whats the difference between 80$ violin 150$ violin and 400$?

Edited: November 17, 2017, 1:36 PM · I am 16 and started saving money to buy a really cheap violin.I cant save enough money that easily, because my family isnt that rich, so, in two months I can raise 80 dollars.Now I wanna know if it is worth it to buy an 80, or an 150, or wait enough time to get a 400 dollar violin.Also I will just play in my free time so I wont go even close to proffesional.Answer me if you can please.

Replies (32)

November 17, 2017, 1:36 PM · How pretty the wood is and the set-up.
November 17, 2017, 1:41 PM · I would avoid the 80 dollar one, because the quality will be terrible, and it might discourage you from playing.
November 17, 2017, 1:43 PM · so for just my free time would a 150 dollar violin would be good or a more expensive one?
November 17, 2017, 2:16 PM · I would get the most expensive you can afford within that range. Wouldn't go any higher for a beginner though.
Edited: November 17, 2017, 2:19 PM · The difference between an $80 violin and a $150 violin is $70.

Bill, you are talking about really ultra-low-end violins here. The only way to tell any difference is to have someone who plays the violin try them for you. If you're shopping on eBay you are basically playing the lottery.

If you are just starting out, try renting an instrument for a little while, maybe then you can decide whether you want to continue and by that time you can afford something decent and you'll have a better idea what a violin should feel like and sound like and look like.

November 17, 2017, 2:23 PM · Good idea from Paul. If you can save $80 in two months, and at least around me you can rent a decent violin for about 30 dollars a month, renting may be your best option.
November 17, 2017, 2:34 PM · I started playing two years ago with a $100 violin, which worked fine. If you still aren't sure whether to pursue playing in the long term, $100 is a good enough investment.

Whatever you buy, avoid these characteristics mentioned in this video:


Especially, avoid buying those made from plywood at all cost.

November 17, 2017, 2:50 PM · I would recommend saving for the $400 one. The cheaper instruments are only going to be violin shaped objects that you will regret purchasing. The only exception if you found a good student quality instrument on craigslist and you took someone knowledgeable with you to look at it.
November 17, 2017, 2:53 PM · I paid $400 for my current violin. When it was made it was worth about $1200. I was able to get it that cheap because the varnish was in terrible shape. My guess is that it was someone‚Äôs first violin. The wear marks are very weird.
November 17, 2017, 3:29 PM · If I remember correctly, Laurie wrote a blog about the minimum acceptable price for a violin a few years ago and she recommended $300. So I think $400 violin is a good entry level instrument. Hope this helps.
Edited: November 17, 2017, 4:43 PM · The cheapest violin I'd ever get would be a good decent violin for about $250. You know prices can vary a lot, so those $250 could become $180 or $300 depending where you are, temporal discounts, etc...

I've never seen a $100 violin decently set-up, those that come in a bundle with case and more stuff, sound bad and are not correctly set-up. The strings will also be very utter rubbish, so will the case, rosin and, let alone, the bow.

In my opinion, and knowing that prices are not absolute worldwide, these are the digits for a minimum decent instrument:
Violin: about $250, no bundles or packs, just the violin
Bow: about $100 will do it, but expect to see problems such as hairs "badly" set-up
Case: $100 for a good one, although you can go even cheaper
Rosin: about $10
Strings: don't use the strings that come with a cheap violin, buy a $25 set from D'Addario, Pirastro...

So yeah, the minimum decent violin pack in my opinion costs almost $500. Cutting costs here can have bad consequences:

A very cheap bow can be absolutely useless, I've seen it. I met this new beginner girl that bought a $70 bow and, my God, what a disaster. The bolt made it to the maximum (it wouldn't rotate anymore) but the hairs were still barely tensed.

A very cheap violin is almost guarantee badly set-up: bridge too small or too tall, very bad carving... same with the nut, and probably pegs. The tone will suck a lot. One of my teacher's students bought a $100 bundle and the violin is horrible, it has all the problems I commented above.

Very cheap strings will sound bad as well. You could play the first moths with them, but you should totally replace them as soon as possible by a good decent set, starting at $20.

A very cheap case will not protect the violin at all, although it's not that important if you take care of it. You could live with a $50 case, but the straps will be very cheap and can even get broken in an instant, and it could happen in the street (happened to me, but in this case, the violin case was not bad, only the straps were very cheap, so the case protected the violin from the shock).

About rosin... I'd buy some good renowned rosin for $10, and it will last for years or decades, literally.

If you're talking about a $150 violin bundle that includes case, rosin, violin, bow... Hell no, just wait and save more money. As I've said, a decent violin, bow, strings, rosin and case should cost about 500$, a little less. And be careful with the violin, in this cheap range you can get a lot of rubbish, look carefully for a good one, or it won't matter that you spent $250 if the violin is set-up and build like a $99 violin.

November 17, 2017, 5:49 PM · 150 - 80 = 70
400 - 80 = 320
400 - 150 = 250
November 17, 2017, 6:42 PM · Go to Amazon and get a Mendini 300 for $66. Go to Ebay and get Opera Perlon strings for $5, clip on tuner for $4, Hill's peg dope for $6 and an extra bow for $4. Then go to Fiddlerman.com for all the beginner tutorials. Then have fun.
November 17, 2017, 6:52 PM · A student of mine came to a lesson last week with a violin he had bought at the Salvation Army store for $75.-- It was certainly not a Strad, but not awful either; he likes it better than his current violin, which cost several hundred dollars. There are strange opportunities out there to get violins at low prices, but it's a matter of great luck and knowing what you're doing to get a bargain.
November 17, 2017, 8:22 PM · I remember that around 8 years ago lots of people said never buy a violin for under $1000. 4 years ago this number was reduced to $500. With the trajectory of beginner violin price being somewhat like computers', now one could hear that an entry-level playable violin only costs round $100. In fact, one could even watch such thing being tested and endorsed by someone like Fiddlerman on YouTube.

To me it's so true since I actually have had the experience of playing a $100 violin which even came with case, bow, rosin and shoulder rest. It was fully set up from the start with the bridge and pegs; I only need to tune up and play.

I would thank China for making this price imaginable. :-))

November 17, 2017, 9:30 PM · $70 and $320!
November 17, 2017, 10:35 PM · I want to recommend you look at the violins at Sharmusic.com. They are a very reputable company for lower end violins.

My first violin was $250 with bow and case from Shar and was just fine for a beginner. I still have it and recently just for kicks I brought it to my teacher to check out. She agreed it was a decent violin for someone starting out.

That said, In an ideal world you would buy the best violin you could afford. I second the rental option especially if you've never played before. Often these are arranged so that you can rent to own.

Edited: November 18, 2017, 8:14 AM · Who said that thing about $1000 violins?

The important thing is not the price alone, but the reasons. I've just explained a few messages before why you should not buy a violin cheaper than $250, and that's the violin alone.

Chances are you're gonna get a violin which bridge is too tall or too short, poorly carved parts such as nut and bridge, wrong position of the strings through the bridge and nut, wrong string height, rubbish strings, very bad bow that could be even not playable, bad rosin, ugly violin tone...

Nonetheless, a good chosen violin for about $250 won't have any of those problems, and the tone should be good enough.

Yes, I've seen that video from Fiddlerman where he reviews a $100 violin pack that includes 2 bows, violin, rosin, chromatic tuner, 2 set of strings, shoulder rest, extra bridge, case...
The first thing he does is set the bridge up correctly because it was badly set up, just like I guessed. I don't know how well the bridge is carved or the nut, string height, one of the bows is not correctly build. The violin is spray black painted, come on...

It's a lottery, literally. You can be lucky and get a playable set like Fiddlerman's, or you can get what you really paid for, a pile of rubbish.

November 18, 2017, 8:02 AM · If you are in the states, look for used violins on Craigslist.

If the violins are local, you can try them out and usually buy them for 1/2 the original cost or less. If they were originally purchased from a reputable dealer, then they are probably set-up okay. Don't be afraid to haggle with the seller or make a lower offer than the asking price.

Before you start looking at Craigslist violins, do a search online about how to evaluate a violin, so you don't get something unplayable. Be sure to look for good action, straight bridges, and no open seams or cracks.

Good luck!

November 18, 2017, 8:02 AM · "a good chosen violin for about $250 won't have any of those problems"

That's true but then there is the problem of finding a good violin for $250.

November 18, 2017, 8:17 AM · I did, the tone was fine, miles ahead from those $99 violins. The only problem was that the nut was not correctly carved and I had to pay $20 to a Luthier that finished it correctly, and also checked a little bit everything, although there was nothing to fix.

The difference between a $250 violin and a $99 violin, if you've chosen a good one, are that the expensive one shouldn't come with any construction or setup issues and the tone should be way better. Also, $99 is playing lottery.

November 18, 2017, 10:45 AM · I agree the more expensive instrument should be somewhat better setup (slightly better strings, better bridge, nut etc.). That said, for a luthier to actually properly set up an instrument, it can easily cost $100+ in time and materials before markup, hence I find it highly unlikely that there would be much effort put on properly setting up a $250 instrument. It would negate whatever little profit there is to make in such instruments.
November 18, 2017, 12:15 PM · Thanks for the answers.Now I know what to actually look at a violin and what does the more expensive one have that makes it better than the cheaper one.
November 18, 2017, 4:49 PM · Roger, we're talking about minimum decent violins, and those can be found at $250.
November 18, 2017, 5:24 PM · In my opinion, the better the violinist, the more they can do with a "bad" fiddle. Beginners need a certain minimum quality to be able to tolerate the limitations of playing an inferior instrument without having the technical knowhow and skill to make it sound decent.

Pretty crumby instruments can be found in the entire range from the OP's $80 to $400, but there might be some gems in there too. To find the better ones you have to try them.

Edited: November 18, 2017, 5:35 PM · Fiddleman isn't the only person who reviews cheap violins. Search YouTube you would find a lot more, in which the reviewer would show you each and every detail of how the violin comes out of the box, how the pegs hold, how the fingerboard is shaped, and how the bridge is cut.

I would say most of them need a new bridge (they are too high). But even if such thing is done, it is unlikely to cost up to $250.

A $99 violin isn't much of a lottery if you can try it before the purchase. I live in Australia, and the $AU115 (around US$100) violin I bought was at Artist Guitars who has a physical store location, receives good reviews on the web, and has a good 100-day return policy (I was quite hesitant to put in the name of the dealer - don't know if this violate forum rules)


The violin came with one bow, case, rosin, and a shoulder rest. The bridge was correctly set up with correct length. The pegs hold well and were correctly shaped in the hole. Since I upgraded my violin I gave this one to my cousin, after 1.5 years of playing it, nearly everyday without any problems.
Perhaps I was lucky? I don't know. But I still credit myself as a player who did try and experience a cheap beginner violin.
Surely it is an entry beginner violin; it doesn't pretend to be anything else. But it at least matches the requirement of a complete beginner IMO.

Edited: November 18, 2017, 7:43 PM · As I've said,$99 or $150 is playing lottery, some may come with proper set-up, but most of them won't. I've seen in front of me 3 of these, all of them had really bad bridges and nuts, string height was not OK in any of them, and they all sounded dull and ugly. Yes, you can be lucky and get for $99 a decent violin that sounds bright and open and it's fine for a beginner, but chances are you won't. Also, the bows in those packs are horrible, and I've seen myself a bow that was not playable, it wouldn't turn anymore and the hair was still quite loose. You won't face those things in a $100 bow.

I mean I've already explained everything about why I think the minimum money for a decent violin, case, bow, rosin and strings is almost $500.

I don't understand why adults would go the cheapest. If an adult or late teenager is interested in the violin, then should go for a decent set and leave those crappy cheap instruments for those kids that "want" a violin but don't really care about sound, beauty and handcraft. But then again, some people may say that kids should not play with these instruments because they can destroy the motivation or can be bad set-up and "hurt" the learning process of the beginning.

November 18, 2017, 8:06 PM · Someone who can save $80 might not reasonably be able to save $500.
November 19, 2017, 7:16 AM · He said he could wait to save $400, so reaching $500 isn't that big of a deal. Also, it's estimated that number, it could perfectly be $430 or so.

Also, those almost $500 include violin, bow, strings, case and rosin. He could buy the violin and bow at the beginning, use the original case of the violin, and later buy the rest of decent equipment.

Edited: November 20, 2017, 7:55 AM · As others have said start by renting. This will give you time to save up and by the time you get to buying your own instrument you will be able to make more of an informed decision as you will hopefully know more about violins by then.
November 20, 2017, 8:48 AM · Honestly, I would rent a violin before buying an $80, $150, or even a $400 violin. Renting would provide you with a much higher quality instrument for a lower up-front investment. Also, many rental agencies will provide insurance, which (I would assume) no sub $500 instrument would come with.
Edited: November 20, 2017, 9:40 AM · Most rentals are $300-500 instruments if even that, renting violins is a high risk business, how do you ensure that everyone pays, you certainly can't do it without taking credit cards, but its easy to cancel a credit card or just have no money on your debit card. So basically the store doesn't want to take much risk on losing the violin, so they rent violins that are so cheap, they can afford to lose a few. One of the reasons I don't do rentals.

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