Best Violin Reviews and Ratings for 2018. How to Choose the Best Violin

Whether you’re a seasoned musician looking to invest in a new instrument or a student just starting out, having the best violin can make all the difference. While skill and experience certainly play a big part in making beautiful music, a great instrument can bring out the best in any player. They can sound beautiful regardless of ability, making it easier to develop and hone musical skills.

Excellent violins are crafted with the best materials possible, leading to stunning resonance and overall sound. These instruments are also much easier to play compared to cheaper options. Violins of lesser quality produce an inferior sound and can actually hinder a musician’s ability to improve over time.

This guide can help you rifle through the countless options and find a high-quality violin that works for your skill level and budget. You’ll find a number of in-depth violin reviews to give you a better idea of what the instrument is like and how it performs. There’s also a bevy of useful information that will help you recognize the subtle differences that make each violin unique.

Our Top Recommended Violins

  • Best Beginners Violin
  • Cremona SV-130 Premier Novice Violin
  • Available sizes: 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 4/4
  • Bow: A.Breton AB-112
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Price: See Here!
  • Best Intermediate Violin
  • Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit
  • Available sizes: 1/4, 1/2, 4/4
  • Bow: Brazilwood with Mongolian horsehair
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Price: See Here!
  • Best Professional Violin
  • D Z Strad Maestro Old Spruce Stradi Violin
  • Available sizes: 4/4
  • Bow: Pernambuco Wood or composite
  • Strings: Dominant synthetic core
  • Price: See Here!

What Is a Violin and How it Works?

Violins are a unique stringed instrument that’s been around for centuries. Many believe that the modern violin was first introduced in 1555 by Andrea Amati. However, the basic concept of the violin can be found throughout history.

best ViolinPrimitive forms of the instrument have been around since the Middle Ages in Central Asia. It evolved drastically throughout history, eventually becoming the best violin we have today. But exactly what is a violin?

A violin is a hollow wooden instrument that consists of four different strings of variable thickness. These strings are held into place by the pegs and tailpiece to create tension over the bridge, a small piece of wood that holds the strings up. A bow is then used to vibrate the strings.

As the bow glides over the string, the rosin causes it to stick to the bow hairs and release. This results in hundreds or thousands of tiny oscillations in the string depending on the particular note. These vibrations travel through the bridge, through the sound post, and into the hollow center of the violin.

These vibrations then change from a side-to-side motion to an up and down motion, causing the wood to resonate. The sound then escapes from the “F” holes to produce a tone. The tone can be manipulated by changing the tension of a particular string on the fingerboard.

How About Electric Violins?

Electric violins are a unique alternative to acoustic instruments. With an electric instrument, you can amplify the sound and even manipulate it to sound completely different. Electric violins work very similarly to electric guitar.

A pickup is located beneath the strings and generates an electric signal by amplifying the vibrations from the strings and bridge. This signal is then sent to an amplifier or processor where it can be changed. Eventually, the signal is sent to a speaker to produce an audible sound that makes it possible for electric violin artists to be heard by a much larger audience.


Different Types of Violins

best violinTo the untrained eye, violins all have the same basic design. In reality, there are a number of different types of violins available. The design of the instrument has evolved over time, leading to many different versions of the same instrument.

When you’re trying to find the best violin for your needs, it’s important to consider which violin types will work for your abilities. Whether you’re a new or experienced musician, choosing a violin that fits with your musical style and size can make all the difference.

By Size

Violins come in a range of different sizes to accommodate younger players. Playing the instrument requires consistent movement of the arms, so a full-sized violin would be nearly impossible for a child to play comfortable. Players need to be able to reach every position comfortably while making big strokes.

Violin Size Length neck to wrist
1/16 33.5 cm or less, 13 ¼ inches
1/10 36 cm, 14 ¼ inches
1/8 38.5 cm, 15 ¼ inches
1/4 44 cm,17 ¼ inches
1/2 48.5 cm,19 inches
3/4 52 cm, 20 ½ inches
4/4 54 cm, 21 ¼ inches

What Size Violin Do I Need?

Ideally, you should be able to hold the chinrest with your neck and reach around the scroll fully with your left hand. If your fingers are touching the neck but your elbow is creating a right angle, the violin is sized correctly. If you can’t reach it or have to stretch, you may need to go with a smaller option.

Full-Sized Violins

A full-sized violin is referred to as a 4/4 violin. These instruments are typically used by adults and any musician over the age of 11. They are roughly 23 inches in length.

This is the most common size available. Almost every brand creates a violin in this size. From there, sizes only get smaller.

Smaller Violin Sizes

Violin manufacturers use a fractional measuring system to indicate how long the instrument is. Violins can be as small as 14 inches in length or shorter. These are suited for small kids and toddlers.

With that being said, sizes under 1/8 are quite rare. While violins can be made in a variety of sizes, most manufacturers only deal with a handful of options. The most common sizes include 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4.

Usually, smaller sizes are only used for beginner violins. It’s very difficult to find smaller options in intermediate and professional models. Smaller violins aren’t just scaled down versions of their larger counterpart.

These instruments can play and sound the same. Every aspect is carefully designed to ensure that sound quality isn’t altered. This makes it possible for an orchestra of multiple sizes can sound like one unit.

By Time Period

As mentioned earlier, violins have gone through some pretty significant changes throughout history. The violins we use today are vastly different to those used centuries ago.

 stringed instrumentsPre-Baroque

Before the Baroque period, stringed instruments were quite common. One of the earliest forms of the violin was the lira da braccio, a stringed instrument that was held under the chin. This was followed by the Violetta and viol.

While many refer to these instruments as precursors for the modern violin, they are unique in their own right. They produce sound very differently than the modern violin and have a distinct tone. However, it’s often believed that the name “violin” was derived from these earlier stringed instruments.

The Baroque Violin

It was during the Baroque period that the violin started to take shape and adopt the familiar shape. Like the best violins of today, 16th-century models were supported at the neck. However, instruments of this era featured a shallower and bulkier neck.

This thicker neck was used to support the tension of the strings. While the tension is nowhere what it is today, it still required hefty support to prevent potential injury and damage. This Baroque design was changed and adapted further over the next two centuries.

Modern Violin

Also known as the classical violin, the beloved instrument musicians are familiar with today was first introduced in the 18th century. New techniques to support the tension allowed violin makers to extend the neck. New methods for carrying the sound farther were also developed.

The basic design of the violin continued to change over the next two centuries, albeit very subtly. This came with the introduction of the chinrest to improve comfort while playing and various innovations with string material.

Stroh Violin

This quirky instrument was created in the 19th century and didn’t gain the same traction as the classical violin. Rather than an acoustic hollow box to project sound, this violin used a large metal horn. Because of this new technique, the instrument was much larger than the classical violin.

It also had a unique sound that wasn’t as sought-after as the classical violin. The Stroh violin was harsher and lacked the depth and overtones of the classical variant. It eventually declined in popularity.

Electric Violins

 violin reviewsThis take on the classic violin was popularized in the 1930s. It utilizes the same technology as an electric guitar to amplify vibrations and generate an electrical signal. Electric violins are noted by violin reviews for being much more versatile than acoustic models in both sound and appearance.

Because there’s no need for “F” holes or sound boxes, manufacturers can create electric violins in virtually any shape. There are many violin reviews that praise the wide range of futuristic and modern designs. They’re typically much sleeker and lighter in design.

Semi-electric violins are also available. They combine the best features of acoustic and electric models into one unit. When not plugged into an amplifier, the instrument will resonate normally.

By Genre

Violins are a very versatile instrument by nature. While many people often associate violins with classical music, it’s frequently used in pop and country. To accommodate different styles of music better, slight changes have been made to the traditional violin design.

These changes aren’t drastic and can actually benefit a variety of different styles. More often than not, people simply use a different name when referring the instrument in a particular style of music.

Fiddle

When you hear the term “fiddle,” it usually brings country music to mind. However, the term has been used since before the modern violin had even been invented. It’s always referred to a stringed instrument.

The modern fiddle is simply a violin that used in country or folk music. This isn’t just referring to American folk music, but folk music from around the world. Typically, the instrument is used differently when it’s being referred to as a fiddle.

Rather than smooth and mellow tunes, fiddles play fast-paced jams with precise notes and fast stops. In fact, many players choose to adapt their bridge to fit the playing style. It’s not uncommon to see fiddles with a flat bridge instead of the traditional arch.

The flat bridge makes it possible to make double or triple stops much faster. However, in most cases, the “fiddle versus violin” debate boils down to the type of music being played.

5-String Violin

The 5-string violin

Courtesy of Eric Golub

The 5-string violin is also commonly used in folk music. As the name implies, it’s simply a violin with an added string. This would be the “C” string located below the lowest “G.”

5-String violins can either be electric or acoustic and are essentially a combination of violins and violas. It makes it possible to hit lower notes than normal, increasing the versatility of the instrument. Violin reviews note that they’re fairly easy to play if you’re experienced with the violin, but it can take some time to get used to.

By Skill Level

Choosing the best violin for your skill level can ultimately help you learn and improve. Choosing an instrument that’s too easy or too difficult will hinder the learning process and could make you want to quit the instrument altogether. It’s important to understand how the different skill levels are different and how they can help you improve.

Violins for Kids

Violins for kids come in a variety of different sizes to accommodate their small stature. They are typically much cheaper as well. Because kids are constantly growing, they will likely upgrade to a new instrument in only a few years.

best beginner violin for kidsThe point of a violin for kids is to build the basic foundation of skills early on. They probably won’t be playing a complex music, but it’s important for them to be able to hear what a note sounds like so that they can start building their technique.

The best beginner violin for kids will be sized for them. This should be determined by giving the instrument a whirl. While most sizes have an approximate age range for that particular size, it’s always best to test it physically beforehand.

Kid violins also have responsive steel strings. These strings will produce a sound much easier than advanced options. They also have a clear sound that’s not muddled with overtones.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to have an instrument that automatically sounds great, this can actually benefit the child. They’ll be able to hear their progress early on in their lessons. This can result in eagerness to learn and more practice.

For Students and Beginners

The best starter violin will have a lot of the same features a kids violin. It will already be built to have a great sound regardless of how much skill the player has. Let’s face it, no one wants to play a screeching violin.

best starter violinBy having a decent sound right off the bat, new students will be more inclined to improve. Beginner violins achieve a great sound a bit differently than child violins and are suited for older kids and for those learning violin as an adult. They use a combination of high-quality tonewoods and strings.

Tonewoods like spruce and maple resonate clearly. Depending on the thickness, species, and age of the wood, violins can be designed to create any type of sound. A good beginner violin will produce a crisp and clear sound.

While many players strive to own a violin that has rich overtones, it’s always best to start off with the basics. A simple and balanced tone will make it possible to hear the exact note. This can prove to be beneficial in the long run as it establishes tonal recognition in the student.

Once the student has started to get into more advanced work with the best student violin, they can move onto an intermediate violin that has a unique sound and difficult playability.

Violins for Intermediate Players

Intermediate instruments are a healthy step up from a beginners violin on your way to a professional model. These are often regarded as advanced student violins, as they still have some playability features to make learning easier. However, they often come with more complex sounds and materials with improved quality.

best violin for beginnersOne of the biggest changes you’ll see with an intermediate violin is string quality. The best violin for beginners will have a standard steel string from a trusted brand. Many intermediate violins go with synthetic or perlon strings.

These strings help to produce a deeper sound but come with more difficulty. They don’t have the reliability and high response like steel. This can add a unique challenge to students wanting to push themselves a bit further.

Another difference is overall intonation. Intermediate violins often come with more overtones thanks to improved materials. Aged spruce and maple can have a big effect on the sound.

The introduction of overtones and depth to the tone quality can take a player’s technique to the next level. It adds more layers to a song and makes even basic playing a bit more difficult. Intermediate violins may also come with more advanced bows and increased resistance on the strings.

Violins for Professional Players

A professional violin can cost upwards of $5,000 or more. This is because they are carefully designed with an incredible attention to detail. Most violin reviews of a high-quality violin will tell you that the investment is well worth it.

violin reviewsThese violins are always handcrafted. Cheaper instruments may use handcrafting methods for some parts while utilizing machinery for others. In this case, professional luthiers with decades of experience handle every step of the process, from hand-carving the wood to tuning the strings.

Many violin makers also utilize aged woods that have spent decades drying and seasoning to perfection. Other make their instruments only with specific species of wood from exotic locations. Either way, there’s a proven method to the madness.

The sound that comes from these instruments is truly remarkable. They often have many overtones and resonate beautifully regardless of where they’re played. Most violins like this utilize a design that’s proven to be successful for many years.

The best professional violins will look great and sound even better. They can often be spotted because of the slight variations in construction. Because every unit is made by hand, they almost always have an identifying quirk that makes them unique.


Best Violin Parts – Learn to Understand

Violins are comprised of many different parts. Each part plays an important role in producing sound. It’s important to understand what each part is and how it works.

Most violins are a mixture parts with varying quality. Manufacturers often have to decide which part they want to invest in to reach an appropriate price. The best violin options will contain all high-quality parts with an even higher price tag.

Violin Strings

best violin stringsThe vibration of the string is what’s ultimately responsible for producing sound. Each violin contains four strings: G, D, A, E. The lowest string, G, is thick while the E string is the thinnest.

In the past, strings were always made with animal intestines. Luckily, modern technology has allowed luthiers to develop more effective alternatives.

  • Steel strings are the most common. They have a clearer sound and are the best violin strings for student and beginners violins. Steel strings are also very resilient and can last quite a while.
  • Synthetic strings are the newest option and can produce a very versatile sound depending on the material. They can be made to have many overtones while remaining stable. Manufacturers often use a variety of different materials to achieve a specific tone.
  • Gut strings are still quite common today. However, they’re not entirely made from intestines. Only the core contains the natural material while silver or copper is used to wind the string and create a rich warm sound.

Violin Bows

The bow is what’s used to initiate the vibrations of the strings. There are four main types of material used for bows. They include Brazilwood, synthetic materials, carbon fiber, and Pernambuco.

Pernambuco is often regarded by violin reviews as the best bow material. The wood is very lightweight but still remains strong. This makes it a good choice for playing fast-paced songs.

Players can continually use a Pernambuco bow without feeling tired. It comes from a specific tree in Brazil.

Like the name suggests, Brazilwood is from a variety of different trees in Brazil. Because it’s not a specific species, the material is relatively cheap. As a result, Brazilwood is the most common wood utilized for violin bows that are used by students.

Carbon fiber bows are the newest type of bow and are made from tiny fibers of glass. They are incredibly durable. However, the main reason that they’re popular is that they don’t react to changes in temperature.

The same goes for synthetic bows. These are made from cheaper plastics. They don’t have the strength of other options but still remain quite durable.

Violin Shoulder Rests

Most violins come with a chinrest preinstalled. The violin chinrest was designed by Louis Spohr to help with posture and instrument management. They position the instrument comfortably and make it possible for players to make the necessary movements.

best violin shoulder restEven with a standard chinrest, many violinists find themselves looking for additional support. A shoulder rest for violins can bridge the gap and provide optimal support. It’s relatively new invention that can prop the instrument up off the body to make shifts and intense movements possible.

They attach to the back of the instrument, usually underneath the chinrest. They include rubber feet that grip onto the wood of the violin without harming the finish. Many rests also use elastic bands to ensure proper grip.

The best violin shoulder rest is shaped to accommodate the curves of your shoulder while also providing a bit of cushion. Many designs can also be adjusted by height to get the perfect fit. There are a number of different types of rests available in different shapes and sizes, so you can easily find one that fits their needs.

Violin Accessories – What Are They?
While most violins perform great all on their own, there may come a time when you need additional accessories to help with the performance and upkeep of the instrument. While some accessories are optional, others are a necessity. The best violin will need a variety of extras to ensure that it performs well at all times.

Violin Rosins

Rosins are used to create resistance between the bow and the strings. It’s a solid form of tree sap resin, most commonly pine, that has undergone a lengthy manufacturing process to remove impurities and provide the best sound possible. The material is used to coat the fine hairs of the bow.

Without rosin, stroking the bow over the strings will produce very little sound. The sticky substance ensures that the hairs of the bow grip onto the strings as it glides over them. This, in turn, creates the vibration needed to create sound.

While rosin is relatively cheap, there are a number of different options available. Unique formulas and special additives are used to manipulate the tonal quality. The following metal additives can affect how the instrument it plays and what the tone will sound like.

  • Copper creates a warm and velvety tone and is praised by violin reviews for making the instrument much easier to play. It’s often added to rosins made for beginners.
  • Lead is a softer material that can create a warm and clear tone.
  • Silver creates a bright and concentrated tone. It’s ideal for those that typically play in higher positions.
  • Gold can create a warm and clear tone. It’s often used to soften an instrument that typically generates a harsh sound.

Violin Tuners

Electronic tuners

Courtesy of Wendy

Tuning must be done on a regular basis to ensure that every note sounds perfect. Chances are, your ears aren’t trained or perfect enough to tune by ear. Violin tuners use a microphone to pick up sound waves and detect the pitch.

The violin’s four strings are all tuned in fifths. The various pegs are used to tighten or relieve some of the stress on the strings. This results in a slight change in pitch.

Electronic tuners are great for getting a visual on how a string sounds. They can automatically tell what note you’re trying to tune and will display the corresponding letter. From there, it will let you know if you’re sharp or flat with an arrow or bar.

If the tuner’s indicator floats to the left, it means that the string is flat. You would then need to turn the peg towards the scroll to tighten the string and bring the pitch up. If the violin has fine tuners on the tailpiece, these can also be used to make precise adjustments.

Violin Cases

When you’re investing in the best violin possible, you’re going to want something to keep it protected. It’s very common to find a start violin kit with a case, but there are separates available in all shapes and sizes. While their main goal is to keep the instrument protected, many come with additional useful features.

Numerous materials are used for the outer shell, which is often the first to take the brunt of any physical damage. Durable plastics and wood are relatively common. Other utilize thick foam that’s covered by a durable fabric like canvas.

The inside of a case should contain some form of soft lining to protect the finish. Suspension cases are also a must-have. These include shaped foam that prevents the instrument from touching the sides and are often regarded as the best option by violin reviews.

Storage is also key. Many cases have small pockets to keep sheet music and other essentials within reach. These pockets, along with built-in bow holders, are often integrated into the side of the case.

Violin Mutes

types of mutes

Courtesy of crazybobbles

As the name implies, these accessories soften the sound of the violin. They attach to individual strings or onto the bridge directly. Their goal is to dampen the vibrations of the string, creating a quieter sound.

These cheap devices are often used by violinists that want to practice quietly. It’s also common for orchestral players to utilize the device to create different effects during the song. There are a number of different types of mutes available.

  • A standard Tourte mute is made from black rubber that clips onto the bridge. A round version is also available. Both are easy to use and can be placed around the “A” or “D” strings when not in use.
  • An Ultra mute is designed to fit over the bridge and strings entirely. Made from black rubber, the mute is very effective for dampening sound. Because it’s so large, it isn’t used for performances.
  • A metal practice mute is very similar to the Ultra mute in terms of design. However, when slipped over the bridge, the mute will still keep the tone clear.
  • A wire slide-on mute is commonly used for performances and only dampens a little bit. It slides up to the bridge to change the sound.
  • A Finissima mute also slides up to the bridge, but only makes contact with the top of the strings. This lets the overtones ring out, allowing you to achieve a unique sound.

Violin Miscellaneous

In addition to the essentials, there are a few different accessories that every violinist should have on hand. One such accessory is extra strings. Violin strings experience a lot of wear and tear with regular playing.

As a result, strings can snap without warning. It’s important for players to have an extra set available for restringing on the fly. They come rolled and bundled for discreet storage.

Other important accessories to have include a hygrometer and humidifier. These are often built into high-quality cases. However, they can be purchased separately.

Because violins are made from finicky wood, small changes in temperature and humidity can affect the material’s strength and the instrument’s overall tone. A hygrometer is used to measure the humidity in the air.

They will let you know when your instrument is being exposed to conditions outside of the recommended range. Humidifiers can then control the humidity in the case. Some affect the entire case while others are slipped into the body of the instrument to control the wood directly.


Best Beginners Violin Reviews

Choosing a beginners violin can set the tone for the rest of your playing career. It’s important to find a healthy balance between price and quality. While it may be tempting to go with the cheapest option first while you get a feel for the instrument, this can prove to be detrimental.

The best beginners violin is designed with newbies in mind. They have a number of useful features to help with the learning process and have an enjoyable sound that will encourage you to continue. With a great-sounding beginner violin, you can hear your progress and improvement.

Cremona SV-130

1

Cremona SV-130 Premier Novice Violin

Many Cremona violin reviews have praised the violin for its easy playability and great sound. It has been one of the manufacturer’s most popular options for novice players for over a decade.

While the instrument is made for beginners, it produces a beautiful tone thanks to the careful construction and use of high-quality tonewoods.

  • Available in 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4 sizes
  • Available in brown, black, blue, green, purple, rose, and violet finishes
  • Bow: A.Breton AB-112
  • Case: Arched-top suspension, lined
  • Bridge: Cremona VP-202
  • Tailpiece: Upgraded A. Breton VP-61
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Body made from combination of handcarved solid spruce and maple
  • Solid maple neck and ebony pegs
  • Composite tailpiece with 4 built-in precision tuners
  • Ebony fingerboard and fittings
  • Includes Kaufman-style chinrest
  • Preset strings with perfected tension and spacing
  • Includes Antron Breton bow made from Brazilwood and unbleached horsehair
  • Includes lightweight carrying case
PROS:
  • Under $200
  • Handcrafted construction
  • Includes fine tuners for easy adjustment
  • Strings are preset for comfort and playability
  • Comes with Brazilwood bow and durable case
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • May require consistent tuning

Review

Built with tradition in mind, this violin has a very classical look. Each unit is built by hand, one at a time. This ensures that every instrument performs to the manufacturer’s high standards.

Solid maple and spruce are used on the body of the instrument. These woods are chosen because of how they resonate. Players will be able to achieve a rich sound filled with unique overtones, regardless of their skill level.

The manufacturers have designed this violin to promote regular practice and continued learning by making the instrument easier to play. A hardwood ebony fingerboard and fittings help keep the instrument in tune. Fine tuners are also built into the composite tailpiece for further refinement.

Before each violin is shipped out, the D’Addario Prelude are set with the perfect height, tension, and spacing for new players. The strings will be more comfortable to press down and play, resulting in faster progress. The violin also comes outfitted with a high-quality bow and case to get started.

Conclusion

All in all, the Cremona SV-130 is one of the best violins for beginners. It’s built with exceptional quality that even a seasoned player will appreciate. With its unique look, high-quality materials, and a bevy of included accessories, new players won’t have a problem learning with any of these colored violins.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Stentor 1500

2

Stentor 1500

This full-sized violin from Stentor has a very simple and traditional design. While it may not have the glitz and glamor of other colorful options, it’s meticulously designed to produce an incredible sound.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Bow: Octagonal wood with horsehair and ebony frog
  • Case: Lightweight canvas
  • Tailpiece: Alloy with 4 string adjusters
  • Strings: Super sensitive red label
  • Fine-grain spruce top
  • Solid maple back and sides
  • Ebony fittings
  • Hardwood chinrest
  • Includes super sensitive strings
  • Includes octagonal bow
  • Packaged in lightweight canvas case with blanket, shoulder straps, and rosin
  • Warm brown finish
PROS:
  • Made from solid tonewoods
  • Includes sensitive strings for easy sound production
  • Horsehair bow is smooth and responsive
  • Has a classic brown finish that’s easy to clean and maintain
  • Utilizes durable ebony throughout
  • Comes with numerous accessories
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • May have loose tuning pegs
  • Hair on bow may become loose or break

Review

The Stentor 1500 is built from some of the finest tonewoods available. The top is comprised of fine-grain spruce. The sides and back utilize solid maple.

To add a classical look, the top has inlaid purflings to accent the shape of the instrument. A warm brown tint is used to protect the natural woods and provide a glossy finish. This coating is very easy to maintain and clean, allowing you to keep the violin in great condition for years to come.

Ebony is also used throughout the construction of the violin. The fittings all utilize the beautiful hardwood to provide beauty and durability. The instrument also includes a hardwood chin rest.

To help with playability, the violin is prestrung with sensitive red label strings. These strings respond very easily, helping players to create a rich tone without much finessing. The strings perfectly complement the included octagonal horsehair bow.

Conclusion

One of the biggest perks of the Stentor 1500 is the sensitive strings and excellent response. Many violin reviews have noted that the bow glides very smoothly over the strings and creates a beautiful sound. This can help make any beginner sound great.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Cremona SV-500

3

Cremona SV-500

Another great option from Cremona, the SV-500 is crafted with inspiration from some of the greatest violins in the world. However, the affordable price tag makes it accessible to nearly any beginning violinist. It’s available in a variety of sizes and is made from a stunning flamed maple wood.

  • Available sizes: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4
  • Finish: Classic brown varnish
  • Bow: Composite with natural horsehair
  • Case: Oblong hardshell
  • Bridge: Aubert
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude steel strings
  • Available in multiple sizes to accommodate all players
  • Flamed maple back and sides
  • Solid spruce top
  • Ebony fittings and fingerboard
  • Stradivarius-style chinrest
  • Includes steel strings
  • Includes composite bow with natural horsehair
  • Includes hardshell case with thick protective foam
PROS:
  • Produces rich open sound
  • Unique classic finish with flamed maple
  • Steel strings are responsive and durable
  • Meets or exceeds educator standards
  • Comes with flexible composite bow
CONS:
  • Doesn’t have a shoulder rest
  • Pegs may need adjustment to ensure they stick
  • Tuners on tailpiece are difficult to adjust

Review

The flamed maple is used for the back, sides, and neck of the instrument while solid spruce is used for the top. A clear tinted varnish is used to protect the wood. The slight brown tint makes the instrument look aged while also bringing out the natural grain of the tonewoods.

Like all Cremona violins, you can expect great attention to detail on every aspect of the instrument. The inlaid purflings and edgework are pristine while the scroll is cut to perfection. Even the ebony fittings and fingerboard are cut to the highest standards.

In fact, the entire instrument is made to fit with NAfME standards. This organization is responsible for setting guidelines and regulations on how educators teach. By complying with their standards, Cremona was able to the best violin to help make the learning process easier on younger players.

In addition to the violin, the complete outfit comes with a variety of accessories. The included bow is made from a flexible composite material and real horsehair. Cremona also includes a hardshell case for protection.

Conclusion

The SV-500 is a unique option from Cremona. It has a similar look to other student violins from the manufacturer but utilizes slightly different parts. The inclusion of a Stradivarius-style chinrest, composite bow, and flamed wood make it a worthy instrument for beginners and accomplished musicians alike.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Mendini 4/4 MV500

4

Mendini MV500

The Mendini MV500 stands out from other violins on the market because of its appearance alone. However, this unique instrument also harbors the ability to produce a warm tone that projects with great strength and resonance. It has excellent intonation that rivals the best violin in a much higher price range.

  • Available sizes: 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4
  • Finish: Dark brown varnish
  • Bow: 2 Brazilwood bows with Mongolian horsehair
  • Case: lightweight hardshell
  • Strings: Cecilio
  • Hard-carved out of a single piece of maple
  • Ebony fittings, fingerboard, and chinrest
  • Ebony tailpiece includes fine tuners
  • Includes two bows, extra strings, and an extra bridge
  • Includes shoulder rest
  • Produces deep and loud sound
  • Includes chromatic tuner and hardshell case
PROS:
  • Produces unique sound
  • Priced under $200
  • Comes with a bevy of additional accessories
CONS:
  • Bridge requires proper setting
  • Tuning pegs can slip over time
  • Hardwood chinrest can be uncomfortable for younger players

Review

Despite its relatively low price tag, you’re getting a lot with this complete outfit. Not only does it come with the violin, but it’s also packaged with a chromatic tuner, two Brazilwood bows, rosin, a case, extra strings, and much more. It comes with everything needed to start playing and is built with features that new players can take advantage of.

The body of the violin is built from one piece of solid maple. Instead of utilizing numerous pieces, the instrument is hand carved from one piece of wood to improve tonal quality. The pegs, chinrest, fingerboard, and tailpiece are made from durable ebony hardwood.

The included bows are made from flexible Brazilwood and use unbleached Mongolian horsehair. These materials make the bow glide smoothly across the included Cecilio strings and contribute to the sensitive response. Many Mendini violin reviews have noted the instrument’s unique dark tone that carries much farther than other options.

Conclusion

Mendini by Cecilio is a great line of violins for beginners. The MV-500, in particular, is great for players looking for a specific type of sound. Regardless of skill level, the violin creates a dark and loud sound that will complement a variety of beautiful tunes.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Cecilio CVN-500

5

Cecilio CVN-500

Numerous Cecilio violin reviews praise the instruments’ ability to create a good sound. The CVN-500 is no different. In fact, this violin is known for creating a crisp and clear tone that sounds sweet, making it ideal for violinists just learning how to identify notes.

  • Available sizes: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4
  • Finish: brown satin varnish
  • Bow: 2 Brazilwood bows with Mongolian horsehair
  • Case: lined canvas
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Warranty: 1 year against manufacturer’s defects
  • Solid Spruce top
  • Flamed maple back and sides
  • Ebony tailpiece with nickel-plated fine tuners
  • Ebony fingerboard, chinrest, and pegs
  • Includes shoulder rest
  • Includes extra bridge, rosin, and Prelude strings
  • Includes 2 Brazilwood bows with natural Mongolian horsehair
  • Includes tuner and lined canvas case
PROS:
  • Produces crisp and clear sound
  • Priced under $200
  • Comes with a number of extra accessories
  • Available in 4 sizes to accommodate smaller players
CONS:
  • Bridge requires proper setting
  • Strings require proper tuning
  • Hardwood chinrest can be uncomfortable for younger players

Review

The top of the violin is made from solid spruce while the sides and back are made from flamed maple. These traditional tonewoods contribute to the clear sound. The entire unit is then covered with a light varnish that has a satin finish.

Durable ebony is used for the fingerboard, pegs, and chinrest. It’s also used for the tailpiece, which features removable tuners plated in nickel. The violin comes prestrung with Prelude strings from D’Addario and even comes with an additional set for when it comes time to restring.

Like the previous option, this violin outfit comes with a number of extras that new violinists will find useful. Two Brazilwood bows are included along with an extra bridge, a large rosin cake, shoulder rest, and tuner. This is all packaged in a lined carrying case for protection.

Conclusion

Priced under $200, this is one of the best violins for new players. The solid tonewoods and educator-approved Prelude strings create a very crisp sound. This can help new players identify and find notes on the violin, improving their technique and ear training.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Best Intermediate Violin Reviews

As players improve their technique and progress through the various levels of musical education, they often find themselves outgrowing their beginner’s violin. While violins designed for novices are great, there comes a time when musicians need more of a challenge. That’s where intermediate violins come in.

This type of violin instrument is a bit tougher to play but still has many features to improve playability. They can help bring players reach their full potential while providing a unique challenge. These violin reviews can help you find the best violin for a player that’s outgrown their beginning violin and looking for an upgrade.

Scott Cao Violin STV017

1

Scott Cao Violin STV017

The STV017 from Scott Cao is built for the advancing student. The entire instrument is meticulously crafted for superior sound. It utilizes unique materials that aren’t typically found in beginners violins.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: hand-painted oil varnish
  • Bow: Brazilwood
  • Included student case
  • Strings: Thomastik Dominant strings
  • Body made from flamed Chinese maple and spruce
  • Painted in natural oil varnish
  • Ebony chinrest
  • Ebony fingerboard and fittings
  • Rosewood pegs
  • Includes Brazilwood bow
  • Prestrung with Thomastik Dominant strings
PROS:
  • Produces clear and bright sound
  • Utilizes natural oil finish for better resonance
  • Made with real ebony and rosewood
  • Hand-crafted
CONS:
  • Priced over $500
  • Doesn’t come with extra accessories

Review

The body of this violin is comprised of a combination of Chinese maple and spruce. The Chinese maple has a stunning flamed design. The body is then coated with an oil varnish.

This process is done completely by hand. Rather than using a thick tinted coat, the manufacturers went with something a bit more natural. The natural oil brings out the unique characteristics of the wood while allowing it to resonate clearly without much resistance.

The fingerboard is made from real durable ebony. The fittings are made from rosewood. These woods are known for their resilience and resistance to slipping or cracking.

The violin outfit comes with a Brazilwood bow and carrying case. It’s strung with Thomastik Dominant strings to create a clear and bright sound with few overtones.

Conclusion

The Scott Cao STV017 is one of the best violins you can find in the price range. It features upgraded materials you can’t find on a beginners option. Every component is built to provide players with ultimate control.

You won’t find the usual peg slipping and tuning problems with this violin. The hand-crafted pegs and high-quality strings will stay put, allowing players to get the right sound with fewer issues.

Furthermore, the violin produces an upgraded sound that will push players further. The natural oil finish is more protective while helping to provide better resonance of the wood. As a whole, the violin has the superb sound and tone clarity needed to improve further.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit 4/4

2

Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit

The G2 violin from Louis Carpini is an excellent example of fine craftsmanship. It’s made to exceed NAfME standards and provide players of all ages with the best possible sound. It utilizes superb tonewoods and is fully set up by professional luthiers.

  • Available sizes: 1/4, 1/2, and 4/4
  • Finish: hand-rubbed oil
  • Bow: Brazilwood with Mongolian horsehair
  • Case: full-suspension wood case with lock
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Bridge: French Aubert
  • Warranty: Lifetime on violin, 1 year for accessories
  • Body made from carved solid maple and spruce
  • Hand-rubbed oil finish
  • Authentic ebony fingerboard, fittings, and pegs
  • Includes Brazilwood bow
  • Prestrung and assembled by professional luthier
  • Includes high-quality wooden case
PROS:
  • Set for playability by professional luthier
  • Handcrafted with natural tonewoods and real ebony
  • Uses Prelude strings and Mongolian horsehair bow for better response
  • Comes with a full-suspension wooden case and numerous accessories
CONS:
  • Priced over $500

Review

The unique feature of this violin is that it’s ready to play straight out of the box. From the manufacturer, the instrument goes to a professional luthier. They will then set up the instrument to ensure the best playability and intonation.

While it is an intermediate violin, it has features that you would find on a beginner’s violin. This helps with the transition while providing a better sound. The Prelude strings and bridge are set at the perfect height to improve comfort while playing.

The body of the violin is made from carved pieces of solid maple and spruce. The included bow is made from high-grade Brazilwood. It uses Mongolian horsehair for the best response, an ebony for durability and comfort, and genuine mother-of-pearl accents for a bit of flair.

The high-quality violin comes with a complete outfit. It includes a full-suspension case, rosin, extra strings, and much more.

Conclusion

Violin reviews will tell you that the Louis Carpini G2 violin is worth the investment. It’s evident that the manufacturers took great time and skill to craft the instrument. Everything from the body to the pegs are made with absolute precision.

Thanks to the high-quality materials and professional setting, the instrument produces a great sound. It’s rich and clear, making it very versatile for any type of music.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Cremona SV-600

3

Cremona SV-600

While Cremona is most known for producing some of the best violins for beginners, they also excel in creating options for intermediate players. The SV-600 is a worthy upgrade that features more precision and higher-quality materials while still retaining the easy playability. This particular violin is part of the manufacturer’s Artist line of instruments.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Orange-tinted lacquer varnish
  • Bow: Balanced composite
  • Case: Oblong canvas
  • Strings: Thomastik Dominant perlon
  • Top made from narrow-grained spruce
  • Bottom, sides, neck, and scroll made from solid maple
  • Ebony fingerboard and Swiss-style pegs
  • Includes balanced composite bow
  • Prestrung with responsive perlon strings
  • Includes lightweight canvas case
PROS:
  • Set and tested by professional luthier
  • Hand-carved and graduated
  • Uses Thomastik Dominant perlon strings for improved response and tone
  • Produces mellow and sympathetic sound
  • Priced under $500
  • Meets or exceeds NAfME standards
CONS:
  • Doesn’t include shoulder rest

Review

Like other Cremona violins, this instrument is made from a combination of spruce and maple. The solid spruce top and flamed maple bottom are precisely carved and graduated by hand. This helps to achieve the right amount of resonance to create a mellow sound with heavy overtones.

Ebony is used for the fingerboard, trimmings, and Swiss-style pegs. The neck and scroll are carved out of well-figured maple. The body is then coated with an orange-tinted varnish to create that classic violin look.

Included with the violin is a composite bow. This bow is durable, balanced, and quite flexible. The fine horsehair glides smoothly against the Thomastik Dominant perlon strings.

Conclusion

This Cremona violin is one of the best violin options in the price range. Despite its affordable price, you’re getting a noticeable step up from the manufacturer’s line of beginner violins. The materials are a higher grade, leading to a better sound and more refined look.

With that being said, the violin still includes a bevy of features that are suited for those that are still learning. The improved playability, professional setting, and perlon strings all contribute to the instruments rather dark and mellow tone. It’s a great upgrade that can provide a new challenge to more advanced students.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Ricard Bunnel G1

4

Ricard Bunnel G1

With it’s lower relative price tag, it’s not uncommon to overlook the Ricard Bunnel G1 violin. If you did, you’d be missing out on a high-quality instrument that produces a very smooth and full tone. It’s a complete outfit filled with all the essentials and a few useful extras.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Dark hand-rubbed oil
  • Bow: Brazilwood with Mongolian horsehair
  • Case: Wood shell with hygrometer, zippers, extra pockets, and straps
  • Bridge: Hand-carved French Aubert
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Warranty: Lifetime for Violin, 1 year for accessories
  • Handcrafted from solid maple and spruce
  • Covered in lighter oil finish for better resonance
  • Ebony fingerboard and pegs
  • Includes Brazilwood bow
  • Set by professional luthier
  • Includes lightweight canvas case, extra strings, book, tuner, rosin cake, and more
  • Includes Portland shoulder rest
PROS:
  • Set and tested by professional luthier
  • Produces smooth and full tone
  • Uses recommended Prelude strings
  • Priced under $500
  • Includes extra accessories
CONS:
  • Oil finish may be more difficult to keep clean

Review

This violin is made from spruce and maple tonewoods. The woods are hand-carved to perfection. The body is then coated in a dark brown oil finish.

The brown finish adds a vintage look to the instrument. It doesn’t have that same thick glossy finish that many modern violins have. The hand-rubbed satin oil finish is more protective and helps the violin resonate clearly.

The fingerboard and fittings are made from ebony. The violin comes with a hand-carved French Aubert bridge and a Brazilwood bow. The bow is comprised of Mongolian horsehair, an ebony frog, and pearl accents.

To ensure maximum playability and superb sound, the violin is professionally set up by a luthier. Every aspect from the string tuning to the bridge are precisely set so that it can produce a great sound straight away.

Conclusion

As you can tell from this and many other violin reviews, the Ricard Bunnel G1 is built with higher quality than its initial price tag would tell you. With it’s lower price, you’re getting a ton of added value. The quality of the materials and professional setting rival an option twice the price.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Johannes Kohr K500

5

Johannes Kohr K500

This violin from Johannes Kohr is beautifully crafted to produce the best sound possible. It also has a unique look that sets it apart from other on the market. With it’s upgraded features and rich sound, any student can benefit from playing on the K500 violin.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Reddish-brown lacquer varnish
  • Bow: Brazilwood 1076 bow with natural unbleached horsehair
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Case: 399 Shaped hardshell case
  • Crafted with solid spruce and maple
  • Bottom is made from two pieces of flamed maple
  • Ebony fingerboard and pegs
  • Includes Brazilwood bow
  • Prestrung with Dominant strings
  • Includes shaped hard shell case
  • Includes rosin
PROS:
  • Produces many overtones for rich overall sound
  • Unique reddish color with flamed design
  • Dominant strings are very responsive
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • Priced over $500

Review

The first thing you’ll notice about this violin is the distinct look. It’s made from the traditional spruce and maple tonewoods. However, the back is made from two separate pieces of solid flamed maple. These pieces are combined to create an interesting pattern.

The body is then coated with a reddish-brown lacquer. The red tones perfectly complement the natural color of the wood to create a visually stunning piece of work. Ebony is utilized for the fingerboard and fittings for a more traditional aesthetic.

Beyond the instrument’s look, the violin excels with sound. It’s strung with Dominant strings and comes with a standard Brazilwood bow. This bow is made with natural horsehair. It glides smoothly and to create many overtones, resulting in a very rich sound that will work with any style of music.

Conclusion

With its unique look and superb sound, the Johannes Kohr K500 is one of the best violin options for experienced players. While it is a bit pricier, players are getting a unique sound that may be more challenging to get used to. However, the instrument is still built with familiar features and materials to make the upgrade as smooth as possible.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Best Professional Violin Reviews

Once you’ve have reached the pinnacle of their teachings, you can move onto a professional violin. These instruments are the creme de la creme of violins. The cost of violins of this caliber is pretty high. However, these are the best violins available and can produce a sound that no other can.

Professional violins are often made from traditional designs that date back centuries by the hands of luthiers with decades of experience. These violin reviews can help you distinguish a quality instrument from an imposter. Professional violins are a huge investment, so it’s important to consider every factor when making a decision to ensure that the instrument you choose is the best one for your needs.

D Z Strad Maestro Old Spruce Stradi Violin

1

D Z Strad Maestro Old Spruce Stradi Violin

This is often considered to be one of the best violins available to professional players because of the traditional construction method and materials. The woods alone are carefully chosen and prepared. While many cheaper violins can be crafted with basic tonewoods, the process to create this violin is over two decades in the making.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Hand-oiled varnish
  • Bow: Pernambuco Wood or composite
  • Strings: Dominant synthetic core
  • Case: Bricks Pilot case
  • Made from seasoned spruce from Italian Alps
  • Wood is aged to achieve the best sound
  • Handcarved body, pegs, and scroll
  • Includes choice of bow
  • Prestrung with Dominant strings
  • Includes durable case with lock and humidity meter
  • Includes rosin
PROS:
  • Produces deep and colorful open sound
  • Beautiful finish with aged wood
  • Highly responsive
  • Backed by centuries of tradition and technique
  • Built by seasoned luthier
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • Priced over $1000

Review

Seasoned spruce from the Italian Alps is used for the body of the violin. This wood undergoes over 20 years of drying before it’s every touched for crafting. This drying process is what’s responsible for creating the open and sound with depth and color.

It’s a traditional European practice that’s still used by very few professional luthiers to create the best violins available. This particular instrument is made by award-winning luthiers to ensure that every detail is perfect. Beyond the body, the pegs, tailpiece, and chinrest are all carved by hand.

The body is then varnished by hand with a natural oil. This oil preserved the wood while bringing out its beauty and resonance. It comes strung with Dominant synthetic core strings.

You have your choice in either a Pernambuco Wood or Composite bow. The outfit also comes with a Bricks Pilot case with built-in lock and humidity meter to ensure that the instrument is always in good condition.

Conclusion

This is premium violin designed for the best violinists out there. With its unforgettable tone, there’s no mistaking this violin for something cheaper. Many violin reviews praise how great this violin sounds.

It’s a one-of-a-kind instrument that every violinist should strive for. While it does have a high cost, the unique method of creating this violin results in a tone that can’t be matched.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

D Z Violin 601F

2

D Z Violin 601F

Another superb choice for professional players, this violin is made in the same way as the previous option. However, this instrument contains a bit of extra flair to make it something truly unique. It also produces a distinct sound that can take any song to the next level.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Hand-oiled varnish with red and gold tone
  • Bow: Brazilwood with ebony frog and Abalone eye.
  • Strings: Dominant
  • Case: Three-point suspension with humidity meter and adequate cushioning
  • Made from aged spruce from Italian Alps
  • Includes floral accent inlay
  • Handcarved body, scroll, and pegs
  • Pegs carved with floral pattern
  • Prestrung with Dominant strings
  • Includes suspension case and humidity meter
  • Includes rosin
PROS:
  • Produces full and even sound
  • Beautiful finish with aged wood
  • Attractive accents on top, bottom, scroll, and pegs
  • Antique red and gold finish
  • Built by seasoned luthier
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • Very expensive

Review

The back, sides, top, and scroll of this violin are all made from the same seasoned spruce from the Italian Alps. Also known as picea excelsa, this wood is renowned for its resonance and beauty. In this case, the wood creates a full and even tone that’s perfect for solos.

The wood is covered in an oil varnish with a slight red and golden tone. Of course, this is all done by hand. To further accent the shape of the body, the violin has a unique flower inlay.

This inlay goes around the perimeter of the top and bottom of the violin. It has a gold tone that pops against the oiled wood. To complement this accent, the pegs have beautiful floral artwork carved into them.

A Brazilwood bow is included with this violin. It has carefully-selected horsehair and Abalone eye. It features a nickel and silver-mounted ebony frog and a slide winding mechanism.

Conclusion

This violin is certainly not for the novice player. While it does produce a beautiful sound, it takes a lot of skill to work this violin’s magic. With its unique vintage finish and plenty of floral accents, this violin also acts as a showpiece.

Numerous violin reviews regard this as the best violin in terms of look. The unforgettable inlay sets it apart aesthetically while the rich sound makes it stand out at any performance.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Yamaha Standard Model AV5

3

Yamaha Standard Model AV5

Yamaha is a leading instrument manufacturer that excels in both electronic and acoustic instruments. The AV5 violin is a testament to their dedication to excellence. Many violin reviews regard this instrument as one of the more affordable professional options.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Natural oil varnish applied by hand
  • Bow: Glasser fiberglass
  • Strings: D’Addario Prelude
  • Case: Stackable ABS with form-fitted padding and plush lining
  • Constructed out of aged spruce and maple
  • Two-piece back
  • Upgraded rosewood fittings
  • Includes Glasser bow
  • Includes D’Addario Piranito rosin
  • Includes hard ABS case
PROS:
  • Built with wood that’s been aged for five or more years
  • Produces a sweet and mellow sound
  • Natural oil finish
  • Meets and exceeds MENC standards
  • Professionally set and adjusted by experienced luthier
CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with shoulder rest
  • Comes with a simple case with no storage or humidity meter
  • Prestrung with basic beginners strings
  • Over $1,000

Review

The body of the violin are comprised of aged tonewoods. The bottom is made from spruce while the two-piece bottom, sides, and neck are made from maple. Each piece of wood is aged for at least five years prior to being carved.

These woods are then hand-coated with a light oil varnish to bring out the grain and improve resonance. Rather than going with the typical ebony, the pegs and tailpiece are made from beautiful rosewood. The tailpiece also includes precision tuners.

A fiberglass Glasser bow is included to glide over the included Prelude strings without resistance. The manmade material has a unique look and is highly responsive. The outfit is packaged in a simple ABS case that’s stackable and lined with plush fabric.

Conclusion

Despite its hefty price tag of over $1,000, the Yamaha AV5 isn’t one of the most expensive violins in its class. However, the manufacturer’s use of high-quality materials makes it a worthy contender for any professional performer. While the wood may not be from Europe or aged for many decades, they still do wonders to produce a beautiful sound that will take a variety of different songs up a notch.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Copy of Sebastian Klotz Baroque Violin

4

Copy of Sebastian Klotz Baroque Violin

The DMV385 is designed after a classic violin that was produced centuries ago. Sebastian Klotz was a violin maker that lived in the 1700s. This violin aims to recreate the look and brilliant sound of the historic violin maker’s baroque instrument.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Natural oil varnish applied by hand
  • Bow: Modern and Baroque Arch
  • Case: Rectangular padded case
  • Made from spruce and flamed maple that’s been aged for over 20 years
  • Maple fingerboard and tailpiece
  • Inlay on fingerboard
  • Natural hand-oiled finish
  • Ebony pegs
  • Includes modern hardwood bow and Baroque Arch bow
  • Includes rosin and padded case
PROS:
  • Built with aged wood
  • Softer maple fingerboard with finger position inlay
  • Natural oil finish
  • Produces crisp and even sound
  • Recreation of classic instrument
  • Includes two different bows
  • Includes shoulder rest
CONS:
  • Not exact replica
  • Expensive

Review

One major aspect of this recreation that makes it stand out is the unique look. While most violin makers utilize a hardwood like ebony or rosewood for the fingerboard and tailpiece, this instrument uses maple. The softer and lighter-colored wood adds a unique look.

The fingerboard also has an inlay diamond design. It’s arranged to separate the various finger positions, ultimately making it easier to play. This beautiful fingerboard is complemented by a matching tailpiece.

The top of the violin is made from spruce while the sides, bottom, and scroll are made from maple. These woods are naturally air-dried and aged for over two years. This helps to create the distinct even and crisp sound that makes Baroque music what it is.

A modern and Baroque bow are included. They are both made from hardwood and feature mother-of-pearl accents. The outfit also comes with a handcrafted shoulder rest and a rectangular padded case for protection.

Conclusion

If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like to play on one of the best violins from the Baroque period, this option may be for you. While it’s not an exact replica, it’s a pretty faithful recreation. Every measure is taken to ensure that the violin looks and sounds as close to the original as possible.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Fiddlerman Soloist Violin

5

Fiddlerman Soloist Violin

Fiddlerman tested and approved, you can ensure that this instrument sounds great. It has a very precise and crisp sound, making it perfect for fast-paced music that requires ultimate control. It’s made from the finest materials and has won several awards for its design and construction.

  • Size: 4/4
  • Finish: Antiqued varnish with reddish tint
  • Bridge: Superieur Despiau bridge
  • Strings: Dominant
  • Made from spruce and flamed maple
  • Wood is dried and aged for 10 years
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Antique finish
  • Set up by professional luthier
  • Tested for sound quality
PROS:
  • Built with aged wood
  • Durable ebony fingerboard
  • Lighter tailpiece and chinrest
  • Precision tuner on E string
  • Glossy finish that’s easy to clean
CONS:
  • Doesn’t include bow
  • Doesn’t include case
  • Over $1,000

Review

Made from spruce and maple, this violin has a very traditional look. Spruce makes up the top while flamed maple covers the back. Each piece of wood is aged for at least 10 years to create the unique tone.

The body of the instrument is then covered in an antique varnish. It creates a slightly red hue. It’s complemented by the ebony fingerboard and fittings.

Professional luthiers set up and assemble the violin prior to shipment. They ensure that the Dominant strings are at the right tension and that the Superieur Despiau bridge is properly placed. With their expertise, the violin can be played immediately without having to make any major adjustments.

Conclusion

Overall, this violin is a high-quality instrument 10 years in the making. It’s a modern masterpiece that utilizes high-quality materials. The aged maple and spruce contribute to the overall tone clarity.

This isn’t your average mellow violin, but rather something that you’d use for upbeat tunes that need you hit precise notes. Many violin reviews choose it as a top choice for country and folk music. With the superb build, you can rest assured that every note comes out crisp and clear.

Jason McCormickJason McCormick

Top Violin Brands

Stentor Violins

Stentor violins are known for their affordability and quality. Despite most of their options costing less than $200, the brand is synonymous with value. They use high-quality materials that make the instrument sound great.

Stentor has a wide range of options currently available. However, they are most known for producing beginners violins. Their instruments are very well-built and have a number of features that appeal to novice players.

For instance, the brand uses tonewoods like spruce and maple. They are generally thicker than other options, leading to a distinct warm tone with great resonance. Real ebony is typically utilized for the fingerboards as well.

The brand’s use of traditional materials creates a rich sound that rivals more expensive competitors, like a Knilling violin. Not only that, but the brand tends to set their instruments up for success, making it easier for younger musicians to pick up and learn.

Mendini Violins

 best violin brands for beginnersMendini is the maker of low-budget violins that are designed for younger kids and beginners. They’re among the many good violin brands for those that don’t want to invest in an expensive option but still want to get a decent sound. These instruments aren’t handcrafted, but rather made by machines.

Because they’re made by machines, they often require a bit of fine-tuning before they can sound really good. While these instruments won’t break the bank, they can sound quite good considering. Instruments are made with similar tonewoods as other brands and accessories to make learning easier.

One thing that sets Mendini apart from other brands is their line of very colorful instruments. You can easily get a vibrant violin in your favorite color, which is great for younger kids. While these polyurethane paints do affect tone, it’s not enough to bother a young kid taking their first steps in music.

Cremona Violins

Cremona is another one of the best violin brands for beginners. The company was founded in 1989 and has since gained worldwide recognition. While they are most known for creating affordable stringed instruments that appeal to new violinists, many violin reviews have also praised their other lines that cater to more advanced players.

During the manufacturing process, each and every violin is checked and tested. This helps to ensure that the instruments sound great and have improved playability.

The luthiers at Cremona are all trained by highly-experienced professionals. The professional luthiers hail from Germany and Italy to teach manufacturers in the classic way of making instruments. Instruments are handcrafted and made with the utmost respect for quality and tradition.

The brand also utilizes tonewoods like spruce and maple. They have a large range of different types of instrument to suit any player. This includes a number of different sizes as small as 1/32.

Cecilio Violins

violin reviewsCecilio violins are moderately priced and very versatile. The brand makes a number of different types of violins, each differing in materials and quality. Musicians can find high-quality instruments by Cecilio brands for sale to fit any skill level.

The brand takes their craft very seriously and puts every violin through rigorous testing. This is especially true for professional violins. Each instrument is made from spruce, maple, and ebony to create a lasting violin that sounds great.

Beyond the instrument, Cecilio is one of the top violin brands because of all the extras they offer. They come with a bevy of high-quality features that help to improve example and playability. For example, most of their violins come prestrung with Prelude strings by D’Addario.

Not only that, but the brand offers a durable case, an extra bridge, rosin, and so much more depending on the particular outfit. This can ensure that you’re ready to play and always have backup necessities.

Scott Cao Violins

If you choose to invest in a Scott Cao violin, you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality instrument. The brand is used by many professional players around the world. Violins are on the higher end of the price spectrum, but each instrument is handmade with the best materials possible.

The company was founded in 1989 by Scott Shu-Kun Cao. Since the brand’s infancy, instruments have been distributed internationally to much praise. The brand is known for using tonewoods from exotic locations to achieve a powerful and memorable tone.

A variety of different sizes are available, but the company’s most expensive and sought-after options are only available in full size. Many of the brand’s outfits are very easy to customize in terms of bow and strings. This is something that’s typically not offered for more affordable violins.

In addition to a high-quality instrument, Scott Cao violins come with the best strings and a robust case to boot.


New Violins vs. Used Violins

If you ask an experienced musician what the best violin is, they’ll probably tell you that older instruments are the winner. They are sought-after because of their age and unique timbre. But are they really better?

Truth is, choosing between a new or used violin for sale is all about personal preference. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, it all comes down to skill level, condition, and budget.

New Violins

New violins are a common choice amongst students because of their pristine appearance. They’re virtually untouched and free of any damage. This makes it possible for players to grow with the instrument and see how it’s sound changes over time as the materials age.

These instruments tend to be easier to play as well, as noted in the violin reviews. They’re outfitted with all the modern amenities, including comfortable chinrests and steel strings.

The main disadvantage of new violins is that many aren’t built with the same craftsmanship as older options. While there are a number of high-quality contemporary violin makers out, there’s no way to tell how a new violin will hold up in future decades.

How It's Made

Best Violin Reviews and Ratings for 2018. How to Choose the Best Violin

Old Violins

The biggest advantage of going with an older model is the sound. The wood has had time to age and develop, often resulting in a mellow and mature sound. Some violins are even made from different woods entirely, many of which are no longer used due to overfarming.

When it comes to downsides, older violins are often riddled with issues. It’s very rare to find one that doesn’t have cosmetic and build issues. It’s common to find used violins for sale with numerous cracks and seam issues due to poor maintenance and exposure to varying temperatures.

Should you find and consider buying a violin that’s older but in good condition, it’s probably very expensive. Not only that but it’s probably more difficult to play, making it unsuitable for student players.


Choosing the Best Violin: Factors to Consider

 violin reviews

With the numerous options available on the market, choosing the best violin can be a daunting task. Many violins look strikingly similar in build, so how do you determine which option is worth the investment? There are a number of things to consider prior to making a choice.

Price

The sticker price of a new violin will undoubtedly be a huge deciding factor. Violins can range in price from a hundred dollars up to a few thousand. Typically, price and quality go hand in hand.

But that doesn’t mean that a violin is bad just because it’s cheap. In fact, many of the best violin options for new players are cheap. Modern manufacturing techniques have made it possible to make instruments quickly without sacrificing quality.

Skill Level

To go along with price is skill level. You should consider how far along you are in your musical education prior to purchasing an instrument. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need a violin that costs thousands of dollars.

Beginners violins will cost around $100 while professional models will cost a few thousand. Intermediate violins are usually priced around $500. The difference is in construction method and materials.

Violins made for new students are comprised of low-quality woods and plastic parts. They’re almost always made by machine. Meanwhile, professional instruments are all built by the hands of an experienced luthier.

Materials

 beginner violinsThe materials used will have a direct affect on the price, difficulty, and overall tone of the instruments. Violins use a combination of tonewoods and hardwoods. The tonewoods spruce and maple are used for the body of the violin and are responsible for creating the sound.

The best violin will be made from dense tonewoods that are grown in cold climates and slowly dried to perfection. This process creates the rich tone that’s often found in professional models. Cheaper violins will have tonewoods that don’t undergo the strict growth and drying process.

The materials used for the fingerboard, pegs, and tailpiece are also reflected in the price. As seen in the violin reviews, authentic hardwoods like ebony or rosewood are used in high-quality instruments. Plastic and composite materials are often used for beginner violins.

Construction

You should always try to give a violin a whirl before buying. A great way to do this is by visiting a physical store and testing out the instrument before buying it at a much lower price. During your test, check out the violin’s construction.

Give the body a good look over and make sure that it doesn’t creak or buzz. This would indicate a seam problem from weak glue. Also, look inside to see if the sound post is secure.

It’s a good idea to twist the pegs a bit to ensure that they’re properly sized and not loose. Basically, you’re looking to see if the instrument is properly made. Regardless of whether or not the violin was made by a machine or handcrafted, poor construction will ultimately hinder your playing experience.

Size

As mentioned earlier, sizing is very important when it comes to playing the violin. You need to be able to go through the motions comfortably without straining. It’s important that you test for fit prior to making a choice.

While many manufacturers follow a very similar sizing pattern, there’s no set rules on how long a violin is supposed to be. A full-sized option from one maker may be slightly shorter or longer than a full-sized option from another. Fractional sizing charts should be used as a general guide to get an idea of how a violin may fit before actually giving it a try in person.

How To Choose The Correct Violin Size

Best Violin Reviews and Ratings for 2018. How to Choose the Best Violin

Complete Outfits

An outfit refers to a violin set containing the violin, strings, and bow. In most cases, a violin kit also comes with a carrying case. It’s a good idea to go with a complete outfit rather than separates, especially if you’re a beginner.

As seen in the violin reviews, many outfits will come with everything you need to start playing. Moreover, the various parts are designed and tested together. You won’t have to try multiple bows until you find the right one as an adequate option is already supplied to you.

Sound and Tone Quality

It goes without saying that sound and tone quality should be a priority. An instrument that sounds awful won’t be fun to play nor will it get new students excited about learning. You should always try the instrument out beforehand to get a better understanding of how the violin will sound, how it resonates, and how it projects.

If you’re a new player that doesn’t know how to produce sound yet, you can always look up videos of the instrument or visit a music store to have an employee play it for you.


Violin FAQ

Violin FAQ

 

Why is my bow bending?

Bows will start to warp over time if the hair is kept tight. The hairs need to be taught to play, but it’s important to loosen them after each session. A simple twist of the tightening screw to loosen the hairs will help maintain the shape and camber of the bow.

How do I clean a violin?

You should regularly clean the violin with two soft cloths. One should be used to remove any rosin residue while the other is used to wipe away dust from the rest of the instrument. Two cloths are used to avoid spreading the rosin.

Why is the bridge moving?

The best violin

Courtesy of João Amaral

If your bridge is moving, it’s probably not in the right position. The bridge is held into place by the tension of the strings. Not enough tension will cause it to fall down while too much may snap it.

It’s important to go to a professional luthier for setting, especially if you’re a novice player. The best violin will have a bridge professionally positioned for your playing level. Luthiers can also ensure that the sound post beneath it is still intact, which is crucial for resonance.

Why can’t I hear the difference after switching to a new rosin?

Changing to a new rosin won’t have an audible effect unless you’ve re-haired your bow and restrung your violin. Rosin residue is very sticky and will adhere to the fine hairs. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of once it’s on, so you will continue to hear the tonal qualities of the old rosin.

Why is my violin buzzing?

This may be a result of weak seams. If the top of bottom of the violin starts to separate from the sides, the constant vibration will result in a buzzing sound. Luckily, seam issues can be easily fixed by a professional.


Tips and Tricks to Increase the Violin Learning Curve

Tips and Tricks to Increase the Violin Learning Curve

How to Properly Hold the Violin

One of the first hurdles new players will have to overcome is simply holding the instrument correctly. Poor posture will make playing the best violin more difficult than it has to be. While the position may seem uncomfortable at first, mastering it will create a foundation for future techniques.

To start off, the violin should be held loosely by the left hand with the strings perpendicular to the floor. The neck will be supported mostly by the base of the pointer finger. The opposite side of the instrument should rest on the collarbone.

The head and jaw should be used to apply slight pressure on the chinrest. The neck should be relaxed. A shoulder rest can be used to compensate for the height of the neck.

How to Correctly Use the Bow

Another important technique to learn is how to use the bow. The bow must glide smoothly on the strings with no sudden jerks. Mastering the technique is all in the wrist.

The wrist should lead the stroke while the fingers have a loose grip on the bow. On the upstroke, the wrist should be bent up a bit. When it’s time to turn around, the wrist should move down as the fingers move up.

As the wrist is leading the stroke, the fingers should squeeze and release based on the position of the bow. It’s good to squeeze a bit on the way down while loosening up on the way up. Either way, the hairs of the bow should remain in contact with the strings the entire time.

How to Warm Up Before A Lesson

Strings instruments are much different from brass or woodwind instruments in terms of warming up. There’s no need to physically warm the instrument up, but you can always prepare your fingers and perfect your technique. One of the best types of warmups to do is long strokes.

Long stroke warm ups will help you get familiarized with individual tones and the overall motions of playing. It gets the strings vibrating and prepares you for a lesson. The easiest long stroke exercise is to simply play on open strings.

Playing on open strings allows you to work on your consistency with intonation while giving you a feel of the bow. With the addition of a mirror, the exercise can also help you improve bow positioning in relation to the bridge. An alternate exercise that provides the same benefits is to play long scales and slurs.

How to Practice with Maximum Efficiency

The best violin reviewsIt’s not enough to simply practice the same piece over and over again. This method of practicing doesn’t do much to help you improve and can take much longer. Here’s an easier way to practice and ensure maximum efficiency with only six steps.

  1. Identify problem areas. You should take things slow, pay attention to what the piece should like, and make note of parts that need extra attention.
  2. Identify what’s making something difficult. Once you’ve identified the areas that are giving you trouble, figure out why. Whether it’s a wrong note or difficulty shifting, realizing why you’re having issues can help you overcome them.
  3. Learn to play the spot correctly.Take things slow until you can play this spot correctly.
  4. Play the spot repeatedly. Once it’s correct, continue playing the spot correctly. This will help build muscle and musical memory.
  5. Put this part into context. Now that you have this part perfect, play it with the rest of the piece.
  6. Repeat on another day. Taking a break and coming back to the piece on a different day will help you retain what you’ve learned and improved on.

How to Improve Your Intonation

Because there are no frets, achieving perfect intonation is something that can take years, even on the best violin. It requires you to place your finger at an exact spot each and every time. Unfortunately, many violinists find themselves searching for a note once they’ve attempted to hit it.

This will result in moving up for down until it sounds right. To help avoid this, it’s a good idea to use finger tape. The tape will tell you where a note is and eliminate the need for guessing.

With continued practice, you’ll learn muscle memory that makes it possible to hit the exact note each time. If you do happen to miss it, figure out if you’re too high or too low before wiggling to search for it.

Beginners’ Violin Techniques
While budding violinists will certainly learn a slew of interesting techniques throughout their education, there is a handful that should be mastered early on. Learning these fundamental techniques will help any violin student prosper as they move on to more advanced songs.

Double Stops

A double stop refers to playing two notes at a single time. This is something that’s unique to stringed instruments and is utilized quite frequently in the best violin pieces. To learn it, you should start by playing one note at a time.

This will familiarize you with the finger position and pitch. Once you’re comfortable with both notes individually, try to play them together. The hairs of the bows should be touching both strings evenly and both tones should be clear.

Left-Hand Articulation

Left-Hand Articulation Articulation refers to the way a note is played, which ultimately affects the way it sounds. For example, notes can be played clearly or with a bit of a slur. Most of the articulating is done by the bow, but the left hand can also be used to add clarity.

One way to perfect left-hand articulation is to strike the string with the base of your finger. Get each one of your fingers used to hitting the string rather than gently placing it down. It should create a distinct sound when it is struck.

Doing this will help to remove muddiness on runs and fast notes. However, it’s important that you don’t hit the strings too hard and sacrifice tone quality.

Trills

Trills are another violin staple. The technique requires players to quickly play a note and the pitch directly above it in rapid succession. It’s done by moving the finger up and down quickly while still hitting the note clearly.

Improper technique leads to a sloppy sound that’s hard to identify. The best way to practice a trill is with a metronome. Simply start off slow by playing two notes in a single beat.

You can work your way up to four notes, then eight, until you successfully master it. It will take some time, but the final product is well worth the work.

Vibrato

Vibrato can turn a standard long note into something truly beautiful and is utilized by the best violin players. It’s very similar to trills but requires you to bend a single pitch with your finger rather than moving to an entirely new note. It’s done by moving the finger back and forth on the contact point.

You can use the previous metronome technique to work on perfecting your vibrato. Use the metronome to move the finger at different paces. Different songs and styles call for various vibrato speeds.

Spiccato

This technique creates a quick and jumpy sound. It requires the bow to jump off the string after it is pushed by your right-hand articulation. It creates a percussive sound that’s utilized in advanced music.

To practice it, relax the right knuckles and use the fingers to push the bow down. Pay attention to the position of the bow and how the hair reacts to the strings. It should bounce up lightly and land back down on the strings.

Adult beginner violinist - 2 years progress video

Best Violin Reviews and Ratings for 2018. How to Choose the Best Violin


Violin Myth Busting

Violin Myth Busting

With the instrument’s long and illustrious history that dates back several centuries, it’s bound to drum up some unique myths and legends. Myths about the history, use, and construction of violins are still prevalent today. Here are some of the most common violin myths debunked.

A label means a violin is a real Stradivarius

Not a myth per say, but a huge misconception about violins pertains to the work of Antonio Stradivari. It’s not uncommon to hear about a supposed discovery of a Stradivarius violin, which would hold a value of millions of dollars. Unfortunately, many are not authentic.

Strads are considered by nearly all violin reviews as the best in the world, and only 600 or so exist. The rest are simply recreations that use a Stradivari label to show its inspiration.

Violin strings are made from cat guts

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of different types of violin strings. Gut strings have been used for centuries and are still readily available today. With that being said, they don’t contain gut and are actually made from sheep intestine wrapped in metal.

Horse hair has scales that pluck the strings

Horse hair is actually very smooth and fine. Rosin is what makes the hairs on a bow grip onto the strings. It’s sticky and creates a very fine powder coating over the strings to create friction.

It’s cheaper to rent a violin

In most cases, it’s actually cheaper to buy a violin. Learning the violin is no quick process, so you’d be renting for years. Even if you were to decide to upgrade as you progress, you’d still be paying more in rental fees.

With the very low cost of a violin made for beginners, you can own a violin for only a few months of rental payments. Furthermore, renting is often associated with additional fees and maintenance requirements. While it may seem more financially sound, you may end up spending more than just purchasing the best violin up front.

Older violins are better than new models

This statement isn’t always true and is impossible to make a definitive statement on. This thought is most likely contributed to the aforementioned Stradivarius violins. Because both new and old violins come in all conditions and qualities, there’s no way to tell which one is better without playing and hearing it.


Where to Buy the Best Violin

Violins are a relatively popular instrument amongst young students and adults alike, so you won’t have a hard time finding where to buy a violin. Retailers often provide a wide selection of different sizes, brands, and types. With that being said, it does take a bit of hunting to find a small or full-size violin for sale at a reasonable price.

cheap violinHow Much Do Violins Cost?

Violins vary in price based on quality. A cheap violin for sale can cost less than $100 while a professional one will cost well over $1,000. If you buy a violin at a local music store, the price tags are even higher.

Where Can I Buy a Violin for Less?

While many physical music stores offer excellent violins, you can easily find better prices online. Buying directly from the manufacturer’s website eliminates the middle-man. This makes it possible for you to purchase the exact model at a much cheaper price.

Online retailers like Amazon also offer discounted violin prices quite frequently. The violin Amazon prices are often deeply discounted beyond the suggested retail price and much lower than what any music store can offer. Furthermore, when you choose to buy a violin online, you have a wider range of options compared to a physical store.

To ensure that you get the best cheap violins for sale at a great price, you can find suitable options with the violin reviews and test specific instruments at a store. Once you’ve seen that it’s a good fit, simply search go to an online retailer and pay less for the best violin that works for your budget and needs.


Making the Decision

Choosing to invest in a violin is a big step in your musical journey. The best violin can make all the difference in the world in terms of how you learn and play. High-quality instruments designed for your needs will be a joy to play and sound wonderful regardless of how proficient you are.

Not all violins are made equally. While those subtle differences can have a big impact on sound and playability, they make each instrument unique in their own way. The most important thing is to consider every aspect of the instrument and how it will work for your skill level, budget, and needs.

Despite the thousands of violins currently on the market, you have the tools to pick the one that works for you. Use this guide, the numerous violin reviews, and the knowledge you’ve obtained to narrow down your choices and buy the perfect violin. Once that’s out of the way, all that’s left to do is to make sweet music.