Violin Brand for Serious Begginer

January 2, 2012 at 04:33 AM · I will be getting a violin soon, and we have resource to experienced/profesisonal violinists who can help me pivk out a brand, but I wanted to see what you guys think! I am definitely a beginner, but I will probably learn and excel very quickly because I have a background in music (can read music, have an "ear", understand music (i think :) haha))...and I am very serious about music, so I intend to practice every day and learn how to play to the best of my abilities. I would really appreciate any brand reccommendations and (if you want)reasons why I should chosse that brand! Thanks!

Replies (33)

January 2, 2012 at 04:55 AM · For what you want, price will really be an indicator of the product you will be being. In the commercial violin industry, the higher and more expensive models will typically be using better woods and be crafted more carefully. Rarely will a lower model outplay a higher model from the same company/workshop. When I started, I played on a 5000 USD instrument and it has been workable for the last 6 years.

Usually, most student level instruments (500-2000 USD) are playable have a great sound, it's just the set up that matters and will control the playability.Be wary of "bargains". Hope this helps!

Justin Fan

January 2, 2012 at 08:45 AM · The entry-level violins from the Chinese and Eastern European workshops these days in the $500-$1000 price range are a great place to start.

With a good setup, they can be exceptional values for their cost. Don't forget that a decent bow is essential!

January 2, 2012 at 02:25 PM · I've had good luck with Eastman and Shen. There are several other good manufacturers as well.

January 2, 2012 at 02:32 PM ·

I'd check out the student violins set up at Gradoux-Matt Rare Violins.

One of my good friends has an entry-level Snow viola that sounds just as good or better than nearly every other viola I've heard in the $5,000 to $15,000 price range, even with the crappy setup that came on it from China.

January 2, 2012 at 02:45 PM · Take your teacher to a local luthier/shop if at all possible and PLAY some. Have him or her play them. Listen. Feel. It's very hard to pick a violin online.

January 2, 2012 at 02:48 PM · The Eastman/West Coast Strings make nice student models, but again, you should play them with someone who can help you decide. Most of the local shops will carry some variation of chinese-made student models. Just don't go with the "too good to be true" internet version. Expect to pay AT LEAST $500-$700 for the fiddle, and then bow and case on top of that. Minimum. You can trade up from there as you progress unless you can afford to start with more...

January 2, 2012 at 05:41 PM · If you are serious about learning violin, it's worth establishing a relationship with a luthier; that way you can play violins before you buy, and you can get them set up the way you want.

January 2, 2012 at 06:59 PM · As others have said, both Eastman and Snow do a great job on entry level instruments, and their step-up violins are quite nice, too. They aren't Ebay cheap, but there's a good reason for that- they are highly playable!

January 2, 2012 at 10:44 PM · Thanks everyone!

Justin- You're saying you learned on a violin that cost $5000 (USD)???

January 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM · In the world of violins, $5000 isn't a huge amount.

If you're serious, and don't want to be messing around upgrading in the near future, you probably want to look in that $2000 package range to begin with...

Otherwise some very nice beginner instruments are available for about $1000 (package = violin, case and bow).

January 3, 2012 at 12:40 AM · One thought....maybe better to get a simple, honest set-up for a little less, and then trade up when you know what you like and what you are looking for? Just a thought.... Unless $2000 comes very easily to you...

January 3, 2012 at 06:22 PM · I understand that any instrument gets very expensive as you move up in skill level. But STARTING on a $5000 instrument seems very strange to me. Now buying an intermediate/professional level violin, I can understand that price range...thanks!

January 4, 2012 at 01:05 AM · Garrett, there is no need to start with a $5000 violin. There are many many choices for you in the $500 or $750 to $1200 range plus case and bow. You can always trade up when you are ready and when you know how to evaluate the right "next" violin for you!

January 4, 2012 at 01:11 AM · I have just started and bought a stentor conservatoire. It seems fine and has a nice sound (I think)...but then again starting at 42 I may know nothing!

January 4, 2012 at 01:38 AM · Haha, well a lot of people say starting as an adult is just being aamateur just for fun. Maybe it is, but I'd say it shows a lot of passion! haha

January 4, 2012 at 03:12 AM · Ha, the violin I was playing was my uncle's older violin. Of course a 5000 USD violin is not necessary but it really does help if your dedicated in the long run. The bow really matters too! Without the bow, you can't make sound!

January 4, 2012 at 04:29 AM · I STRONGLY suggest you do NOT buy an expensive violin when you start. How expensive is totally depend on how rich you are of course. If you're Bill Gates then I think a Strad is probably considered cheap and welcome to use it as your starting violin. But during the time you start, you'll probably damage a lot of places. I damaged mine with shoulder-rest (that's why I took it off after a couple years) and broke one of the peg. You probably won't know how to maintain a violin too... So you really need to get something not expensive. But still try to get something with a good sound... Bring your teacher or a friend that plays violin well to try... usually $1000 will get you something acceptable with either Chinese or Eastern Europe violin.

January 4, 2012 at 05:50 AM · I suggest that you consider renting first if you are not sure whether you will stick with it. Find a reputable local violin shop that:

1) Applies 100% of the rental fees toward a violin purchase.

2. Offers 100% trade-in value if you decide to upgrade

3) Has a good selection of violins in all price ranges.

Rent from them, so if you decided to quit in a few months (I certainly hope not, but many people quit after they realize how hard violin is), it's not a significant financial loss.

January 4, 2012 at 09:02 AM · Look on Ebay for Yitamusic T19 or T20 model, or old-violin-house, and you can't go far wrong. When you've outgrown that you'll be ready to appreciate the extra quality of a real master instrument.

January 4, 2012 at 04:07 PM · Hi: I couldn't help but post again, after I saw the title of this post: try out a "Gliga" model: mine was under $400.00 as an entire package deal (violin, bow, case, rosin and a 4-fine tuner tailpiece) and only had it re-setup once, with new strings after 2 years. Going on 4 years now, and it still stays in tune great, and still sounds great !

January 4, 2012 at 04:46 PM · Gligas are pretty good for the price, I've had two, one of which lasted me as my primary fiddle from middle school through conservatory auditions, which I'm now trying to sell (I only really still have it for sentimental value now, since I have no need for a spare violin).

Granted, it needed a new bridge and post to really bring it to its full potential.

January 5, 2012 at 09:31 PM · @ Brian: is it still for sale? What level of build is it? I'm looking at a Maestro or a model one down from that (I forget the guy's name, but he's also listed as a maker on the same website as Gliga's) - but I would also consider buying a Gama 1 or 2, since mine is just an intermediate student model. (Gems #2)

January 5, 2012 at 11:53 PM · It's a one-piece back bird's eye maple Gliga Maestro, and yes, it's still for sale. All the luthiers who have worked with it are very surprised at the sound, since none of them expect bird's eye maple to sound good. In my opinion, it's a rather bright instrument that you can really dig into, although the sound can be darkened and enriched by putting on Dominants instead of Evahs (which are what's currently on there). When I put gut strings on it, nobody could tell it was a student instrument.

I also have for sale a Chinese instrument that's very good for the price, I personally picked it out from a violin shop in Shanghai while we were on holiday there once. It sounded wonderful, but it doesn't work well in this climate (the setup is too loose for it to project very well).

January 6, 2012 at 07:14 PM · what climate are you in? I'm in the Chicago area.

January 6, 2012 at 11:20 PM · We recently needed to purchase the next size larger violin for our daughter and were challenged with wanting a decent violin for an affordable price, as we were very limited on our budget. Her previous violin was a very affordable violin but it also looked and sounded cheap. After a fair amount of study, we went with Kennedy Violins and the Ricard Bunnel outfit. The staff were excellent to work with. The violin arrived promptly and it turned out to be a fantastic purchase. The sound is excellent and the quality of the violin, bow, case everything was outstanding for the price! Most important, our daughter loves the new violin and can't wait to practice on it because of its rich sound. No question that we will return to Kennedy for our next purchase. We also found out that they offer discounts for schools who purchase in volume. We definitely give Kennedy two thumbs up!

February 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM ·

February 17, 2012 at 01:01 AM · Take a look on ebay at old-violin-house and yitamusic. Both are chinese brands but they are very well-made and have an outstanding sound for it's price (Most violins end between 200-400 USD).

February 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM · I 2nd Yitamusic. I know others will disagree, but you should get an M19 or 20 model not the T.

February 17, 2012 at 02:05 PM · Play with a rented violin for a month or two. Make sure you can play at least a few short melodies and you know how to hold the violin and the bow. Then you proceed with looking for a violin - not online. You go to a luthier and other places your teacher can recommend.

Now, it is important to notice that bow and violin are seperate things. Do not get an expensive violin and buy a cheap bow at the same time - the bow is as important as the violin. Therefore, please try to find a few bows and violins that interest you, which are within your price range and take them home for one or two weeks. The luthier will allow this (of course you will have to deposit some money to make sure you do not run off with the violin(s)).

The more experienced you are, the easier it is for you to choose a violin, nevertheless it won't be easy at all. But experiment with shoulder rests and chin rests, they are very important.

February 18, 2012 at 12:27 AM · In my opinion. Try YES, Dare I say it....Music & Arts a good violin around $500 ish with case, bow, rosin, violin, shoulder rest. And you can trade it in, for a nice Eastman Otto Benjamin model for $1,200 meaning you only have to pay $700. Eastman is renowned and should check them out.

January 30, 2013 at 05:54 PM · I'm an adult beginner who started 6 months ago with a $700 outfit from Southwest Stings.

I picked up a Codabow Prodigy bow for $285 from Johnson Stings a couple months ago, and it made a big difference.

Last week I evaluated a Snow 200 and a Eastman 305 from Johnson Strings, playing each of them for several hours and taking them to my instructor. I ended up going with the Snow, and it was about $1000. A nice case was another $220.

For $1500 total, I now have a great outfit that I can't envision outgrowing for years, and I can't imagine any relatively new violinist needing more (wanting is another story altogether).

January 30, 2013 at 07:51 PM · Snow, Gliga, Scott Cao, Eastman... all good brands, you'll have no trouble selling them when you want to trade up. Recommend strongly that you choose a good carbon fiber bow in the $350-500 range to go with, you will not be disappointed. Take violin immediately to good luthier to have set up adjusted, look at details like nut and bridge especially, select strings with luthier's recommendation, and install gear pegs or Wittner tail piece if violin does not have such already. Plan to spend total of $2000 to $2500 otherwise I think you are going to get a VSO.

January 31, 2013 at 12:24 AM · For the price I agree with those who say it's likely not possible in the beginner set to beat Yita and a few of their Chinese EBAY competitors and purchase direct from China. You should be able to do this for $150 to $250. I've made something of a study of this, and one word of caution I have, is that they practice shill bidding, so do not bid until the auction is about to end. After purchase, you may want to consider paying to upgrade to one of their carbon bows, which are also supposedly a great value relative to your typical first bow.

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