What size violin does my child need?

A comprehensive guide by Kennedy Violins

Choosing the right size violin for your child is not just a matter of aesthetics or comfort; it is crucial for their learning experience. An ill-fitting violin can make the learning process difficult, leading to a lack of enthusiasm or even physical discomfort.
At Kennedy Violins, we understand the importance of this decision, and we’re here to guide you through the process. This article will walk you through the various factors to consider when choosing a violin size suitable for your child.

Why Violin Size Matters for Children

Physical Comfort

An oversized violin can be cumbersome for a child, causing strain on their neck, arms, and hands. Similarly, an undersized violin may be uncomfortable and limit the quality of sound that the player can produce.


The right size violin ensures that a child can easily access all finger positions. It also aids in achieving the correct posture, which is crucial for effective playing and learning.

Sound Quality

A properly sized violin will produce a better sound, which can be motivating for young learners. An ill-fitting instrument can compromise tone and pitch, diminishing the overall learning experience. As a general rule, the larger the instrument, the better sound. However, if the student is attempting to play on an instrument that’s too big, it could cause tension issues and bad technique.

Standard Violin Sizes

Violins come in various sizes, generally ranging from 1/16 to 4/4 (full-size). The ideal size depends on the child’s individual measurements. Some kids are bigger or smaller for their age. Here are some general guidelines of age ranges in the standard sizes:

● 1/16: Suitable for ages 2 to 5
● 1/10: Suitable for ages 3 to 5
● 1/8: Suitable for ages 3 to 5
● 1/4: Suitable for ages 4 to 7
● 1/2: Suitable for ages 6 to 10
● 3/4: Suitable for ages 9 to 11
● 4/4: Suitable for ages 12 and above

The size of the bow, case and shoulder rest should correspond with the violin size. Most of the times a violin comes in a set or outfit.

How to Measure Your Child for a Violin

Arm Length Method

Have your child extend their left arm straight out, perpendicular to their body.
Measure from the base of the neck to the center of the palm. For help with the measurements for violin and other orchestral instruments you can refer to Kennedy Violins Sizing Guide.

Violin Sizing Chart

  • 14″–15″ arm length: 1/16th-size violin
  • 15″–16″ arm length: 1/10 size violin
  • 16”–18″ arm length: 1/8 size violin
  • 18″–20″ arm length: 1/4 size violin
  • 20”–22” arm length: 1/2 size violin
  • 22″–23″ arm length: 3/4 size violin
  • 23″ and above: 4/4 size violin

For more specific measurements, check out my own violin size chart right here.

Consult With a Teacher or Professional

If possible, consult your child’s music teacher or a professional violinist to validate your measurements and suggestions.

When to Upsize your Child’s Violin?

Growth Spurts

Children grow, and their violin should grow with them. Keep an eye out for sudden growth spurts, as this is often the time to consider upsizing.

Signs of Discomfort

If your child is showing signs of discomfort or complaining about difficulty in reaching the fingerboard, it may be time to upsize. An easy way to check this, is to look at their 4th finger in 1st position. If they are not able to reach the proper place on the fingerboard, and play in tune, there’s a good chance the instrument is a bit too big for them. Of course, this is dependent on them having proper left hand technique as well, so the advice from a professional is often very helpful.

Professional Guidance

Regular checks with a music teacher can help you determine when it’s time to move on to a larger violin. Usually a qualified violin teacher will tell you in the lesson when it’s time to upsize your child’s violin.


Choosing the correct size violin for your child is an important step in their musical journey. With the right fit, not only will the learning process be more comfortable, but it will also be more enjoyable. At Kennedy Violins, we are committed to helping you make this critical choice and are always available for consultations and advice. With easy returns and exchanges, we make it very easy to find the perfect violin for every student.

We hope this guide helps you in choosing the right violin size for your child. For more personalized guidance, feel free to reach out to us at Kennedy Violins. Happy playing!

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Closing note by Zlata

Thanks to Kennedy Violins for writing this article. I’m publishing it, because they are an amazing violin shop that sells quality violins with a professional set up at very reasonable prices. Here are some of my personal recommendations as a violin teacher:

Ricard Bunnel G2 Student Violin Outfit

Available in all sizes this is a great instrument to start playing the violin.

Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit

Ready to upsize your child’s violin? This is a great next step:

Best Violin Strings for Children’s Violins

Oops, your kid’s violin string broke!

Here are good strings to buy for kid’s violins recommended by violin teachers

Let’s start with a quick top 3 buying guide

After that I will share some more about when and how to replace your violin strings and you’ll find more in depth violin string reviews of the five best strings for children’s violin.

#1 Pirastro Tonica violin strings

Best overall

Most popular and most recommend by violin teachers. It’s a synthetic core string that has a great well-rounded open sound on all fractional sizes.

#2 D’Addario Prelude

Most affordable

Affordable steel strings that have a warm open sound even on the smallest sizes children’s violins.

#3 Thomastik Aphayue

Most stable

This one is really popular on rental instruments by luthiers. Beautiful synthetic core strings with great tuning stability at a very reasonable price.

When to replace your children’s violin strings?

Obviously when a string snaps, you need to replace it. However it’s best to not let it come that far. Usually when strings are worn down they don’t sound as good and waddle a bit in pitch. Certainly the last thing can get in the way of your child’s violin progress as the string won’t stay in tune even if your child plays in tune. This is very confusing.

When you bought a relatively cheap violin set online, think anything below $ 200, usually the strings are very bad quality steel strings. Steel core strings aren’t that bad (see my violin string reviews below), but sometimes the quality that ‘comes with the violin’ is very disappointing and sometimes even impossible to stay in tune and play.

Can I replace my child’s violin strings myself?

Of course your child’s teacher will be happy to replace the string during the lesson, but then you need to wait until the lesson and it will cost you valuable lesson time. It’s perfectly doable if you’re a bit careful to replace violin strings yourself. Watch this video for a close up step by step guide to replacing violin strings by yourself.

Which size of violin strings should I buy for my child?

It’s very important that the sizing on the string set corresponds with the sizing of the violin. If you place for example 4/4 stings on a 1/2 violin, the string tension will be too low when you’ve tuned them. It will be impossible to play. If you lost what size violin your child has, just measure the body or total length of the violin and look it up in this violin size chart.

Why should you use good quality violin strings for your child?

Even if your child just started playing the violin, good strings are very important. Cheap strings can injure your kid’s finger tips (very painful cuts are possible from low quality strings) and can also be hard to learn on. Learning to play the violin is hard enough as it is and bad strings can really hurt your kid’s motivation for the violin.

What difference do strings make?

Bad, cheap, old or worn down strings make it impossible to play in tune on the violin. Besides that they can cause very painful cuts in your child’s finger tips. Here are the differences between bad and good quality violin strings:

  • Comfort: cheap strings are often very thin and tight. This will hurt the finger tips sometimes up to the point that your child get’s a finger tip cut. Besides painful (and a dent in the motivation), this also means that they can’t play the violin for a while.
  • Tuning stability: bad strings don’t stay on the right pitch. Playing in tune on the violin is hard enough as it is. Let’s make sure your child plays on good strings that don’t make it harder.
  • Stability of pitch: cheap, old or worn down strings waddle. It’s a bit different than my point above. Waddling means that the string stays on the same tension, but while playing the note changes in pitch. Very annoying and really gets in the way of your child’s practice.
  • Sound: good strings simply sound a lot better. It can even seem like you have a different violin. If you bought a cheap violin set, upgrading it with a set of good quality strings can make a BIG difference.
  • Durability: With good strings you end up saving yourself money. They might cost a little more, but you can enjoy them much longer. Sometimes even over a year, depending how much your child plays.

What are the best strings to buy for my children’s violin?

Now you know how to replace your child’s violin strings, when to replace them, what size you need to buy and what difference good strings make, it’s time for some in depth reviews. These strings are not only my personal picks as a violin teacher, but I’ve also surveyed over fifty violin teachers to learn their favorite strings.

#1 Pirastro Tonica violin strings

Pirastro is a German string brand that is used by soloists as well as orchestra violinists all over the world. The Tonica strings are nylon core strings that give violins of each size an open, well-rounded and balanced sound. What I also like about these strings is that (like other synthetic core strings) they are not too thick and not too thin. When strings are too thick, on some fractional sizes they are very hard to place. When strings are too thin, they are not comfortable under your finger tips. The strings are easy to play, even in high positions. Tonica’s have short break in time, the tuning stability is good and the last relatively long.

Set price: $ 42


  • Great sound
  • Last long
  • Not too thick
  • Available down to 1/32 size


  • Sizing is grouped 4/4, 3/4 to 1/2, 1/4 to 1/8 and 1/16 to 1/32, not a ‘size per size’
  • Some find these too expensive

#2 D’Addario Prelude violin strings

Warmest sounding affordable steel core violin strings. Some violin players associate steel core strings with bright or even harsh sound. For fractional sized children’s violins however, you might need some extra brightness. Children’s violins have to produce the same pitch as 4/4 adult violins, while they are much smaller. A bright steel core string might just bring out a bit punch and volume a children’s violin might need. These Prelude strings are relatively warm sounding. With just under $ 20 per set, they are a good quality affordable option.

Set price: $ 19,99


  • Warm sound
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Great tuning stability
  • For each size one size (no grouping), so the string is well adjusted to the size of the violin
  • Separate 1/16 even, so you don’t need to use 1/8 strings for a 1/16 size (which often means a low string tension)


  • Less warm sounding than synthetic core strings
  • Slightly higher string tension than synthetic core strings (synthetics feel softer)

#3 Thomastik Alphayue violin strings

If you’re renting a children’s violin at a violin shop, changes are it has the Alphayue strings. They are good sounding affordable synthetic core strings that are comfortable under the finger tips. Thomastik Dominant’s have been the gold standard for years, but are quite expensive at the moment and the Alphayue strings are an excellent alternative. As we’re used to from Thomastik they have a short break-in time and great tuning stability.

Set price: $ 31


  • Short break-in time
  • Great tuning stability
  • Durable
  • Synthetic core strings at a very reasonable price


  • For a warmer tone, choose the Tonica strings

#4 Thomastik Dominant violin strings

Thomastik Dominants are one of the first synthetic core strings and they are absolutely the gold standard for violin strings. They are used by famous soloists like Hilary Hahn and Anne Sophie Mutter. You absolutely can’t go wrong buying dominants. For viola it’s a big advantage that they’re available in fractional sizes just as for the violin. Almost every violinist grew up with Dominants and teachers still recommend them. I do find that over the years they’ve become a bit on the expensive side, while personally I don’t find them much better than Tonicas.

Set price: $ 77


  • Wonderful neutral sound
  • Durable
  • Short break-in time
  • Great tuning stability


  • They’ve gotten a bit expensive over the years

#4 Super-Sensitive Red Label violin strings

Don’t be put off by the ‘bright sound’, because certainly in the smaller fractional sizes this could just mean that it brings out the sound and the small violin doesn’t sound too soft. Red Labels are the industry standard for school instruments and fiddlers. Their durability and tuning stability is great. If you’ve used Preludes and miss a bit of volume or punch in a smaller sized violin, it could be sensible to switch to Red Labels.

Set price: $ 22


  • Bright sound
  • Durable
  • Great tuning stability
  • Affordable


  • Not available in 1/16 size
  • Might be too bright for some instruments

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Closing notes

I hope I’ve given you some reassurance that in the case your kid’s violin string breaks that you can select a good string and replace it at home. Also when you’ve bought a cheap violin set, the renewal of the strings can make a big difference in sound and playability.

Guide to buying violin strings

If you’d like to read a lot more about violin strings, what they’re made of and see a lot more string reviews, check out this violin string buying guide.

Free online violin tuner

If you just replaced your strings, tuning the violin might be a challenge. New strings typically need some time to break in and you need to tune the violin very often. Use my free online violin tuner right here to make it a lot easier for yourself, even if you’re a beginner.

What strings are on your child’s violin? 

And what do you like about them? Leave a comment and share your experience with other budding violinists and their parents.

17 Best Online Violin Lessons, Courses and Apps: REALLY learn to play!

Violin teacher recommends online violin lessons that actually work

The violin is a difficult and sensitive instrument to learn, but also one of the most expressive instruments and very rewarding to learn.

Especially if you’re looking for (adult) beginner violin lessons online, it’s important that you learn a good basic technique so you can play in tune and make a beautiful sound.

Are you looking for ways to improve, stay motivated, and learn more about your instrument, but without leaving your own home? One incredible advantage we have over violinists 200 years ago is the internet. No matter how far along you are in your violin journey, you can always find inspiration from the phenomenal resources, lessons, and performances online. Here I’ve compiled just a small slice of the most popular web sites. This is particularly for beginner violinists in mind, but players of all levels can learn from these resources.

Can you really learn to play the violin online?

Distance learning in music is hundreds of years old. For example the violinist Tartini wrote letters to his students with hints to improve their violin playing. From this resulted his famous book ‘the art of bowing’ that has benefited violin players over the world for centuries.

You can combine online violin lessons and resources with traditional ‘offline’ violin lessons or learn on your own. Especially for self led adults who don’t have the ambition to become professional musicians, it’s perfectly possible to learn to play the violin online.

Free and paid online violin lessons

In this top 17 I will discuss free as well as paid, cheap and expensive options to learn to play the violin. In this day and age there are thousands of free YouTube violin lessons and tons of free resources. Money doesn’t have to be a problem of you’re determined to learn the violin.

Let’s start with our top 3 online violin lessons!

Below is a quick guide to our three top picks when it comes to online violin lessons, courses and apps. After that I will discuss the 17 best online violin lessons in detail.

Best violin lesson videos

iClassical Academy

This website has a wonderful library of lesson videos (masterclasses) for a variety of level of players and by famous violinists like Leonidas Kavakos. They have wonderful courses on Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas and Paganini Caprices, but also cover more basic techniques like a vibrato trainer and an intermediate course about bowing technique. Their videos on Kreutzer etudes are valuable even for children who have violin lessons.

With subscription options of around $ 19 they are one of the most affordable academies with a very high level of quality and an enormous video lesson library.

Join and use coupon VIOLINLOUNGE20 for 20% off.

Best violin sheet music app


If you’re looking for violin sheet music and an effective way to practice, take a look at the app Tomplay. You can use it on desktop (Apple as well as Windows), Android devices and Apple devices like a smartphone or tablet.

They have a library of 60,000 sheet music arrangements, so the piece you’re practicing or song you’d like to play is probably in there: violin etudes, simple pieces, movie tunes, pop music and classical repertoire. You can play the violin, the accompaniment or both at any speed and use handy tools like a metronome.

Join and use coupon VIOLINLOUNGE30 for 30% off.

Best 1-1 live violin lessons

Play with a Pro

Play with a Pro is a platform where you can find your next violin teacher suitable for your level of playing. If you find it hard to find a local teacher, definitely check them out.

They not only provide a connection with your teacher, but you can schedule a lesson directly and use their software for the best performing video and audio during your live 1-1 violin lesson.

Videos and fancy apps are great, but in the end everyone who wants to learn to play the violin at a certain level needs live 1-1 lessons.

The quality of the teachers you’ll find at Play with a Pro is great: seasons professional orchestra players, soloists and sought after teachers.

Best online violin lessons for beginner violinists

If you’re just starting out on the violin, all the courses, websites and apps on this page might seem very overwhelming. A great place to start is my free 40 lesson violin beginner course. This takes you from scratch (pun intended) to your first violin concerto with basic technique, scales, etudes and wonderful pieces. This course offers more value than many paid courses. Sign up right here.

From the selection on this page, consider the Suzuki violin lessons at Learn Violin Online and the complete lessons inside Violin Lab. The website Violinspiration is aimed at adult beginner violinists and offers many free video lessons as well as a paid academy. If you want to connect to a teacher and have 1-1 live lessons, consider the Trala app.

Mind that these options are mainly suitable for adult beginner violinists. For children I recommend to get a local teacher.

Top 17 online violin lessons, websites and teachers

#1 Tonebase

Tonebase is similar to iClassical Academy but provides a broader range of topics and levels. Like iClassical, the teachers are all high-caliber violinists such as Augustin Hadelich, Stefan Jackiw, and Nancy Zhou. Many of these video lessons are applicable to beginners and include very helpful exercises. Categories include technique and skills, theory and musicianship, interviews, and masterpieces of the repertoire. In weekly live workshops, you can ask instructors your questions in real time. Every lesson comes with pdf resources such as workbooks and annotated scores. The online community supports each other and provides feedback. Tonebase even invests in education by giving a 30% discount to current students and educators.


Free: Youtube videos (a different channel for each instrument i.e. Tonebase Violin), three free video lessons, unlimited access with 14-day free trial
Subscriptions: $49/month, $299/year, $695/lifetime


Detailed videos and course with sheet music, live advice from top musicians, interactive online community


Tonebase is more expensive than other online lessons and does not provide different levels of membership. Also, the courses are not organized pedagogically so this would not be the best choice if you are looking for very structured step-by-step guidance.

#2 Learnviolinonline.org

With Learn Violin Online, you can access online courses, sheet music, and materials to progress in your violin studies. The courses are available 24/7 and there is no timeline to finish them, so you ned not feel rushed. There are different packages available depending on your needs, starting at $37/month. There is also an instagram account with lots of fingering tutorials on easy pieces.


Free: Instagram playalong tutorials, free beginner violin course, free vibrato course
$37/month: Access to all digital courses and the community
$57/month: All digital courses, the community, and video exchange feedback (asynchronous)

Individual courses are also available for purchase.


Sample courses/videos you can try for free, supportive online community and lots of options between membership, short affordable courses and private lessons. Meghan is friendly person and a great violin teacher.


Meghan is the only teacher on this platform.

#3 TomPlay

You’ve heard me talk about TomPlay before if you’re familiar with my channel. It is not exactly a lessons resource, but an extremely helpful sheet music app with over 60,000 arrangements. On TomPlay you can find professional recordings of piano accompaniments to pieces you’re learning, so you can practice it with piano. A handy feature is that you can even set the recording at different speeds so you’re not racing to catch up! The site features classical music as well film music and even rock. There’s a huge selection, so whether you want to play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or the theme from Titanic, TomPlay can help you make practicing more engaging.


Use the coupon VIOLINLOUNGE30 for 30% off your yearly subscription.

Free: 14-day free trial, blog articles

$15/month: Unlimited access to entire score library

If you only want to practice a particular thing and don’t want to pay monthly, you can also just purchase individual scores.


Only pay for what you need, available on any device. The scores scroll as you play, and you can make your own markings on the score and print it out. You can also set the track to help you practice one passage in a loop.


Since it is a sheet music app, there are no tutorials. Also, if you wish to practice from the sheet music without the accompaniment, that can be difficult as there are no pedals to flip the pages. However, you can always print the music out instead.

#4 Stringosaurus

Teaching violin to 3-5 year-olds requires a lot of patience and dedication. Usually, the methods you’ve learned for older children just won’t work. Why? It’s simple: kids this age just want to play! They are incredibly brilliant and will absorb anything, but they are far more likely to stay engaged when play is involved. Through videos, books, and props, Stringosaurus turns practice time into a fun and hilarious story that also teaches basic violin and general music skills. If you’re hitting against a wall struggling to teach these amazing tiny students, try a new approach by checking out what Stringosaurus can offer.


Pricing: $24/month (for annual subscription): Membership in the Stringosaurus Resource Hub, with over 80 high quality resources and more being added, and online community support. Resources can also be purchased individually.


Creative approach to early childhood musicianship, engaging games, easy-to-use platform, works well as a supplement or on its own.


This website is aimed at violin teachers who teach very young children. This is not for players who are self learning.

#5 Takelessons

Takelessons is an online tutoring platform that helps students connect with teachers for one-on-one instruction. There are hundreds of violin tutors on this site, who set their own rates starting as low as $15. On a tutor’s profile you can view information about their background, any music degrees/performance experience they have, reviews from other students, and even videos of their own playing. When you find a tutor you’re interested you can message them right away to set up a lesson. You may find a tutor you love right away and want to keep working with them, or you might have to look around for a bit and try different people. This site is an easy way to connect with talented teachers all over the world. The only drawback is that Takelessons does not vet their teachers very much, so even if there are dozens of musicians with fantastic performance resumes it may take a while to find one who is also a good teacher.


Pricing: Pricing varies as the teachers set their own rates, but ranges between $15 and $100+ per hour. You always pay for lessons in advance.


Live, one-on-one video lessons with the teacher of your choice, ability to try different teachers, no need to travel.


Does not vet teachers very well, complaints about payment, cannot get your money back if you have to cancel less than 24 hours in advance.

#6 Play With a Pro

Playwithapro.com is very similar to Takelessons but with a higher standard for their tutors. They also only focus on music, whereas takelessons is for a variety of topics. The teachers come from around the world and are incredibly accomplished, most of them members of major symphony orchestras or university professors. This also means that the teachers’ rates are higher, averaging between $40 and $100 dollars per lesson. Fortunately many of them offer a free trial lesson where you can get to know each other before making a commitment.
In addition to live video lessons, the website boasts a “masterclass page” where you can watch over 200 hours of recorded instruction from the most successful classical musicians in the world.


Ranges from $45 to $100+ per hour


Guaranteed professional musicians of the highest caliber, many of whom are multilingual, who can provide either regular lessons or a few masterclasses. The site also helps you match to teachers based on your skill level and availability.


Much more expensive than other online options due to the high quality of live lessons with professionals

#7 Trala

Trala’s self-stated mission is “to make music education accessible to every single person on earth”. Their online platform is specifically designed for busy adults who don’t have any help to learn an instrument. Designed by professional musicians and endorsed by Joshua Bell, their interactive platform connects students to teachers around the globe. They also advertise themselves as the first major method to prioritize adults.
There are many video lesson platforms, but Trala also boasts advanced online feedback technology. When you practice with the app, it immediately sends back a score on your pitch and tempo, as well as suggestions for how to improve. This is incredibly helpful for beginners who struggle to analyze their mistakes without their teacher. There is also extra video content to watch between lessons.
If you’re interested in a method that has helped 400,000 students around the world, Trala may be a good place to start.


$160/$280: Weekly private lessons (30 minutes or an hour)

$80/$140: Bi-weekly private lessons

$40/$70: Monthly private lessons


Geared toward adult beginners with busy schedules, advanced feedback technology, extra video content.


App can’t give you advice on techniques or how to improve tone quality, doesn’t let you skip songs so that you have to do everything in order.

#8 StringPedagogy

Stringpedagogy.com is a fantastic free website put together by professors at Indiana University, led by Mimi Zweig who taught Joshua Bell when he was little. Its purpose is to show teachers how to help their young students progress in the most logical way, without skipping anything. However, the explanations and videos are so detailed that older students can learn a lot from using it themselves. It places a special emphasis on proper set-up and relaxed playing. Another unique feature is the “Pre-twinkle” sequence. This is a highly detailed series of little songs and exercises that give a firm foundation in rhythms and fingerings before even starting the first Suzuki book. There are specific instructions for every piece in Suzuki books 1 and 2, videos of sample lessons, technique building exercises, and a graded list of repertoire at the end. Although it is not interactive like some other sites, it is an absolute goldmine of knowledge that can change your playing.


StringPedagogy is a completely free resource.


Complete Pre-Twinkle set-up plan, thorough walk-through of how to teach all the pieces in the first two Suzuki books, teaching demo videos, graded repertoire list, articles on pedagogy for difficult techniques such as shifting and vibrato.


Rather outdated website, not interactive, designed for teachers, lessons on each Suzuki piece can be repetitive (but then again that’s the point)

#9 Daniel Kurganov

Daniel Kurganov is a professional violinist who also reaches out to online audiences. Born in Belarus and raised in Chicago, he studied in Zurich and has released world-premier recordings of living composers. His YouTube channel has over 45,000 subscribers, and he shares deep dives into particular techniques that are challenging for most people. Through his website he also offers online video lessons. He offers either live video lessons, or a system where you can send in a recording and get feedback. I recommend watching his content to learn things from a creative musician who has studied the synthesis of different styles.


Free: Youtube channel
$35: Send a recording to receive feedback
$70: 25-minute live video lesson
$140: Full video lessons or orchestra audition training


Creative, multifaceted advice from a top violinist who is trained in multiple areas, and ability to receive feedback.


Much of this wonderful advice is geared towards advanced players and is not necessarily applicable to the early stages of playing. However, the advice on practicing is helpful for everyone.

#10 Itzhak Perlman Masterclass

Masterclass is a sight where world-famous artists offer their advice for success through a series of videos. One of these is by Itzhak Perlman. He gives insightful details on everything from bowing to vibrato and memorization techniques to building a career. At just $10/month, it is a wonderful supplement for serious students who want to refresh their practice with new ideas from a legend.


Starting at $10/month (billed annually) for all classes and sessions.


Affordable way to learn time-saving tips and incredible stories from a legend. Highly produced videos, structured sequential format.


Non-interactive, not an effective choice for those picking up an instrument for the first time.

#11 Violinspiration

This is another website dedicated to adult beginners. Some resources are free while others you pay to unlock. Violinspiration is accompanied by a large YouTube channel full of tutorial videos. The well-organized website includes a violin academy link, a blog, sheet music, videos, and a shop. First-time violinists will find plenty of things on this site to help stay motivated and progressing. Those who want to commit more fully can join the online academy that provides workbooks, practice plans, sheet music, feedback, and live online group classes.


Free: Video lessons on Youtube, some free sheet music, blog, free 3-day bootcamp
$30 (special price): Beginner bootcamp
$65/month: Julia’s Violin Academy membership, with courses, feedback, community, and group classes


Geared toward adults, focuses on community, lots of free or affordable resources, professional feedback.


Only for beginners, does not have different levels of membership depending on your needs.

#12 Natesviolin

Nathan Cole is an incredible violinist and teacher who is currently First Associate Concertmaster for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and on faculty for the Colburn Conservatory. His Youtube channel and website are all about revealing the “method behind the mastery”. His gentle, patient personality, sense of humor, and amazing technique make these videos not only informative but enjoyable. He covers a variety of topics including audition prep, bow strokes, vibrato, and tips on specific well-known repertoire. He also has a few online courses, a blog, and a podcast called “Stand Partners for Life” with his wife and fellow violinist Akiko Tarumoto.


Free: Youtube channel, blog, podcast, free download “8 biggest practice mistakes”
$27: Scales: The Road to Repertoire course


Detailed, enjoyable videos pinpointing exactly what people tend to struggle with from someone who has been through it all.


Non-interactive, high level of technical detail meant mostly for advanced violinists (which isn’t to say beginners won’t enjoy it)

#13 iClassical Academy

iClassical Academy is a community of professional music educators and performers who have collaborated on an extensive collection of recorded masterclasses and courses for multiple instruments and even conducting. The teachers are distinguished music professors from all over the world. In the violin section, you will find masterclasses on much of the most challenging violin repertoire including Tchaikovsky’s concerto, Bach sonatas, and Paganini caprices. If you are learning these pieces for the first time, these videos won’t replace a teacher but will help you practice and incorporate fresh ideas. There are also courses on the music industry to give musicians a well-rounded, up-to-date education.


Use the coupon VIOLINLOUNGE20 for 20% off your subscription.

Free: YouTube channel, limited free video library
$24/month, $224/year, $874/lifetime: Unlimited video access


Because it is a masterclass setting, you can see another student trying out the ideas in front of you, which is more helpful than just hearing a teacher talk. The wide variety of professors gives you many different musical ideas.


All the pieces on this site are very advanced, so it is not a good choice for less experienced players. Also, it is just videos and there is no sheet music, store, or direct feedback.

#14 The Online Violin Tutor

With 650,000 subscribers, this is the biggest YouTube channel for the violin. Alison Sparrow has tons of great free resources on her channel including a sequence of beginner lessons, song tutorials, and lots of fun and informative videos discussing things beginner violinists are often concerned about. If you wish to dive deeper than the ten free lessons, she has two additional books of lessons you can purchase. Aside from her YouTube channel she also has a members-only website and an extensive online music shop where you can purchase her technique and method books.


Free: Extensive YouTube channel filled with tutorials, lessons, and beginner violin course

$10/month: Access to 800 pieces of sheet music, 189 violin cover recordings, 66 violin backing tracks, 112 sheets of piano music, free book from Alison’s shop for every 3 months of membershipamsmusicshop.com is where you can find all of Alison’s music books including her multi-level violin and piano courses.


The first level of the violin course is completely free, the YouTube channel includes great info on getting started in violin and practicing, the membership provides lots of sheet music for a low price, the music store is extensive.


Geared only towards beginner and intermediate, no live video lessons.

#15 Violin Lab

Violin Lab is a long-standing and very detailed pedagogical resource for players at multiple levels. The creator, Beth Blackerby, said she felt inspired by her adult violin students but also sensed that they felt “disenfranchised” since most students are children. She wanted t create a comprehensive online course for adults that would provide the feedback, resources, and community they needed to support their enthusiasm. Beth’s program is divided into three levels, and each level is incredibly detailed. It is not just a quick introductory course, rather it is designed to guide you through years of progress.
Each lesson is divided into several sections: left hand technique, right hand technique, tone and intonation, repertoire, and etudes and exercises. During each lesson, you can write notes to automatically put in your online practice journal to help your practice stay organized and productive. There is also a video exchange section where you can send your playing straight to Beth and she will send you a video back with advice. Sheet music comes with every lessons, so you don’t have to worry about buying books. This is probably the most thorough online violin course out there for complete noobies, so definitely check it out!


Free 14-day trial
$49 one-time purchase: Complete practice course guiding you through how to make the most of every minute of playing
$35/month: Basic membership includes access to video lessons, sheet music, play-alongs, and practice plan maker, as well as curating your own resources
$45/month: Basic plan plus monthly video exchange lesson
$75/month: Basic plan plus weekly video exchange lessons

The website also mentions providing lower rates for those with financial hardships. Additionally, the monthly price becomes lower each extra year you are signed up.


Extremely thorough, tons of content, video exchange, closely mirror the structure of traditional lessons, pricing options available.


No live lessons, more expensive than websites that offer shorter beginner courses.

#16 Tonic App

Violinist Ray Chen started creating the Tonic app during covid when he realized that he wanted to create his own classical music community. He knew how lonely practicing can be, especially without the motivation of concerts, so he thought it would be amazing to create a place where people could stay accountable and inspired when practicing. The main feature of the app is that you create a “practice studio” (with a little avatar of you), and put in what you’re working on that day. Other members can drop by to literally hear you play and leave encouraging comments. The app tracks your practice time on your dashboard and leaderboard, and you can set daily goals. As a fun gamification, the more you practice the more clothing items you unlock for your avatar to wear. There are several group chats where members can share about their favorite musical topics.


The app is free with in-app purchases.


Stay accountable in practice, track daily hours, meet other musicians online, support each other with real feedback.


Only a practice tool, not a lesson website. It may not be a good choice for those who are cell-phone addicted or easily distracted while practicing.

#17 Violin Lounge

Well… I couldn’t help mentioning this one! I can’t say Violin Lounge an online blog, Youtube channel and teaching platform run by a professional violinist (yours truly) who wants to help absolutely everyone improve their violin skills, specifically through sharing bowing techniques. The Youtube channel features 1,000+ videos on technique, repertoire, and fun vlogs. The website includes all kinds of courses with awesome guest teachers as well as lots more articles like this one! Violinists of all ages can find inspiration, get questions answered, and obtain direct help from a professional violinist. (forgive my bias)


Violin Lounge offers free resources and paid lifetime access online courses.

Free: Youtube channel, blog (i.e. where you are now), free beginner violin course
$ 111: Violin Bowing Bootcamp self study course about bowing technique
$1,777: Full Bow Like A Pro course, including 400+ video lessons, video exchange feedback, practice plans, sheet music, and lifetime access
$1,222: Paganini’s Secret violin course, guiding you from a G major scale to Paganini’s 24th caprice without selling your soul to the devil. Includes video exchange feedback.
More in the shop right here!

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.


Lots of free resources and tips, rare but essential focus on right hand (bowing) technique, courses led by multiple teachers, lifetime access to courses and videos.


No live lesson option, no monthly subscription option.

No matter how long you have been playing the violin, you will find something among these resources to help and inspire you. 

I’ve tried to give an as accurate possible picture of the online violin lessons, courses, websites and apps out there. If you noticed a mistake or you would like your platform featured, please e-mail us.

How do you take online violin lessons?

If you have used any of them yourself and have additional thoughts, please leave them in the comments for others to learn from!

Top 24 Violin Composers in the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern Period

Listen to the most beautiful violin music from the 24 greatest violin composers of all times

Explore the baroque, classical, romantic and modern period with some beautiful listen tips of the 24 greatest violin composers and learn what’s so special about them. I’ve got three violin pieces per composer for you, so sit back and enjoy!

Tech notice: If you’re viewing this page on mobile, please note that it might have difficulty loading because of all the embedded videos with music examples. This page performs better on desktop.

6 Greatest Violin Composers in the Baroque Period

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin are some of the most important pieces in the violin repertoire and played by every major soloist. Although he is most famous for his sacred music, he wrote these while working for the prince of Köthen who anted only secular works.

Violin music by Johann Sebastian Bach:

Chaconne from Partita no 2

E Major Preludio from Partita no 3

Concerto for Two Violins

Download free violin composer flash cards

24 printable PDF flash cards

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759)

Handel’s violin sonatas are beautiful examples of the Baroque style, both regal and playful. Born in Germany, he spent most of his life in England working for King George I and King George II, and became famous for his operas.

Violin music by Georg Friedrich Handel:

Violin Sonata in D Major

Violin Sonata in A Major

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

Like Bach, Telemann also wrote a collection of works for solo violin, as well as several concertos for four violins. He was the most popular and prolific composer of his day, with over 3,000 finished works.

Violin music by Georg Philipp Telemann:

Concerto for Four Violins in G Major

Viola Concerto in G Major

12 Fantasias for Solo Violin

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

Corelli’s violin sonatas and concerti grossi became famous throughout Europe, known for their rich textures and creative harmonies. His music also helped establish the preeminence of the violin.

Violin music by Arcangelo Corelli:

La Folia

12 Violin Sonatas

Christmas Concerto

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

No composer had more impact on the early development of the violin concerto. Vivaldi wrote 230, most notably the beloved Four Seasons. Most of these he wrote for L’Ospedale della Pietà, a convent and orphanage that also boasted one of the most celebrated orchestras in Europe.

Violin music by Antonio Vivaldi:

The Four Seasons

Violin Concerto G Minor

Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor

Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770)

Tartini is remembered for the violin sonata he wrote after purportedly having a dream where he saw the devil playing the violin. While that is his most famous work, he also wrote 135 violin concertos.

Violin music by Giuseppe Tartini:

“Devil’s Trill” Sonata

Violin Sonata in D Major

Violin Concerto in E Minor

6 Greatest Violin Composers in the Classical Period

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Haydn wrote three violin concertos that are treasured by both students and professionals for their beauty and technical challenges. In addition to his concertos and numerous string quartets, he is often called “the father of the symphony” because he wrote one hundred and six of them.

Violin music by Joseph Hayden:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in C Major

“Emperor” Quartet

“Surprise” Symphony

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Mozart wrote five violin concertos in three years, and the later three are the most celebrated examples of the mid-classical violin concerto. The first movement of his work for string quartet Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is among the most recognized classical melodies.

Violin music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Symphony No. 29

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Although primarily known for his piano and symphonic works, Beethoven’s violin concerto is one of the longest and most challenging in the repertoire. The first performance was unsuccessful, and the concerto did not become popular until long after Beethoven’s death.

Violin music by Ludwig van Beethoven:

Violin Concerto in D Major

Romance in F Major

Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major ‘Spring’

Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831)

A professor at the Conservatoire de Paris and considered a founding father of the French violin school, Kreutzer essential work 42 Etudes is often called “the violin bible.” Kreutzer also wrote nineteen violin concertos.

Violin music by Rodolphe Kreutzer:

Etude No. 42

Violin Concerto No. 13

Etude No. 2

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Mendelssohn wrote two violin concertos, one for string orchestra and one for classical symphony. Violin Concerto in E Minor bridges the classical and romantic eras and is regularly ranked in the top five violin concertos ever written.

Violin music by Felix Mendelssohn:

Violin Concerto in E Minor

Violin Concerto in D Minor

String Octet

Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840)

Paganini’s infamous 24 Caprices, not to mention his six violin concertos, push the limits of players’ physical capabilities. Audiences were so shocked by his antics that there were rumors he had made a deal with the devil. He probably just practiced a lot.

Violin music by Nicolo Paganini:

Violin Concerto No. 1

Caprice No. 5

Caprice No. 24

Download free violin composer flash cards

24 printable PDF flash cards

6 Greatest Violin Composers in the Romantic Period

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Brahms’ intense concerto, his three violin sonatas, and other solo pieces are dream-repertoire for any very serious student. If you want to delve a little deeper, check out his double concerto for violin and cello.

Violin music by Johannes Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D Major

Violin Sonata No. 3

String Quartet No. 1

Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880)

 Little-known outside the violin world, Wieniawski spent his short but eventful life writing dramatic concertos, solo pieces, and caprices that rival Paganini’s. He traveled all over the world concertizing and composing until he died of a heart attack at age forty-four.

Violin music by Henryk Wieniawski:

Concerto No. 2

Etude-Caprice No. 4

Scherzo Tarantelle

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, written while trying to escape depression, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. He is best known for his symphonic works and his numerous ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker.

Violin music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D Major

String Quartet No. 1

Serenade for Strings

Max Bruch (1838-1920)

A young but talented German composer achieved international fame through just one piece: Violin Concerto in G Minor. Jealous composers scoffed at him for the enormous success of this piece, and even Bruch was reportedly angry that it eclipsed all his other work.

Violin music by Max Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 1

Scottish Fantasy

String Quintet in E-flat Major

Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)

This Spanish-born violinist and composer toured the world to bring the flavor and exuberance of his homeland to other cultures through his music. Notable composers such as Lalo, Bizet, and Saint-Saëns dedicated pieces to Sarasate.

Violin music by Pablo de Sarasate:


Romanza Andaluza


Edouard Lalo (1823-1892)

Ironically, this French composer is best-known for his Spanish-sounding violin concerto, which also happens to be the piece that inspired Tchaikovsky to write his own famous violin concerto. He had an extensive number of other works including three operas.

Violin music by Edouard Lalo:

Symphonie Espagnole

String Quartet in E-flat Major

Piano Trio No. 1

6 Greatest Violin Composers in the Modern Period

Eugene Ysaÿe (1858-1931)

A giant of the classical world both figuratively and literally, Ysaÿe brings modern harmonies and effects to his virtuosic compositions. His sonatas for solo violin are even more difficult than earlier ones by Paganini and Wieniawski.

Violin music by Eugene Ysaÿe:

Sonata no. 3 ‘Ballade’

Sonata for Two Violins in A Minor

Snow of Yesteryear

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

 Elgar’s violin concerto is his longest orchestral work, and incredibly difficult. He declared himself that he loved its strong emotional style. Elgar’s most beloved works include The Dream of Gerontius and Enigma Variations.

Violin music by Edward Elgar:

Violin Concerto in B Minor

Salut d’Amour

String Quartet in E Minor

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)

This Viennese-turned-American violinist was a household name at the turn of the century due to his live concerts and his recordings. His show pieces are common encores on concerts and recitals. Kreisler had a distinct sound known for its sweet tone and expressive phrasing.

Violin music by Fritz Kreisler:

Tambourin Chinois

3 Old Viennese Dances

Praeludium und Allegro

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Prokofiev, a major Soviet composer, is known mainly as a pianist, but his violin concerto and sonatas are incredibly important to the repertoire for their originality and unusual beauty.

Violin music by Sergei Prokofiev:

Violin Concerto No. 1

Violin Sonata No. 2

Peter and the Wolf

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Shostakovich spent his conflicted composing career writing in two styles: a straight-forward one to satisfy the Soviets, and an inventive, ground-breaking one to satisfy himself. The violin concerto is one of the latter, which is why it was not performed until after Stalin’s death.

Violin music by Dmitri Shostakovich:

Violin Concerto

5 Pieces for Two Violins

String Quartet No. 8

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

One of the quintessential composers of the American style, Barber’s lush, nostalgic compositions include a violin concerto, his famous string quartet, and a rarely heard unfinished violin sonata. Many of his vocal songs have also been transcribed for violin.

Violin music by Samuel Barber:

Violin Concerto

String Quartet Op. 11

Sonata (Unfinished)

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

I’ll admit I’ve ignored so many great composers and beautiful pieces

The challenge of writing an article like this is not to find good pieces, but to select which pieces NOT to include. There’s so much beautiful violin music! 

If you’re comfortable listening, also explore this:

31 Violin concertos ranked by difficulty level

30 Most famous violinists of past and present

22 Most romantic violin solos

Who do you think is the greatest violin composer of all times?

Share your favorite violin music in the comments!

16 Best Violin Bows in 2023: Ultimate Buying Guide for the Right Violin Bow

Buying the best violin bow is at least as important as the violin you buy

If you have a fantastic violin, but your bow is wobbly, the hair doesn’t respond to the string and it never seems to do what you want, you will be discouraged in your violin playing.

For example you could notice the violin bow jumps or shakes when you want to play legato or just doesn’t want to jump when you want to play spiccato. Also you might have the idea that your violin doesn’t sound that good with the bow that you have.

The violin bow makes an enormous difference in the sound you make, how you tackle fast runs, the bowing techniques you can perform and the overall ease of playing violin

Violin bows cost from $ 6 (see review here) up to $ 288,960 (more info below). In this article I will discuss what to look for when buying a violin, how much a violin bow costs and my reviews of beginner, intermediate and professional bows of different prices.

Table of contents:

Top 3 violin bows in 2023

Let’s start with what I think are the best violin bows for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. Then I will discuss what difference a bow makes and what to look for when buying a bow. After that I will continue with the promised 16 best violin bows on the market right now and more depth violin bow reviews.

Best violin bow for a beginner violinist

Do you feel the violin bow that ‘came with’ your violin set just doesn’t seem to do what you want? Do you want to sound better, tackle fast runs and perform different bow strokes?

A good violin bow doesn’t have to be expensive. While good pernambuco wooden bows start around $ 600, these days carbon fiber bows make it possible to get a good violin bow at a very low price.

I think this bow is the best under $ 100:

Fiddlerman carbon fiber violin bow

Best all-round violin bow for intermediate to advanced players

As an intermediate player you want a bow that not makes your violin sound great, but also can perform all different violin bowing techniques.

CodaBow Marquise GS violin bow

This bow gives a warm, but full sound on almost every violin. It feels like it follows your hand beautifully and subtly. The stick is round and a little flexible making it easier to switch between detaché and spiccato. Still it’s stiff and punchy enough for a crispy staccato or ricochet.

Top violin bow for an advanced or professional player

In the price range for advanced and professional players (say from around $ 3,000 for a violin) one often speaks more of individual bow makers of the past and present more than brands and types. It’s important to select a unique bow that suits your playing style and violin.

Arcus S9 round violin bow

This bow has an extremely light weight (49 grams), which makes it very agile and light and easy to play with. Switching between all different bowing techniques is a breeze. It allows the maximum resonance from your instrument and you’ll have a large brilliant sound without it being too harsh.

What difference does a violin bow make in your playing?

You might be wondering: Does a violin bow make a difference? It looks like a simple stick with some hair, right? Why do violinist pay thousands for a special bow?

Certainly as you’ll learn different violin bowing techniques, a good violin bow will make it a lot easier to perform a smooth detaché or legato, a jumpy spiccato or ricochet and a crispy staccato.

A good violin bow will help you make a beautiful sound on your violin, make it easier to play difficult pieces and give you a lot more confidence in your violin playing.

Professionals will agree that they’d rather play a mediocre violin with a top range bow than the other way around.
‘Le violon, c’est l’archet.’
(the violin, it’s the bow) said the famous bow maker François Tourte around 1800. Most bows are still made after the design he developed.

To show an extreme difference between violin bows, check out this video review I made with a $ 29 bow vs a $ 8,000 bow.

Sure, Zlata, now we know the violin bow is extremely important for your violin playing, but…

What to look for when buying a violin bow?

How are different violin bows different?

Before I go into the reviews of violin bows, let’s discuss what differences you can notice between violin bows. When you are choosing a violin bow to buy, there are several characteristics to look out for.

#1 How the violin bow makes your violin sound

When you play with different violin bows, you’ll start to notice that your violin produces a different sound depending on the bow you use. Some bows will make it sound warmer, mellower and softer, while other bows will make your violin sound more brilliant, louder or even shrill.

It’s important to consider where you will use the bow for. Are you a soloist who needs to carry the sound over the orchestra in a large concert hall? Or are you second violinist who wants her sound to blend in the orchestra? Maybe you mainly play chamber music.


Response might seem like a vague term that’s hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced differences in it yourself when trying out different bows. In essence it means how the violin bow reacts when you start a note. Is the sound there right away? Or do you very consciously need to start the sound? Or do you feel the sound starts delayed? It’s pleasant when the sound starts right away as you make the bow stroke.

Dynamic range

When you’re testing a violin bow try out playing pianissimo in all places of the bow (for example also at the extreme tip) and playing fortissimo. You’ll discover that some bows can play very very soft and still have sound, while other bows seem to respond less and have a smaller dynamic range. To play the violin expressively, it’s important that you can play all dynamics easily with your bow.

#2 How it feels to play with a violin bow

When you start trying out different violin bows in your quest to buy the right one, you’ll quickly notice the bows feel differently while playing.

Weight (light vs heavy)

Some bows are extremely light like the Arcus bows of 49 grams. Other bows feel quite heavy, some even over 60 grams. This might not seem like lot, but you DO feel it a lot when playing.

Balance (stable vs bouncy)

A violin bow could be heavier at the tip or heavier at the frog.

Pros and cons of a heavy violin bow

When the bow is heavy at the tip it feels very secure, you can easily do a smooth legato, but jumping bowing techniques might take more effort and might seem more difficult. Also your pinky needs to do more work.

Pros and cons of a light violin bow

When the bow is relatively heavy at the frog OR particularly light at the tip (or both) the bow can feel a bit more nervous and jumps easily. This is an advantage for jumping bowing techniques like spiccato, sautillé and ricochet, but it can make smooth bowing more difficult. If the bow is too nervous for you, it feels like you can’t control it. Obviously a light bow is agile and fast runs can be easier. In general with a light bow you feel more ease in your playing and it’s less strenuous for your arm, hand and fingers. In wooden bows a very light weight often means that the bow is soft and can feel wobbly. In carbon fiber bows, like Arcus, it’s possible to make very light bows that are also stiff.

Stiff vs flexible

With a stiff bow it’s easier to put weight into the bow. When you press your index finger into the bow while playing, this pressure (or weight) will transfer through the bow and the bow hair into the string. If you have a soft or flexible bow, you will see that the bow easily bends in the direction of the hair (or even almost touch the hair) when you put pressure on the bow.

The pro of a stiff bow is that you can easily transfer weight, have a good response and play jumping bowing techniques like spiccato and ricochet. However, a stiff bow might also feel a bit nervous and miss a certain nuance. A more flexible bow can feel like you’re more in control and can make more subtle jumps in spiccato and a smoother legato. When a bow is too soft, it doesn’t function and is really hard to manage.

Isn’t the stiff vs flexible a matter of tightening the bow? Yes, when the bow is tighter it will feel a bit stiffer. This is why it’s important that you know exactly how much to tighten your violin bow (watch the video here). However, the stick itself has a certain resilience and even if you tighten a very soft bow a lot, it will still be soft.

#3 Types of violin bows and what they’re made of

Carbon vs Wood violin bow: what is better?

Carbon fiber violin bows are good news for a few reasons:

  • It’s possible to make very good bow for very little money as you don’t need rare types of wood
  • You can manufacture types of bows (also higher range) that have benefits that wood bows can’t have (like the very light Arcus bows that are still stiff and offer the advantages of both baroque and Tourte bows).
  • Carbon fiber violin bows are far less sensitive for wrapping due to humidity and temperature changes. The are more durable.
  • Pernambuco is an endangered type of wood, so good quality wooden bows will become more and more expensive in the future.

Some violinists think the cheap carbon composite bows from Chinese factories are what carbon has to offer. However, these days in carbon as well as wood there are so many quality levels and types of bows that one cannot say something general about either of them.

Lots of violinists still like the charm of an individual wooden bow and love their precious pernambuco bow from a certain (maybe antique) bow maker.

Read more about wood vs carbon violin bows in my article right here.

Read here about all the different materials the parts of the violin bow are made of.

Octagonal vs Round violin bow: what is better?

The part of the violin bow at the frog is always octagonal (so the wood has eight edges). The stick of the bow can either be round (smooth) or octagonal. In general octagonal bows are stiffer, more agile and jumpier. Round bows are smoother, more flexible and peaceful.

Violinists play for 50% on round bows and 50% on octagonal bows, which proves that one isn’t better than the other. It’s a matter of personal preference. You can be a ’round bow person’ or an ‘octagonal bow person’ and you can switch during your career.

Please also know that the characteristics of each bow differ a lot and the fact that they are octagonal or round doesn’t say everything. When you’re looking to buy a violin bow, don’t limit yourself to one bow.

Watch this violin bow review video to find out more about round vs octagonal.

Now you know what to look for when buying a violin bow

How much does a good violin bow cost?

There are beginner level bows that cost under $ 100 and are still great bows to start out with. Intermediate bows cost between $ 500 and $ 2,000. Professional level bows start around $ 3,000 and cost up to six figures. I will review some great violin bows in each price range below.

Let’s get started with my bow reviews, so you can pick the right bow for you!

Top 16 Violin Bows of 2023: reviews by a violin teacher

I will review violin bows from cheap to expensive and will start with some bows that are great for beginners and a good ‘bang for your buck’. After that I will continue with bows for intermediate, advanced and professional players.

Selecting and buying the right bow for you is very personal, which is why it’s important to try out different bows for yourself if you have the possibility to. You can do this in a violin shop or have a selection of bows shipped to your home if you’d like to buy your violin bow online. I hope my reviews can help you make your selection.

Best violin bows for beginners

Price range $ 63 to $ 400

What are good violin bows for beginner violinists? Check out these top picks:

P&J Fiberglass violin bow you can rehair yourself!

Price: $ 63

Features: fiberglass stick, easy rehair system you can do yourself at home, Parisian eye, mother of pearl inlay, available in lots of sizes and colors (fun for kids)

So your kid is a budding violinist and one day while playing the bow hair gets caught up in the finetuners of the violin when he’s not looking. Then he tries to get the bow lose himself and SNAP… the bow hairs are broken.

Or you’re an adult, want to take your bow out of the violin case and EECK… the bow hairs get stuck behind the bow holder and break. Noooo!

For bows under $ 100 there’s no point in getting a rehair that can cost the same as your bow except if you get a P&J bow with the easy at home rehair system. Yes, you can rehair this bow yourself!

Of course that’s a big advantage, but also know that this bow is fiberglass (not carbon or carbon fiber) and will not have the sound and characteristics of bows made out of better materials.

However, for schools this bow is ideal!

Fiddlerman carbon fiber violin bow

Price: $ 69

Weight: 60 grams

Features: carbon fiber stick, ebony frog, circle eye, horse hair

This bow is truly the best bang for your buck and the bow I recommend to everyone with a tight budget looking to upgrade from the bow that ‘came with their violin’. The sound is nice and full and it can easily do all the different bow strokes for you. Because it’s carbon fiber, the quality will be consistent and it’s very durable.

Dörfler D7 massaranduba violin bow

Price: $ 109

Features: ebony frog, simple eye and round massaranduba stick

Dörfler makes excellent violin bows in Germany and really is a brand to look for when buying a wooden violin bow. Massaranduba is a municipality in Brazil making this a brazil wooden (but not pernambuco) violin bow.

This bow is nice and stable for a beginner, has a flexible round stick and produces a warm not too full tone. When you’re going into more advanced bowing techniques, you might however want to look for

Holstein pernambuco violin bow

Price: $ 199

Weight: 60 grams

Features: pernambuco stick, silver mounting, ebony frog, Siberian horse hair, mother of pearl inlay

Forget that I said that only above $ 600 you can get a quality pernambuco bow. What!? This Holstein bow is made of quality pernambuco, it has a great response, good open sound on your violin, a strong resilient stick and… it’s under $ 200. On top of that it comes with the great warranty and service of the friendly guys at Fiddlershop. If you want a traditional quality bow with small budget, get this bow!

CodaBow Prodigy Carbon Fiber Violin Bow

Get rid of bow shakes and feel in control as a beginner violinist

Price: $ 365

Weight: 60 grams

Features: graphite fiber weave stick with kevlar fiber acoustic core, nickel silver fittings, ‘Xebony’ frog, Mongolian horse hair

If you want to feel secure as a beginner and stop your shaky bow, get this Prodigy. It feels very stable, is on the stiff and slightly heavy side. It might not be as agile as the more expensive models by CodaBow, but it can be an extremely pleasant bow for the first years. It’s simply very forgiving and I recommend it time after time when beginner(ish) students complain about not being able to control their bow.

Best mid range violin bows for intermediate players

Price range: $ 500 to $ 750

If you’re playing more technically challenging pieces and start to deepen your musical expression, upgrading your bow can be really rewarding as an intermediate violinist.

Over the years I’ve convinced quite some intermediate players who thought they needed a different violin, to look into a new bow first. It can make all the difference.

Fiddlerman Pro Series carbon fiber violin bow

Price: $ 599

Weight: 53 grams

Features: carbon fiber stick, snakewood frog, sterling silver fittings,

The sound of this bow is brilliant, open and clear. It’s nice and light, easy to handle and very agile. You can easily perform all bowing techniques with it and it offers excellent value for money. It’s a great affordable alternative for the more expensive carbon fiber bow brands. 

Watch my video review of the Fiddlerman Pro series here and decide for yourself if it’s PRO or NO.

Conrad Götz No.76 Pernambuco Violin Bow

Price: $ 639

Features: round pernambuco stick, Parisian eye, ebony frog, made in Germany

Round bow with a mellow sound that’s comfortable to hold and easy to play. If you’re looking for a great intermediate traditional bow, this is a good pick!

Musing C3 Carbon Fiber Violin Bow

Price: $ 675 (Müsing bows start at $ 495)

Weight: 54 grams

Features: 80% carbon fiber stick, steel fittings, star shaped button and ergonomic frog

Great quality carbon fiber bow that’s 80% carbon fiber, which means it allows great resonance of your violin (too much epoxy mutes the sound). These bows are agile and you can perform different bowing techniques with ease. Also it’s lighter than most wooden bows.

Jean-Paul Pernambuco Silver 2-star Violin Bow

Price: $ 739

Weight: 60-62 grams

Features: carefully selected pernambuco stick, horn frog, large pearl eye

A traditionally crafted pernambuco bow with a beautiful full and warm sound. This bow is made with great attention for details.

Jean-Paul is known to make excellent bows with a peaceful character and a warm sound. Make sure to also check out their carbon fiber bows if you want the advantages of carbon fiber with the look and feel of a traditional pernambuco bow.

Best all-round violin bows for intermediate, advanced and professional players

Price range: $ 1,200 to $ 2,250

Are you looking for a bow that can blend in in an orchestra, help you shine as a soloist, enjoy chamber music, be great at your wedding gig and does all bowing techniques with ease while at the same time make your violin sound best?

These bows can really do everything for the active amateur or the professional with a variety of gigs:

Codabow Marquise GS Violin Bow

Price: $ 1,295

Features: unidirectional carbon fiber stick, natural acoustic core, ‘Xebony’ frog,

This is the top of the line bow by CodaBow and compared to it’s ‘little brothers and sisters’ it’s definitely worth the extra money. It really gives you the smooth subtle feeling from a traditional master bow and it sounds warm, but full, and has a great response.

For example the GX does everything it needs to do, but the Marquise allows for more expressive playing and a more complex tone. I know this all sounds vague, so definitely give it a try.

Michael Mönnig Violin Bow Silver

Price: $ 1,739

Features: very high quality aged round pernambuco stick, silver mounting, Paris eye

This is a great example of a versatile, high quality hand made pernambuco bow. It has a powerful and sonorous sound with a great response. This bow will express all the subtleties in your playing in a beautiful sound. 

Arcus T6 Violin Bow

Price: $ 2,250 (for the T6, the T-series starts at $ 1,080)

Weight: 52 grams

Features: unidirectional hollow carbon fiber stick, snakewood frog, silver mounting

The T-models are the most universal bows made by Arcus. It’s also their newest series and since it’s introduction I’ve been recommending them so much to a variety of players. They cover a huge spectrum of sound colors and playing styles. Violinists can expect great warmth and brilliance at the same time, which make them suitable for a majority of instruments.

For this review I chose the T6, because I think the sound and playing quality is noticeably better than the T4 or the T5 and definitely worth the upgrade if you can afford it. Above the 6 it’s a bit more costly, still worth it, but more luxury than necessity for a professional.

Watch my review video of the Arcus T-series right here. In it I also walk you through the different classes (T4 to T9), because I know that can be very confusing if you’re new to Arcus bows.

Most expensive violin bows for professional violinists

Price range: $ 3,799 to $ 288,960 (!)

Get ready to be tempted by these top tier violin bows suitable for the most demanding professional players. Usually when you want to buy a high quality violin bow, the way is to visit a violin shop, try out several bows and perhaps take a selection home. You will find unique bows by bow makers of the past and present. For this article I have selected some professional violin bows that one could buy online.

What is the most expensive violin bow in the world?

Did you know that violin bows can cost up to six figures? Antique bows of famous makers that are in a good state and have a history of being played by famous violin virtuosos like Kreisler or Paganini can be auctioned for very high prices. The most expensive violin bows are made by the famous bow maker François Xavier Tourte (1747 to 1835). Most bows are still made after his design. Recently a silver and ebony bow Tourte made and was played by Bronislaw Huberman is sold for a whopping $ 288,960.

Why are expensive bows gold mounted?

All bows I review below of the higher price range are gold mounted. Are expensive violin bows more expensive because of the gold mounting? Yes and no. It’s a tradition in bow making for a maker to use the most precious materials for their best bows. Gold mounting is to indicate that this a a top level bow. However, of course the maker must calculate the gold price in the violin bow price. Gold is a little lighter than other materials, but it doesn’t really make a difference in the playing characteristics of the bow.

Penzel Violin Bow Goldbow

Price: $ 3,799

Features: top level pernambuco aged 40 years, gold mounting, Parisian eye, Hill liner, sequential numbering of the stick and frog

Traditional violin bow made out of top level pernambuco wood by master bow maker Matthias Penzel in Germany. This is a family business with a tradition going back over 100 years. This is a bow one could for example play in a professional orchestra, but it’s also a gem to have or the demanding amateur.

JonPaul Vetta 14K Gold Violin Bow

Price: $ 4,348

Features: carbon fiber bow with a varnish finish made after the example of a Pecatte bow, rose gold mounting, white horn frog (also possible to choose ebony or black horn)

Made after the example of an actual Pecatte violin bow (a famous antique bow). This bow really has the advantages both of a high priced antique pernambuco bow and a top level carbon fiber bow. The best of both worlds! The balance, weight and flexibility are optimized. The sound is warm, rich and powerful. You’ll feel you have a precious antique bow.

Archet SLC Gold-Mounted Pernambuco Violin Bow

Price: $ 4,500

Features: 35 to 80 years aged pernambuco stick of top quality, gold mounting, mother of pearl inlays

Top quality pernambuco violin bow hand made in Salt Lake City (Utah, USA) in the French style of Pecatte and Maline. 

Arcus S9 round Violin Bow

Price: $ 8,000

Weight: 48 grams

Features: top quality unidirectional carbon fiber stick, gold mounting, snake wood frog

We end this article with the violin bow I own myself as a violin teacher. Of course I’m extremely biased, but I just love this bow. The light weight makes everything feel easier. It almost feels like you are cheating. It performs every bowing technique with ease (I made my 102 violin bowing techniques video with this one) and it gives a full brilliant sound on my violin.

As I’m biased, I asked my colleague and professional violinist Giedre to review this bow in this video, so you can judge for yourself what you think.


You’ve learned what difference a violin bow makes in your playing, how much a good bow costs, what to look for when buying a violin bow and I’ve reviewed some great violin bows for you in each price range. I hope you find this useful and it will help you find the right bow for you.

What I get asked a lot about violin bows

How much to tighten a violin bow?

If your bow is too lose, you will play with the stick on the string. If it’s too tight, your bow will be worn down faster. In this video I show you exactly how to tighten your violin bow.

Why is a violin bow bent?

The distance between the stick and the hair of your violin bow should be smaller in the middle of the bow than at the frog and the tip. This creates a spring system, so you can perform bouncing bow strokes like spiccato. Never tighten your bow so much that the bow is straight.

Wrapping of the bow

If your bow is bent in the other direction, for example that you see that the bow is curved outwards to the left or the right and doesn’t align with the hair (looking from the top, not the side), then your alarm bells should go off. Often this can’t be repaired and the bow doesn’t play as well.

Wrapping can happen due to changes in temperature and humidity. What you can do to prevent is to not tighten your bow too much, don’t expose it to too much temperate/humidity changes and be careful when putting away the bow in your case.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Let me help you find a great bow for your violin, so you can improve your bowing technique and sound quality:

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

How often to rosin your violin bow?

If you don’t rosin enough, the bow slips and doesn’t make (much) sound. If you rosin too much, the sound will be harsh and squeaky. In this article I explain all the dos and don’ts around rosining your violin bow.

How to known when to upgrade your violin bow?

Usually this starts with a feeling that you know a better bow would help you sound and/or play better. Then you might want to try some bows out and see what difference a violin bow makes. If you have a cheap violin bow that ‘came with’ a factory violin set, I usually recommend upgrading even if you’re still a beginner.

What to play when trying out a violin bow?

It’s important that you do a good test drive when you’re making a selection and buying a violin bow. Check out this article and download the exact excerpts I use when testing violin bows.

What violin bow strokes and bowing techniques are there?

Dive more into the technique of bowing with my video about 102 different violin bowing techniques right here. If that sounds too overwhelming, just start with these six most common bow strokes.

What violin bow do you have?

Leave a comment! I’d love to read it what you’d recommend.