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How much does a good violin cost?

How much does a good violin cost?

10 minutes

Have you ever wondered how much a violin costs? How much should you spend on a beginner violin? One of our resident violinist, Jamie Hutchinson, can help.

Filmed after a recording session at Abbey Road Studios, Jamie shows her 300-year-old Italian violin, and if you observe, you’ll find out how much her instrument is worth.

What's the Price of a Good Violin?

The answer to that depends on your definition of ‘good’!

If you want to play the violin, the first thing to know is that prices differ vastly. A Stradivarius will cost millions. But let’s assume for a moment you don’t have the cash to buy an instrument from the best violin makers of this world. So it then comes down to size.

As an adult, you’ll be on a full-size violin – so theoretically you could be playing the same instrument for the rest of your life. If you spread the cost over your life, a slightly more expensive instrument could seem value for money.

If on the other hand, you’re buying for a child, they could grow out of the instrument; then perhaps a smaller budget might be more suitable.

Purchasing your first violin for a child

There are thousands of beginner violins, also known as ‘student violins’, to choose from. Price ranges for a beginner violin are from £/$50 to £/$500. From brightly coloured violins to traditional varnish, the choice is almost limitless.

What size violin do I need?

Violins come in eight main sizes. The smallest is 1/16, and the sizes work their way up through 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 and finally 4/4 or full size.

A great way of checking if the violin fits are to make sure you can wrap your left hand comfortably around the scroll curve, with a little bit of bend still left in your arm.

Most adults and some teenagers will require a full-size violin.

Here is a handy guide to help you find what size violin you need:

Violin
SIZE LENGTH*
1/1633.5 cm or less, 13 ¼ inches
1/1036 cm, 14 ¼ inches
1/838.5 cm, 15 ¼ inches
1/444 cm,17 ¼ inches
1/248.5 cm,19 inches
3/452 cm, 20 ½ inches
4/454 cm, 21 ¼ inches
* Length is from the neck to wrist
What size violin do I need

How much should you spend as a beginner violinist?

The following are starter instruments we would recommend. We expect these to last a couple of years maximum before you need to upgrade to a higher quality instrument. Not because of the instrument failing, but because the child outgrows it.

OUR STARTER VIOLIN RECOMMENDATIONS:
SIZES 1/16 | 1/10 | 1/8 | 1/4 | 1/2 | 3/4

Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit 3
1/16 | Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit

around £100/$130

Designed for the entry-level student. We like the Stentor Violin as it's carved from solid tonewoods, with inlaid purfling and blackened hardwood pegs and fingerboard. It's an ideal choice for beginners AND fitted with integral adjusters for fine tuning.

All components have been built to a high standard, unlike many other instruments that either use composite woods or laminate tops. Offering great value, it comes complete with case and wooden bow with ebony frog.
MORE >>>
Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit 2
1/10 | Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit

around £100/$130

Designed for the entry-level student. All components have been built to a high standard, unlike many other instruments that either use composite woods or laminate tops. Offering great value, it comes with case and wooden bow with ebony frog.

We like the Stentor Violin as it's carved from solid tonewoods, with inlaid purfling and blackened hardwood pegs and fingerboard. An ideal choice for beginners; it's even fitted with integral adjusters for fine tuning!
MORE >>>
Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit
1/8 | Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit

around £100/$130

Designed for the entry-level student. We like the Stentor Violin as it's carved from solid tonewoods, with inlaid purfling and blackened hardwood pegs and fingerboard. It's an ideal choice for beginners AND fitted with integral adjusters for fine tuning.

All components have been built to a high standard, unlike many other instruments that either use composite woods or laminate tops. Offering great value, it comes complete with case and wooden bow with ebony frog.
MORE >>>
Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit
1/4 | Stentor Student Standard Violin Outfit

around £100/$130

Designed for the entry-level student. All components have been built to a high standard, unlike many other instruments that either use composite woods or laminate tops. Offering great value, it comes with case and wooden bow with ebony frog.

We like the Stentor Violin as it's carved from solid tonewoods, with inlaid purfling and blackened hardwood pegs and fingerboard. An ideal choice for beginners; it's even fitted with integral adjusters for fine tuning!
MORE >>>
Primavera Violin
1/2 | Primavera 100 Violin With Gold Level Set Up

around £140/$190

Coming set up and ready to play with D'Addario Prelude strings; this gold level set up offers the perfect starting point. it's set up by an expert luthier, meaning you can start playing straight away!

One of the reasons we love it so much is that the instrument produces a full and resonant sound, mostly due to the hand-carved maple and spruce body.
MORE >>>
Primavera Violin
3/4 | Primavera 200 Violin Outfit

around £150/$200

Coming set up and ready to play with D'Addario Prelude strings; this gold level set up offers the perfect starting point. it's set up by an expert luthier, meaning you can start playing straight away. It was even voted the "Best Bowed Instrument" two years in a row, so you know it's going to be good!

We love this violin. Boasting a hand-carved maple and spruce body, the Primavera violin produces an outstandingly well-rounded tone.
MORE >>>

Purchasing your first violin for an adult beginner

As an adult, you’ll almost certainly be playing a 4/4 (full size) violin. You have two clear choices here:

FIRST CHOICE

Purchase the cheapest beginner instrument, and if you fall in love with playing the violin, then upgrade when you progress. If you go down this route, the two options in this price range we would suggest are:

OUR ECONOMY FULL SIZE VIOLIN RECOMMENDATIONS:

Primavera Violin
Primavera 100 Full Size Violin With Gold Level Set Up

around £140/$190

Coming set up and ready to play with D'Addario Prelude strings; this gold level set up offers the perfect starting point. it's set up by an expert luthier, meaning you can start playing straight away!

One of the reasons we love it so much is that the instrument produces a full and resonant sound, mostly due to the hand-carved maple and spruce body.
MORE >>>
Archer Violin
Archer 44V-500 Full Size Violin

around £180/$245

Beginner violins don't get much better than this. The Archer 44V-500 violin is a beautiful instrument which is perfect for keen students. Boasting a hand-carved body alongside stunning Ebony fittings, the Archer 500 series violin is guaranteed to impress.

The choice of wood is the most important factor of a violin's tone. This is why they've used European maple alongside a solid Spruce top. The complex organic nature of these European woods offer a tone which is brimming with nuance and character.
MORE >>>

SECOND CHOICE

Purchase the best high-quality instrument you can afford, so you’ll not need to upgrade later. If you spend 500-5000 on a quality violin, the instrument should hold its value. For this reason, don’t be scared to invest in a decent, higher-priced violin. It will pay you back in music and in holding its value! If you like this idea, within the middle to upper price range, we would suggest:

OUR BEST FULL SIZE VIOLIN RECOMMENDATIONS:

Cremona Violin
Cremona SV600 Violin Outfit, Full Size

around £500/$700

Inspired by the masters. The Cremona SV600 violin is an outstanding instrument, capable of taking you to the highest grades and beyond. Crafted with a figured maple back and sides with a solid spruce top, the Cremona SV600 is perfect for any discerning violinist.

Cremona's attention to detail can be found all over the SV600. Coming complete with full ebony fittings with stylish Parisian eyes, the Cremona violin looks just as professional as it sounds. For a beautiful aesthetic, the SV600 is finished in a light orange varnish.
MORE >>>
Eastman Violin
Eastman Master Series Stradivarius Violin Outfit with Gold Set Up

around £1,000/$1,500

The Eastman Master Series Stradivarius Violin Outfit is an instrument designed for the advanced player. The violin is designed with a highly select spruce top and a flamed maple back, sides and scroll. Amber spirit varnish has been hand-applied to this violin in reminiscence of its Italian makers.

The Violin is fitted with an ebony fingerboard, boxwood chinrest and tailpiece. This model has been treated to a Gold Level Setup which consists of the highly popular Larsen Virtuoso Strings, which are professionally fitted and measured in line with the bridge, to provide ease of play as well as resulting in a full bodied and incredibly responsive sound.
MORE >>>
Yamaha Violin
Yamaha V20G Intermediate Violin Outfit Full Size

around £2,000/$2,700

The Yamaha V20SG Violin has been inspired by the historical famous luthier Guarneri in producing a powerful and rich sounding instrument. Using carefully selected spruce and maple and high quality varnishing, this instrument has been built to the highest standards. Including a Wittner fine tuner on the E string and great quality Dominant strings, you will not be disappointed with this instrument. In fact, we think it is THE BEST violin in it's price range.
MORE >>>

Other Questions

Is it worth getting a really cheap student violin?

In short, no. These violins are poorly made, sound pretty awful, and will very quickly fall apart. We have even heard horror stories from students of the glue peeling away from the top plate, effectively opening up the violin’s internals! Anything below £100/$100 is a no go. It’s just impossible to get a decent student violin, strings, bow, and case for this price.

Violin Rental

Violin rental is a good idea, mainly if you need smaller sized instruments. If you’ve always wanted to have a go at playing the violin, but you’re unsure about if it will become a long-term hobby, then rental is perfect. Your violin teacher should be able to show you a local rental violin shop. It may be worth buying your own bow though.

But over time, violin rental can get costly. If you know this is the instrument for you, it’s probably better to find your dream instrument and purchase it. It’ll be yours forever then!

Should I Buy An Electric Violin?

Nope. Not unless you are already an experienced violinist. These instruments are NEVER as good as their acoustic cousins, and they are not great to learn on. Sure, for beginners they are fun, and they look cool – but save your electric violin for when you need to perform, rather than to learn on.

Summary: How much does a violin cost?

As a violin player, there is no one rule or instrument to fit all. Every violin is different. Antonio Stradivari set the world’s best standard of craftsmanship (check out our article all about Stradivarius here) but most of us can’t afford that.

So when you decide how much money to spend buying a violin, look for violin brands that you like. Visit the local music shop (although their range is usually limited). If you have dedicated violin shops nearby, they will advise on the best instrument for your violin playing, brands to avoid, help with bridge adjustments, show you different types of wood, showcase the other models, and explain how the materials of the violin change sound.

Make sure the wood has a spruce top and maple back. And then spend the most amount of money you can afford, and then you can’t go wrong.

Also make sure that your new violin comes with a matching case. Any decent retailer will make sure you do, and it’s just not worth risking any time without a case, or buying one separately that isn’t designed specifically for your violin.

Finally, don’t forget to purchase a decent music stand (like this hugely popular kit from Eastar), rosin (we recommend MoreYes), shoulder rest or chin rest (like the high quality SAS Barbada Ebony). And if you have purchased a reasonably cheap violin, it may be worth investing in a higher quality violin bow; it can make a world of difference and we recommend this superb bow by Dorfler which is perfectly balanced, uses very high quality horse hair and is ideal for beginners.

For more advice, remember to read our handy Beginner’s Guide to the Violin.

Oh, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments below if you liked the video!

How much does a good violin cost?

FAQ's

Are cheap violins any good?

In the world of musical instruments, you get what you pay for. Cheap violins are cheap for a reason. They probably won't last very long. And that's not necessarily a bad thing if you are a young beginner. If the passion develops, then upgrade to a better, longer-lasting violin.

What is the price of a good violin?

That depends on your definition of 'good'! A Stradivarius will set you back a few million; but assuming you're looking for a good, yet affordable option, good violins start at around the $2,000/£1,500 mark and go all the way up to $100,000/£75,000. Violin prices differ wildly, so read our article to find out more.

How much does a full size violin cost?

The cost doesn't equal the size. You can get cheaper full-size violins than a 1/2 size. It's not about size; it's about quality. Violin prices can be a bit misleading, even for experienced violinists; so read our Beginner's Guide to the Violin to find out more.

How much should I spend on my first violin?

That depends on how old you are. If you are a child, and looking at a violin size that you'll grow out of, my advice is to spend the minimal amount possible on a decent instrument $200/£150. If you are looking to buy a full-size violin, then get something that is safe, well made, and last you a couple of years until you need to upgrade. You'll need a budget of around $750/£500.

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