Violin Kits - Which are best?

January 24, 2009 at 04:23 PM ·

I am in the market for a new violin, and I'm kind of a DIY person in some areas.  I thought it would be a fun project to get a violin kit with the pieces and build it myself and finish how I want.  I found a few online companies such as ,, and ebay which have violin kits for a wide price range.  I was wondering, has anyone here done that before, and if so, can you recommend a site or store that you were happy with?  What key things should I consider when buying a kit?  I'd appreciate any and all feedback :)  Thanks!

Replies (7)

January 24, 2009 at 08:04 PM ·

What level of player are you?

I would avoid the low priced kits, and I would avoid Lark in the Morning in general.

See what International Violin has available.

I think it's a mistake to seek to build a violin as a means to the end of having a violin.  I think making a violin needs to be seen as an end in itself because it is time consuming and the results are far from guaranteed.


January 25, 2009 at 12:33 AM ·

I commend you...I was a disaster with even the AMT car models as a kid and cannot fathom the idea of  building a fiddle...

even with a kit, won't you need specific luthier tools? Please keep the "community" informed of your success


January 26, 2009 at 04:50 PM ·

I am a regular do all with my hands, but looked at the kits and realized you need a bunch of special tools ( jigs, plainers, reamers, clamps) to do it properly. Trying to tune and shape the wood for the best resonance could be done, but if you never did it before you would not be sure of what resonance to try to acheive.

I was looking at some of the chinese unfinished violins knowing I could do a better job of staining and varnishing than what I seen on some of these violins. I am thinking I could get a better sounding violin for the same price of one already finished by doing it myself.  If you were not happy with the tone, you could remove the top and tweek some more.

In the end it is all a gamble when you can't hear the end result before purchasing, wether you buy online or build yourself. For the DIY, it would be fun and exciting, especially if it comes out looking and sounding great.


February 26, 2009 at 04:18 PM ·

Thank you all.  I am still considering it.  My husband has some woodworking experience, and I've read a lot about the craft, but I am a bit daunted by all the tools.  The kits LOOK like they aren't too complicated, so I'm hoping my husband can help me.  If not, my dad certainly could; he used to build boats in the backyard, so he has every tool one would ever need!

Btw, I am intermediate-advanced level, been playing since I was a little kid (about 20 years), and now I teach beginners.  I LIKE Lark in the Morning :D  I've only ever bought music & small flutes, but I have been happy with them.  I love going in the one in San Francisco (when I'm able to go there) and just play around on the instruments.

February 26, 2009 at 04:54 PM ·

 Well, I guess if you haven't done it before you better take the cheapest one first and then, if you succeed (sorry for my English, not sure if this is correctly spelled) you can try a more expensive one.

I am not a violin maker (I wish I was, but I'm too old to start) but i guess you should get some specific tools. And most important: have you thought about the varnish? 

February 26, 2009 at 06:31 PM ·

I think this is about as inexpensive as they get (except whern they are on sale (or you can get a dealer price) - and it is what I would try for my first attempt:

International has other, more expensive kits for later attempts.

Personally, I have enjoyed my visits to Lark in the Morning. I've only been to the one in Mendocino, and only about once a year, when I get over there. But i never buy much of anything, just little stuff. I'd probably buy more if they offered 75% discounts.

Good luck!


February 26, 2009 at 10:07 PM ·

Ciao Anna!

I started making instruments when I was 13 years old...  I never stoped.  If you really want to make good instruments I think you could consider making them from the scratch.

Ok, it's difficult,  it's a long run project, but it's quite rewarding.  There are some books such as "The Art of Violin Making" by Courtnall and Johnson that are quite good. 

While you think about that, you could see one of my tutorials about scroll carving, here:





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