If you are new to playing the violin or looking for an upgrade, here’s what you need to know before buying. From the cost of a beginner’s violin to the most well-made violin makers and brands and violin models to avoid, we’ve got it all right here.
When starting a new instrument, you want the best sound quality for the price. There is no need to search for an expensive violin, which can cost a musician thousands of dollars when you are a beginning student.
Finding the right fit with an online purchase can be simple if you follow a quick guide knowing what to look for in an instrument.
Unlike clothing brands, car dealerships, and phone companies, violin brands are not advertised in our day to day lives. It takes research and time to find the best fit for you or your child, and every violin is unique.
Intermediate and advanced students looking to upgrade to a better instrument may find these tips to be helpful as well when it comes to finding an affordable choice.
Starting from the most reliable, this article will guide you through the buying process from the perspective of an experienced violin teacher.
Make sure that you take into account the size of the violin, as a young student will need a different size than a fully grown adult.
What are the Best Violin Brands?
When it comes to the best violin, it is difficult to settle on the right entry-level instrument for a low price. Fortunately for new buyers, there are more and more affordable options than ever before
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.
Many of the best violins are made with famous Italian makers in mind such as Stradivari and Guarneri.
High-end violins are individually hand-carved by a luthier and are therefore, more highly desired. While lower-cost instruments are often made in a similar manner, the primary difference between an expensive violin and an inexpensive instrument is the quality of wood used – usually some combination of maple and spruce.
Beginner violins will work well for anyone new to playing the violin and allow you to produce the sweet sound you desire.
Check out these violin brands (in no particular order) before ordering your new violin.
1. Kennedy Violins
This violin shop provides excellence in a variety of good violin models for beginners to advanced performers. Kennedy Violins offers some of the best violins you can buy through the online market.
Kennedy Violins is revered by instructors and students alike for their beautiful craftsmanship and sound. Based out of Washington, this popular North-Western musical workshop provides beautiful and affordable violins.
If you are looking for the best violin models under $500, check out the Kennedy Violins online store.
If you’re searching for an honest and dedicated company, Fiddlerman at Fiddlershop.com is the company for you. Fiddlerman himself curates and tests the violins, working with various luthiers to produce the best quality musical instruments.
With the founders’ experience as a professional violinist in orchestras worldwide, these instruments are in good hands. The instruments sold by Fiddlerman are great for intermediate players who are looking for an upgrade.
3. Franz Hoffman
Known for their consistency in great products, Franz Hoffman violins are some of the highest quality violins for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. They are sold through the well known and dependable North American String Instrument supplier, SHAR Music.
Franz Hoffman violins are reasonably priced for some of the best sounding violins for their price range and beautifully crafted.
Cremona violins are award-winning for the traditional style craftsmanship and playability. These Chinese-made violins are a bit pricier than many entry-level student violins, but you will not regret this purchase for the quality you receive.
Made with solid maple back, solid spruce top, and an ebony fingerboard, these student violins are highly rated among intermediate and advanced players.
5. D Z Strad
This modern string shop has a mix of classic and antique violins, violas, and cellos that feature cool hand-carved designs.
They have a wide price range of instruments from $200 to $25,000, an impressive range of intermediate level to professional level violins. D Z Strad showcases string instruments created by master luthiers such as Scott Shu-Kun Cao that will impress your teacher with their high quality.
These instruments can be purchased easily online and around the world and have a reputation for fine workmanship.
This brand is most reputable for good student violins and child-sized instruments. With a durable set up and a wide array of sizes, Primavera violins are an excellent choice for a student beginning their musical voyage. Primavera Violins range from 1/32 and 1/16 size for ages 3-5 to the full size (4/4) for adults.
Young beginners (such as those learning the Suzuki method) will find Primavera violins particularly popular in the education world. The smaller violins can be difficult to find and are not sold through every online brand, making Primavera the perfect fit for children.
7. Carlo Lamberti
Carlo Lamberti is a great example of an instrument constructed with Italian violin models in mind. Distributed through the famous music shop SHAR, this is a good violin brand you can trust.
Intermediate and advanced violinists deciding on a next level instrument will enjoy the beautiful projection and clean sound generated by this particular violin maker.
Carlo Lamberti violins go above and beyond the student grade models, providing everything that you need to grow your own sound as a musician.
Stentor is another Chinese crafted violin brand, however, it is one of the most popular violin brands on the market, providing a range of long-lasting, and high-quality instruments.
It is a Chinese violin brand that is proud to offer handcrafted violins that are not out of reach for those that need to be careful with their budget.
Because the beginner violins come with a violin, bow, and case, the Stentor violin brand is recognized as a good-quality head start. Stentor is often suggested by violinists and violin instructors as one of the best acoustic violin brands for beginners.
As a true beginner starting the violin, the brand Windsor offers the best student level violins for those on a budget. Although many of these instruments are factory-made, they provide more bang for your buck with a good mellow sound and caliber that many other entry-level violins lack.
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.
Cecilio Strings sells and distributes the largest number of student violins at the lowest cost. 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 the 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?
For a beginner violinist, make sure to take into account instrument sizes before buying or renting a violin. If the violin is for a beginning 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. Remember that it is never too late to learn a new instrument.
While there are many options and violin brands online, we have made sure to research the best beginner violins for the price. Some of the most popular violins online might not necessarily be good quality or from an honest company.
There are violins priced lower than $100, however, we recommend spending at least $100 to $200 for a reasonable model.
1. Stentor Student II 1500 Violin
Of the many beginner violin options to buy online in today’s world, there are few violins that are as high-quality as this one that an educator would recommend for a beginner.
This student violin is a great start for those new to the violin. With a reasonable price and reliable model, this instrument demonstrates the great quality of sound. Made from solid tonewoods and a real wooden bow, the Stentor Violin kit is lightweight and made ready for any student to jump in.
- Longlasting, good violin for beginners
- Comes with a real wooden bow instead of plastic or fiberglass
- Complete violin kit including a lightweight case, bow, and rosin included for an affordable price
- 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 brand has the top-rated violins on Amazon and for good reason.
This violin kit sets the bar high with excellent craftsmanship for a starter violin. Bunnel Pupil Violin kit has everything a new musician needs to begin their musical journey, from a high-quality case to a real wooden bow and rosin included.
With instructional videos on each individual instrument model and fast service, Kennedy Violins Northwestern studio goes above and beyond to help new customers decide on an instrument.
- 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
- 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 it. Distributed primarily through the well-known dealer SHAR music, these are dependable and excellent sounding violins for an affordable price.
The feel of the Amadeus Violin is great at the touch. Franz Hoffman’s violins can be played with ease with the sound often described by instructors as pleasant, smooth, and warm.
- 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
- Nitro varnish, gloss spray finish on the wood instead of hand-painted varnish
- A Chinese-made instrument, shipped to the United States
- Sold by multiple buyers online, some without accessories included.
4. Primavera 100 Violin
For those on a budget, the Primavera 100 model is a great deal. Offering fine instruments of all sizes, this brand has everything a beginner violinist needs. These are the best beginner violins for youngsters starting Suzuki violin lessons as young as age 4. Sizes run from 1/32 to the full size 4/4.
Although the Amazon reviews online are few, this instrument is revered by educators through word of mouth. Like most beginner violin models, Primavera models are made with ebony fittings and pegs that make last longer and allow the instruments to stay well in tune.
- 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
- 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 on Amazon, I guarantee every violin teacher has seen a Cecilio instrument come through their studio. Although this would not be your instructor’s first choice, it is a great price and easy to order online.
As far as beginner violin kits go, the Cecilio CVN-500 has one of the lowest prices including features such as D’Addario Prelude Strings and
Of all the Cecilio violin models to choose from, the CVN-500 is by far the better choice and recommended as a great beginner violin by music professionals.
- 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 instrument is damaged or defective by manufacture error
- The body of the violin is made with two different types of wood instead of one, with a two-piece back
- The factory-made instrument from a large corporation only sold in the United States
- Inconsistent craftsmanship
Violin Models to Avoid
If possible, it’s best to avoid violin brands such as Mendini by Cecilio, as this brand sells instruments manufactured in mass and the product is 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. When it comes to the violin, the higher the price, the better the quality.
Best Violins for Intermediate and Advanced Players
As an intermediate or advanced player, you will want to find the best sounding violin of good quality.
The buying process changes as you advance and you will want a more personalized instrument. 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.
Fiddlerman Artist Violin
The Fiddlerman Artist Violin is a bold and rich sounding instrument 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. Every instrument 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.
- Solid hand carved violin, made with antique wood
- 10-point inspection of each violin
- Complete with violin outfit and extra accessories included
- The Fiddlerman Artist model violins come with a carbon fiber 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.
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.
- 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
- 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 sound production. Described as producing a bright and clean voice, this violin is one of the best for advancing students to make progress fast.
- 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
- Not locally made. A Chinese-crafted instrument made in Beijing and distributed in the United States
- The instrument 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
Choosing your own violin is a long process, but well worth the effort in the end. Once you decide on the right instrument for you or your child, you can begin your musical journey with ease.
The decision to buy a violin is a very special and exciting process. For this reason, make sure to consult your lesson instructor or teacher before diving in. Professional advice will help your decision and give you insight on the best violin to buy for your individual needs.
From the lowest price to the highest quality violins, to the most unique violin models, these options will make the process of choosing a good violin simple for you.