It’s no surprise that when you decide to take violin lessons, you need a violin! It’s common for absolute beginners to rent a violin for a few months until they are sure they are ready to take the next step of buying their instrument. If you are in this stage, your next question is likely this: how much does a violin cost? Although violin prices can run the gamut from $100 to $100,000 and more, as a beginner, you need an instrument that suits your current abilities without being too pricey.
On average, you should budget anywhere between $400-$2,000 toward your violin cost. If that still seems like a wide price range, understand that there are various factors that will determine each instrument’s price, which are explained below.
Not every person is the same size, and not all violins are the same size, either! As you shop around, you’ll hear the terms “full-size” and “partial” (or “fractional”) size. Full-size violins are appropriate for most adults, while partial-size violins are used by children or smaller adults. The size in question refers to the length of the violin’s neck in comparison to the length of the player’s arms.
Partial-size violins generally do not cost as much as full-size violins for two reasons: 1) it accounts for children needing to trade in current violins for ones that fit their growing bodies, and 2) they often don’t produce the same quality of sound that a full-size violin can. Your violin teacher can help you determine the right size for you and demonstrate the difference in sound in each particular instrument.
Age and Maker
The age of the instrument can also play a role in determining violin cost. Typically, the older a violin is, the rarer it is, thereby increasing the price. But don’t be swayed simply by its age! The condition of the violin, such as cracks or excessive varnish wear, will affect its value, and consequently, its price.
Newer violins can be just as cheap – or expensive – as older ones. Luthiers who have studied at special violin making schools, and who have won awards for their crafts, can command prices as high as some rarer violins. Mass produced violins, either new or old, are not valued as highly and are priced accordingly.
And one more thing: violins are created based on styles, or templates. If you see a violin labeled as “Stradivarius” that is available at an affordable rate, then it refers to the template used to create the violin, and isn’t a creation by the master himself!
Chain stores, boutique stores, luthiers, second-hand stores, online auctions, newspaper classifieds, and more – there are many people who can sell you a violin. While you can negotiate a lower price with some of these sellers, you should only do so if you know exactly what you are looking for and how to recognize it, and if the seller has a well-documented policy of allowing returns without issue. Also keep in mind that for certain types of sellers, such as online auctions, they may not include a bow, case, or any accessories that you need to play the violin.
Though the violin cost may be higher at more reputable stores, you are also getting something else that is very important: knowledge. The seller will likely help you find the proper size violin and accessories you need, and you can return for help at any time.
Though it is often measured in dollars, when it comes to the violin, think of cost in terms of time, effort, and help as well, when deciding how much to spend.
The violin is not the only item you need to purchase in order to play. There are other necessities and accessories that you need to include in your violin cost, which may be in addition to the purchase price mentioned earlier. These include:
While there are other accessories that you may purchase later on, the ones above are enough to get you started. Also note that beginner violin setups often include several accessories (such as the bow, case, and rosin) in the purchase price.
What good is a violin if you don’t know how to play it? While you could use free online videos or violin software programs to give you an idea of the techniques you need to master, the optimal way of learning is with a qualified instructor. He or she will show you the proper way of holding your instrument and bow, explain and demonstrate the techniques involved, and correct minor issues before they become major ones. Lessons from a qualified instructor will yield a great return on your investment!
Deciding to learn how to play the violin is a commitment both in terms of time and financial resources. You need to allocate a certain amount of your budget toward initial upfront costs, and additional money for lessons and additional accessories as you progress. But as with anything, the time and resources you put into it will come back to you tenfold – and that includes making beautiful music!
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