What do I need for my violin

September 21, 2011 at 09:52 PM ·


I'm thinking about starting the violin again, since it has been soooooo long since I even touch it. I mean, I started when I was 7 and drop after 2 month. The only thing I remeber are how to hold the violin, take care of it, and hold the bow correctly.

I have a budget of $900 MAX! I don't intend to go any farther than that. And was wondering what do I need to buy and how much should I expect out of it. I already have a violin, case, bow and rosin in mind, and was wondering what else do I need :)

I'm only 13 now if that help. Total beginner, but are straight up perfectionist. I do intend to stick with the violin for a long time. So crappy $99 violin is a no-no, don't try to direct me to those site.

Also any other upon taking of the violin is greatly welcome. I just move from a hot year-round climate to Minnesota freezing winter. I understand how humidity and dryness may affect my violin. Tips on that would be Super-Awesome.

And......one last thing. Tips on staying concentrate to practice at least 1/2 hr. a day is AWSOME. I'm a bit hyperactive, and get distracted very easily.





Replies (22)

September 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM ·

A tuner/metronome would be handy to have.  A music stand.  Some music books.  Spare strings if you don't live where you could get replacements easily.  A teacher could make all the difference.  A shoulder rest if you are going that route.  A sharpened #2 pencil with a good eraser is critical.  A good attitude is necessary, and the self-discipline to practice.

September 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM ·

You will be best off, as Lisa suggests, if you get a teacher. The teacher can help you get an adequate violin and bow and recommend an appropriate rosin for your new climate. Unless you intend to run over it with a car, a relatively inexpensive, violin-shaped case will be adequate.

Just don think you know how to hold the violin and bow after studying for only 2 months some 6 years ago. I've seen that! You don't really know until you know how it feels to do it correctly from inside your body.

More later - as this thread develops.

I wish you lots of luck, especially if you have trouble concentrating. At your age, 30 minutes of daily practice is a minimum and it will require a good teacher to fill those 30 minutes with the right stuff.

I recommend a goal of getting into a high-school or other youth music program as soon as you qualify, and using that to encourage your competitive spirit toward improvement.

Most people get shoulder rests to compensate for having violins with chinrests that don't really suit them. I hope you find a teacher who appreciates that.


September 21, 2011 at 11:04 PM ·

Skylar --

I can relate to those Minnesota winters -- northern Indiana is no picnic during the winter, either!  One of the absolute BEST investments I've ever made is a case cover to slip my violin case into when I have to take my violin out in very cold or very hot weather.  It's sort of like an insulated sleeping bag for my violin -- zips around the case, and has a strap so I can just sling it over my shoulder and take off.  Shar Music carries a brand called "Cushy" -- that's where I got mine.  I had to order a case cover sized for a viola case because one of my violin cases is kind of a moose.  It cost about $70 (not including shipping).  If you have a normal-sized violin case you should be able to get by with the violin-sized case cover.  I think those were closer to $50 -- can't remember for sure.  Check Shar on-line.  If I'm carrying my violin in the car on a sunny day I cover the case/case cover with a white towel to keep the black material from absorbing heat from the sun.

Humidity -- hmmmmmm......  If your house has a built-in humidifier attached to your furnace you're in good shape.  Mine doesn't, so I have to keep a humidifier in my violin case.  I've heard several scare stories about damage that those "Dampit" tubes can do to a violin.  I've had great luck with an "Oasis" case humidifier.  You just have to add a little distilled water to it (definitely distilled!) every few days, and it keeps a nice level of humidity going for your violin if your house is dry (this pre-supposes that you keep your violin in a closed case when you're not playing).  The kit (bottle, syringe to fill it, and device for fastening it into your case) runs about $18 to $20, depending on where you buy it. 

Good luck -- and HAVE FUN -- in your violin studies!


September 21, 2011 at 11:46 PM ·

If you cant concentrate for half hour try to break it up into smaller chunks. Try two sessions of 15 min and slowly increase the length of one session until you can manage half hour.

If you are really starting upjust because you think it will help with math and science, you may want to consider renting for a few months before buying. I am not sure if your profile is just in jest, but if you dont really have much interest in music see if you stick with it first. If you are in the Cities, you could try Quinn violins or House of Note to get you started.

September 21, 2011 at 11:55 PM ·

What you don't need:

  1. shoulder rest (let's just get the flame war started!)
  2. fingerboard tapes
  3. fingerboard guide
  4. cleaner
  5. polish
  6. c-bout protectors
  7. clip-on tuner
  8. string cleaner
  9. bow guide
  10. shoulder strap
  11. neck brace
  12. back rest
  13. pencil holster
  14. what else?

What you do need:

  1. an appropriate bow
  2. a good case (within reason considering the cost of the vioin)
  3. a clean piece of used underware etc for cleaning the top
  4. a separate piece of cloth for cleaning the strings
  5. a cake of rosin
  6. spare strings (one set, don't need more)
  7. music and stand if that suits your playing style
  8. metronome
  9. pitch reference
  10. maybe a room humidifier for winter (or boil water...) and a dehumidifier or A/C in summer

And that's about it!



September 22, 2011 at 12:14 AM ·

 Start with the teacher! (and the open mind needed to be a good student).  S/He will have experience and can guide you--through the flame wars, the weather, the ups and downs, and all, maybe even with tips on practicing.

September 22, 2011 at 02:20 AM ·

Between $20 and $100 a week for weekly lessons.  Is *that* in you budget?

My son has been playng for 8 years.  On average, from the beginning, we've paid about $25 a week for an average of 40 weeks a year. It is more now of course.  But just look at that:

25 X 40 X 8 = $8000


Frankly, the cost of a violin itself is CHUMP CHANGE, if you are going to seriously attack the process of learning the violin, taking lessons.

It also should make it Crystal Clear why Excellent Teachers are a MUST. Pennywise / pound foolish otherwise.

September 22, 2011 at 04:32 AM ·

I agree with Bill Platt -- a little perspective is needed when comparing the cost of, say, this rosin vs that rosin, compared to the cost of your lessons.  But consumables like strings, bow hair, and the cost of building a library of sheet music and recordings is not trivial.

Like Bill, I think a lot of the most useful accessories are those one might already have.  Do you have a mirror?  Do you have a video camera?  Fine violinists learn to hear what they sound like and they can feel when their posture it not quite right, but it's not that easy for beginners or intermediate players.  You can hurt yourself standing at a slight angle all the time and a few glances in the mirror will correct such things. 

Extra pair of reading glasses laying around?  Pop those in your case.  Oh ... you're a teenager.  Forget the reading glasses. *smile*

September 22, 2011 at 12:41 PM ·


I am sigining for lesson now.  I already have a piano teacher I've been with for about a year, she agree to teach me violin also. My lesson fee's is only about $22, so that mean I'm paying about $44 now.

Thanks to  all your suggestion upon what I'm gonna need for the violin, of course I know that I have to buy book and lesson  (not all teenager are hopelessly stupid :D).

I'm think about buying the Core Collection K430 form Quinn Violin, Is that a good one in any of your opininion?


September 24, 2011 at 04:14 AM ·

Regarding keeping focused while practicing: my son is hyper and he manages to practice 6 hours/day.  He 1) has a list in his head of what he wants to practice, both at the session and for the day; 2) times his sessions (generally practices 30 min at a time, you might choose 15 or so--you'll get a better feel as you go along; 3) keeps a written log of his practice times.  Something he said--that he really gets into practicing so much that he is able to concentrate better than he'd expect.  I hope you find the same!  Best wishes.

September 24, 2011 at 03:05 PM ·

You can in effect get a violin tuner free.  Just bring up a search engine (google or whatever) on your computer, type in  'violin tuner' and a site should come up giving GDAE; just click on the notes as necessary and tune the violin.

September 24, 2011 at 03:43 PM ·

Francesca- if your son is truly an ADD/ADHD kid, know that that syndrome is mis-named.  I have one of those kids.  He's unable to concentrate on subjects that bore him, but if something interests him, you can't tear him away.  The atention deficit is only on the "shoulds" and "oughts."

September 26, 2011 at 12:31 AM ·

@Nicky -- same for metronome.

September 26, 2011 at 05:39 PM ·

Yes, Paul is right about the metronome.  I had not thought of this before. Keying metronome into a search engine will save Skylar (the OP) and me the cost of a metronome each.

September 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM ·

When buying your violin (if not buying from a shop) make sure you buy the right sized instrument and bow. Last week I visited a big burly farmer who was selling a Nicolas Duchene marked violin. (Probably a JTL version, but I have heard some nice ones in the past so thought it was worth a look).  It turned out that this chap had purchased the violin, bow and case from an old italian friend, on a whim to learn violin. He disappointedly told me that he'd had trouble with learning to play in tune and bow evenly. Neither wonder, the poor chap had purchased a 3/4 sized violin with a half sized bow! His enormous hands would have covered the neck in one go, and the bow would have felt like a match stick. It's easy to make these mistakes if you aren't familiar with violin setups and see a bargain in the paper.

Interestingly, even though the little violin had been stashed away for 7 years, carried very old strings and the bridge was badly bent, it still had a lovely ringing tone, and an especially nice D. It broke my heart when I noticed the amateur repair of a crack running right along the top plate, down through the f-hole to the other end of the instrument. He proudly told me he'd repaired it himself, when I queried. Who knows whether the tone was much affected by the crack and repair, but I sadly left her with her owner, hopefully to be rescued one day by someone more capable than myself.

So let this be a warning to choose your instrument carefully, preferably with the help of your teacher. Best of luck.


September 27, 2011 at 08:22 PM ·


How is your son suppose to be able to practice SIX HOURS a day? Aren't you over exaggerating too much? Don't he have school or anything? Cuz if he did, he ought to have homework. As an A.P student, I have an average of 2-3 hrs. of studying everyday, not to mention 1-2 hrs. on homework. School work alone suck up almost 4 hrs. Everyday of mine. And even if he's not an A.P but just are average. He got to spend time on school work too.

Saying that his class start at 7:45A.M and last to 3:00 P.M, and if he go to bed at 10 P.M. He only got about 7hrs. after school, and if he was one of those kid that love video game or attend sport. Plus homework, his time should be decrease by almost 4 hrs. Leaving him with only 3 for practicing. And don't forget dinner too.

But if what you meant is 6 hrs/ Per WEEK. Then that sound much more reasonable.

September 28, 2011 at 12:06 AM ·


Some people focus on violin, or gymnastics, or whathaveyou and rather than wasting a whole day in a school, wandering from class to class, eating in a noisy chaotic lunchroom, and spending 10 to 20% of class time listening to "sit down!" and "I will not start until the class is QUIET", the student will study at home.

November 9, 2011 at 11:27 PM · Skylar, this is the perfect, ideal, thing for you. First off a good case, you want to invest in a good case that's going to last a while: http://www.sharmusic.com/2011-Shar-Email-Offers/New-Cases/Eagle-Violin-Case-Hill-Style-by-American-Case.axd

This may high, but convince your parent's to get this: 4 bow holders( for your bow collection ) a shoulder rest holder, and a compartment box. Also comes with string tube ( hidden, don't worry you'll find it) a hygrometer ( to measure humidity ) and a humidifier ( you just fill it up with water and BAM a violin that will never need repairs.

2)A good bow ( obviously, I use a wooden bow, but I find they lack in tension, so invest in a carbon fiber, trust me even those bows look "cheap" they save you some trouble)

3)Metro/Tuner:http: //www.sharmusic.com/Shop-Shar/Accessories/Essentials/Metronomes-Tuners/Shar-Digital-Metronome-and-Tuner.axd

This is the one I got and it does 2 things, a metronome, and a tuner ( 2 tuners actually)

4)A cleaning cloth, for wiping rosin off

5) rosin, I've liked Hidersine, Pirastro Oliv/evah, Salchow, And Liebenzeller. Hidersine is good if you want a grip, but produces an average sound ( try the 1V ) The Oliv/Evah is a good rosin that sounds even and projective. The Salchow has a Wonderful sound for the price ( I recommend it ) and the Liebenzeller ( My favorite ) what can I say the perfect rosin but the downside is that it's $30.

6)A Shoulder rest: The Kun Collapsible is probably the best, it fit in a tight case ( even the arrow ones,and no other shoulder rest can fit in my case) but you should experiment some people say the Wolf or Bonmusica is better...

7) A set of strings ( send a message if you happen to read this, I'll send a link for a free set of Passione normal or Solo strings retail:$164 online:$93 so that's great.

8) a violin, I got mines from Brobst for $1200 for violin and bow, but I hear Shar's Carlo Lamerti violin is the best quality for price:


Yes it's Chinese but don't be stereo typical I tried out violins that are chinese are far superior, plus there's a warrenty and return policy, try Kennedy violins my friend has the basic model and has fine workmanship.

So all that would equal less than $700 ( excluding bow, if with bow a good one add $100) still $800 that's a good deal for the entire package I spent $1,441 for all my stuff. Hope this helps

November 9, 2011 at 11:37 PM · After reading some comments these are the ideal things:

1. violin (the Carlo Lamberti is good)

2. Bow ( carbon fiber, for those winters!)

3. Shoulder rest ( for the beginner, don't worry pro's use 1 too)

4. Cleaning cloth so the rosin doesn't stick

5. Metro/Tuner ( to keep in tune!)

6. case ( Amrerican Case Company Eagle style)

7. rosin ( Salchow)

8. Music stand ( the one thing I forgot!)

November 10, 2011 at 12:33 AM · Chalk for slipping peggs always

November 10, 2011 at 01:22 AM · I am revisiting this post after a long absence and saw my Sept. posting and a couple references to it (Lisa and Skylar). My son was officially diagnosed with ADD but you're right, Lisa, about him being able to concentrate best on what he's interested in. And Skylar, he really does try (and sometimes succeeds) at practicing 6 hours/day. He's in college so spends less time in class than you, and I'd bet that most of his classes aren't as challenging as yours. But music is a GREAT way to spend time, and the point I was trying to make when I said that is that even with a short attention span, it is possible that you might find practicing easier to concentrate on than doing homework. BTW, he doesn't spend much time on the computer for social things. And all that practice isn't very good for his health. If you have a teacher and aren't planning to go into a career in music, then I'd guess an hour/day is do-able and will allow you to progress at a decent pace.

November 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM · Hello,

It is probably recommended that you get a private teacher to start before purchasing anything. They can give good recommendations on the type of violin and bow you should purchase. With a 900 dollar budget you should be able to get a nice student instrument that will most likely already come with a case and a bow.

As to what else you need, a tuner and metronome will help you greatly and although you teacher will already have one, it helps for your home practice time. A decent rosin is recommended as to not mess up your varnish with all of the dust cheaper rosins create. A shoulder rest will help make learning easier, however, this isn't needed if you decide you don't want to use one.

Thats really the basics of everything you need... Oh, and maybe a pencil for music markings ;)

Good luck,


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