You might not know exactly what to look for when choosing the best beginner violin for your needs. It can be confusing with all of the choices in the marketplace and sizes. This guide will help you pick out an excellent beginner instrument.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Renting Vs. Buying a Beginner Violin
You might be tempted to rent your violin. This is probably not a good option. If you are at school, the music department may provide you with a violin, and this will be fine, but most others, will want to purchase their violin. Most entry-level violins will cost less than a full year rental will, so you save money. You also cannot determine the quality of a rented violin. A rented violin may also produce poor quality sound. You have more control over your options when you make a purchase. You can always sell your first violin when you upgrade to a better one.
Speak to a Violin Player
Buying your first violin can seem like a daunting task. It can be a good idea to speak to someone that understands violins before your purchase. If you know a violin player, ask them for recommendations. This can save you a lot of time and a hassle as you don’t want to buy something that isn’t going to work for you. If it’s your first violin you probably don’t know a whole lot about the violin and you could end up with something that isn’t appropriate for your beginning level. If you plan to buy online and don’t know any violin players, visit forums, and chat rooms where people talk about violins. You can get a lot of ideas and recommendations from people in those rooms.
About the Violin
All violins are basically the same. They have four strings that are stretched over the body. They have a chin rest and a tailpiece at one end. At the other end, there is a pegbox and the violin neck. You do not get the design configurations that you do with an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Violins look the same, but they do not sound the same. There can be a wide range of sounds depending upon the quality of your product.
Wood that goes into the construction of your violin or tonewood is important. Many instruments have maple backs, sides, and necks. The top is often made out of spruce wood. As violins go up in price, it’s the wood that changes, and this increases the cost of your instrument.
The top of the violin is the soundboard. This is the wood that amplifies your instrument’s sound from the strings. Soundboards are often made with spruce wood. It is dense and stiff and offers an excellent tone. The quality of the spruce wood will determine the price of the instrument. A lot of beginner instruments are made with lower quality spruce, but you can still get a decent sound. High-quality spruce wood usually has a better-looking grain which can add to the cost of your beginner violin.
Maple wood is usually used for the neck, sides, and back of your instrument. Higher quality instruments will use better maple. The fingerboard is often made but of ebony, but an economy violin usually has a different wood for the fingerboard.
Most beginners will start with what is called a student violin. There are several sizes that are based upon arm length. This will be your main instrument while you practice learning the violin, so you want one that is comfortable to play. You can expect a violin that is made with lower quality wood and may have plastic parts for the chin rest or the tuning pegs. As you get better, replace your lower-cost violin with something a bit better.
It’s not recommended to spend a lot of money on a violin if the student is quite young. You have no way of knowing if the student is going to enjoy playing the violin or not. Younger students can also be harder on violins and may damage it. Upgrading to better a violin is easy if a student plans to keep practicing and playing. For adults that have more money to spend, it’s recommended that you get something that is of a higher quality as it will be easier for you to play.
Any student over the age of 11 will typically use a larger full-size violin, which is 4/4. For children under the age of 11, there are 1/2, 3/4, and other size violins. These are smaller than the full-size violin and easier for a child to hold. A violin teacher or music store can help you pick out the right size violin for your needs. Due to how the violin is played, arm length plays a role in the size of the violin that you use. The guide below will help you.
- 1/6 ages 3 to 5 arm length:14 to 15 3/8 inches
- 1/10 ages 3 to 5 arm length: 15 3/8 to 17 inches
- 1/8 ages 3 to 5 arm length: 17.1 to 17.5 inches
- 1/4 ages 4-7 arm length: 17.6 to 20 inches
- 1/2 Ages 6 to 10 arm length: 22 to 23.5 inches
- 3/4 Ages 9 to 11 arm length: 23.5 and up.
- 4/4 Ages 9 and above to adult arm length 23.5 inches and above. (may need to experiment with violin for best fit)
Electric or Acoustic Violin?
Beginners should start with the acoustic violin as this will be easier for you to learn. As you get better, you might want to try an electric violin, which is essentially an acoustic violin with electric pickups but has a solid body. The advantage of the acoustic violin is that it has natural resonance from the wood. An electric violin can be enhanced and tweaked via the electronic signal. If you are going to play folk, classical, and similar styles, you will probably want an acoustic violin. Rock or jazz players might want to use an electric violin.
Caring for Your Violin
Want your violin to last a long time, so you have to take care of it. Here are some maintenance tips for looking after your new violin.
Get a Case
Your violin should be in a case when you are not using it. If you don’t have one, you should buy one as soon as possible. The case will also help the violin when there are temperature changes.
You may not need a humidifier for a low-cost violin, but if you spend a little bit extra on your violin, you may want to pick one up. This will help protect the tonewood from damage. The best humidity for an acoustic violin is going to be between 45 to 50%.
Clean it Often
You can buy special cleaning supplies for your violin. You want to keep it free of dust and dirt so that it does not accumulate on the finish. Whenever you clean your violin you should have two cleaning cloths. You want one to polish the instrument and one for your cleaning agent. Make sure you are using cleaners that are used exclusively for violins or other wood instruments. You do not want to use household cleaners as they can damage the wood grain finish.
Cleaning the inside of the violin might seem problematic because the F-holes are so small. The way you do this is to take several small grains of rice and put them inside the F-holes. You didn’t shake the violin and the rice will get distributed inside. The dust that is inside your violin will form a ball. you can then shake the rice grains out through the f-holes. take a small set of tweezers and remove the fluff that appears. you’ll have a better sounding instrument when there isn’t dust and debris inside of it.
You might want to pick up some string cleaning fluid and use this to clean your strings each time you use them which can prolong the life. When you clean the strings make sure you cover the finish of your violin so you don’t spill any cleaner on the varnish. If you don’t know how to clean your violin properly, take it to your local music technician and they will clean it for you.
Violin strings should be changed at least twice per year. If you play more often, you might want to change them a little more frequently. If you notice that your violin is not sounding like it usually does, it is probably time for a string change.
Gut core strings are a common material used since they have a great tone. The problem with them is that they will break down quickly when you compare them to regular steel strings. You won’t have to change steel strings as often as they are durable and last a long time. Some players will use synthetic core strings because they have a longer longevity and the tone that gut core strings have. You may need to try several different strings from various manufacturers until you find one that works the best for you.
Use Quality Rosin
In a humid or hot climate, you should use light rosin. If you live in a cool and dry climate, use a dark rosin. Make sure you scratch or score the surface of your rosin cake before you use it so that it will cling to the bow hair properly. You should use long slow strokes along the entire length of your bow to apply the rosin. You don’t want to wear a channel into the rosin itself as you may damage the bow. Get a new rosin when your cake starts to wear out.
Once you are finished your practice session, clean excess rosin from the bow, the violin, and your strings. Too much rosin will affect the response and playability of your violin. You don’t need to apply it more than twice a week. Try to use only a little bit as a little is more. If the bow hair is not gripping in the rosin, you probably need new hair for the bow.
See a Technician
You should take your violin into a music store once per year for a checkup. This is important to ensure that there are no problems with your product. A technician can set up a new violin so that it plays better. Do not attempt repairs to your violin on your own if you don’t know what you’re doing. Have the shop where you bought your violin make adjustments to it or take it to a tech if you buy online as it will play better.
A technician can set up several things on your violin. First of all, they can set the nut which dictates the action of the violin. This is how hard it is to press your strings down to the violin fingerboard. If the nut is too high then the violin will be harder to play. If the nut is too low and the strings are going to buzz. On lower quality instruments, you may need to have some nut adjustment.
The tech can change the string for you and show you how to put new ones on. It’s beneficial as a beginning violinist to use synthetic core strings and not steel strings. These are responsive and rich. You will also save money by using synthetic core strings. Gut core strings are also quite common, but you might not want to use them as a beginning violinist.
Your violin can play better with a bridge adjustment. This bridge needs to fit to the top plate of your violin and needs to be shaped the right way. If the grooves on this are too close together then you will find crossing strings to be difficult. Lower cost violins may need some bridge adjustments.
Best Beginner Violins Reviewed
1. Eastar EVA-2 4/4 Violin – Best for Older Students
Older students need a quality violin for learning how to play. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a violin, you might want to have a look at the Eastar EVA-2 4/4 full-size violin as it has plenty to offer you.
This violin has a maple wood neck. The fingerboard is made with pearwood. It comes with integrated fine-tuning pegs and an aluminum alloy strain plate for easy playing. This violin is made by hand and it has a smooth surface for a comfortable feel and improved tone. The tuning knobs are made with high-quality wood and they are easy to tune. It will stay in tune for a long duration, unlike other products.
This package comes with your violin, rosin, horsehair, violin bridge, shoulder rest, additional violin strings, hard case, and you also get a product warranty. For any student looking for a beginner 4/4 violin, the Eastar EVA-2 4/4 is a great option.
2. Cecilio CVN-300 – Best 4/4 Violin Kit for Higher Budgets
If you have a higher budget, and want a full 4/4 size violin, have a look at the Cecilio CVN-300, as it is an exceptional bargain for today’s practicing violin student.
This instrument has a solid spruce wood top. The sides, neck, and back are made out of maple. It is finished with an antique style varnish. It comes with an ebony fingerboard, tailpiece, chin rest, and pegs. The fine tuners are made with a nickel plate. It comes with D’Addario Prelude strings which give the instrument an excellent tone.
It comes complete with a lesson book, chromatic tuner, hard case, Mongolian horsehair, 2 brazilwood bows, shoulder rest, rosin cake, and one extra bridge. You get a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from manufacturer defects. For those that have extra money to spend on their violin, the Cecilio CVN-300 is worth a look.
3. Cremona SV-500 – Best Premium 4/4 Violin
For adults that are looking to purchase their first violin, have a look at the Cremona SV-500 Premier Artist which is a top-quality instrument.
Strings Magazine reviewed this violin and considers it to be a great choice for a first violin. You will get excellent tone quality out of this violin. It is made with flame maple and has an excellent reddish-brown of varnish finish. The top has been hand-carved with spruce which improves the sound. It is made at the Cremona workshop in California. It comes with premium US-made prelude strings, French-made bridge, Swiss-style ebony fittings, composite tailpiece, and Ebony fingerboard. First-time students are going to love this instrument.
4. Mendini Size 1/2 MV300 Size Violin – Best Package for Younger Students
Students under the age of 12 are normally not able to use a full-size violin because it is too large for them. It is recommended that younger students use a 1/2 size violin Such as the Mendini Size 1/2 MV300 which is a great option.
This violin has solid maple sides and back. It has a hand-carved solid spruce top which produces a great sound. It also features a satin antique finish for a unique look. The fingerboard is made with maple and it also has pegs and chin rest. The alloy tailpiece has four integrated fine tuners. It comes with horsehair, brazilwood bow, extra violin strings, quality rosin, two violin bridges, soft foam padding, adjustable shoulder rest, and soft rubber feet. You also get a form-fitting hard case, clip-on tuner, and a lesson book. This violin package has everything that a young beginner needs to get started.
5. Stagg VN-1/2 – Best 1/2 Violin for Modest Budgets
For those with a little bit more money to spend, you might want to look at the Stagg VN-1/2 for a young student or first-time player
This instrument has a spruce top with maple sides and back. It’s traditionally handcrafted, comes with an ebony fingerboard, and hardwood tailpiece. You get rosin, a bow, and it comes in a soft case. There is a rest for your chin and fine tuners for string adjustment. The instrument also comes in other sizes to meet your preferences. This is a good option for those with more cash to spend on a 1/2 size instrument.
6. D Z Strad Violin LC101 – Best 1/2 for High Budgets
For adults that want the 1/2 size violin, have a look at the Model LC101 by D Z Strad. Make an excellent first-time instrument.
The top of this violin is made with carved tight grain spruce. It comes with a maple back and sides. A fingerboard is made out of ebony so it is nice and smooth with excellent playability. It comes set up and ready to play it right out of the box. It features a composite tailpiece in the Wittner-style and four fine tuners. You get a sophisticated sound that rings nice and clear with this violin. accessories include a shoulder rest, Brazilian wood bow, case, and strings. If you have a little bit of extra money to spend, the Model LC101 by D Z Strad is an excellent instrument you will want to own.
7. No products found. – Best for Moderate BudgetsNo products found.
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For those looking for a moderately priced student violin, have a look at the Ammoon Mendini Size 3/4, which has a lot to offer you.
This is a full size 4/4 violin. The top board is made with white pine. It has maple wood for the backboard and sides. The surface has a special matte finish. It looks like an elegant and classical violin. It produces a great sound and it’s ready to play right out of the case. It comes with a wide number of accessories. You get a padded case, bow, cloth, two bridges, tuner, rosin, shoulder rest, and shoulder strap. you have everything you need to begin playing violin right away.
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8. D'Luca Violin 4/4 – Best for High Budgets
If you are in the market for a top-quality 4/4 violin, have a look at the D’Luca PROJBV44. It is an excellent instrument for an adult looking to get into violin playing.
It comes with a closed carved solid spruce top in dark brown. The sides and back are constructed with a tiger flamed maple wood. It has an ebony fingerboard, chin rest, and tuning pegs. The anodized metal tailpiece has four adjustable fine tuners. To protect your instrument, you get an SKB solid case. It also comes complete with chin rest, coarse hair bow, strings, and a tuner. For those that have some money to spend on their first violin, the D’Luca PROJBV44 is worth a second look.
9. SKY SKYVN102 1/4 Size – Best Low Priced 1/4 for Young Students
The Sky SKYVN102 is an excellent choice for a younger student. Here is what you get in this package.
The violin has a solid spruce top and flamed maple neck, sides, and back. It comes with a brazilwood bow. You get one violin case, set of strings, and a shoulder rest. It has been set up and ready to play right out of the box. The bow is made with horsehair and you get a cake of rosin. The case has a nice accessory compartment for your gear.
You also get a one year warranty against any manufacturer defects. This would make a great choice for the younger student.
10. Alice 4/4 Violin Strings – Best Low Cost Steel Strings
For those that want a small-sized 1/8 violin, have a look at the Amdini AC100The right solution for any young student.
It comes with solid maple back and sides. To improve the tone, it also has a handcrafted spruce top. It comes in several attractive colors that young students will love. There is a chin rest, pegs, and a maple fingerboard. The alloy tailpiece is integrated with four fine tuners. You get a Brazilwood bow that has unbleached genuine horsehair. It comes with a manual, adjustable shoulder rest, form-fitting case, rosin, and a clip-on tuner. You are covered with a one-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
11. SKY Solid Wood 1/10 Size – Best 1/10 Size Violin for Students
If you have small children, you will probably need a smaller size violin. The SKY Solid Wood 1/10 violin Would make an excellent choice.
It is set up and ready to go. It has a solid wood top and solid wood sides. You can get it in several different colors including natural, pink, and blue so it’s perfect for children. It comes with a lightweight case that is rainproof as well as shoulder straps. The case has an accessory compartment Ford sheet music and other gear. You get a Brazilwood bow with your violin that has unbleached Mongolian horsehair. You also get a cake of rosin to apply to your bow. For parents looking for a low-cost violin for their children, pick up the SKY Solid Wood 1/10.
When looking for the best beginner violin, you need to consider the arm length. Most younger children will need a violin that is under 4/4. Use the arm length guide in this article to make the right decision on the violin size. You can also talk to your local music store about the various violin sizes. Older children and adults for one of the 4/4 sized violin or maybe something a bit smaller depending upon their playing preferences.
For beginners, I recommend the Eastar EVA-2 4/4. This is the perfect violin for older students and you get a full violin kit complete with bow, case, and other supplies you need to get playing right away. If you have a larger budget, have a look at the Cecilio CVN-300. These violins also come in other sizes so you don’t necessarily have to get it the 4/4 for sized one.
For younger children have a look at the Mendini MV300. It comes in all sizes so you can find the perfect size for a young child. There is a wide range of accessories that come with it as well as such as rosin, bow, case, and other accessories that you need. Beginner adults with a bit more to spend should have a look at the Cremona SV-500. This comes in several sizes and you get an excellent case with it.
There are plenty of beginner violins on the market that make excellent choices. Make sure you pay attention to the arm length of your violin. This will be the critical factor as you want one that’s going to be the right size and comfortable for your own arm length. As you get better, you can upgrade to a higher quality violin.