Violin for children buying guide | Violin Lounge TV 545

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Start to Play, Violin for Kids | 0 comments

 Violin teacher tells you exactly what to look for when buying a violin for your child that sounds and plays great and is affordable

Buying a violin for your child can be quite a challenge

Certainly if you don’t play the violin yourself, there are so many things to look for. You want a good quality violin for your child that sounds good and plays well, so they stay motivated to continue playing this already difficult instrument. On the other side you never know if they’ll stick to it and you don’t want to break the bank.

As a violin teacher I know your struggles and therefore I’ve made this buying guide specifically for children’s violins. First we’ll go into what makes a good violin and after that I will give you my top 3 violins you can safely buy online.

How to choose the right violin size for your child?

Violins come in different sizes and your child needs a new size about every two or three years. This is really important to consider when buying a violin. Ideally you rent or you buy a violin you can easily upgrade to a bigger size.

The violin size depends on the arm length. The age doesn’t matter that much. Below you’ll see how to measure the arm length and then you can look up the violin size in this violin size chart. Watch this video to learn more about violin sizing.

violin size chart

What is a good children’s violin made of

The materials of the violin matter for the sound, playability and durability of the instrument. Cheap materials can make it so that the violin is impossible to tune, doesn’t stay in tune and can’t be played well. Let’s go through the parts one by one, so you know what to look for when buying a violin for your child.


In order to be durable and sound good the soundbox of the violin should be made from good quality tonewood. Usually this is maple and spruce. Also the front and back need be cut to shape in a specific way for the violin to sound good.

Cheap violins are sometimes made out of plywood or low quality spruce and maple, which causes the violin to not have a good sound.

For beginners it’s a big challenge to make the violin sound good and we all know the comparisons between crying cats and beginner violinists, so please make sure that the violin CAN sound good.


The fingerboard is very important for being able to play in tune. It should be of good quality ebony and it should also be cut to the shape of the violin. If there are humps in the fingerboard then it’s impossible to play in tune on the violin. If the shape isn’t right, you can get all kinds of buzzing sounds. The shape of the fingerboard also makes sure (together with the bridge and the nut) that the height of the strings is right, so you don’t have to hurt your finger tips to play stopped notes.


The violin strings are wound around the pegs. The violin doesn’t know a screw mechanism like the guitar. The pegs are fitting into the peg box and it’s extremely important that they fit really well. If the pegs don’t fit it’s impossible to tune the violin and also the violin doesn’t stay in tune. Usually the pegs are made out of ebony or another strong hard wood. If they are made out of weak wood, they can break while tuning.


Traditionally a tailpiece is made out of wood with a single finetuner, but for children I would recommend a tailpiece with integrated finetuners. In the first years of playing this makes it so much easier to tune the instrument. For children it’s really hard to tune with the pegs. Sometimes they lack the strength. Finetuners are really easy to tune in between lessons as they work with a screw and you just have to turn them.

Chinrest and shoulder rest

For children to be motivated to practice, it’s very important that they are comfortable with how the violin sits. The chinrest and the shoulder rest need to fit their body.

It’s highly personal. but I’d like to give a recommendation that works for many kids. Chinrests are traditionally made out of wood with metal brackets, but this centered Wittner chinrest is SO comfortable for most kids. The brackets are covered and the shape is nice and round instead of sharp edges. In small sizes traditional shapes like Guarneri can have quite sharp edges. Lots of should rests are too chunky in small sizes, which is why I recommend the Belvelin foam shoulder rest.

No 1 thing that goes wrong when buying a violin for your child

To only be able to tune a violin and for it to be able to stay in tune, all parts need to be of the right material and fitting. Everything needs to be cut to an individual instrument as we’re working with a product of nature: wood. For a violin to be tunable and playable, it requires some craftsmanship. Cheap violins that you can buy online might look good on the pictures and might even have some good reviews, but when they’re not set up by a professional they might just be a disappointment. 

Violin playing is hard enough to learn as it is, so please don’t make it more difficult to impossible with a bad instrument. Check out my top 3 violins you can safely buy online below, but first I will go into a small part of the violin that is crucial for playabiliy.


This small piece of wood is crucial in the playability of your violin. The feet have to match the shape of the soundbox exactly to transfer the vibrations of the strings. The bridge also determines the height of the strings above the fingerboard: too high means the strings cut in your fingers and too low means a buzzing sound. The G string should be higher above the fingerboard than the E string due to the movement and tension of the string. The curve of the bridge needs to be so that it’s easy to bow on one string without hitting others, but at the same time string crossing movements don’t have to be too large. In a professional set up, the bridge is cut exactly to the shape of the individual violin.

Violin bows for children

The bow that comes with your violin is equally important as the violin itself for sound and playability.

Please note that the bow must have the corresponding size as the violin (and the case too by the way).

Wood vs carbon violin bow for children

In the price class of violin bows you might be looking in for your child (let’s say everything under $ 500 for a bow), carbon gives better quality for the money than a wooden bow. The pernambuco used for good wooden bows is getting more and more rare and expensive. Besides that there are excellent quality carbon bows, they are also more durable in the case that your child drops the bow or tightens it too much.

And then something you might find sacrilegious:

You can get a beautiful colourful violin bow! My daughter is very happy with her pink one and it’s extremely good quality for the money. Usually colored violins are very cheap and of bad quality, so if your child wants something in their favorite color you can better go for the bow.

My top 3 violins for children

As a violin teacher I’m recommending three violin outfits that you can safely buy online.

Ricard Bunnel G2 Student Violin Outfit

by Kennedy Violins

Hear a sound sample in the video at the top of this page.

Available in all sizes this is a great instrument to start playing the violin. The sizing is relatively small in the small sizes (see below). I personally use the 1/8 size for my four year old daughter and we both love it. Sizes go from 1/16 to 4/4.

Fiddlerman Concert Violin Outfit

by Fiddlershop

Hear a sound sample in the video at the top of this page.

Excellent student violin with great sound. Watch my review video here. Sizes go from 1/16 to 4/4. There’s also a 7/8 size, which is great for some adults or kids who are in between 3/4 and 4/4.

Stentor SR1500 Violin Student II Violin Outfit

This is a popular beginner violin I’ve seen several times in my teaching career. The quality is a bit lower than the other two options, but I wanted to give a more affordable alternative that is also tunable and playable. It’s available in size 1/16 to 4/4.

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

Rent a violin at your local violin shop

If you’re looking for a way to not spend a lot of money at once and have a good quality instrument anyways plus the flexibility to size up, renting at your local violin shop is a great option. Often there are rent to buy arrangements, so you can slowly build up to buying a great violin.

You’ll also love…

I hope this video and article have given you the information to buy a great violin for your child to enjoy music. Here are some more resources:

Check out my violin size chart and more info on sizing right here.

Read all about violin strings for children plus reviews here.

20 beginner violin myths busted to set your child up for success.

Which violin did you get for your child?

I’d love to read your experiences and insights in the comments below.


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