Best Violin Brands for Beginners: A Buying Guide

If you or a loved one is just starting out to playing the violin it can be difficult to choose the right brand. There are a lot of options out there and some of the prices may make your eyes roll. Because it’s a beginner’s instrument you will want to find the best fit for your budget without compromising on a quality violin. Plus you want a violin that will last the test of time and keep its value too.

So how do you go about getting one of the best violin brands without breaking the bank? To help guide you through this difficult process we’ve got five of the top brands for beginner violins. We’ve also included some handy tricks and tips in our guide to help you successfully purchase a student violin.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks..

What to Consider with Beginners Violins

There are a few things you will need to keep in mind when you are purchasing a violin for beginner students. Below is an overview of all the information you will need while searching for your beginners violin.

  • Budget – Before you even begin searching for beginner violins you will need to make sure to set a budget. A high quality instrument can cost you a lot of money, with the better ones starting out at around $500. The prices only go up from there but it will all be dependent on the brand you choose. You should also keep in mind that you will have to buy accessories for the instrument like a bow and violin case so you will need to add these to your budget. By setting a realistic budget right from the start you can significantly narrow down your violin search by taking out any instruments that aren’t going to fit within your price range.
  • Quality – When you are looking for student violins you need to know what sort of quality to find as well. The last thing you want is to spend good money on an instrument with poor sound quality. Quality violins will have solid construction and structure. This means that any good quality violin will not warp with time or make noises when you apply some pressure.
  • Used or New – When you purchase any type of musical instruments you always have the option of buying brand new or finding one that has been used. Those with a tighter budget may benefit more from purchasing a violin that has been used before because they tend to be cheaper. Whatever you choose to do always make sure to do your research into the instrument so that you know it’s a good violin in solid condition.
  • Size – There are a lot of different violin sizes and you will need to choose one based on the person who is playing it. Children’s sizes range from 3/4 to 1/32 so you will need to measure a student if you are planning on buying a child’s violin. To measure them you can take their left arm fully extended, then measure from the base of their kneck to the wrist or to the center of their palm. Taking a neck to wrist measurement will be more accurate and will let you know the most comfortable violin size for that particular student.

Different Playing Levels

Beginner Violin for Students

A student beginner violin will more than likely be made of a lower quality wood and will allow you to use less handwork when playing. These violin brands will usually have parts made out of plastic like the chin rest or the pegs. Violins for beginners are great for anyone who is just interested in learning the instrument but aren’t sure whether this will be a long term hobby. The price for a beginner violin can vary but will usually be in the $100 to $400 range.

Intermediate Student Violins

The next level up from a beginner violin is an intermediate one. These are a great middle of the road instrument that bridges the gap between beginner and professional instruments. Of course, these violins come with a higher price tag in the range of $400 to $1000. An intermediate violin would be best for a musician who is progressing with their playing and wants something with better sound quality than a beginner violin but still doesn’t want to spend too much.

Professional Student Violins

The top quality violin will, of course, be those instruments made to be played by the pros. These violins are typically built from a very high quality wood and will also usually be hand crafted and assembled by a luthier. All of the components will be of a high quality as well, like an ebony fingerboard. These instruments aren’t appropriate for beginners as they are made for advanced students and professional players. Some of the best brands can set you back $4000 to $10,000 so it’s a real lifetime purchase that you will need to consider carefully.

Buying In Store vs Online

Obviously these days you can buy anything you want online so this may be the avenue you are considering when purchasing a violin. Here we are going to give you some pros and cons to help you decide whether you want to purchase violin brands online or in store.

In Store

Pros

  • Test the violin – One of the best advantages of buying a beginner violin in a music store is that you are able to try out the instrument before you make the purchase. It’s a common thread amongst beginners that they visit a music store and want to purchase one of the best violin brands out there. You will want to test out the strings before you make such a big purchase. Most music stores will have practice rooms for the very purpose of trying out different violin brands. Also a lot of shops are open to letting beginners and students borrow a high quality violin for a number of weeks to try it out.
  • Knowledge from the staff – If you’ve never bought a violin or any sort of instrument before then we would recommend visiting your local music store for the staff knowledge. The staff members who are on the shop floor will have knowledge of the best brands and can help match you with the perfect beginner violin.

Cons

  • Limit on choices – Having done some research you may have a particular violin brand in mind when you visit the store. Music stores tend to only carry a limited number of brands in their inventory so you may struggle to find the one you want.
  • Higher prices – Because of the lack of inventory that most music stores have, they also have to charge more. This is due to their infrequent sales and a small amount of stock. If you’re on a tight budget then you may want to shop around to find the best price for your particular violin brand.

Online

Pros

  • No pressure shopping – When you shop for the best violins online you won’t be pushed or bombarded into making a purchase by staff on the shop floor. A lot of salespeople will try to sell you the most expensive instrument they have in stock which may not be the best choice for you. Online you will be able to read reviews and recommendations as well as shop in peace from the comfort of your own home.
  • Bigger inventory – An online retailer for violin brands tend to have a bigger inventory than you would find in a music store. If one site doesn’t have the particular brand you want you can always go to another site to find what you want.

Cons

  • More risk – Whenever you make a purchase online there’s always a risk you won’t end up with exactly what was advertised. Some websites will try and coax inexperienced buyers into buying a violin they say is of high quality but actually isn’t in real life. If you do want to purchase the best violin online then you should visit a site that features certified dealers so you can make sure you are buying the best violin for your needs.
  • No try before you buy – If you’ve picked out a couple of violin brands that you like you don’t have the option to try them out to find the best one if you are buying online. In this eventuality, you may end up buying two violins and sending one back or not get one of the best choices for your money.

Top Violin Brands

Now we’re going to look at the best brands for budding violinists and the advantages of each.

Stentor

Stentor are quality makes of student violins and they’re definitely at the top of our list of brands. The prices range from $150 to $180 but with the higher price tag comes a well-built and reliable instrument. All of the violins come with well-made fingerboards and pegs. They also have a range of intermediate violins so when you are ready to upgrade you can move up to the next option in their catalog.

Knilling

Knilling violins have been popular amongst teachers and students alike for many years. As well as the hand-made and high quality craftsmanship, the violins also include a unique peg design that are optimal for tuning your instrument. Unlike your standard friction pegs a Knilling violin is fitted with their bespoke Perfection Pegs. Inside the peg is a 4:1 gear reduction that makes tuning a lot quicker and much more precise too. For their beginners model you will be looking at spending around $500.

Cremona

Cremona is another one of those affordable yet reliable brands for violins. Each one of their instruments has been specifically designed to meet the needs of beginner and intermediate students alike. They use high quality woods and many of their models feature a spruce top with a maple back. The company take a strong stance on quality control, employing 22 staff members to take on the task of ensuring every violin is of a high quality. Beginner violins from this brand start at around $300.

Cecilo

Cecilo is another brand that comes recommended by violin teachers. The instrument comes pre-strung and the bridge has already been attached so you won’t need to mess around assembling all of these things yourself. Each violin that is sold by this brand has been rigorously tested to ensure they are fit for playing and purpose for you. Most of their violins have a spruce top and a maple back with top notch ebony making up their fittings. For the beginner’s version of their instruments, you will be spending around $200.

Mendini

Mendini have been hailed for their beginner and intermediate violins that are ideal for students. They come at the lower price of $199 and this price tag is due to the fact that these violins have been factory made. Although they are on the lower end of the price scale they are still a durable violin but you probably will need to replace the strings at some point.

Top Beginner Violins

Violins vary by the level of experience you have. Some are made specifically for beginners and have been designed to suit someone who is new to the instrument. Most of the best violin brands out there will have a variety of styles ranging from beginner to professional, with each one designed to suit what your playing needs are.

So, what are some of the best violins for a beginner from these big brands? While this question is kind of subjective, we’ve put together a list of some of the best violin brands based on reviews, recommendations and sound quality.

1. Stentor 1400

Other, 4-String Violin, 4/4 (1400A2-4/4)

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The first violin for beginners comes from the brand Stentor. You’ll see this name pop up a few times in our list because it’s one of the best brands for beginner violinists. The 1400 is a classic beginner’s violin and also comes in children’s sizes. It includes everything you will need to start playing as the bow and a lightweight case have been included in the price.

This solid student violin has been made from maple with a spruce top. It looks great and will give any beginner the feeling of a real violin for a fraction of the cost of a professional model. The fingerboard has been crafted from blackened rosewood which is a good material to make them from. It might not be the best in terms of sound quality but for a starter instrument, it’ll get the job done.

Pros:

  • Available in a range of sizes that are suitable for children
  • Affordable price
  • Case and bow are included in the cost

Cons:

  • Strings are of a low quality
  • There’s no rest included.

 

2. Stentor 1500

Stentor, 4-String Violin (1500 4/4)

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Another Stentor violin, this one is one of the best choices if you are a teenager or adult who is learning violin for the first time. It’s a good full-size musical instrument that has been hand carved with all of the ebony fittings you would expect to see in the pricier violins. It’s been made from solid maple and spruce, both of which are a strong wood that produce a nice tone to the instrument. You’ll find that most violins have been made from maple and spruce because they are practical and have a positive impact on the quality of the sound.

The Stentor 1500 looks great too, with a clear lacquer finish and a fiery red color. Both a deluxe case and a bow are included with your purchase as well as an instrument blanket and a compartment for your shoulder rest.

This is probably the best violin on our list in terms of sound and you can actually produce a good tune on it which is not possible on every budget violin out there.

Pros:

  • Produces a good sound for the price
  • Affordable
  • Comes in full-size
  • Deluxe case and bow included
  • All fittings are made from ebony

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a shoulder rest

 

3. Crescent Starter

Crescent 4/4 Full Size Student Violin Starter Kit(Bow, Rosin, Case, Music Stand, Shoulder rest, E-Tuner

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Another great beginner brand for a budding violinist is Crescent. The Crescent Starter is ideal if you are an adult beginner that isn’t particularly bothered about the quality of the violin. This is just a violin that works on the most basic levels. It’s super cheap and is also good value for money because you get a bow, a case, rosin and a tuner included within the price.

The look of the violin makes it seem like it should be a lot more expensive than it actually is. Even though you’ll never be able to play advanced songs on it, the look and feel of it is beautiful. If you’re someone that takes on hobbies then loses interest within a few weeks then this is the choice for you. It’s so great that there are choices like this out there so that anyone who wants to try their hand at violin can do so without having to spend a fortune.

Pros:

  • Full size adult violin
  • Great student violin for beginners
  • Affordable at a low price with lots of accessories included

Cons:

  • Quality of the sound is low

 

4. Stentor 1401PK Harlequin

Other, 4-String Violin, Black, 4/4 (1401BK-4/4)

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How can you encourage kids to play the violin? The answer we have here is get one in a bright color! If you’re trying to encourage your mini maestro to pluck those strings or you just enjoy standing out from the crowd, the Stentor 1401PK Harlequin is a superb choice. The violin is available in pink, black, blue and purple. It looks amazing and you’ll definitely have the coolest instrument ever.

When you purchase this violin you will also receive a bow as well as a lightweight grey case for safe storage. The size of the violin is 3/4 so it’s a good kids size that will serve them well for a few years before upgrading to the full size musical instruments in the future.

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of cool colors
  • 3/4 size suitable for kids
  • Includes a case and bow

Cons:

  • Can be quite squeaky when playing higher notes
  • Quality of sound isn’t great

 

5. D Z Strad Model 100

D Z Strad Violin Model 100 with case, bow, shoulder rest, and rosin (1/2 - Size)

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The DZ Strad Model 100 is a good beginner’s violin. It produces a nice and full tone and the feel of the instrument is of a high quality. The violin even comes with gold plated fine tuners which add a nice decadent feel to the piece.

As one of the higher quality violins on the market you’ll find that this model is fitted with D’addario strings and rosin which is probably one of the best brands for these accessories. It is available in a range of sizes so is suitable for children and adults alike. You will also receive a bow and a case included in the price. The chin rest, pegs and fingerboard have been crafted from good quality ebony that is solid and reliable.

This is a good basic beginners violin that gives you exactly what you need as a newcomer to the instrument. It doesn’t offer up much more than that though. It sounds alright and the feel is okay. It does the job and what it says on the tin, plus yu get a bow and a case thrown in for your price.

Pros:

  • Lots of different sizes available
  • Good quality D’addario string and rosin
  • Comes with a bow and case
  • Very affordable
  • Solid ebony fittings

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a rest

 

6. Aileen Solid Wood Ebony

Aileen “Premium Beginner' Series Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size Solid Wood Ebony Fitted for Kids Students, Teachers Approved

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The next instrument in our list is the Aileen Solid Wood Ebony. It’s a nice looking piece that any newbie to the violin would be happy with. The sound and tune is nice and all in all it’s a very pleasant instrument. You get all of your accessories included such as a bow, a rest, rosin, a hard case and stickers for your fingerboard.

The hard case that comes with the violin is resistant to water which is brilliant because the last thing you want is for your instrument to get wet in a sudden rainstorm. You can carry it with the handle or with the backpack attachment which makes it easy to take to your lessons or to orchestra practice. On the side of the case is a big pocket where you can keep all your pens and sheet music. The violin has been strung with D’addario strings which help to enhance the tone of the instrument.

This is a wonderful violin for beginners and comes in lots of different sizes. Each one has been hand carved which beautiful details so it really is a piece to show off.

Pros:

  • Range of sizes suitable for children and adults
  • All violin accessories included
  • Case is hard, lightweight and resistant to water
  • Strung with good quality D’addario string

Cons:

  • Couldn’t find any

 

7. Cremona SV-150

Cremona SV-150 Premier Student Violin Outfit - 4/4 Size

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Next up is a hand crafted violin that is the beauty queen of the show. The Cremona SV-150 looks amazing and has been finished in a dark varnish. It’s one of the most beautiful and good looking violins out there for beginners. If you want a violin that makes you look like a pro then this is definitely well for you.

You can purchase this Cremona brand violin in 1/2 or 4/4 sizes. It also comes with a lightweight case, rosin, a bow, fingerboard stickers, an e-tuner and a polishing cloth. You should use the cloth to wipe down your violin and the strings after each use so that it stays nice and shiny.

The pegs, fingerboard and chin rest have been hand crafted from ebony that makes it feel like a higher quality instrument. All of the ADM violins come with a one year warranty in case anything goes wrong.

Pros:

  • Beautiful dark varnish finish
  • Bow, case, e-tuner, polishing cloth, rosin and more included
  • Available in two different sizes
  • Has a one year warranty
  • Parts are made from quality ebony

Cons:

  • Strings are of a low quality so could be better

 

8. Cecilio 4/4 CVN-EAV+SR

Cecilio CVN-EAV Ebony Fitted Solidwood Violin in Varnish Antique with Deluxe Oblong Hard Case Size 4/4 (Full Size)

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For a darker and more dramatic look this violin is by far the best choice. It’s super dark finish will appeal to older players and the coloring is something very unique. There are both 3/4 and 4/4 sizes available and you will receive a bow, a rest, rosin, a bridge and a deluxe oblong hard case with your purchase. The bow has been strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair which is also a great asset for this instrument. The case has been fitted with a hydrometer so you can measure the humidity in the air and use it to protect the strings.

The tone of the instrument matches the dark and intense look of the wood and you’ll also get a one year warranty with it so it’ll stay that way.

Pros:

  • Beautiful dark varnish finish
  • Includes everything you need to start playing
  • Case has a hydrometer to measure humidity so strings aren’t compromised
  • One year guarantee
  • Bow has been strung with quality Mongolian horsehair

Cons:

  • Can’t find any

 

9. Cecilio CVN-300 – Best Violin Outfit

Cecilio Violin For Beginners - Beginner Violins Kit For Student w/Case, Rosin, 2 Bows, Tuner, First Lesson Book - Starter Musical Instruments For Kids & Adults Size 4/4 Color Varnish

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The Cecilio CVN-300 is the last beginner’s violin we have on our list. Cecilio violins are so good for beginners because they come with loads of accessories included in the price. With this instrument, you will get two bows, a high quality rosin, an extra bridge, an adjustable rest, a chromatic tuner and a lesson book. Plus it’s been strung with the best quality D’addario Prelude strings.

There are a variety of sizes available ranging from 4/4 to 1/2. The solid maple and spruce top has been finished off in beautiful antique varnish. Not only do you get great value for money because of all the extras included it’s also a good violin that’s playable. The manufacturer hands out a one year warranty against any defects as well which shows just how solid the instrument is.

It’s obvious that Cecilio have done everything within their power to make a high quality violin that includes everything you need to get started playing. It comes at a very affordable price and you won’t have to compromise on quality which is rare with instruments these days.

Pros:

  • Available in a range of sizes
  • Strung with high quality D’addario Prelude strings
  • Comes with a one year warranty
  • Everything you need to start playing is included in the bundle

Cons:

  • We couldn’t find any

Final Thoughts

We hope you found our guide to the best violin brands for beginners useful and that you’ve learned a little something about finding high quality violins. Happy playing!

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