Good violins around $500

January 16, 2017 at 04:16 PM · What is the best violin around $500? Perhaps the Fiddlerman Artist, Gems 1 Elite, Carlo Lamberti Sonata? What is the best violin shop?

Replies (26)

January 16, 2017 at 04:33 PM · Do you want to blow your whole budget on airfare or FedEx? Or find someone near you?

January 16, 2017 at 05:02 PM · Lol, violins are personal instruments, it's your own choice. You sure can see if the violin is correctly made and if the quality is good enough for you.

If you don't know much about violins, I recommend you to go to a local store with a violin teacher or a friend of yours that plays the violin and let them try some violins that are in your economic capabilities.

I don't recommend you at all buying a violin online unless you know someone who bought the same model and already tested it.

January 16, 2017 at 05:51 PM · At my shop I have a decent sounding ER Pfretzschner, Scherl and Roth(Menc specs) 1978 for $500 with bow and case (professionally set up with Pirastro strings)

January 16, 2017 at 06:16 PM · If you tell us where you live, someone may recommend a good violin shop. Buying on line can be very chancy. Do you have some $ set aside for bow, case and strings? In my experience, older instruments are a better buy in your price range.

January 16, 2017 at 06:34 PM · I do have the one violin, but you'll be hard pressed to find good sounding older violins for $500 at most violin shops, there are plenty of decent antiques for $500 on ebay, but you don't know the condition and how much work they will need, and definitely don't consider buying without a 14 day return policy.

I have trouble, selling only older violins, keeping anything decent under $800 in stock, almost every violin I work on ends up having at least $200 in parts, repairs and set up before I'm willing to sell it, that plus what I pay for the violin, you can see its hard to make really cheap instruments available at any profit. Now if you're willing to pay $1000, you would have a lot of choices at my shop, and better sound as well.

January 16, 2017 at 06:42 PM · My first violin I bought was a Stentor Conservatoire 1550 for 500, but I didn't like it. I exchanged it for a $700 one and am much happier. It's easier to play as well.

In the long run, it might be worth it to save a little more and spend up to $1000, there are a lot more decent choices.

January 16, 2017 at 07:03 PM · Leo,maybe you could trial the instrument from Lyndon but not sure if he does the shipping transactions. If you bought it from Lyndon the pegs will be smooth turning and the bridge and other adjustments up to snuff. It sounds like a good deal to me for a mail order instrument. You will want to to find a good luthiers near you to inspect your violin once a year or so.

January 16, 2017 at 07:11 PM · Unless you come across a real genuine bargain, violins under about $1000 tend to sound deficient in at least one way, by the time you get to $1000 a good violin for that price can sound quite good, though maybe not in every way, but decent none the less. When someone comes into my store looking for a $300 violin, I cringe, and send them to the local music store where they can rent a $500 Chinese violin for $15/month, still not that great.

A good violin is a work of art, and not easy to make, and all the possible quality that goes into a good violin comes with a price, its not like a guitar, where you can get a decent sounding one for $200 maybe. A $200 VSO violin is a horrible thing to listen to, it makes the ears cringe!!!

January 16, 2017 at 07:38 PM · Jeff, didn't see your post, I'm not in the mail order business, usually, tried ebay, much grief, tonnes of work to make a good ad, took forever to sell stuff then ebay/paypal takes more than 10%!! If someone really wants to order one of my violins, is willing to pay shipping, both ways if they return it, and pay upfront through paypal(offers some buyer protection), to be refunded when returned, I would consider it, but I'd much rather cater my business to live customers that can visit my shop.

January 16, 2017 at 08:50 PM · I was not sure whether you did mail order or not Lyndon. But when you mentioned that you had a decent $500.00 instrument in your shop it seemed to me like a perfect deal for Leo to make his musical debut. I thought that he might be agreeable to paying a little more for shipping from Taylor's Fine Violin shop.

I would think that you would do school string rentals. One of the guys that cares for my instruments does a lot of fractional violin rentals for a large school and he tells me it helps him survive but doesn't make a financial killing from it.

January 16, 2017 at 10:19 PM · Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jeff.

I don't do rentals, I don't see the profitability in it, my experience is if you give people the opportunity not to pay you, they often take you up on the deal!! If I was renting a new Chinese violin that cost me $100 I might consider it, but my profit margin on fractionals is so low, I like to wait till I actually sell them. That and I have a limited number of fractionals, its harder to come up with good older instruments that are affordable.

January 17, 2017 at 01:20 AM · Thanks for the advice guys! I live in Wooster, OH. Anyone know a good violin shop or luthier near here?

January 17, 2017 at 01:34 AM · Cleveland Violins in Cleveland Heights.

Martin's Violin Shop in North Canton.

January 17, 2017 at 01:38 AM · Thanks Paul

January 17, 2017 at 01:39 AM · Renting is a good idea if you want to keep saving looks like Cleveland Violins has a good rental program:

We have a shop in Milwaukee that has no limit on the equity you can build with rental payments (that is the best possible deal). Many shops have a limit on how much of your rental payment can apply to purchase.

January 17, 2017 at 01:42 AM · I am a complete beginner so just to get an idea, if I go to one of the violin shop, will they suggest violins that are made by other company like shar or violins made by local luthier?

January 17, 2017 at 01:46 AM · And also if I really don't want to go to a store, what violin do you guys recommend getting online?

January 17, 2017 at 01:47 AM · If you go to a violin shop, they will probably suggest student violins imported from China or Romania, as they are less expensive. A new local luthier-built violin would start at maybe $7,000+. Buying online is not a good idea; buying in person is much safer. Do you have a teacher or pro to help you look? If you are checking out violins for sale on Craig's list etc, you must have a professional luthier check the instrument out first so you don't get a lemon...what do you think about renting first?

January 17, 2017 at 02:21 AM · I am not renting a violin as far as i know, but I really just want to buy a violin from a well known brand.

January 17, 2017 at 02:22 AM · If you choose to buy online, I would recommend . They offer free 30-day trials, which is really convenient, and also offer to trade in your old violin towards purchasing a new one from them.

That's what I did (mainly to get rid of my old one) and I'm very satisfied with my purchase and with the customer service.

I can't grade the quality of their violins, though, since I haven't tried out and compared with others.

January 17, 2017 at 02:31 AM · Can anybody compare the Renee nicolette from Kennedy violin and the Fiddlerman Artist from fiddlershop?

January 17, 2017 at 05:37 AM · You can't compare names; they may be good or bad depending on the individual instrument, you have to try the instruments in person, brands mean not so much, Chinese violins can be remarkably inconsistent from one to another, even of the same brand and model.

January 17, 2017 at 06:21 AM · Joyee Music or Yitamusic for the win.

January 17, 2017 at 12:19 PM · Leo, go to and you will get plenty of comments about the Artist and any other violin. In fact there is a thread about an Artist violin going right now. Pierre will play the violin for you to see and hear before shipping and sets the violin the way you want it. You will not find a better value or a more honest person. I know I sound like salesman, but I'm not. I just like the guy.

January 17, 2017 at 12:33 PM · At $500, I might look to obtaining a second-hand violin. You should, quite easily, be able to find something that was originally sold for $1000, and which would therefore have been towards the top end of a modern manufacturer's student range.

You might find this through a violin shop who accepted it as a trade-in for a more advanced violin, or through various sources of second-hand goods, e.g. gumtree etc. What you purchase will still have some flaws or constraints, but it should last you for a good few years of playing (assuming that you are currently a beginner).

I would only ever buy something I had tried though, or which someone else who I trusted had tried, in my view it really is too large a risk to buy a violin on-line, much more so than for a guitar.

January 17, 2017 at 02:23 PM · Shopping for a violin is an education, and it is a long learning curve. As you try different violins, talk to the salespersons, and read more about violins, you eventually pick up enough knowledge to realize how much MORE there is to know. That is why renting is the best plan for a beginner: you don't have to put out a lot of money at once. The shop does the maintenance, changes strings, etc for you. If you get a rental plan where 100% of your rent applies to purchase, you can get a better violin to start with, and pay for it over time, several years. You are not stuck with that violin, the shop will allow you to try different ones until you find one you like. Another help is a teacher; it is necessary to have an experienced player advise you while you are looking for your first instrument. Don't be in a hurry, and take advantage of every opportunity to try different violins.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine