz Hoffman violins with a monthly payment plan using the SHAR Way option on the website. Each of their violins has a shoulder rest and high-quality strings. You can also choose between maple or spruce violins where available.

4. Cremona

Cremona instruments

Cremona violins are award-winning due to their traditional style craftsmanship and usability. These Chinese-made violins are more expensive than other entry-level student violins but are worth the investment because of the quality of the products. The name of the game for Cremona is quality, giving you violins with a shoulder rest, high-quality strings, and one of the best selection catalogues you can find online.

Made with solid maple back, solid spruce top, and an ebony fingerboard, these student violins are highly rated among intermediate and advanced players. You can also replace the strings they come with for a set of D’addario Prelude strings or Mongolian horsehair strings if you’re interested.

5. D Z Strad

DZ Strad

D Z Strad is a modern string shop that has a mix of classic and antique violins, violas, and cellos, all of which feature unique hand-carved designs. You can find the best violin designs here with one of a kind design features you won’t see anywhere else. They have a wide price range of instruments that start at $200 and go as high as $25,000. This large diversity in prices speaks to the different types of violins the carry and their target consumer of intermediate level to professional violinists.

D A Strad showcases string instruments created by master luthiers such as one Scott Shu Kin Cao which is sure to impress your teacher due to the high quality of the products. Each one of these instruments can be purchased online from around the world and have a reputation for the fine workmanship that goes into them.

6. Primavera

Primavera

Primavera is known for producing the best student violins and child-sized instruments available. With a durable set up and a wide selection of sizes available, Primavera violins are one of the best violin choices for a student beginning to learn how to play the strings. Primavera violins range from 1/32 and 1/16 size for ages 3-5 to the full-size violin (4/4) for adults. 

Beginners, such as those learning the Suzuki method, will find Primavera violins one of the most popular choices in the education world. The only drawback is that the smaller violins can be difficult to find and are not sold through every online brand. If you can find one of these then you should invest in it to find the best violin for children and students learning to play.  

7. Carlo Lamberti

carlo lamberti

The name Carlo Lamberti is one associated with Italian violin models as each of their violins is constructed with this style in mind. Distributed through the famous music shop SHAR, this is a violin brand name you can trust with a solid reputation for the best violin quality standing behind it.

Both intermediate and advanced violinists deciding on their more advanced instrument are sure to enjoy the beautiful projection and clean sound generated by this particular violin manufacturer. The quality of the strings and body of the violin are what take it from a good violin to the best violin you can find when moving from a beginner violin to a more advanced option.

Carlo Lamberti violins go above and beyond the student grade models, providing everything that you need to grow your own sound as a musician and build a name for yourself in the music world.

8. Stentor

Stentor violins

Stentor is a Chinese crafted violin brand that provides a range of long-lasting, high-quality instruments and is one of the most popular violin brands on the market today. Stentor is a violin brand that offers handcrafted violins that are affordable for a wide range of budgets and shoppers. Unlike other manufacturers, the cost of these handcrafted violins is within reach for musicians who are just starting out with the violin.

This violin brand is recognized as a good place to start for new learners because the beginner violins come with the violin, bow, and case. Both experienced violinists and instructors recommend Stentor because it’s one of the best acoustic violin brands for beginners due to these packages and the overall good quality of their products.

9. Windsor

windsor violins

Windsor offers the best student-level violins for those on a budget. Although many of the instruments from Windsor are factory-made they still produce a solid mellow sound and calibre that many other entry-level violins lack. These violins are also designed for people on a budget because they provide more of a bang for your buck.

Every Windsor instrument comes with the full violin kit, including the violin case and strap, bow, and rosin so you won’t have to worry about finding the accessories separately. 

10. Cecilio

Cecilio violins

Cecilio Strings sells and distributes the largest number of student violins at the lowest cost available. With hundreds of instruments made and sold through Amazon, these violins are made affordable by skilled luthiers and include all the accessories a new musician needs to get started. If you are looking for one of the best violins on a budget, Cecilio offers hundreds of options for students and beginner violinists. 

What Are the Best Violins for Beginners?

Beginner violinists need to make sure they take into account instrument sizes before buying or renting a violin. If the violin is for a young child the age and height of the student should be taken into consideration. Violins typically start as small as 1/16 size for 4 and 5-year-old beginners and go up to full size (4/4 or 14inches) for young adults and adult beginners.

We know there are a lot of different options and violin brands online, which is why we’ve done the research for you to find the best beginner violins for the price. Some of the most popular violins online aren’t always the best quality or from a reputable company. While you can find violins priced lower than $100, we recommend spending at least $100 to $200 for a reasonable model. Below is a list of 5 of the best violins for beginners.

1. Stentor Student II 1500 Violin

From the numerous options you have when it comes to finding a beginner violin the Stentor Student II 1500 is one of the best that comes recommended by educators for students just learning to play. This student violin is a good quality product that’s reasonably priced and provides a reliable sound reproduction. Made from solid tonewoods and a real wooden bow, the Stentor Violin kit is lightweight and made ready for any student to jump in. 

Pros

  • Long-lasting, good violin for beginners
  • Comes with a real wooden bow instead of plastic or fibreglass
  • Complete violin kit including a lightweight case, bow, and rosin included for an affordable price

Cons

  • Low-grade strings that might need to be switched for better quality
  • Some Chinese factory-made parts, which are hit or miss in their quality
  • Tuning with the pegs is especially difficult with these instrument models (ask a professional to tune)

2. Kennedy Violins Bunnel Pupil Violin

Kennedy Violins produces some of the most top-rated violins on Amazon, ratings these products earn through their high-quality craftmanship and solid materials. The Bunnel Pupil Violin kit has everything a new musician needs to begin their musical journey, from the high-quality case to the included real wooden bow and rosin. With instructional videos on each violin model and fast service, Kennedy Violins Northwestern studio goes above and beyond to help new customers decide on the perfect instrument for their needs. 

Pros

  • Great choice of instrument to last for the first 3-4 years of beginning violin playing
  • Custom carved bridge on every violin that provides the best quality sound
  • Solid carved spruce wood, grown specifically to make violins, with high-grade ebony fittings, such as the chin rest and fingerboard, made in the shop

Cons

  • On the expensive side for a beginner violin (but keep in mind that you are paying for a full violin kit, including a hard case, wooden bow, and rosin)
  • The tone of this model violin is only decent

3. Franz Hoffman Amadeus Violin

The Amadeus Violin model is recommended for beginners trying the violin to see if they like playing it as a new pursuit or passion. Distributed primarily through the well-known dealer SHAR music, each of these products is dependable and excellent sounding violins for an affordable price. Franz Hoffman’s violins can be played with ease with the sound often described by instructors as pleasant, smooth, and warm.

Pros

  • High playability and easy feel 
  • Easy to tune violin for beginners with fine tuners and ebony pegs
  • Excellent customer service through SHAR music website, which clearly lists Amadeus Violin pricing with accessories and without

Cons

  • Nitro varnish, gloss spray finish on the wood instead of hand-painted varnish
  • A Chinese-made product, shipped to the United States
  • Sold by multiple buyers online, some without accessories included

4. Primavera 100 Violin

Primavera 100

For those on a budget, the Primavera 100 model is a great deal. Offering high-quality instruments of all sizes, this brand has everything a beginner violinist needs. These are the best beginner violins for young players starting Suzuki violin lessons as young as age 4. Sizes run from 1/32 to the full size 4/4. Although there aren’t a lot of Amazon reviews, this violin is revered by educators through word of mouth. Like most beginner violins, Primavera models are made with ebony fittings and pegs that make last longer and allow the instruments to stay in tune. 

Pros

  • The lowest price for a high-quality violin kit on the market
  • One of the best starter violins in the education market for very young students with 1/32 size and 1/16 size instruments
  • Easy to tune and stays in tune 

Cons

  • Unsturdy Styrofoam case that comes with the violin outfit sturdy
  • Violin Strings need an upgrade for a better sound quality
  • Primavera violins are primarily only for beginners 

5. Cecilio Antique Ebony Violin CVN-500

As the most popular violin brand online, we guarantee every violin teacher has seen a Cecilio instrument come through their studio. As far as beginner violin kits go, the Cecilio CVN-500 has one of the lowest prices available while including features such as D’Addario Prelude Strings. Of all the Cecilio violin models to choose from, the CVN-500 is by far the best choice and recommended as a great beginner violin by music professionals.

Pros

  • Comes with superior grade strings to other online models
  • Excellent sound for a violin within the $100-$200 range 
  • Easy to order online, fast shipping, and free returns if the violin is damaged or defective by manufacture error

Cons

  • The body of the violin is made with two different types of wood instead of one, with a two-piece back
  • The factory-made violin from a large corporation only sold in the United States
  • Inconsistent craftsmanship 

How Much Should You Spend on a Beginner Violin?

When deciding how much you should spend on a beginner violin you should take a number of factors into consideration. This includes your budget, if you feel you or the person you’re buying it for will stick with it, and how long you plan on using the violin before moving on to another model.

Starting with your budget, if you spend too much on the violin you may be stretching yourself too thin for the accessories you also may need to buy and the lessons you might be interested in. Secondly, if you aren’t sure how long you’ll want to pursue learning the violin, or are buying for a young child, you may not want to spend too much on the purchase. Also, if you’re buying a smaller violin for a child or plan on getting a more advanced model in the future, it may not be worth spending a lot on your initial purchase.

On average, you should look at spending at least $100 for your beginner’s violin. This price depends on what comes with the violin as some will be more expensive because they include everything you need to get started.

How Do I Pick a Beginner Violin?

One of the most valuable resources for finding a beginner violin is going to be speaking with other violinists and instructors who can give them direction when it comes to finding the violin that’s going to work well for their needs. You can also take advantage of online guides (such as this one) and resources to get a good idea of what you should be learning towards with your purchase.

Violin Models to Avoid

If possible, it’s best to avoid violin brands such as Mendini by Cecilio, as this brand sells instruments that are mass-produced and the product quality can be inconsistent. Mendini violins have some of the lowest-priced options for beginners, starting at $34 on Amazon, however, these are poor quality instruments and they are not conducive to learning. Due to their plastic-like finish and often misshapen bows, take caution when buying a violin under $100.

Best Violins for Intermediate and Advanced Players

As an intermediate or advanced player, you will want to find the best sounding violin that is made from good quality materials. The buying process changes as you advance as you will likely want a more personalized violin suited for your play style and preferences. Most music teachers and violin instructors would suggest testing out multiple instruments before buying a high-end violin.

While many local shops allow you to test them in person, it’s possible to get multiple violins shipped to you so you can discover the best intermediate or advanced violin for you before returning the ones that don’t suit your taste. Just make sure you check the return policy of any items you buy online to make sure you won’t have any issues returning the products you buy.

Fiddlerman Artist Violin

fiddlerman artist violin

The Fiddlerman Artist Violin is a bold and rich sounding violin made with solid spruce and maple tonewoods to create a high-quality sound. If you are searching for one of the best violins for advanced players, this is a top choice by experienced musicians. Each and every violin is inspected by the founder and goes through rigorous testing before being sold.

 A huge perk to buying from Fiddlerman is the videos from their website displaying and comparing each violin to help you find the best choice. Complete with the violin outfit, you will have everything set up to play after buying the Artist Model Violin. 

Pros

  • Solid hand-carved violin, made with antique wood 
  • 10-point inspection of each violin 
  • Complete with violin outfit and extra accessories included

Cons

  • The Fiddlerman Artist model violins come with a carbon fibre bow instead of a wooden bow
  • Pricey instrument kit for an online buyer
  • You are paying a good portion for the case and accessories, which many intermediate players don’t need

Scott Cao STV017 Violin

Scott Cao is a master violin maker with unique and impressively crafted stringed instruments. For example, the Scott Cao STV017 is beautifully crafted with a hand-carved body and scroll. The pegs and tailpiece are made with rosewood instead of ebony, creating a beautiful and polished appearance. 

However, the primary reason why students and professional violinists alike enjoy playing Scott Cao’s violins is because of the traditional oil finish, varnished by hand. The results are a better resonance and overall tone of the violin, as well as a more durable make than a gloss spray finish.

The Scott Cao STV017 is a high-quality model sold through D Z Strad, but if you are looking for a more advanced violin, Scott Cao creates instruments for every level, from student to professional. 

Pros

  • Varnished by hand with a traditional oil finish that is more durable than a gloss spray finish
  • Beautiful rosewood pegs that hold their tuning
  • High-quality intermediate violin based on the Stradivarius model at a low price

Cons

  • Carbon Fiber bow instead of a wooden bow
  • The violin case is not very sturdy
  • According to reviews, some violins have an inconsistent tone

Carlo Lamberti Sonata Violin

Another instrument distributed through SHAR music shop and Fiddlershop alike, the Carlo Lamberti Sonata Violin is listed as a best seller. Instructors and violinists promote Carlo Lamerti’s Violin models and for good reason. As one of the best intermediate violins on the market, the Sonata Violin allows for musical growth to open up a students’ sound projection and production. Described as producing a bright and clean voice, this violin is one of the best for advancing students. 

Pros

  • Best value advanced violin for the price range
  • Great projection described as having a bright, clear, and rich sound
  • Beautiful craftsmanship and finish on this violin model

Cons

  • Not locally made. A Chinese-crafted violin made in Beijing and distributed in the United States
  • The violin does not come with an outfit, meaning the bow, rosin, and shoulder rest must be purchased separately
  • Not all sizes are sold with this violin model

Finding the Top Violin for Your Style

The decision to buy a violin is a special and exciting process. For this reason, make sure to consult your instructor before diving in. Professional advice will help your decision and give you insight into the best violin to buy for your individual needs.

It’s always a good idea to consult with people who have experience in the field when trying to find a good violin for your play style or to help you learn. This is especially true when you’re just starting out because you may not want to invest too much money into the highest-quality violin if you aren’t sure this is the instrument for you.

As you can see from this article, there are some violin manufacturers you’ll want to lean towards when making your purchasing decision and some you’ll want to avoid. While the reviews on Amazon are helpful, you don’t know the experience level of the person leaving the review. This uncertainty is why speaking to teachers or other violinists is so important when you’re starting out.

For more information about buying violins or accessories for your violin, check out some of our buying guides. In addition to the violins themselves, we have guides that cover everything from violin cases, bows, and strings. We also publish content regularly on our blog showing you how to use your violin and other useful information. Check back often for updated content from our experts!

5 thoughts on “10 Best Violin Brands for Beginners & Intermediate Students”

  1. Franz Hoffman has to be my favorite overall. Having used several violins from these different brands, I have found the same feel, quality, and overall sound from Franz Hoffman violins. I own 3 myself so any chance I get to recommend them to others, I do. I started with a Windsor model and while I enjoyed it, once you get a premium violin, there is no going back.

    Reply
  2. I really appreciate this list and shopping guide as I know very little about violins or instruments in general. Both my son and daughter signed up for lessons at school so I am shopping around for a beginner’s violin for my daughter and a trombone for my son. This article has been a huge help!

    Reply
  3. I am most familiar with Cecilio as that is what I used in High School. Since graduating and having to turn mine back in, I have missed having one. We had the option to buy them but I didn’t have the money at the time. Now that I am working and can buy them, I am considering other brands. Thanks for the list!

    Reply
  4. If you are just starting out, never be afraid to get a budget violin. They are very hard instruments to learn and very few come to master them. A lot of people end up quitting on them so investing a lot of money upfront is not a good idea. If you find you will stick to it, get a better violin. A lot of these brands offer budget-friendly beginner violins and in some cases, you can even find them used locally. Great list!

    Reply
  5. I recently moved into my own place and to my dismay, my violin got damaged in the move. I have been a wreck because of it because my father spent good money on it. I was able to sell it to someone for parts but now I am ready to reinvest in a new one having saved a bit of money the past few months. Thanks for the recommendations here. I am going to look at each one.

    Reply

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