If you have played violin for any significant amount of time you are likely not only familiar with the various brands available, but you may also be adept at recommending quality brands to your peers. But there are those who are not familiar at all with the best brands players can, or should, use.
After all, there are different skill levels, different accessories, and a variety of other factors which contribute to making a successful choice when purchasing a new violin for yourself or someone else.
The Perfect Buying Guide: Best Violin Brands
First, it should be understood that the consideration of, as well as the actual choice, to play the violin, it a serious thing. Playing well requires two things to pan out successfully: Serious commitment and serious equipment.
If you have the commitment, the next step is to choose a violin that is suited to your playing level yet is not simply a piece of everyday wood that was mass-produced. After all, you want to learn to play while producing the best sound possible as you go, right? So, yes, the violin you use is important and should fit both you and your skill level.
But how do you know the best brands, or how to choose what is right for you? Well, one of the best ways to glean this knowledge is to speak with those with violin experience, but that is not always feasible. There is a solution, however. Below we will not only discuss a variety of violins and their positive points and setbacks, as well as many other individual factors, but we will also assist you in narrowing down the information so that you can determine what the right brand is going to be for you or the player in your life.
So, what is the best violin brand? We will get to that, and even break it down a bit for your personal benefit according to those many factors mentioned above. But let us start off slowly and lead up to the information you are looking for. By the time you are finished reading, you will have a much better idea of what is available out there and what is the best violin brand for your need.
What Is A Violin? A Definition & Brief History
According to Oxford Languages, a violin is “A stringed musical instrument of treble pitch, played with a horsehair bow.” The definition goes on to say that the classical European violin originated in the sixteenth century, and of course, has improved in sound and quality as the years have gone by (handcrafted violins typically being the rule here).
The body of the violin is rounded, almost hourglass in shape, with two holes that are in the shape of a lowercase ‘f’ on the face of the instrument. A violin has four strings which are tuned by pegs situated on the top of the neck. There is also usually a chin rest for the player’s use, which is also on the face of the instrument at the bottom.
While violins are used in a wide array of musical genres, they are mostly seen in orchestral settings. They are major participants in symphonies but are just as active in small musical groupings. More and more today violins are used in country, rock, and roll, and pop music types.
Before making a solid decision regarding the purchase of a particular violin, know the various accessories that violinists need and/or use. After all, there is more to a violin than simply the stringed instrument that you see at a concert or in pictures. Of course, there are those accessories that are essential, and those that a beginner student can live without.
Here are the most important things that typically go along with a violin. Newcomers should bear in mind that some violins, when purchased new, will come with many of the needed accessories, but some will require a separate purchase to obtain. If money is a consideration for you it is likely best to look for a violin that offers accessories as part of a package deal.
1. Violin Case and/or Gig Bag
These cases provide for easy carrying and transport of the violin and its smaller accessories.
2. Maintenance Kit
The maintenance kit will include items that aid in the upkeep and overall ‘health’ of your instrument, such as cleaning cloths, cleaning solutions (organic solutions are available), rosins, and polishing products. It is vital to understand that things like heat, extreme cold, wetness, dust, and other elements can cause serious damage to your instrument over a period of time, ruining it. Proper cleaning and care are essential.
3. Violin Rosin
Rosins are utilized by players to keep the hairs of the violin’s bow in good playing condition. Rosin consists of resins that have surfaces that are very frictional. If the bow hairs are slipping off of the violin strings, the sound is affected poorly, but rosin will aid in the bow’s gripping of the strings when producing sound.
4. Strings/Extra Strings
While most all of us know the purpose of strings, it is important that extra strings are kept on hand, as they tend to break during play. Having extra strings is essential at all times when play is intended. Strings come in a variety of materials and gauges, and you’ll encounter the use of different coating agents from string brand to string brand.
5. Tuning Pegs/Fittings
As you may know, tuning pegs are the pegs at the top of the neck which hold the strings and enable the violinist to tighten or slacken the strings, thus tuning the violin. As with most everything, the pegs and their fittings can break, so always having replacements handy is a wise move. You will also have the main set that typically comes with the violin you choose to purchase.
6. Violin Mute
The mute is a device used by violinists to lower the pitch of the instrument when it is being played in public or wide-open spaces; at the same time, the mute still allows for the player to hear the notes they are hitting. Together, these enable the violinist to practice or play without disturbing those around them.
7. Violin Stand and Hanger
This accessory provides a safe place for the violin to rest in case the violinist takes a break or must step away from playing, while the bow rests on the hanger.
8. Violin Humidifiers
While in storage, or during long periods of unuse, your violin and bow can become dried out and brittle, which makes these items susceptible to breakage. Violin humidifiers keep your equipment properly hydrated, without overdoing it. This way, when you are ready to play again, your instrument will be in tip-top condition.
Fingerboards are extensively used with instruments that are played using bows. These wood accessories provide the violin strings with the support they need from top to bottom. They should be smooth surfaced, without any mars, dents, or scratches; this makes it easier and smoother for your fingers to travel up and down on the strings while playing. The board also features a surface that is concave, which provides for the best sound while playing. Fingerboards and tapes come in different sizes to accommodate different violinists.
This accessory is quite self-explanatory. It is a gauging device with is placed on the neck of the violin while tuning and provides players with the right pitch and sound needed to get each string properly in tune for play.
11. Violin Bridge
The violin bridge is another wood accessory, but it comes in various shapes; all bridges serve pretty much the same purpose, however. It is situated at the top of the instrument and holds the violin strings securely in their place. This aids violinists in achieving the proper sound and tone when playing. In a nutshell, the bridge eases and assists the transmission of vibrations made when the hairs of the bow moving across the strings on the violin by lifting and supporting the G and E strings.
12. The Tailpiece
The purpose of the tailpiece is to secure the strings at one end. It also serves to provide a higher quality pitch. The tailpiece is adjustable so the pitch and sound it produces can be perfected. It aids in harmonizing, improved resonance, and overall sound. More than one tailpiece can be used by a player depending on the type of music being played and different desired control for sound and pitch.
13. Shoulder Rests
As most anyone knows, the violin is propped on the shoulder of the player. Continued, frequent play can take a toll on comfort, and shoulder rests are one of the accessories that makes comfort an attainable goal while adding to the control and grip levels as you play.
14. Preamps and Pickups
These accessories aid in controlling the instrument’s signals whether you are playing in public or practicing n private. Basically, they enable you to boost your sound as needed. Pickups give lower sound, while preamps provide higher, thus giving you two tools with which to reach the best output possible.
15. Chin Rests
These are situated on the lower, broader portion of your violin, close to your face, thus providing support for your chin on the violin. With the help of the shoulder rest, the chin rest gives you a nice, complete grip between the shoulder and chin on the violin, thus increasing steadiness and control over the instrument.
16. The Bow
Last, but certainly not least, is the bow, without which the violin could not produce sound. The bow consists of five individual parts, all of which work together in the production of music. It holds the hair which actually comes into contact with the strings of the violin and ultimately makes music.
Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced (or Professional) Violins: What Is the Difference?
As with any acquired skill (even those based on talent), playing the violin is a process of growth that takes place over time. So, there are players of varying ages, skill levels, sizes, and the like. Not only are violins classified under these three categories, but they are also classified by size.
For example, in most cases, younger people are typically just starting out as players, so they will require a smaller violin for their smaller hands and bodies. Full-sized violins are called ‘4/4’ violins, meaning they are the largest; smaller versions are represented by smaller fractions thereof. Keep in mind that it is of the highest importance that the violin size fits the need of the person playing if they are to play the best sounding music possible.
Also, injury to the wrist, neck, and back can occur if the player is not fitted to the violin being played. With all that being said, your player may be younger but play at a more advanced level. In those cases. Intermediate and advanced, or professional, violins are available for smaller people.
All these factors contribute to the need for the violin to match the player, so to speak. Here we will cover the differences between the three basic types of violins available for purchase, thus making it easier to know which type of violin will be right for your needs when you are preparing to buy one. Read on to learn more about the three categories of violins available.
Violins for Beginning Students
First of all, you should understand that just because a violin is classified as ‘beginner’ does not mean it is going to be substandard in quality or less expensive. While this is true to some extent, it is not the rule. But beginner violins typically are lacking when compared to intermediate or advanced simply because they are meant for those who are learning the basics.
The sound may be ‘tinny’ and respond poorly to being played when compared to others, and this was typically the case in the past. However, today one can purchase beginner violin kits that are contrary to these expectations, having been constructed for quality sound, and having been professionally fitted by an experienced ‘luthier’ (a maker of stringed instruments).
According to Amromusic.com, violin instructors claim they can actually tell whether or not a student will stick with playing just by the condition of the instrument they are learning on.
Poorly maintained violins can produce even poorer sound, which often discourages students; they are already struggling to learn to get the right sound, and an instrument in poor condition makes this almost impossible to do.
Since learning violin and playing often means making a quality lifetime commitment, getting a quality instrument for the beginner is vital. We will go into more detail on how to do that a little later on.
Violins For Intermediate Players
Violins designed for the intermediate violinist may look identical (outside of size differences) to any beginner’s instrument, but the fact is that there are a few things that separate the two. Size differences aside, those who play will tell you that the main things that set the two apart involve sound quality and playability.
The notes are much clearer and crisper and can be reached with much less effort. While intermediate violins are in no way as wonderful as a quality, professional instrument, the sound differences can mean a world of difference to a player who has gained enough knowledge and experience to hear and tell the two apart.
The Advanced, or Professional, Violin
The sound of a quality handcrafted professional instrument is going to be quite obvious to the player. There are many who will tell you they play at an Intermediate level, but use a professional violin due to the wonderful sound that they can produce, which in turn drives the desire to play and improves the violinist (with practice, of course.
Keep in mind, however, that a beginning player should definitely start with a good instrument with good sound, but it should be crafted for student use. This will drive the desire while they learn and enables them to focus on the mechanics of playing until they gain experience.
The Factor of Choosing Violin Size
Above we pointed out the reasons why one should go from beginner to intermediate or advanced violins, citing sound quality and instrument quality, while emphasizing the importance of even a beginning instrument being well made and cared for. And we have also briefly discussed sizes, but now we would like to take a closer look at this because size is one of the most important factors when purchasing a violin at any level. Along with the full-sized 4/4 violin, let’s take a look at the other sizes and discuss how to measure for fitting one.
Measuring for Violin Size
Besides the 4/4, or full-sized, violin, the instruments come in many other sizes, including ¾, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, ad 1/32. Most adults will use the 4/4 size, though there are exceptions, of course. However, if you or your player is younger, regardless of skill level, they will need to be measured for their violin to be a good fit. Here is how to measure the young violinist for size:
Have the player stand or sit with the arm that will hold the violin completely outstretched. Using a tape measure, measure the distance from the center of the open palm to the neck of the player. Make sure that the arm is completely outstretched and that it is vertical, or perpendicular, to the body.
The following table, provided by childrensmusicworkshop.com, will show which size violin should be used by the player according to his or her measurements. (Please note that if a student measures for an in-between size, the smaller of the two should be the violin chosen)
Student Grade Age of Student Arm Length Violin Size Notes
|Kindergarten||5 – 6 years||16” minimum||1/8||If a child is of the average height of a first grader but arms are longer than 18”, use ¼|
|1st Grade||6 – 7 years||18” minimum||¼|
|2nd Grade||7 – 8 years||18” minimum||¼||If the child is as tall as an average 3rd grader but arms are longer than 20”, use ½|
|3rd Grade||8 – 9 years||20” minimum||½|
|4th Grade||9 – 10 years||20” minimum||½||If a child is of the average height of a 5th grader but arms are longer than 22”, use ¾|
|5th Grade||10 – 11 years||22” minimum||¾|
|6th Grade||11 – 12 years||22” minimum||¾||If child is the average height of a 7th grader or taller, with an arm length of 23”, use 4/4|
|7th Grade – Adult||12+ years||23” minimum||4/4|
If you do not feel confident measuring your child or a student yourself, their instructor or an assistant at a good musical instrument shop will be more than willing to assist you with the task. Be sure to ask any questions you may have; it is important for you to understand the needs and methods for fitting so you can be a better support to the student violinist.
Other Things To Consider Before Buying
Here are a few more important points that should be taken into consideration when shopping for the best instrument for yourself or your student:
1. Price and Quality for the Price
While you definitely want to make a good investment for the sake of your violinist, you have to consider your budget. If at all possible, don’t simply buy the violin of lesser quality because it’s all you can afford flat out.
Music/instrument sellers will typically be willing to work with you on payment plans and the like so you can get the best you can afford without breaking the bank right out of the gate. Be sure to discuss financing and get the nitty-gritty on the instruments you are considering. A good music store associate will want to do what is best for the young violinist by your side.
2. Have the Student By Your Side
Speaking of which, unless you are the student, you should definitely have the one who will be, or is, learning to play by your side when the decision is made. Parents may be tempted to act on the thought that they know what is best, or they must purchase a violin that the student isn’t ready for just because it is considered the ‘best’.
The student alone will know what is comfortable for them, what sounds best to their ears, and which they seem to bond with before you will. Stay patient, open-minded, and teachable, and the experience will be a good one.
3. Try the Instrument Before Buying It
Of course, you will want the student to give considerable options a ‘test drive’. You should never purchase a violin, or any other instrument, for that matter, without testing it out, and only the one who will be playing it can properly do that. Again, have the student with you!
4. Go As Far As to Take It Home
Many instrument dealerships understand these points and will even allow for an at-home trial period for the instrument, usually up to two weeks. If you can, find a shop that offers a similar program, as this will give your student the best opportunity to get the right instrument that suits them.
In addition, be sure to ask many questions, research your options, and take your time. As we’ve said, playing the violin well requires a lifetime commitment; if this is the vision you have for yourself or your student then you want to make your purchase in accordance with your goals. Go forward with confidence…you will choose wisely.
Best Violin Brands
Having the best violin can make you a superb violinist. A quality violin allows you to produce the best sound you possibly can with less effort.
Here’s a guide to assist you in making a decision because purchasing a violin is a serious decision as it is such a delicate and expensive instrument.
Yamaha is a world’s undisputed instrument manufacturer that makes the list of best violin brands. Their violins are fully hand-crafted and include quality Glaser bows with inlaid purfling. Undoubtedly produces the best quality music for professional violinists.
Providing a range of long-lasting and high-quality instruments, Stentor is a Chinese violin brand that has made the list of the most popular violin brands in the market. All violins produced by Stentor are reliable and will greatly impact your performance.
Often, it is recommended by violin instructors as the best student violin as it produces good sound, is easy to play, and is ensured to be capable of performing well.
This brand offers handcrafted violins with fine-grained solid spruce tops, full ebony fittings, and solid maple backs that accommodate those that need to take care of their budget.
With its remarkable playability, the Cremona comes at a good price. This Chinese brand is known for making high-quality violins and is a major manufacturer that imports to the United States.
At a reasonable price, Knilling is a relatively good quality violin brand great for families on a tight budget. They’re made in Germany, Romania, and Czech Republic from high-quality woods.
The Cecilio brand is renowned to use top-quality maple wood and ebony for producing superior quality violins for all levels.
This brand is most suitable for dedicated beginners, intermediate and serious violinists.
The Mendini violin brand creates good quality and affordable instruments. They are perfect for transitioning new students to the violin-playing world.
The Scott Cao brand is loved by musicians from all over the world for producing high-quality instruments. Its owner is renowned among the world’s best violin makers.
Fiddlerman instruments produce nothing but the best violins on the market. The owner of the company personally tests, tunes, and adjusts the violins they produce.
Kinglos is among the new instruments brands in the market. Their violins combine visual arts and traditional instruments and most of them are electric.
The Best Violin Brands: Three Personal Favorites
If you are reading this, I am going to assume you are something of a beginner. This is because a seasoned player at any level will typically be familiar with the various brands available, know which ones are quality, and which suit beginners as opposed to the professionals. With that being said, I am going to give you my three favorite brands according to skill level: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, which are the basic player levels that exist prior to one playing on a professional level.
My Picks for the Best Violin Brands By Skill Level
The Stentor 1500 ½-Sized Violin: Best Beginner
Stentor violins are handcrafted by a Chinese violin company, and they make affordable, yet functional and beautiful instruments. For beginners, this is my choice because of the collective craftsmanship, reasonable pricing, and effectiveness and sound of the completed product. Beginners at any stage will find the Stentor appropriate for all those reasons, but also for the fact that it has been crafted for student of smaller stature, fitting their bodies and their hands very well.
The Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit 4/4: best Intermediate
This particular violin outfit is crafted extremely well, resulting in some of the finest quality instruments available for those playing at an intermediate level, and this is for a number of reasons. First, this is a violin that comes in a full range of sizes, making it a great option for your player regardless of age or size. The music it gives is tip notch, thanks to the craftsmanship, which is surprising, considering its reasonable price. It also includes a variety of accessories, including an extra set of strings, a violin case, a bow, and rosin. These things up the price a bit, but this all-inclusive set is well worth it for any player.
The Kennedy Franke Henner Violin Outfit: Best Advanced
This is a great choice for those students playing at an advanced level. Not only does this particular violin play beautifully and consists of excellent craftsmanship, but the outfit itself includes a hand-built French Aubert frame, a full set of D’Addario strings, a full replacement set of strings, and an authentic ebony fingerboard, chinrest, tailpiece, and peg set. Any advanced player would love to be able to play an instrument such as this if they are indeed in the market for one.
There You have them: My Personal picks for each level of playing ability. But with so many having beginning-level students, it really doesn’t help to simply get someone else’s opinion. For the sake of all beginners out there, let’s take a deeper look at some of the very best violins out there for those who are just starting out. Fifteen of them, to be exact.
The Following list which features the very best beginning violin at the number one spot, will not only aid you in determining the highest-quality violin for your player but will also help you compare prices so you can choose which of the best is most suited to your budget.
The 15 best Violins for Beginners
In an effort to further assist those of you who are either beginning violinists or have a beginning violinist’s best musical interests at heart, we thought we would bring you a list of the best instrument options so you can get a really good idea of what is out there.
We have listed them in such a manner that number one is the best on the list. Included are also product reviews with pros and cons for each of the violin brands we have chosen, as well as price ranges. Hopefully, this will give you a helping hand when it comes to shopping for a violin for the beginning student in your life.
#1. Stentor 1500 4/4
This Chinese brand is more affordable than others while being not too cheap. They are constructed well, with excellent materials, as are their individual components and accessories. With great sound and a wide variety of models, the stentor is typically considered one of the best brands for beginners and students.
Price Range: $ 150 to $ 200
#2. Mendini 4/4 MV300 Solid Wood Antique Violin
Mendini Violins are considered some of the best instruments for those who are on a budget. This is possible because Mendini violins are factory-made, rather than handcrafted, which is considered a downside for some. But For the beginner, Mendini is a great violin, and definitely should be considered by those on a tight budget.
Price Range: $60 to $100
#3. Windsor MI 1006
This particular brand produces what is considered to be some of the very best violins for those on a strict budget. They have a higher level of tone, which is great for beginning and intermediate students, and it also comes with the needed pegs for fine-tuning, which makes pitch training easier for those who are learning.
#4. Cecilio DA CVN-300 Solid Wood Ebony Violin
This is a beautiful model that is made even more visually appealing with ornate engravings. It offers a consistent quality tone and it comes in a variety of sizes to fit the needs of the user. The company also offers many accessories to accompany the instrument and it comes with a case for safekeeping and carrying.
Price Range: $150 to $200
#5. Kennedy Violins Bunnel Basic Violin
This is considered one of the best violins. According to ratings for the instrument provided by amazon.com. It is also claimed that they provide some of the best customer services, and the violin comes with a 45-day full refund guarantee as well as a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, which is very nice for those on limited budgets. The violin is made in china, but is constructed in the United States and is pre-stung with Portland strings, and comes with a Mongolian horsehair bow. It sounds great and provides for quality projection.
Price Range : $220 to $ 300
#6. Cecilio 4/4 CEVN Electric/silent Violin
While this violin is technologically more advanced and a bit more space-age looking, it is considered a great buy for beginners and professionals alike. The back and sides of the instruments are solid maples, But it is an electric unit and requires a 9-volt battery for sound (included in the kit). Also, it comes in a variety of colors, which has made it very popular among younger students. It also comes with cords, headphones, a bridge, rosin, and a Mongolian horsehair bow and case and the company claims its budget.
Price Range: $ 150 to $ 200
#7. Crescent Student Violin Starter Kit
This starter kit is touted as the 4/4, full-sized version, but it does come in other sizes to suit students who are younger or smaller in statue.
#8. New Violin Starter Kit 4/4 Full-Size Student Violin
With hand-crafted wood carving, the surface of the violin is smooth and flat, the texture is clearly visible. It is a great choice for beginners.
#9. Lico 4/4 Solid Wood Violin
Lico 4/4 Solid wood violin is specially designed for beginners and students who are just beginning to play. This violin is classically designed and made of high-quality materials.
#10. Paititi 4/4 Full-Size Artist-100 Student Violin
#11. ADM Violin 4/4 Full Size
#12. Easter EVA-1 Full-Size 4/4 Violin Set
#13. Aileen Solidwood Ebony Kids Students Beginners Violin
#14. Costzon Full Size 4/4 Solid Wood Violin
#15. Vangoa 4/4 Full-Size Solid Wood Violin Set
Best Intermediate Violin:
1. Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit 4/4
2. Best Budget Model: Antonio Giuliani Etude Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size
3. Cremona SV-500 Premier Artist Violin
4. Cecilio CVN-600 Hand Oil Rub Flamed 1-Piece Back Violin
5. Teacher Recommended: Fiddlerman OB1 Violin Outfit
Best Professional Violins
1. D Z Strad Model 800 4/4 Full-Size Violin
2. Cremona SV-1500 Maestro Soloist Violin Outfit – 4/4 Size
3. D Z Strad One Piece Back Maestro Model 509 4/4 Full-Size Violin
4. Mikhail Vitacek Violin Outfit 4/4 Full-Size
5. Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin
Best Violin Brands: FAQs
Q: How much should I spend on a violin?
Quality beginner violins start at about 400 dollars while intermediate level violins come at 1,500 dollars and those used for professional levels cost several thousands of dollars.
Q: How do you know if a violin is of good quality?
Focus on the body of the violin including its neck and scroll as well as the grain of the wood. When it comes to spruce, fine to moderate grain is seen as a good quality sign. Even lines of the grain also show well-selected wood tones.
Q: Are all violins handmade?
Yes. All violins are made by hand as there doesn’t exist a machine that can manage to do all the work. However, there are various machines that help violin makers in the process to make work easier.
Q: Why are violins so expensive?
They are very hard to make, it takes a lot of labor and time to refine them. They are also very delicate instruments.
Q: Can you teach yourself how to play the violin?
Violins are absolutely hard to learn but with enough patience and practice, you can learn how to play any musical instrument. It takes a lot of good quality practice to achieve a beautiful tone.
Purchasing a violin can be an exciting experience. The brands listed above are the best qualities and you are guaranteed to produce superior quality music. Above everything, the highest priority is your personal preference. There is always a kind of model to match your needs regardless of whichever level you are practicing.