Playing the violin can be a wonderful experience, but buying one can be a rather daunting process, because they vary in price considerably. We’ve put together this violin buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision for yourself, your student or child.
This article explains how to choose the right instrument for your price range, and suggests a range of models for beginner to advanced violinists.
How to Choose the Right Violin
How to figure out what size violin you need
This will only really be an issue for children below secondary school age, because most children over the age of 11 and adults will be able to have a full size violin (otherwise known as a 4/4) instrument.
If you are unsure, see our dedicated article called What Size Violin Do I Need?
Violins as an investment
A key tip in this violin buying guide is to think about your budget. String instruments will hardly ever lose their value, so spend as much money as you possibly can on getting the very best instrument possible.
What violin to buy
The Dealer or Shop
Buying from a violin dealer will provide you with a high quality violin, but can be a lot of money. At a beginner level, or if you are buying a smaller size violin, a shop or online music store will likely suffice. In fact many shops offer the opportunity to rent a violin, rather than buying one.
Buy VS Rent
This is down to a personal choice. Renting can be ideal for violinists in the early stages of playing, because many shops will offer a package of a starter violin, bow and case for a fixed number of weeks. This may be a great choice for a child who may just want to try learning the violin, but who may not stick with it.
For a beginner we would recommend either the Stentor Student 2.
Buying a violin at under £160/$220 equates to great value for money for such an instrument. It comes in different sizes and includes a bow and a case.
Another ideal feature for a beginner are the adjusters, or fine tuners, which make tuning much easier for beginners. Either will help to make violin playing fun for the beginner, as it will be easier to make a good sound.
Stentor Student 2
Best student violin for beginners
Level: The standard for beginners
Perfect For: Beginners
Once you’ve been playing for a couple of years it will be time to upgrade your violin. I would recommend either the Primavera 200.
The price range is very reasonable, and it comes with a bow, hard case and feature integral adjusters, which make tuning the violin easier. The instrument is hand carved and feature high quality woods.
Best for intermediate players.
Violin Outfit Full Size
Perfect For: Grades 4 - 6
Once you’re getting towards the higher grades (ABRSM 7 & 8) you will want to think about buying a violin that will help you to play to the highest standard possible.
Our first recommendation is the Westbury Antiqued Full Size Violin Outfit (Gold Level Setup), which at £365/$500 is excellent value for a hand-carved instrument.
Our second recommendation is the Gewa Europa 10 Violin Outfit. The price includes the bow, rosin and case while the Spruce and Maple Body Produces should help you to play with a good sound. At £414/$569 it is also at a very reasonable price point for such an instrument.
Gewa Europa 10
Best for advanced players.
Perfect For: More advanced violinists
(ABRSM grades 7-8)
Something you may not realize before purchasing a violin is that there are a number of accessories which you will need alongside the instrument itself. These include a bow, strings, chin rest, shoulder rest and case. Most starter violins will come with all of the above.
The majority of music stores will offer all of the above, but make sure to check out each product and the price. Ideally the bow will have clean bow hair, and the chin rest will be attached to the violin.
There are many types of shoulder rest. For a child a sponge will be fine, but for a high quality instrument the type of shoulder rest can make a huge difference. You should discuss this with your violin teacher.
If you want to buy an instrument from a dealer you might need to buy each item separately. For example, check if the instrument comes with strings, and what sort of strings they are. The strings can make a huge difference to the sound the violin makes, and affect its tone.
Amazing Kit at an amazing price
Best Feature: Seriously well-made & sturdy
Includes: Light | Carry Case | Sheet Music Clip
Best for safety
Oblong Violin Case
Level: All levels
Perfect For: Students
D'Addario KaplanThe best rosin on the market
BONUS: It comes with a premium case
BONUS: Case designed for one-handed use
Violin buyer's guide
We hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to buy a violin. These tips should help you to make an informed decision when buying a quality instrument.
Let us know what you thought about the article in the comments below and do share if you enjoyed it!
Best Beginner Violin
Stentor Student 2 Violin Outfit
A popular choice for students around the world
Best Intermediate Violin
Primavera 200 Violin Outfit
A great quality intermediate violin
Best Advanced Violin
Gewa Europa 10 Violin Outfit
A first-class instrument, trusted by many at the start of their professional careers.