5 Best Violin Brands for Beginner Violinists

by | Jul 5, 2019 | 16 comments

What’s the price of a good beginner violin?

In this article I recommend 5 brands of beginner violins and explain the differences

It can be really hard to buy your first violin, as you might not be familiar with the violin and what to look out for.

After owning a violin shop for twelve years and reviewing violins for Violin Lounge TV, I’d like to give you my top 5 and I’ll explain what you can expect for what price.

As a violin teacher I will discuss beginner violins from $ 50 up to $ 500 and will help you make the right decision for you!

Fiddlerman Violins

fiddlerman concert violinAfter I made the switch from running a violin studio and violin shop in Holland to teaching the violin online, it took a while before I found a reliable address to refer students to.

Fiddlershop.com offers good quality instruments, but what really separates them is that they adjust the violin so they are ready to play. You’ll be surprised how many webshops sell instruments that can hardly be tuned or played.

The violin is difficult enough already to learn to play, so make sure that your violin isn’t holding you back.

The Fiddlerman Concert Violin is below $ 500, made of good quality aged tone wood, ebony parts and comes with a complete set including a strong carbon fiber bow. You really can’t go wrong with this one!

Click here to watch my extensive review video and listen to it’s sound.

Tower Strings Violins

tower strings violin outfitWhen I reviewed this violin set below $ 200 I was surprised about the good quality and playability

The set is really complete with a violin, bow, case, shoulder rest, rosin, digital tuner, mute and polishing cloth.

The playability and tuning stability on this violin is very good, as long as you buy it at Fiddlershop.com. They are a really unique webshop with professional luthiers adjusting all the instrument that leave their door.

Of course the sound is not comparable to a beginner violin of around $ 500 and you must keep in mind that this is a type of violin that you might want to upgrade when you play for a couple of years. However, that’s ok!

Watch my review video here, in which I demonstrate this violin.

Glarry Violins

Complete violin outfits below $ 50!

glarry violin outfitIf you really tight on budget, but you desire to play violin, Glarry is the place to go! Starting below $ 50 they offer complete sets with a violin, bow, case, shoulder rest, digital tuner, rosin and even a spare set of strings. You’ll be ready to play!

However, please note that you can’t expect good quality wood or a high level of craftmanship. You might struggle with the bridge that doesn’t fit, strings that snap quickly or a bow that is not entirely straight.

Click here for my extensive review video!

As long as you keep your expectations not too high and can accept that some work needs to be done on this instrument, it’s of course great for value for money.

However, if it’s in any way possible to spend more, I would really recommend doing this. You can enjoy a better violin longer, it motivates you to play more and your progress will be better.

But… if you just want to dip your toe in the violin water and really don’t have more to spend, this is the best bang for your buck!

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Scott Cao Violins

scott cao violin outfit reviewGreat sound, craftsmanship and playability made affordable

Scott Cao’s are one of the best student violins you can get for the price. They offer a beautiful tone quality, flamed maple and spruce and are varnished by hand.

In my violin shop days I’ve sold them very often and I always liked playing on them. As they offer a rich tone, it’s possible to play them for many years as you make progress on the violin. You’ll really have a unique hand made instrument.

Because of the oil finish, this instrument will look beautiful for many years and the varnish won’t chip or splinter as quickly as a high gloss spray finish. 

The pegs and fingerboard are made of strong wood, ensuring a good tuning stability and general reliability of your instrument. You can enjoy this investment for a very long time without worries!

ARS Music Violins

bohemian violin setThese are the violins that I’ve been renting out for years in my violin shop. They offer amazing good quality, European craftmanship and materials for a surprisingly low price.

Currently they aren’t being sold online, but I’ll keep you up to date as soon they are!

Let me know in the comments below which violin you like best!

You might also find my article ’32 Checks to Buy a Violin’ interesting :).

16 Comments

  1. Marlene

    Scott Cao instruments are fabulous! I honestly don’t let students play on Instruments that cost under $100 on various sites including e-bay. I believe tone is incredibly important to begin teaching from day 1 and those $50 objects don’t work. Most shops allow families to pay rent which is put toward the purchase of a larger instrument. Therefore, I make sure that the shops I recommend have quality full size instruments. I also prefer local shops (I’m in cleveland area) so that repairs and adjustments can be easily made. Lots more to say about this topic!

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, I can certainly imagine. I’ve imported good violins from Czech a lot for my students. Outside the tone there’s a lot more wrong with instruments below $ 100. I think there are so many people buying a Violin Shaped Object, noticing that nothing works and giving up the violin. However, there are great webshops that do offer good instruments and service.

      Reply
  2. Anka Voskuilen

    I really love my Ars Music violin. As I progress in playing the violin lets me do that and the sound evolves with me. It is a great adventure we both are in.

    Reply
  3. James

    Love the Fiddlerman Artist!

    Reply
    • Gary

      I purchased a Guiliani Etude violin on clearance from Kennedy violins and it seems reasonable, had it maybe 18 months. It came set up with D’Addario Prelude strings. The bow was iffy, so I asked KV for the Guiliani carbon weave bow, which doesn’t cost much more than the brazilwood bow, but for me the carbon fiber bow was much easier to deal with, and just a better tool overall, and with my ability, it’s perfectly fine. You can produce good tone with it, it stays in tune in a moderate environment, and the DP strings take a beating. I think it’s a good starter up through advanced beginner, at the very least, no problem. I also have a Cecilio CVA-500 viola that’s a little cheaper, and it definitely wasn’t setup as well, although I was surprised it was playable (without extra work or dealer prep) for a $180 viola. It also came with DP strings, but I had to get a Fusion CF viola bow from Shar to match it up with. The supplied $20 Cecilio bow was a tad heavy and fatiguing. Don’t deal with Kennedy unless you already have some experience. They make delivery mistakes, sending wrong or faulty equipment at times, but if you let them know, they always make it right. I believe in my experience that they are reputable. Also, fwiw, the clearance violin they sent me was not any problem, if they didn’t call it a clearance item, I wouldn’t have picked up on the fact that it was; my issues were with bows and accessories. One other thing, do not rely on the humidity dial in the cases. Unfortunately, not good. Good luck to you!

      Reply
      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Gary, I’m sure it’s useful to those looking to buy their first violin :).

  4. tanim

    What about ‘Mendini MV300’?

    Reply
  5. Rand Lyons

    Nice to see you putting a plug in for the Fiddler Shop. They’re a fine bunch. I had a Scott Cao once and was ignorant of violin quality. I tried to sell it to a co-worker for $100. I think I got $20 and the payments stopped. Probably went to a Pawn shop. Oh well , we learn late sometimes, don’t we?

    Reply

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