Buying for new violin – what you need to know about?

We recently get asked for a list of the best violins for students to buy. This is a tough question to answer, a violin that might be perfect for one isn’t necessarily the best instrument for someone else. For a list of the top violins and a small explanation as to why they might be right or wrong for you check our brand new article here!

Buying a violin, or even renting one is a big commitment. Before you head down to the violin shop, check out the list below on signs of good violins and the price range you should be looking at spending.

What are the characteristics of the best violins?

Tone – Do you want a violin that is mellow and warm, or bright and full? If you spend most of your time performing in orchestras or ensembles, you might prefer a mellow warm instrument that blends well. Whereas bright and full violins are perfect for playing solo. In an article by Zaret & Sons, they point out that above all other tonal qualities; warm, rich, full, deep, brilliant, lyrical, the most important sound feature in a violin is “POWER“. In this regards it is easy to judge a violin. Does it produce a lot of sound? Does it play with power? Than it is probably a good instrument. Choose an instrument that you LOVE to listen too, and that feels easy to play on.

Quick Fix – Replace the cheap strings that come with an instrument with more expensive strings, you’ll improve the sound of your instrument drastically.

Condition – Buying a used instrument can be risky, especially when it’s done online. Be prepared to take the instrument ‘as is’ and pour more money into repairs from the beginning. If you buy the instrument used in a violin shop, make sure the instrument comes with that shop’s warranty. You musn’t forget about a proper instrument case. This is its protections so choose wisely before you spend your money.


Appearance – Begin now to look around at violins and get a rough idea as to what color and style you prefer. When you buy the violin make sure the workmanship is up to your standards and expectations (keep in mind that beginning violins will not have perfect craftsmanship or varnish). One easy fix that can drastically change the look of the violin are replacing the fittings; the pegs, chin rest, and the tail piece.

Playability – An easy thing for any novice to look for is the height of the strings. Although they will vary from instrument to instrument, you want to avoid the extremes. Hold the violin at eye level and look at the space between the strings and the fingerboard. If it is too high, it will be hard to play and hurt the student’s fingers. It could also signal other problems like a neck and fingerboard that is poorly built or had past repairs.