Violin Buying Guide

The violin is the soprano instrument among the stringed instruments. It has a hollow wooden body and four strings. The sound of the violin can range from bright and lively to solemn and mellow.

Violins have been around for centuries and are still relevant today. Whether classical music, film music or contemporary music violins have a variety of uses. The violin is the soprano instrument among the stringed instruments. It has a hollow wooden body and four strings. The sound of the violin can range from bright and lively to solemn and mellow.

The sound is produced by drawing a bow across the strings or plucking the strings with the finger. Musicians can change the pitch of the notes by moving their fingers up or down the fretboard over the strings. The violin has a wide range of notes, and up to thirty violins play in an orchestra, depending on the piece, meaning there are more violins in an orchestra than any other instrument.

Acoustic vs. Electric Violins

In the traditional acoustic violin, four strings are stretched from tuning pegs to a tailpiece over a bridge made of maple, which transmits the sound vibrations to the top. While there are electric pickups that can be installed in an acoustic violin, a true electric violin has built-in pickups to amplify the sound. To avoid feedback caused by resonance in the hollow body of the violin, electric violins usually have a solid body and are often minimalist in design to reduce weight.

An acoustic violin produces warm, rounded tone thanks to the natural resonance of its tonewoods. The electronic signal generated by an electric violin can be tweaked and enhanced, but it will generally produce a brighter, more raw sound than its acoustic counterparts. Classical and folk musicians tend to prefer acoustic instruments, while rock and jazz musicians lean more toward electric violins. Thanks to their plug-and-play capability, electric violins are a good choice for musicians who play with amplified bands.

If you’re shopping for a new player, consider the style of music they prefer or will play the most. If your teenager, for example, is learning classical violin, but really likes the look of an electric violin, they will likely be more motivated to actually play an electric one (and he will be able to practice very quietly). Acoustic and electric violins have similar playing dynamics, so transitioning from one to the other is not too difficult.

Things to consider when choosing a violin

Categories of violin

In addition to the student, intermediate, and professional categories, individual violins are also referred to as master or advanced. There are no clear, universally accepted standards for any of these categories.

Manufacturers and luthiers all have their own standards, but the classifications themselves can serve as general guidelines to help narrow your search.

  • Student Violins

Generally, a student violin is made from lower quality woods and requires much less hand carving, assembly and finishing. They usually have plastic parts such as tuning pegs and chin rests.

These instruments are well suited for someone who wants to learn, but is not yet sure if they will be playing for a long time. They range in price from $100 to $800.

  • Intermediate Violins

The gap between student and professional instruments is filled by violins classified as “intermediate”. Some stores and brands omit this category and only distinguish between student and professional violins.

However, it is a helpful category for musicians who know they need something better than a beginner instrument, but aren’t ready to invest thousands of dollars in a professional violin. Students who are progressing in their skills are typical buyers of intermediate violins.

Professional Violins

Professional or master violins, on the other hand, are made from cold-grown and slow-dried woods, handcrafted and assembled by a master luthier, and fitted with high-quality components such as an ebony fingerboard and a wooden tailpiece.

The excellent materials and refined artistic skills that go into these instruments enhance their value and make them suitable instruments for professional and aspiring advanced musicians.

Quality materials and craftsmanship

Even if you buy a violin for beginners, there are some quality features you should pay attention to. Nevertheless, you should consider all the components of the violin individually, as each one has a significant impact on the sound quality.

First, check the neck of the violin. Ideally, it should be comfortable for your hands. A neck that is too thick or too thin is evidence of poor workmanship and will prevent you from feeling comfortable while playing. Another component of the violin where size matters is the bridge. A thick bridge will primarily muffle the sound of the violin. There may also be issues with the height of the bridge or the spacing between the strings.

Next, check how the bridge is placed on the violin. It should either be upright or at a slight angle to the back. Any other orientation will cause problems when playing the instrument. Of course, in order for the bridge to be upright, the feet that come with it must fit perfectly on the violin body underneath.

Violin Care and Maintenance

The best violin is the one that is best cared for. Make sure your violin and its accessories are stored in a case when not in use, and that they are stored in mild temperatures and moderate humidity. Keep a lint-free cloth handy to wipe your violin with after each use.

This will prevent your skin’s natural oils from damaging the body of the violin. If you choose to rent a violin, you will be liable for any damage to the instrument, so proper care and cleaning of the instrument is especially important.

Getting the size right

The easiest way to fall in love with playing the violin is to feel comfortable doing so. The wrong size instrument can cause physical pain while playing, which is sure to make the beginner give up practicing – or stop playing altogether! Violins come in sizes that are measured in fractions.

A full size violin is given as 4/4. Other common sizes are ¾, ½, and ¼. There are much smaller sizes (including 1/8, 1/10, or 1/16) that are on the shelves at Simply for Strings.

Chin and Shoulder Rest Considerations

The chin rest should fit the player’s chin and be placed so that it is not uncomfortable. Ideally, the accessories should be chosen so that playing feels natural. Likewise, a good shoulder rest is important for beginners to have a good posture.


The bow of a violin serves to create the music. Drawing the bow across the strings causes them to vibrate and thus create resonance and sound in the violin body. Bows sometimes come with a violin, especially beginner violins, but they can also be purchased separately, so they do not necessarily come together. The bow should be in relatively good shape, and without cracks.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Although buying the violin itself is a very important part, there are a number of accessories that are necessary to make the violin playable. For example, a violin cannot be played without a proper violin bow.

Most violinists choose to attach a chin rest to their violin, which makes playing more comfortable. If your violin does not already come with a case, you will need to purchase a separate case to keep your violin from getting dusty and damaged, as well as extra strings, cleaning cloths, and a humidifier.


Unlike other major purchases, there are generally not many trusted brands when buying a violin. This is partly because violins are not mass produced like cars or kitchen appliances. The process of making a violin, even a student violin, can take many years.

The most famous violin maker is Antonio Stradivari, but there are many other violin makers, including Karl Willhelm and Otto Benjamin. Most violins have a label indicating the luthier who made the instrument.

Look out for good quality materials

  • Pegs

Ebony, rosewood or boxwood. Note that some cheap Chinese instruments pretend to have pegs made of boxwood, but actually use a type of walnut that is of inferior quality. Pegs that are labeled “ebonized” (cheap wood painted black) are useless and should be avoided.

  • Varnish

On cheap violins, the varnish is usually a thick, glossy, smooth polyurethane. This varnish prevents the instrument from vibrating because it is too hard. Look for a violin with a high-quality varnish based on oil or spirit.

  • Strings

Look for high quality student strings, not thin Chinese factory strings. Dogal Red Label and D’Addario Prelude brands are both good beginner strings.

  • Bow

Always look for real horsehair, not synthetic hair.

  • Bridge

The bridge should be cut to the correct thickness, height and spacing between the strings. Bridges on simple beginner instruments tend to be rough cut, but remember, the thicker and heavier the bridge, the more the sound will be muffled. The feet of the bridge should fit the violin perfectly and the back of the bridge should be perpendicular to the belly of the instrument or slightly tilted back.

Price Range and Quality

Price ranges for beginner violins can vary, but ideally you should spend between $500 and $600 for the complete set. An advanced violin usually starts around $1,500 and is a more dynamic instrument that can produce a wider range of tone colors and volume if the musician desires.

Professional violins can cost several thousand dollars, up to millions for an antique piece. How much you should spend on your first violin is a very personal decision. Our advice is to spend as much as you can without breaking the bank.

Strings and Accessories

The quality of a violin’s strings should not be underestimated. Strings are to a violin what an engine is to a car. The best sound is usually achieved with perlon core strings, a type of nylon that produces a warmer, fuller tone, and they have very good stability, which means that the violin will stay in tune longer without needing to be tuned as often.

Choosing a bow is a very personal decision, as there are many options to choose from. For beginners, we usually recommend a carbon composite bow with real horsehair, as these bows are usually superior in price to a wooden bow and are much more durable. As your skills progress, you can try wooden bows made from a special wood called pernambuco, which has been favored by the world’s best violinists for centuries.

Rosin is also important, as the violin and bow will not produce any sound at all without rosin. In the beginning, you don’t need fancy or expensive rosin; a simple, inexpensive rosin will do just fine. Over time, you can buy different types of rosin and you will be able to hear the difference. The last piece of the puzzle is the case. Most beginner instruments come with an inexpensive case that will protect and transport the violin and all its accessories well. As you improve your violin, you can buy better cases.


The violin is one of the most complicated and versatile instruments in existence. It has a characterful and soulful sound that can be played in almost any musical genre, delicately guided by the bow. We hope that with the help of this buying guide you will be able to make an easy purchase decision.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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