Whenever you start something new you shouldn’t be buying the top-notch equipment and the same can be said for the violin. Beginners can start out by renting an instrument and as they progress with their playing they can purchase a violin for sale later on.
As soon as that moment comes that you are going to browse violins on sale the primary focus is on the price of a good violin. It’s up to you whether you want to buy a new or used instrument but the price of a good violin can vary. Let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind for a high quality violin to match your price range.
What Determines the Price of a Good Violin?
The first thing you will want to do is determine how much your budget is, your needs, your current performance level and the level you want to reach. It will all depend on your requirements what the price of your first violin will be as well as the following factors.
Judging a violin’s quality on its brand name isn’t always the greatest decision but some brands have been known as higher quality instruments for a good reason. Violins are generally made by families who have been crafting them for many years. It’s important to check the reputation of the violin brand before you settle on a particular instrument. These instruments are made based on styles and templates so what may be labeled as a top-notch brand could end up being a low quality fake.
The way the violin has been made is probably the instrument’s most significant trait. The price will depend on the craftsmanship as well as how many years the wood has been aged for. The older the wood and the higher quality of the craftsmanship will usually mean the price is on the higher side.
Old, top-notch violin prices will be through the roof and these instruments are very rare. You may also find an older violin on sale that has cracks and wear which can affect the overall value. Renowned and experienced luthiers who are famous for their work make outstanding but expensive violins. Mass-produced violins on the other hand are not highly valued regardless of their age so tend to be much cheaper
Buying a brand new instrument is a great investment if you are planning to play the violin for many years to come. However, you may be able to find a higher quality used violin at a lower price. In fact, a used violin can cost between 30-50% less than a brand new model. It’s not recommended that you purchase any violin, new or old, without visiting a violin shop or reaching out for help from someone with the right experience. This is especially important for beginner violin seekers or student violins.
There are a few standard sizes of violin that are available on the market. In the end you will be playing a full size instrument, but as a beginner violin you may want to opt for something smaller. The size you choose will depend on the arm length of the person playing the instrument. The smaller the violin, the less they cost.
Your current playing experience will dictate the quality of the violin you need and therefore the price. You don’t need to purchase an expensive piece to become a brilliant player. A good idea would be to consult your violin teacher on a solid model that produces a decent sound that suits your needs.
There are so many different sellers of violins like online auctions, second-hand stores, music shops, luthiers and even boutiques. Sometimes you may even be able to haggle with a seller on the price. You should avoid anyone that doesn’t have a solid and well-documented return policy just in case. If you’re planning on using an auction site like eBay then these violins often don’t come with bows, cases or accessories.
Except for the violin itself, the overall price will depend on what is included in terms of accessories with your instrument. Cases, bows, extra strings, a shoulder rest and rosin all can be part of the violins sale price. All of these accessories are necessary to get you started and are vital to your playing.
The overall price of violins vary widely. The price ranges usually work in the following way:
$200 to $500
Cheap violins are usually found at the music stores. This is the general price for a beginner violin at an entry-level. These are typically mass-produced in China with a well-made structure but won’t come with any adjustments included.
$600 to $1000
Now the price range is going up you’ll get a better quality instrument. Although not true for every violin, most pieces in this range will have been hand-finished and will have been crafted from a high-grade wood. It’s a good idea to pick one of these for an intermediate player.
$1000 to $2000
Every violin that is in this price bracket should be hand-finished by an expert craftsman with high expertise levels. These are some of the best violins out there and will have more pleasing features than the cheaper models. The higher price also means the tones and overtones of the violin will be of good quality and sound much better too. Advanced students should be looking out for these violin brands.
$2000 to $3000
When you are a professional player you will start to consider the best violin workshops and makers that can improve your overall violin playing. A violin with this sort of price tag will have an improved sound quality but don’t tend to come with any accessories.
$3000 to $5000
A beginner wouldn’t notice much difference between these price ranges but a professional ear will notice the higher quality and sound improvements of this instrument. Usually a professional would have one of these violins as a back u for their more expensive piece.
$5000 to $10,000
European violins are common in this bracket and they are for semi-professionals who have over a decade of experience. You’re looking for a handmade piece that dates back to the 20th century.
Only around 2-3% of all violin sales are within this price range. These violins come from reputable makers and you should always test before your buy. Obviously, these aren’t suitable as a beginner violin and should only be considered by the professionals.
Tips for Choosing Your Violin
If this is your first time buying a violin below are some tips for you to keep in mind:
- Quality & Craftsmanship – The materials that are used to make your violin all have a big impact on the sound of the instrument. You want to look for a piece made from solid woods such as spruce or maple. It should be joined lightly and the instrument must have good symmetry. All of these things will determine the quality of the sound. The better the violin sounds when it’s played, the more likely it is that a beginner will want to continue to learn.
- Size – Selecting the right size violin for you is very important. An adult would use a full-size violin whereas children and young players will need something smaller. Playing on a violin that is the wrong size for you can seriously affect your technique and can also lead to neck, back and arm injuries. Take into account the age, body size, strength and hand shape of the person playing the instrument. If in doubt always go for a smaller size as this is better than playing on a bigger model.
- Price & Quality – Of course you want one of the best quality instruments for the lowest price. There are huge price ranges when it comes to violins so you always want to take into account the skill level of the violinist before opting for the big ticket purchases.
- Shop & Online – Some first-time buyers may not want to buy online because it’s always a good idea to try out the violin in a music shop first. However, this is a general rule for intermediate and advanced players who need a violin to match their particular preferences. Beginners will be fine with buying a violin online. Doing your research online can also help you to find the best price for your chosen violin as well as any accessories that it comes with. Be sure to opt for an online vendor that has a solid returns policy if you do choose to go this route in case the violin doesn’t match what you need.
- Rentals – A great option for a beginner violin is to rent it but it’s a tricky trap to fall into. Usually, if you rent a violin for a few months you’ll end up paying more than you would if you just bought one outright. However, if you’re not quite sure that the violin is for you and you just want to try it out for a couple of months then renting is a very good option. You can visit your local music shop to see if they can help and offer instrument rentals.
- Accessories – Everyone needs the accessories that come along with a violin in order to play. Things like strings, your bow and your rosin will all affect how good your instrument sounds. You will also need to purchase a case to keep your violin protected when it’s not in use. There’s a lot of violin outfits you can choose from that come with everything you need to start playing.
Tips for Buying a Violin
Buying a violin is a very exciting thing and now you know how to choose the right violin, let’s look at how to go about buying one.
- Visit a music shop – There are a lot of instruments available to buy online that come in lots of different styles and shapes. You should also try them out and give them a good listen before you decide on your final choice. A shop assistant in an instrument store can help you with the sizing and fitting as well as offering up valuable advice. All of these things are help you can’t get online.
- Read some reviews – Reviews should form a big part of your buying decision. Online reviews are everywhere and they can give you a good insight into how the violin plays and sounds before you buy it. Remember not to just take one opinion as some people can be biased towards certain brands and, of course, people have different preferences too. Read multiple reviews and build up a picture for the make and model you have your eye on before making any decisions.
- Stick to your budget – It’s so easy to get carried away when you’re in the moment with the excitement of an expensive violin. At the start of your journey set yourself a realistic budget that you can afford and stick to it. Ask for advice from your teacher, look at online prices and set yourself something reasonable. It’s important to stick to this budget otherwise you may end up buying an instrument that you won’t be able to take full advantage of for years to come.
- Buy a better bow – If you’ve got some cash spare in your budget the best upgrade you can get for your violin is to buy a better quality bow. The bow you choose should be lighter and easier to use than the one you have now. This will lead to a more comfortable experience than the one that came with your violin.
Why Are There Differences in Cost?
The price of these instruments will probably be something that will not only amaze you but frustrate you as you progress through your violin career. There aren’t any set criteria on what determines the cost of a violin either. Every store and dealer will set their own prices even though the manufacturer will always recommend a retail price for the instrument.
Violin costs are influenced by what level of instrument it is as well. Beginner, intermediate and advanced instruments all have a different price because the level determines the quality of the materials, the craftsmanship, the brand and tonal quality. At the highest level the price of a violin will be influenced by who made it and how rare a model it is. Some models are completely unique and have neven been reproduced which means the overall value reflects the rarity. Mass-produced and easily replaceable instruments are the opposite of unique and the price will reflect that also.
Next comes the quality of the craftsmanship and what materials have been used to make the violin. A violin with a lower price tag will often have been mass-produced in a factory. They probably won’t have been hand finished either. Further up the price brackets the instruments may have been artisan made and hand-built by a team of expert luthiers. You will end up paying more for the higher quality materials and the extra ability to change the tone and fit of the violin. You’ll also paying for the time it takes for the artisan to make the instrument which could tot up to hundreds of hours of work.
Experience Levels – Good Violin Price Tags
For a true beginner, you don’t want to be breaking the bank for a great violin. Learning to play the violin on a kids instrument is the best way to go. A lower quality instrument can still be good enough for a child to start learning. Around $100 is more than enough for a good piece until your child decides they want to play violin more regularly. You can also rent an instrument from a violin shop for anywhere between $23 to $43 a month.
Most of the best violin makers have at least one beginner’s model available in their catalog. If renting an instrument isn’t something you want to do you can purchase a good beginner model from $70 to $270. There are of course more expensive violins but you don’t need anything extravagant when you are first starting out. A used violin can still produce a good sound too. If you’re looking at used violins make sure to check for cracks and any damage. It would be great if the package included a case, bow and shoulder rest too.
The variations in price for intermediate violins are vast. On the cheaper end of the scale you can get a good intermediate violin for $350 which has a bow, case, shoulder rest and strings included. However, some of the handmade violins for this experience level can go up to $1,400.
Once you reach this level of playing you will know a good instrument from a bad one. You will also know exactly what you need out of your violin. At this stage, you want a master violin so you should be thinking about an instrument in the $3000 to $6000 range. The most expensive violins in this bracket are the well-preserved antiques that were made in the 1900s. This is because the maturity of the wood adds to the overall value of the piece.
Electric or electro-acoustic violins are the modern-day variant of the traditional violin. You can find excellent quality pieces starting at $170. Remember you will need to add in around $130 to buy a good quality amplifier to go along with it.
Caring For Your Violin
Now that you know what a good price is and are going to be buying your violin it’s important to know how to maintain and take care of it. Regardless of how much you have spent on it, regular maintenance is a habit you should get into. Here are some tips to keep your instrument in the best shape possible:
- Wash your hands before you play – Whenever you are going to practice your violin make sure to wash your hands and trim your nails. Every violin, no matter the price, has a senstitivity to the oils and other contaminants on your hands. Keeping them clean will prevent these from getting onto your violin.
- Wipe your instrument after playing – Always wipe your violin after you have played it. Grab a soft cloth and wipe the body, neck, pegs and fingerboard. Take another cloth and wipe down the strings. The varnish on the instrument influences how it sounds so you want to keep it as shiny as possible.
- Store the violin in the case – A case is an investment you will want to make, even if you are only just starting out playing. If your violin outfit came with a soft case then you should upgrade to a hard one. This will protect your violin from anything and everything you put it through. It also makes it safer to transport it.
- Loosen your bow – Before you put your bow away you should always remember to loosen the bow hair. This helps the bow maintain its natural elasticity and keeps the hairs straight. It also means you will be able to pull the hairs tighter when you need it.
If you have all the money in the world then, of course, you can purchase the most expensive and best violin that exists. But if not we hope that our price guide has helped you to find a good violin to suit your needs and budget.