The violin is one of the most popular stringed instruments.
Learning an instrument requires discipline, passion, and most of all is an investment. Like any instrument, violins come in ranges with those being very expensive and those in the affordable range. As you look forward to beginning your violin lessons, we’ll guide you on what you can expect regarding how much a violin costs and some of the features to pay attention to. Violins come at all prices from $400 to millions of dollars for great Italian collectibles.
However, when it comes to buying a violin, quality is important. It is key to invest in an instrument that will serve you while also paying attention to your budget. If this is your first violin or you are a parent and your child's performance level is at a beginner level, you don’t need to overspend on an instrument that isn’t suited to your level.
How Much Does A Violin Cost
1. Price Range: $200 - $ 500
Violin prices within this range are the most affordable. These are best suited for entry-level students or beginner violin players, and they tend to be factory-made in China. The basic craftsmanship of these violins will be well made, but they are not set up. They come “out of the box” with no adjustments. For the violins in this price range, it is key that individual parts are either included or upgraded:
Bridge: Affects the tone of the instrument.
Strings: These should be upgraded to complement the violin and give it a better tone.
Bow: A bow is essential to playing the violin; hence you should look to upgrade to a better quality that will produce a better sound.
Cases: A basic beginner outfit should include a case that allows you to transport and protect the violin.
2. Price Range: $600 – $1000
There’s an increase in quality in this category. The quality of wood used here is higher hence resulting in a higher quality of workmanship. The violins are hand finished, and better parts are used, which further emphasizes the instrument's quality. The combination of the fittings and workmanship gives the violins a more mature, resonant tone.
Violins in this category are ideal for an intermediate player. Some features to look out for:
An upgraded bow: Some intermediate violin outfits will include an upgraded bow, hence improving tone and technique.
Upgraded strings: The most intermediate violin outfits should include at least a set of Piranito strings or better strings like Dominant strings.
Bridge: The bridge quality should at least be an Aubert.
3. Price Range: $1100 – $2000
In this category, the level of workmanship and expertise crafting the violin is much higher. The quality of wood used is much higher as well. The grain of the wood is something you’ll have to begin to consider as well. The grain refers to the natural alignment of fibers in the wood and can produce a more visually pleasing aesthetic and improve the tones and overtones of the violin. When considering your violin, you’ll be looking at the tightness of the grain on the front and the flame of the grain on the back. These elements reflect the higher quality of wood used to make the violin, which results in producing nicer tones and overtone. Hence allowing for a much more resonant and expressive quality of sound when played. Violins in this category can also project their sound better hence producing a higher volume compared to the previous ranges.
This category is better suited for an advanced violinist as the quality of sound allows them to play more solo repertoire and suits more expressive playing.
Features to consider in investing in:
An upgraded bow: Violins in this price range rarely include an intermediate bow. Hence, you may expect to spend around $300-$500 on higher quality intermediate violin bows from brands like Coda.
Professional strings: A set of synthetic core strings may be included; however you to get an even better tone, you can consider upgrading to Larsen or Obligato.
4. Price Range: $2000+
At this level, considerations such as the violin makers' reputation, the levels of workmanship, the type of wood, etc., will influence your decision. The characteristics of the violin’s sound become more personal and individualized at this level.
Most violins that are in this price range and above are crafted in European workshops, and this is because Europeans are known for high-quality workmanship and materials. The wood's quality and grain are something you’ll need to strongly consider when looking for a violin. Varnish wear is also something worth noting. Ensure that the varnish is of high quality and is applied uniformly across the instrument.
Features That Determine Violin Prices
5. Size of Instrument
Violin instruments come in different sizes.
As you do your research, you’ll come across the terms “full-size” and “partial/fractional size.” Full-size violins are better suited for most adults, while partial-size violins are better suited for smaller-bodied adults or children. The size in question signifies the length of the violin's neck compared to the length of the violinist’s arms.
Partial size violins are not charged the same as full-size violins mainly for two reasons:
A child is constantly growing; hence it accounts for their growth and the fact they will need to trade in the violins for ones that fit their growth.
They often don’t produce the same quality of sound as that of a full-size violin instrument.
If you’re not sure what size instrument would be ideal for you, your violin teacher can help you in this respect. They can also help demonstrate the difference in sound in each particular instrument.
Purchasing a violin is one thing. There are also added accessories that come with the instrument that is key in helping you play.
These tend to be considered additional items to the purchase price. They include:
- Extra strings
- Violin books
- Music stand
- Shoulder rest
7. Choice of Seller
You’ve probably come across violins while you’re in a mall, boutique stores, luthiers, or seen them advertised online auctions and newspaper classifieds. Many people can sell you a violin instrument. Even though you can negotiate lower prices with some of these sellers, such as second-hand stores, it's important to know what exactly you are looking for and how to recognize it. Its also key to check if the seller has a well-documented policy of allowing returns without any issues. Something else to keep in mind is that your choice of the seller, e.g., online auctions, might not include all accessories required to play the violin, such as the bow case in the purchase.
Instruments at reputable music stores or violin shops may cost more, but they do come with the benefits of the seller's guidance. The seller will guide you in finding the proper size violin and accessories you need, and the good thing is that you can return always return if you need help.