What Makes A Good Beginner Violin?

StringWorks has been providing great beginner violins since 1997.  When nobody else was offering violins online, StringWorks made it possible for anyone to have access to a hand-crafted and professionally setup instrument.  

Now that endless options of violins are available online and in many more local music stores, it requires a bit more knowledge and foresight to pick a good violin.  It’s very exciting that more people can explore their musical passions, but it quickly becomes overwhelming to try and compare beginner violins on the web, as many may appear identical to the customer – they are not.  Quality varies widely, along with price, and it’s hard to compare some of the better student violins and separate them from the ‘VSO’ (violin shaped object) musical landmines.  

We are sharing our thoughts about what makes a good beginner violin for those who want to play or who have a family member or friend who is lucky enough to have earned your generous gift.  If you are truly looking for a toy just so a very young child can get acquainted with the instrument, then just go with the cheapest violin you can find.  We hope that such experiences inspire those 2-year-olds to develop a lifelong appreciation of music! Chances are it will get dropped or broken before they would be ready to develop their technique. For anyone else regardless of age, commitment, or otherwise, just know that having a good beginner violin is vital to your enjoyment and learning.  

How Much Does A Beginner Violin Cost? 

Violin is one of the most popular stringed instruments because it is heard so often in all genres of music, normally gets the melody, and is the smallest/least expensive.  The two biggest hurdles we hear about from players are cost and technical difficulty.  

A good student violin does not have to be expensive! As with anything, you do get what you pay for, and this rings even truer for a handmade stringed instrument.  That said, a good beginner violin is not that much more than the distracting ‘junk’ that all too often looks too good to be true.  Instead of going with the $150 or $200 violin that will hinder your musical grown - and most likely crack - rent something you will actually want to keep, and something that will encourage good technique, not fight it.  Most of the payments go towards the purchase, so it’s like you’re saving for the violin while using it.  A good quality beginner violin costs only $400-$500 so it’s relatively affordable (compared to the Stradivaris that everyone dreams about!)  You would have paid for almost 1/2 with the funds you used on the inferior violin.  Most people say they don’t want to spend very much because they’re not sure if the player will stick with it, but if they do, then you’ll still have to spend that $500 and then you’re stuck with a $200 violin.  Nobody will buy it for more than $50, because they could get the brand new one for not much more.  Similarly, if they don’t stick with it, you won’t be able to sell it and will be stuck with an expensive reminder.  By investing in a good beginner violin, you give yourself the best chance for learning, and a good violin will actually retain its value on the aftermarket or appreciate.  

What to Look For in A Beginner Violin

Learning to play violin requires a good beginner violin – it’s that simple.  Imagine trying to ride a bike with pedals that aren’t in line or a handlebar that is cockeyed, or a wheel that wobbles.  You will never develop the balance and coordination required to feel comfortable.  Imagine if the saying was actually “it’s like a playing a violin!” instead of riding a bike! :) A quality student violin will be easy to use, forgiving, and offer a pleasant, rewarding sound.  A good violin will make it difficult to squeak on the E string, a common complaint of parents of young violinists!  The pegs will hold their position and tuning will feel easy.  It will feel comfortable to push down your fingers, and the bow will naturally be able to hit all the right strings one at a time.  These might sound like straightforward requirements, but the cheap violins will have maple pegs painted black that are impossible to turn; strings so high or heavy tension that you can’t reach the fingerboard and your hands will hurt; and a bridge/nut so poorly cut that it’s impossible to avoid hitting two strings, the string crossings are unnatural, and the feet slide around or cause the bridge to collapse.  With cheap “cheese cutter” steel strings, there is no way for you to sound good.  We are sorry that such a “violin” can be offered, as countless violinists never even had a chance to explore their musicality or quit because it was so frustrating or embarrassing.  

‘Good enough’ is more than just a list: “solid carved maple, spruce, ebony, inlaid purfling.”  A quality beginner violin has to be the instrument that will help you improve technically and musically.  Our Crescendo is an amazing violin for any beginner, with a professional level setup, good strings, and a trade-in program that will allow you to upgrade if you ever want to! 

Explore our Crescendo and other great student violins!

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