Want to start playing the Violin

August 28, 2016 at 11:14 PM · Hello,

I am new here and I would like to obtain some information about my desire to start playing the violin.

Firstly, can I get anything decent in the price budget of 100 Euros?Something similar to this.


Thanks in advance

Replies (38)

August 28, 2016 at 08:15 PM · Anyone?

August 28, 2016 at 11:31 PM · You're unlikely to get much of a violin at that price, but if it's what you can afford, then it has to be good enough.

If what you've got is 100 Euro to spend on a hobby, violin might not be for you. Lessons are expensive, and music, and the instrument/bow/case, and maintaining all of that (strings, rosin, occasional adjustments and repairs). Guitar is cheaper all around.

August 28, 2016 at 11:38 PM · If you can afford a better instrument, do so, but if you have to choose starting with a cheap violin or not starting at all, I'd suggest

Cecilio CVN-300


Cecilio CVN-500

August 29, 2016 at 12:15 AM · Its kind of like saying I want to learn to drive and I only have $100 to spend on a car, maybe you're better off taking the bus.

A $100 violin is a practically unusable pile of junk, in no way representative of what a violin is or can be, better to save up your money and get something decent.

August 29, 2016 at 12:42 AM · Do you live in Greece?

It is possible that the price of violins dropped due to economic crisis. Look for personal adds; you may get surprised what people have to sell.

August 29, 2016 at 01:57 AM · Wow Lyndon, not everyone started with a Stradivarius.

Kostas, you better go to a local store and buy there the best violin you can afford. If it's only 100€ what you can spend, it doesn't matter, go for it. A lot of my friends started with the basic $100 violin kit, that includes a violin, case, bow and rosin. Of course the violin will have many problems, but that's why I recommend you to go to a store. Buy there a violin and they must provide you a violin or kit that is playble for a beginner.

I do recommend to learn to play it with the help of a teacher, although that can be expensive, somewhere between 20-50€ an hour, keep that in mind. Starting to learn to play the violin all by yourself is kind of nuts, although if you can't spend more money, well, there's nothing else to talk about.

I'd rather buy a 100€ violin kit at a local shop and have some spare money to pay some classes with a violinist, than start with a 199€ kit and learn it all by yourself.

Once you know if you're enjoying it or not, you can buy a better violin, I'd say that you should spend from 200€ to 400€ in a decent "beginner" level violin, as soon as you know if you're liking it or not.

To some of you here, come on guys, I swear I've never seen a community (and I mean here all the worldwide violinist community) that's so close-minded and discourage beginners so much.

Is a 100€ violin a pile of junk?

Well, may be yes, may be not, who cares. So is a 150€ starting guitar kit, and I've never seen any guitarist discourage a guy who bought it.

Talking about 100€ violins kits... There are huge differences between the kits, some are just horrendous, others are just fine to start with. A friend of mine has a 99€ violin and I think it's great for beginners. You don't spend a lot of money, and hey, if you see violin is not your thing, you only lost 99€ instead of a "decent" violin kit, which reading here some post, I'd say it would cost like 800€ or more.

August 29, 2016 at 03:04 AM · If I recall correctly I bought my first violin for 150 dollars. Obviously, it wasn't a nice violin, but it wasn't exactly a piece of junk either - in fact, every beginner in the school had the same violin.

I'm not sure if any choice can be the "right" choice here. A cheap violin may not give you the idea of what a violin can be; on the other hand, most of my peers that started along with me dropped their studies eventually, selling or giving away their instruments. I can understand that a person is not willing to spend a lot of money in a hobby they're not sure of - in my personal case, I play in my piece of junk for two years to save up for a better instrument, and was willing to spend more because I had plans to keep playing in the future.

There may be a middle-road. OP could consider rentals...

August 29, 2016 at 04:06 AM · First of all, welcome! :)

For $100, you are going to get the very basics to start making some violin noises. It's enough to learn intonation and bowing and maintenance and the basics, but you won't get anything in terms of 'tone' or more advanced techniques, and will likely face technical problems that a better instrument wouldn't have (such as slipping pegs, wrong strings action, etc, etc). Ideally, everybody would start with a great instrument, but alas the world doesn't work like that.

But it should be enough to help you decide if this is something you really want to get into or not. The violin is not an easy instrument to learn or to play. And like it's been said above, playing the violin can get very expensive. Instrument, lessons, accessories, it all adds up.

Depending on where you are in Europe, there can be options. I would suggest going to a violin shop and seeing what rent (rent-to-own) options they have, or look maybe for someone wanting to sell or give away an instrument. ...and you really, /REALLY/ should get a teacher, at least for some very basic starter lessons.

August 29, 2016 at 04:30 AM · If that's all you can afford, rent. Cheap VSOs (violin-shaped objects) are often nigh-unplayable; fundamental things, like the pegs working so the violin stays in tune, often don't work. You don't want to completely cripple yourself by buying an unusable instrument. Renting from a decent violin shop will get you a violin that is, at the very least, properly set up and playable.

Frankly, I think just about everyone should rent to start. Rental instruments are of decent quality, properly set up and maintained, and inexpensive. Few people should buy until they've gotten enough experience to know what they want in a violin, and have saved up the money to get something higher-quality than what they can rent. Many shops that rent, including the online shops, will allow you to put the money you paid for the rental towards purchase of an instrument from them, so you aren't flushing the rental money down the drain. And if you decide the violin isn't for you, you won't have spent very much.

Be forewarned, though, that the violin is an expensive hobby. Nobody is saying this just to be discouraging. It's just an unfortunate fact.

August 29, 2016 at 09:44 PM · Thank you for your responses, unfortunately I live in a small town in Greece and I am moving to an even smaller one for college (I might relocate in the future but this is another story).

I really doubt I will even find a teacher in any of the two cities I'm going to.Lessons in major cities cost about 12-18 euros.Unfortunately the Cecilio violin is not shipped to my location.

August 30, 2016 at 02:26 PM · 12-18€ per hour?

Wow, that's really, really cheap for a violin teacher (supposing is a teacher with higher education, which is at least 14 years playing the violin).

Well, if you can't find a teacher, you're gonna suffer a lot, lol. But anyway, give it a try.

August 30, 2016 at 07:26 PM · Dear Kostas,

First, ask your friends, relatives, neighbours, in your parish, anyone you meet. Many folks have music instruments rotting in the attic, never getting played, maybe grandpa's violin, and somebody might like the idea of giving them a new life by lending to you. There have always been quite mediocre Instruments in former days too, but that €100 violin set quality is a phenomenon of our time. If you don't find a "real" violin that can be fixed to play easily, then I as so often do agree with Lydia, you will be happier with a rental violin. If everything goes wrong and you can't find a playable instrument that suits your needs and budget, maybe it helps to give me a private message.

Second, get a teacher.

Third, get a teacher.

Fourth, get a teacher. It's not really necessary that he or she is on a professional level, just somebody who learned playing for a few years under guidance would be better than nothing. In a town big enough to run a college there should be anybody who plays. Maybe even one of the teachers. If you can't afford it every week, then twice a month is still better than once a month is still better than never. There are litterally tons of helpful tutorials around via Youtube, but as I'm an adult beginner with solid musical education in my youth and experience in learning other instruments (like the piano and the guitar) please trust me when I say that especially at the beginning it's almost impossible to achieve any goal without somebody to guide you. After some weeks or months I think you should be able to make some progress on your own, but you still will need somebody at least from time to time to "fix you up".

The violin is a wonderful instrument, and having the chance to play it is one of the best things ever happened to me [- althouh I can understand my wife's little difficulties in sharing that point of view... ;-) ]

Don't get discouraged by € and $, where there's a will there's a way, and times will change again - also in Greece!

August 31, 2016 at 10:35 AM · I'd second what Harald says, you'll find something through that route, especially in a country with as rich a heritage of people playing music as Greece.

IMHO a 100 euro instrument kit will very quickly start to feel like a waste of 100 euros - if you can find something used, or rent an instrument, then you are likely to enjoy your playing much more.

August 31, 2016 at 08:14 PM · Hi Kostas

Harald's idea of asking around is an excellent suggestion. I got going with a very good instrument loaned to me by an aunt, and when she needed it back, a friend loaned me something playable. By the time I bought my first instrument, I had enough experience to know I wanted to take it seriously.

If you draw a blank, consider something used. I know a lady who started out with a violin she found for around $100 in a local junk shop. It was a ghastly shade of bright orange, but well set up and perfectly pleasant to play.

The problem is - you won't yet know how to tell if an instrument or bow is any good. Do you know anyone with a little experience? If you hunt around in charity shops, classified ads etc you will likely find instruments, and your friend could check them out for you.

As for learning, yes, a teacher is very much the way to go. But I got going during a period of illness when I couldn't afford teaching, using YouTube and Simon Fischer's books.

I'll never be a great player (I don't have the talent anyway), but I've reached a standard where I play charity gigs and the odd paid gig, and more importantly, where I have a lot of fun. If I'd listened to all the naysayers who say it's impossible I'd never have started.

And there's a big difference between the average teacher and the kind of skilled and thoughtful teachers who hang out here. I often play with classically trained violinists who have glaring and obvious issues which it seems their teachers never sorted out. So if you can find and afford a really good teacher, that is absolutely the way to go. But failing that, you can make progress on your own if you are a confident learner and problem-solver. If you don't try, you'll never know!

September 1, 2016 at 03:22 PM · Thank you for your replies, they are really helpful!I found a shop which also makes handcrafted musical instruments in my city, his cheapest one costs 130 euros (Not handmade) .Also, Thomann.de has quite some decent prices, what would you recommend?Also, I read that an electric violin might be easier for a beginner, would you recommend that?

September 1, 2016 at 07:51 PM · 130€ for a handcrafted european violin? - Kidding! Mabe industrially routed asian parts glued together here. (Reminds me of the eastern European animal transporters bringing the living animals to western europe, and because the animals are slaughtered in Austria the meat is sold in the supermarkets as "original Austrian quality"...) Then I'd rather go for a chinese viol' right away. Which can be decent, but not for 100 or 125 €. And don't expect to find any violin really MADE and not only assembled in a european workshop für much less than €500.

Internet purchase has the benefit that you can easily return the instrument if you don't like it. Unfortunately you will not be able to tell so.

In my case, my son wanted to learn the violin. Lucky me, so I was able to try it out on his rental instrument, otherwise I'd never ever even thought about it. Soon a friends uncle (whom I even didn't know before!) was friendly enough to just lend me a quite nice and playable old violin that had slept maybe for decades, so we were able to practice together. He lent it to me without any time limit and - maybe adding some fine tuners - it was actually good enough that it would have brought me through the first year(s), but as I wanted to try different Instruments I switched to a rented violin then, but didn't like the sound on the g string, so my luthier let me change the instrument. Meanwhile we bought a student-level but really nice violin for my son, and after 8 months as I am sure I will stay with it, I'm finally planning to buy my own one. Although I'd have had the money earlier, I would never have been able to "judge" or "like" an instrument, and still my expertise is on a very basic level as you might expect, but still good enough that I will not go totally wrong.

So, if you don't mind reading my advice once again: ask the people you meet. Might protect you best of burning money. Which you seem to be short on, so don't waste. Don't be shy: most people are friendly, good and happy to help, no matter what TV tells us. A 100€ VSO should only be an option for you if you really can't find another solution.

September 1, 2016 at 09:37 PM · I actually made a mistake, his handcrafted ones start from 800 euros, I'll correct my post.What are your thoughts on electric violins?Also, I've seen a couple of used ones for sale but most don't have much details on them.

September 1, 2016 at 09:43 PM · Kostas,

I never ever buy anything from Amazon with only positive reviews.

Only 3 star reviews are reliable - especially those with pro and contra arguments.

5 stars - paid to positive comment

1 star - paid for negative comment.

...there must be some old fiddles in Greece!

September 1, 2016 at 09:47 PM · I strongly recommend against learning on an electric violin unless you have absolutely no interest in EVER playing an acoustic violin. The electric violin will not teach you how to make a good sound, period. I happen to hate electric violins--I use a pickup if I require amplification.

September 1, 2016 at 10:59 PM · I've found a couple of used ones with almost 0 information about them listed as used.Being a inexperienced I don't know how to determine how good one is.Although, chances are that I may end up finding one which was kept in a storage and the owner knows nothing about it, leading to a low price.Is there anything I could do to check if it's worth the money?

September 2, 2016 at 03:07 AM · There's countless videos on YouTube about how to choose a beginner violin. Check some out! :)

But I think the most basic stuff you want to look for is first of all if the instrument is in acceptable condition. Looking old isn't a problem, but does it look like it was cared for or is it all scratched up and banged up? Also is the soundpost still inside and in position, or has it fallen?

If you buy an used violin you absolutely should take it to a luthier to make sure it doesn't need any adjustments that even a well-cared for instrument can require from time to time (such as a soundpost adjustment). And you will very likely need to put new strings on it.

Also do you get a bow? Let's not forget the bow! If it's old and worn it might need a re-hair, but the foremost to look for is if the bow is warped.

On the violin again, make sure you can see the grain of the wood on the edges of the top and the bottom, you don't want a violin made of plywood, those are stage props!

One really big indication of a violin that is at least a step up from a VSO is the purfling: If the purfling is painted on that means trouble. Yes there are crappy violins with real purfling, but a painted purfling is a sure indication that an instrument is... how can I say this politely... 'complete crap' is a bit too strong, but you get it right? ;)

September 4, 2016 at 10:35 PM · Thank you for your replies!

I'm thinking of buying a thomann violin, this one is one that suits my price range.


Or a Stentor violin


They seem a bit more decent, knowing that they come off a reputable shop.

Any thoughts?

September 8, 2016 at 09:15 AM · Any thoughts?

September 8, 2016 at 09:40 AM · I cannot see those links you posted but Stentor violins are commonly used by beginners in Australia. Please remember that all violins have to be set up by a luthier. Who are you buying these violins from ?

September 8, 2016 at 01:03 PM · I bought a cheap 170 dollar violin off the Internet and put about 100 into it to get it to sound as good as it could. I told myself that if I was still playing it after 6 months I would consider getting a "real" violin. Well, I played it for a year and a half and enjoyed it even though it had issues. I definitely got to a point though where I could feel the violin was limiting my progress and that was when I bought my new one.

I will also second the advice about the violin as a hobby. In a year and a half I have spent about 2000 in lessons and close to 10000 in everything else. 5000 for my new violin, 2000 for a new bow, 400 for the case 200 in music and several hundred in other misc. Things such as rosin, strings, earplugs, a light a music stand, rehairs for bows and who knows what I missed.

This will obviously not be what I spend every year but between music, strings, now rehairs, and violin upkeep... I can see spending around 500-1000 a year on that and 2000-3000 in lessons.

I am sure you can do it for less and if you have to then by all means do so! It is so incredibly rewarding!

Lastly I will say that while I agree that you should get a teacher if you can I also think that if you want to play that not having a teacher should not be a limiting factor. It is hugely beneficial IF you have a good teacher (I spent 3 years with a guitar teacher that had no plan or progressive path for me and was an ineffective communicator) and IF you have aspirations of playing with a group, and IF you have no musical knowledge or prior experience. Heck even with all the caveats in the world having a teacher is hugely beneficial. But it isn't necessary to learn and to have fun. If you are at all self aware and understand how to learn you can make progress on your own. It just is the least efficient path.


September 8, 2016 at 01:54 PM · I would have to disagree : if you are learning the violin then you MUST have a teacher. It is not like the guitar, piano or any number of instruments that can be self-taught. The violin is not a self-teaching instrument ; you would just be wasting your time.

September 8, 2016 at 03:47 PM · No offense... But that is utter tripe.


September 8, 2016 at 04:50 PM · Did you teach yourself the violin ?

September 8, 2016 at 05:26 PM · Whether I did or not is irrelevant. You said to attempt to learn to play the violin without a teacher is a waste of time. That is an incredible overarching generalization that discounts many individuals who have taught themselves and enjoyed the process immensely.

To discourage someone who may not have the funds or access to a teacher because you feel that it is a waste of time is ridiculous.


September 9, 2016 at 01:18 AM · Yes, it is relevant. I just cannot imagine trying to work out how to hold the bow correctly or the left hand placement without a teacher.

Perhaps somebody who has taught themselves would care to comment on this ?

September 9, 2016 at 06:02 AM · @Brian, while I do agree that getting a teacher is extremely beneficial, especially in the early stages of learning how to hold and bow correctly, I also do not deem it completely necessary. Especially if taking up the violin is something only to be done as a hobby. I personally have enjoyed figuring it out on my own, although a bit frustrating at times. Yes, lessons would have been nice to have but location and time don't always allow things to work out.

I guess my weigh in is this - if a new beginner intends to take it seriously or ever experiences discomfort from the way they are trying to play then 100% take some lessons. Otherwise I believe if you stick to it, you can learn a great deal and really enjoy it all.

September 9, 2016 at 08:12 AM · My learning experience and my life experience do not represent others learning and life experience. The fact that I did or did not do a thing does not have a single thing to do with another's capacity to learn.

Regardless, I will leave it at this; we all have different motivations to learn to play. We all have different ideas as to what it means to learn to play and to learn to play well. Each of us is made happy by different things. Your inability to imagine a thing does not preclude that thing from occurring and should not be the basis upon which one would decide that learning the violin sans teacher would be a waste of time.


September 9, 2016 at 12:10 PM · I think it depends on your goals. If you intend to play well and advance, you need a teacher. If you intend to fool around and scratch out a couple of tunes, and you never intend to go beyond that point (and therefore are not concerned about developing bad habits), you can manage without a teacher.

September 9, 2016 at 01:38 PM · Getting back to the selection of a violin -- the vast majority of inexpensive instruments are made in China these days, regardless of the brand name they carry, whether German or Italian or Japanese, etc. So, notwithstanding the chance that you find an old good violin among your relatives or neighbours, etc., the question becomes one of how to select and source a Chinese-made violin.

Any decent violin store with a luthier will tell you that they know better and will do the pre-selection for you, so you won't see the worst of the Chinese-made violins from their store, and also that they will ensure that the violins are properly set up and adjusted. All of which is correct.

However, it doesn't change the fact that a retailer has to carry significant overhead and the cost of the labour for setup and adjustments are much higher than they are in China.

So an alternative is sourcing a violin directly from China from a good manufacturer which generally does good setup, if you believe one exists and can be found. I think Yitamusic violins which is on eBay is such a manufacturer, and that their violins are generally as good or better than student-grade violins found in good retail shops, for either comparable or less cost.

It is however a gamble to some extent -- all violins are different and you might get a good one or not so good one, have to spend no money on setup and upgrades or enough money on setup and upgrades that it might have been cheaper to source one through a local retailer instead.

Regarding rental student violins -- a similar argument applies, but I think it only makes economic sense for children for whom several violins will be needed before they reach full size. The price of a decent student violin, even if you have to pay for a local luthier to adjust it will be less than the rental cost after a while and long before the student has matured.

But I would add that for a student, the setup of the violin is far more important than details of the sound quality as it affects playability and students aren't going to be able to make violins sound really good until they advance further, so the budget should include inspection, string replacement and any necessary adjustment by a good local luthier.

September 9, 2016 at 05:19 PM · @Brian Kelly

What makes you think that you can teach yourself piano or guitar?

I'd say both piano and guitar harder than violin. Always having classical music in mind. You can teach yourself a few chords and play a melody, but this is just different from fiddling around with the violin.

Any study in classical music needs a teacher. There is no instrument that can be self taught. Except viola. But there is no other instrument that can be self taught.

September 9, 2016 at 06:27 PM · @Jessy: you're right, your experience or lack of it doesn't necessarily represent others' capacity to learn. However, it does lead one to ask on what basis you are making the judgement that one can learn without a teacher; that seems to be as lacking in empirical evidence as what you're criticizing. Asserting that anything is possible, which is what it seems you are doing, is just as logically (in)valid as asserting a teacher is required.

Now, I think we can all agree that a good teacher will help to increase the probability of the student making rapid progress, as this is indicated by the evidence; so, if the student would like to be playing music sooner rather than later, a teacher would be a good choice.

September 9, 2016 at 09:03 PM · I already stated that I believed a teacher was the best route. I did not believe it needed reiterating.

In fact I only stated directly that it was not a waste of time. Naturally, this indirectly implies that one can learn without a teacher so I will grant that I believe one can learn without a teacher (as traditionally defined). However, in contradiction to your bizarre statement that I have no evidence to support my case I believe you can just search you tube to find any number of self taught individuals. I ran across one today. In addition of youk look above you will note that poster Heather said she not only learned on her own but enjoyed it. Just to pile on I see posters on here all the time that say they have no teacher.

There is much evidence to support my belief that learning is not a waste of time. Very little to support the opposite.


September 10, 2016 at 06:37 PM · The best violin you can get for a $150-200(usd)price range is a Yita T19/M19 from eBay. They ship from China, however the violins are extremely high quality for the price. Why are people saying 20 euro lessons are cheap? The average income in Greece is much lower.

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