When you are an advanced student of the violin you know that your instrument is your livelihood so you need to have a great brand. However, the market is constantly changing so keeping up to date with the current options can be difficult.
That’s why we’ve come in and taken a look at some of the best violin brands that professional players use now. We will give you our honest opinion on what’s good and not so good about each one to help you narrow down your choice. Remember that these models are suggested for advanced players and are not recommended as beginner violins.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Best Violin Brands for Advanced Students Review
1. D Z Strad Maestro Old Spruce Model 509 – Best Overall
The D Z Strad Maestro violin comes in at our top pick and is available in a wide range of sizes. This means that children who are advanced learners can still have a professional violin, with models down to one-eighth of the size of a normal violin. Unlike other violin brands, D Z Strad comes in with a seven eighths small size in an adult version as well. Of course, there’s a full array of full-size choices as well.
One of the features that make this the best violin is that it’s been completely handmade by the award-winning luthiers over at D Z Strad. Each quality violin has been finished in a mellow antique varnish which makes the instrument feel and look like a much older model.
All the tonewood materials used in the violin outfit have been naturally seasoned to a high quality. The top part of the violin has been made out of spruce from the Alpines in Italy. Each side and back of the instrument has been crafted from hand-selected pieces of maple.
Because of how meticulously the wood has been graduated the violin produces a rich and powerful tone that is elegantly refined also. The sound gives out depth, color and sophistication.
As the top Strad model, it has been strung with the iconic Thomastik-Infeld Dominant strings. The core of these strings are synthetic and they have been made up of several strands to create a soft and clear sound with a warm tone. Each string is flexible and a big plus point is that they won’t be affected by any changes in humidity.
In the violin outfit, you will also get a number of extras for your money. Included in the price are two bows, one with a carbon fiber material and one that has been made with Brazilwood. Both of these bows have a fleur-de-lis inlay that has been crafted from beautiful mother-of-pearl. The windings are also all beautifully and delicately detailed.
The shoulder rest is of decent quality made by FOM with the Pirastro Goldflex resin. All of the items included come in a hard case that has a fabric covering which is weatherproof.
This isn’t a violin for beginner players but it is an instrument that is pleasurable and responsive to play. Many violin teachers and private tutors use this Strad model including many teachers at the Suzuki school – a renowned school for violinists. The whole outfit also gives you incredible value for money.
There’s nothing here that we dislike particularly, although if you want a glossy finish then a different violin will probably be better. It only includes one adjuster that has been pre-installed and sits on the E string.
2. D Z Strad Model 326 – Best for Design
The 326 comes in at a higher price point than the 509 and is a copy of the famous violin made by Gasparo da Salo, an early maker of the violin. The D Z Strad Model 326 is based on one of the designs from the makers Adam Collection. Because it takes its roots from one of the earliest makers of the modern violin it really has an antique and authentic Italian feel. It won’t cost you nearly as much as an antique either!
Both the back and front plates of the violin have been made from an aged maple and has double purfling inlaid into it. The back of the violin is where all of the beauty lies with delicate flourishes traveling up and down the length of the instrument. It’s this pattern that shows the inspiration from da Salo.
A violin student will find the sound resonant, warm and with a lot of dynamic range. Once again you have Dominant strings made by Thomastik-Infeld. Because these strings are synthetic they are resistant to humidity so your violin won’t go out of tune if the conditions around you change.
The professional luthiers over at D Z Strad have set up a rock maple bridge. All you should need to do when you receive your violin is fine-tune the strings and ensure nothing has moved around during transit. You will also need to add in your own adjusters to the strings if you want them as only one is pre-installed for you.
As with many of the D Z Strad brands, this is part of a violin outfit. Included in this are two bows made out of Brazilwood and carbon fiber. Both of these have hand carved frogs embellishing the mother-of-pearl slider and there is also a fleur-de-lis inlay too.
One of the best parts of this outfit is the case. Overall it is striking in deep and bright blue paneling that is made out of weatherproof fabric. While the decadent flourishes on the instrument may not be to everyone’s taste, they make the student violin stand out from the crowd.
3. D Z Strad Model 220 – Best for Those on a Budget
If you aren’t looking to break the bank with your purchase of a student violin then there are models out there from top brands available at a much more affordable price. The D Z Strad Model 220 is one of these violins. This could be used as a beginner’s violin and for advanced students but we wouldn’t recommend using it in a professional capacity.
There are sizes available from 1/8 to full size so you can find the best fit for you. The top has been made from Engelmann spruce which has been seasoned and air-dried for at least a decade. The back and sides have been made from solid maple.
You will notice that the fingerboard has been crafted from ebony with the chinrest, pegs and tailpiece being made from boxwood. If lighter colors aren’t your preference then this probably won’t the musical instrument for you.
As with all Strad model violins you will get the Dominant Thomastik-Infeld strings. Because they have a synthetic core and are made up of multiple strands they are resistant to any stretching or retracting when the humidity around you changes.
As one of the best violins in the brands catalogue you will receive an adjuster with your instrument on the E-string. If you like to have a full set of adjusters then some retailers may be able to install these to your set of strings before they dispatch it.
These violins are of good quality for intermediate players and advanced students alike because they have been made entirely by hand. The varnish has also been applied by hand and has been laid on thinly so that the tone and sound aren’t affected. Here you will get a tone and sound that is sophisticated with plenty of depth.
As a D Z Strad model you can purchase the entire violin outfit which comes with a case, a bow, rosin and a shoulder rest. The latter is comfortable with a foam top and ergonomic curves. The base has been crafted from a polished wood that makes it look very sophisticated.
The Brazilwood bow features the brands classic ebony fitting – the frog. It also has the mother-of-pearl fleur-de-lis that appear on all D Z Strad bows. With the Pirastro Goldflex rosin you will get a good quality sound.
The hard black case included can help to protect your violin. It comes with a canvas cover to keep out moisture if you take your instrument on the go.
Overall this musical instrument is a great option if you need violins for beginners or something more advanced. The sound is mellow and it comes with a modest price tag.
4. D Z Strad Model 800 – Best Value for Money
Yes, it’s another D Z Strad but what can we say, they’re one of the best violin brands out there! However, this is the final D Z Strad model violin to feature on our list. The Model 800 is actually the most expensive one in the brands catalog as well. Compared to the antique Italian violins though it’s actually modestly priced.
You will only be able to purchase the Strad Model 800 in full-size and you will see of the brands familiar features pop up in this instrument too.
The maple and spruce top comes from the Italian Alps. All of the tonewoods used in the musical instrument have been used over a number of years so they’re assured to be fully seasoned before ever being used. The spruce is on the front panel while the maple features on the back and sides of the instrument.
The back of the violin has been made from two pieces of maple which has been intricately flamed for detail. The light, almost none existent varnish really brings out how beautiful the wood is without affecting the tone in any way. You can see that the creators have taken their inspiration from the violins of the past.
The bridge has also been made out of solid maple. Both the tailpiece and chinrest has been crafted from boxwood that is a deep brown color. The ebony fittings include the fingerboard and pegs, with the pegs turning smoothly and holding their position during use.
There’s only one adjuster in the tailpiece that sits on the E string. If you want the other strings to have adjusters you will need to purchase them separately from the violin outfit. Once again you have the high-quality Dominant strings which will always resist changes in humidity without succumbing to slack.
The sound the violin produces is rich and full, projecting incredibly well. Because of the level of projecting this violin would be ideal for concert halls. It comes completely set up for you but you should check the tuning and position of the bridge before you begin to play.
Included in the price is a hardshell case that has been fitted with a canvas cover. This provides top-quality protection against moisture and bumps. You will also receive a Brazilwood bow and well as some rosin to keep it maintained. Of course, you will see the mother-of-pearl fleur-de-lis and frog that is the signature of D Z Strad musical instruments.
5. Hiroshi Kono – Best In This Price Range
On the price scale the Hiroshi Kono comes somewhere between the D Z Strad Model 326 and 800. Each of the maple and spruce panels has been hand carved by Hiroshi Kono himself with the help of his two assistants, making this instrument truly unique. Bill Weaver, and American luthier, then refines the gradations to create a one piece instrument with impeccable tonality and sound.
Each Hiroshi Kono has a thin layer of varnish that enhances the look of the wood while still protecting its natural tone. The combination of rich wood and varnish gives the entire instrument an antique look that could be worth three times the price.
What makes this one of the best violin brands for a student is the high quality of the sound. It delivers boatloads of power in both the high and low registers. It’s responsive to the player’s touch and creates and full and expressive sound when played.
Much like many other violin brands that have been aimed at the professional student, it only comes with one adjuster which has been installed on the E string. If you like to have adjusters on every string you will need to buy a separate adjuster for each.
This isn’t a full violin outfit because it doesn’t come with any bows or accessories like other violin brands. However, you will receive a case included in the cost. You can also choose what hard case you would like from a variety of different color options. The cases are from renowned manufacturers such as Bobelock.
If a full outfit is what you’re after, which many advanced players are, this one won’t be the best choice for you. However, if you’re okay with buying your shoulder rest, Brazilwood bow and other accessories separately then you can choose ones which suit both your budget and playing style. It’ll probably take more time to do it this way but remember you’re still getting one of the best violins on the market today.
6. Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist Violin – Best Craftsmanship
Cremona is a brand that focuses mainly on beginners violins however their SV-1400 is the top of the range so it can be suitable for an advanced student. It’s around the same price as the 220 and 509 D Z Strad models so if you’re a professional student on a budget it’s well worth taking a look.
At first glance, you can see this is a very nice looking instrument. It has a maple back which has been flamed with the sides being made from maple as well. It also features a spruce top covered in a thin layer of varnish to give it that classic violin sheen.
You’ll see more maple being used in the bridge. Ebony fittings are included on the fingerboard and pegs. Both the tailpiece and chinrest have been crafted from boxwood. You will see four separate VP14 adjusters which are pre-installed into the tailpiece, making fine-tuning much easier for the student. The sound the set of strings produce is bright, clear and full in tone.
When you purchase this musical instrument it will come completely set up for you and has a set of VNS-150 Perlon strings which are crafted by Anton Breton. You don’t need to do anything when you first receive your instrument. Just make sure that the bridge hasn’t moved around and then give it a quick tune up and you should be good to go.
Included in the price are bow and case too. It’s a Brazilwood bow that was made by J LaSalle featuring Mongolian horsehair. It’s a well-balanced bow throughout the entire length. The case is also of high quality being the deluxe model TL-35 made by Travelite. It’s both well padded and robust as well as having a weatherproof cover for those rainy commutes. Inside you will find a luxurious forest green velvet lining that has room to hold four bows. It also has an integrated hygrometer so you can keep a keen eye on the humidity levels.
Inside of the case is a compartment which is ideal for storing your cleaning cloth, rosin and any other bits and pieces you need to be an advanced student. However, the case is a bit of a tight squeeze if you want to include a shoulder rest, even if you get one with collapsible legs.
If you have a few extra pennies to spend on accessories there are a few upgrade items you can get to create a more superior sound. Try replacing your strings with the Dominant ones and find a luthier to fit a more bespoke bridge for you. You’ll see much more superior results from the violin then, even at this lower price point.
The last thing we want to mention here are the pegs. Unfortunately, a lot of users find these tricky to tune as they can be stiff. All you will need to do in this event is to rub some rosin on the peg holes or use some Peg Drop to help them stay in place.
7. Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin – Best Student Upgrade
For almost the same price as the Horoshi Kono you could go for the Ming Jiang Zhu 909 violin instead. The brand has an excellent pedigree having been made in the workshop of Ming Jiang Zhu by the senior luthiers. They have won plenty of awards from the Violin Society of America including two international gold awards for the violins. Zhu passed away in 2014 but his son and brother-in-law continue to run the brand today.
With these musical instruments, you will find some of the best violin tones ever. They produce warm, full and rich sounds that are reminiscent of the Italian violins from hundreds of years ago. In blind testing the 909 actually beat some of the more expensive violins when used by advanced players.
However, this is a new violin on the market. As you play it more and more the tone will begin to develop and open up. After you play it regularly for a few weeks you will notice a significant improvement in the volume and tone of the instrument.
As well as having a high quality sound output the look of the instrument is beautiful as well. It is made from a combination of spruce and maple. The back is made from flamed maple like the sides with a spruce top. It includes ebony fittings such as the ebony fingerboard, with the boxwood being the chosen material for the chinrest, tailpiece and pegs. As with most violins the varnish is applied in a thin layer to give it a lustrous sheen that won’t affect the sound of the instrument.
Because the word has got out how good this violin is, particularly amongst advanced students, the result has been that many fakes have permeated the market. When you go to purchase this instrument make sure you are getting the evidence that tracks it back to the workshop. Also remember that these aren’t recommended as beginner violins and are better used by advanced players.
Even though this is one of the best violin options on the market, the violin is the only thing included in the price. You won’t find any Mongolian horsehair bows or shoulder rests with this option. You will need to find those accessories separately. If you choose to purchase these quality violins through Fiddlerman they will throw in a case for free with a choice of options available.
8. Cecilio CVN-700 – Best for Durability
Cecilio is one of the brands many beginners and advanced students go for because they have a reputation for producing high quality violins for all sorts of skill levels. The reason why so many people love these violins is that they use great wood, mainly crafting using spruce and maple. They also use ebony fittings which give it an finish.
A lot of effort has gone into the Cecilio CVN-700 with hand carved details, making each instrument truly unique. As well as looking great that also have incredible durability which is something you want from a violin. The Cecilio CVN is one of their best models for professional and advanced players.
The violin comes with a maple back and sides completed with a spruce top made from solid grain. The finish is done with a semi hand rubbed oil and the fingerboard, chin rest, pegs and tailpiece are crafted from ebony. As an intermediate or advanced student this should definitely be on your list.
Included in the price are two Brazilwood octagonal bow which has been strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair. The case is a deluxe hard case that has a compartment for your accessories as well as a strap for easy carrying. As well as the bows and case you will also receive a Cecilio 92D chromatic tune with a metronome included in the violin outfit. You can advance your learning with the lesson book that comes with the violin.
If you have a problem with your violin bridge then it can be easily replaced with the two extra bridges in the package. Strings broken? No problem. An extra set is in the pack so you can replace them easily. You can attach the shoulder rest easily to the instrument and the bows can be maintained using the rosin bar.
9. Louis Carpini G2 Violin – Best Violin Outfit
The Louis Carpinin G2 Violin comes from the Kennedy Violin brand which are quickly becoming popular amongst the violin manufacturing industry. This is down to the high quality of their products and their violins being hand made. The finishes also add a touch of excellence which you will only get from professional musical instruments.
This violin gives out a warm and original tone that is made to a high quality. It comes in one piece, already assembled so you don’t need to mess around with strings and pegs. It has been crafted from a strong combination of maple and spruce that adds a lovely tone to the student violin. Each of the ebony fittings are 100% genuine and each one has an oil finish. Included in the outfit for the product is a Brazilwood bow and a hard case for storage. You will also receive a classical music prelude and a block of rosin included in the price.
10. Yamaha V3 Series Student Violin – Best in Brand
Yamaha make a huge array of different instruments which is why they have become a household name in the music industry. Even though they started out making pianos they quickly branched out and now make a full range of great violins. Notably, Yamaha are also well known for their electric violins and make some of the best on the market if this is an avenue you want to explore.
Many of their violins have been handmade to a high quality, which means they won’t come without a hefty price tag. Paying out a large amount of money like this means the instruments aren’t ideal for beginners.
The V3 Series is the top pick in the Yamaha brand. It’s been crafted out of strong and resilient woods, with the pegs, fingerboard and chin rest being made from ebony. The tailpieces are easily adjustable so tuning is a doddle. It comes with a fitted case, a basic bow and rosin included in the price.
Considerations When Buying a Violin
There are a lot of different factors that go into choosing your perfect violin. What may be the best option for one student could be wrong for another. Consider the following things instead of just going straight for the brand names.
- Price – Every student is on a limited budget so price is a really important factor to consider. Choosing a brand that gives you a lot of bang for your buck, like including accessories, can be a good idea if you don’t have unlimited amounts of cash to spend. Some brands are better known for their high quality violins but these come at incredibly high prices. There are still brands out there that offer up quality instruments for a decent price, so don’t be perturbed by this. Always consider what your budget is while making sure your choice is of high quality. This is something you shouldn’t try to sacrifice for affordability.
- Accessories and Parts – Something else you need to take into consideration is what is included in the violin outfit. You can buy violins which include parts and accessories. As well as bows and cases some manufacturers will include an extra set of strings and rosin in their packages. You may end up spending more though if the accessories included aren’t up to a good standard.
- Varnish and Finish – How your violin looks and feels is super important. A violin should be shown off with pride amongst fellow students and musicians. If looks are something you want in a violin then there are some makers who focus on the precision to detail. It’s crucial to avoid any manufacturer that lacks care in their work.
- Popularity and Customer Reviews – Research is key to making any sort of big ticket purchase. Read reviews such as this one as well as different buying guides to get a good feel for what you are buying. You’ll cut plenty of the hard work out if you see how other users are doing with their instruments. From online reviews you can glean a lot of useful insight into the instrument and if it is the best violin for you.
Now you’ve got an overview of some of the best violin options out there for advanced students you can make a more informed choice. Brand is always important when you want to buy a violin and not every violin is going to suit every student. That’s why we came up with this guide in the first place, as well as giving you some of the factors you should consider. Above all, the instruments we have included in this list will meet your needs depending on what budget you have.
One of the best things you can do is ask your instructor or teacher what they think the best choice of violin is for you. They will be able to grade your skills and suggest an upgrade that is suitable for your needs.