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.
Our top recommended violin brands are listed here (more details below):
|Eastman||$$||Violin, case & bow usually included||Beginners – Intermediate|
|Stentor||$ – $$||Violin, case, bow, spare strings||Beginners – intermediate|
|Eastar||$||Violin, case, bow, spare bridge, rosin, pocket tuner||Beginners|
There are various factors that will determine each instrument’s price, which are explained below.
What Influences Violin Prices?
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:
- Extra strings
- Shoulder rest
- Violin books
- Music stand
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!
Wondering how to identify the parts of the violin? Find out in this helpful tutorial:
Our Student Violin Recommendations:
When deciding on your first violin, you will be met with a plethora of brands to choose from. Obviously, violin cost will be a significant deciding factor. It may be the case that you have a very limited budget so simply the cheapest option may be the best way forward for you. If you are in a position to stretch the budget a little then we can look at more options. Here are three brands that are worthy of close consideration.
Eastman violins are one of the most popular makes for beginners. However, the quality is such that even more advanced players will be satisfied with the range they offer. At entry level, students should consider the VL 80 or VL 100 models. These are well made violins using top quality materials and finished in a high gloss varnish. If your taste leans more towards a satin varnish then maybe consider the Giuseppe Galiano VL1G or the Ivan Dunov VL140. If a student feels they are already ready to step up a level, then they might want to take a look at the Josef H Regh VL 500 or the Jean-Pierre Lupot VL501.
In fact, Eastman offers a range of violins all the way to professional level and even has a range of electric violins too. Of course, a step up in quality will also mean a step up in violin prices. Eastman violins are not the cheapest on the market but, for a small outlay of a few hundred dollars, new students will be delighted with the quality. These violins are best purchased from a specialist violin shop and the price will likely include a case and bow too.
Stentor violins are another very popular make and they are one of the top manufacturers of stringed instruments around the world. Stentor pride themselves on their consistently high quality of instruments which includes a fine range of violas, cellos and double basses too. They have a total range of 34 different products but 6 of them are student violins. At entry level, students may want to consider the Stentor 1 violin outfit.
This is a very adequate violin for complete beginners that can produce a nice sound and is fitted with decent quality accessories such as the bridge and tailpiece. The pegs are made from very classy pau rosa wood from central Africa. This model comes in a vast array of sizes from full size all the way down to 1/64. As this is very much an entry level violin, it comes at an entry level price.
Those on a budget will be most satisfied with a violin price perhaps below $200. However, if budget allows, students may want to take a look at the Stentor II outfit, Conservatoire and Conservatoire II outfits and also the Graduate outfit. This might double your expense but obviously, you will get a higher quality instrument and still likely under $400. A case and bow will be included in the outfit and possibly spare strings.
Eastar violins are worth a mention as they will appeal to any students on a very limited budget. Like most violins, they are made from a combination of spruce and maple although the fingerboard, unusually, is made from pear wood and has points inlaid with Muscovite. This is designed to help new students find accurate placement of the fingers. Eastar offers four models for students to choose from; the EVA-1, EVA-2, EVA-3 and top of the range EVA-330. Please note the EVA-330 only comes in full size so would not be suitable for smaller children.
The other models can be found in smaller sizes down to ¼. The EVA-330 is an attractive, handmade instrument and the whole outfit includes two bows with Mongolian horse hair, an extra bridge, a spare set of strings, rosin, a pocket tuner and a hard case. Will this be the last violin you ever need to buy? Unlikely, as you will no doubt need to upgrade to a better quality violin as you progress. However, all violins in their range are excellent value for money as they can all be purchased for less than $100!
You may also like: Top 15 Student Violins
Violin Cost Will Vary Depending On Your Needs & Goals
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 violin costs like an instrument, bow, and rosin, 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!
Photo by lemonjenny