Many people over the years have asked me to recommend the best violins under $500, so I thought I’d make a list of those instruments and tell you about them. I’m a violin teacher and player, and I’ve been playing for a long time, so I’m a good person to talk to.

Quick Look: Best Violins Under $500

#1 Best Violin Under $500 Overall: DZ Strad LC 101 


After you read this, you should have a good idea of what to look for in a violin, and you’ll know which of the best violins under $500 will be best for you and your specific circumstances.

Are There Good Violins Under $500?

I think so, but more for beginning and intermediate students. If you’re a professional, you really aren’t going to find anything in this price range that will make you happy.

A close up of a violinist playing a violin

Things to Consider When Choosing a Violin Under 500

Is it well set up and will it stay in tune well? That’s the main thing I’m looking for in an inexpensive beginner violin.

Level of Experience

At first, you’re a beginner. After a few years, you’ll be at an intermediate level, and at some point, you’ll find yourself as an advanced or even professional player. You’ll need a violin for each level, most likely.

Beginner Violins Under 500

You just want something decent that works and stays in tune well.

Intermediate Violins Under 500

An intermediate player wants to have a bit more expression and sound possibilities.

Pro Violins Under 500

You’re going to have a hard time finding something in this price range, as this is a pretty low price for a nice violin, which a professional needs.


Full size is for about age 13 and up. Younger children will need a fractional size. The size doesn’t scale like the fraction makes it sound, but simply is smaller if the fraction is smaller.

The Overall Tone & Sound

Listen for a clear sound that doesn’t have too much fuzziness and sounds clear all across the violin. If you’re new to the violin, you’ll want to get a second opinion or get the advice of a teacher or store owner to help you decide.


If you’re looking for the best violins under $500, you’re likely on a budget. That’s okay! There are many violins out there, and there are some affordable options that will suit you well.

7 Best Violins Under $500 Overall

1. DZ Strad 100

  • Size: 1/32 up to 4/4
  • What’s included: Case, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, strings
  • Material & finish: The usual spruce, maple, and ebony, yellowish-brown varnish
  • Best for: Beginners

The DZ Strad 100 is a good quality beginner violin with a nice openness to its sound. You’ll find it easy enough to play as a beginner, and it’s well set up.

✅ Open sound
✅ Well set up
✅ Hand made
✅ Easy to tune
❌ The case is a little unusual
❌ Doesn’t look that beautiful

Why I Recommend It

I like to recommend DZ Strad instruments because of their good quality and consistency. This is a basic model and a fine beginning violin.



2. Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin

  • Size: 1/8 to 4/4
  • What’s included: Case, carbon fiber bow, shoulder rest, tuner, rosin, cloth, practice mute
  • Material & finish: Spruce and maple, darker finish, ebony fittings
  • Best for: Good for beginners and intermediate players

The Fiddlerman Apprentice is one of the best violins under $500 you’ll find on this list. It’s good for beginning to intermediate players. You’ll like the smooth sound, great setup, and easy playability.

✅ Well set up
✅ Carbon fiber bow
✅ Sounds great
✅ Easy to play
❌ Maybe fancy for a beginner
❌ Sizes may be limited

Why I Recommend It

Fiddlerman does a great job setting up their violins, and this is one of the best violins on my list for intermediate or beginner players.


3. Antonio Giuliani Etude Outfit

  • Size: 1/2, 3/4, 4/4
  • What’s included: Bow, oblong case, rosin, music book, shoulder rest, clip-on tuner
  • Material & finish: Reddish-orange finish
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Antonio Giuliani Etude Outfit is a violin with a really lovely and clear sound. You’ll like the smooth feel of the fingerboard under your fingertips as well.

✅ Great setup
✅ Easy to play
✅ Clear sound
✅ Lots of accessories included
❌ Not many sizes
❌ Might not like the look of it as much as others

Why I Recommend It

This is a good value violin from a company that makes violins at a variety of price points. It will be well set up and should sound good right away.


4. Cecilio SVN-200

  • Size: 1/4 to 4/4
  • What’s included: Case, bow, rosin, tuner, shoulder rest, extra strings, music book, extra bridge
  • Material & finish: Boxwood fittings, maple fingerboard, nickel-plated fine tuners
  • Best for: Beginners on a budget

Cecilio SVN-200 is a good cheap beginner violin. It isn’t fancy, and it will require a little finagling to make it sound good, but if you want a cheap violin, this is it.

✅ Lots of items included in the package
✅ Looks pretty
✅ Good value
✅ Decent sound
❌ May have to set it up yourself
❌ Trouble with tuning

Why I Recommend It

The Cecilio made the list because it’s a ubiquitous violin. It’s cheap and found all over the place.

I’m hesitantly recommending it, simply because it’s so inexpensive for a violin. But, if you really want to play, this might be a good one for you to buy. If you can afford a little more, I’d say try to do so, but if this is all you can afford, buy it and you’ll make it work!


5. Bunnel Premier

  • Size: 1/16 to 4/4
  • What’s included: Case, shoulder rest, music book, tuner, rosin, bow, extra set of strings
  • Material & finish: Himalayan spruce, maple, ebony fingerboard, orange-red varnish
  • Best for: Beginners

The Bunnel Premier is one of the best beginner violins you can get. It comes with some good accessories and is a well set up violin.

✅ Professionally set up
✅ Comes with great accessories
✅ Well set up
✅ Lifetime guarantee
❌ Doesn’t look too fancy
❌ Bow might be of a lesser quality

Why I Recommend It

The Bunnel is a good value for its price. This is a good starter instrument and is a little cheaper than the DZ Strad 100. It’s more expensive than the Cecilio but better quality.


6. DZ Strad LC101

  • Size: 1/32 to full size
  • What’s included: Brazilwood bow, case, rosin, extra strings, shoulder rest
  • Material & finish: Spruce/maple, ebony fingerboard and fittings
  • Best for: Intermediate level players

The DC Strad LC101 is the best violin for intermediate players, and it’s the best violin under $500 as far as this list goes.

✅ Great size options, including 7/8
✅ Sophisticated sound
✅ Easy to play
✅ Bow is of decent quality
❌ May be harder to tune
❌ Case is not as cool looking as some

Why I Recommend It

My only complaints about this violin are superficial or because it’s set up with only one fine tuner. Otherwise, this is a great violin for the sound, and some people may love the case! I think this is a fantastic value, and it sounds as good as a more expensive violin.


7. Cremona SV-200

  • Size: 1/4 to 4/4
  • What’s included: Bow, case
  • Material & finish: Flamed maple, translucent red finish
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Cremona SV-200 is a good violin for beginners if you want something a little nicer to start with. It should be well set up, although you may have to put the bridge on yourself.

✅ Beautiful finish
✅ Easy to tune
✅ Nice sound
✅ Good quality case
❌ Must set up the bridge when you get it
❌ Tuners may rattle over time

Why I Recommend It

I find Cremona is a pretty good brand to buy, so I wanted to recommend something in this price range for you to check out. I think you’ll find this is a nice violin with a good even sound.



Best Brands for Violins Under $500

Different brands are good for different things, though many have similar characteristics. Here are some of my favorites.

A close up of a violin with bow

DZ Strad

I always find that DZ Strad violins are of the highest quality and value for your dollar. They have a variety of choices for beginner violins under $500, and maybe even some for intermediate players.


Fiddlerman does a wonderful job with their setup and customer service. They’re a family-run company in the US that has grown over the years because of their quality.

Kennedy Violins

Kennedy has a variety of violins that they make, such as the Giuliani Etude, in the violins under $500 range. They also are known for their quality and craftsmanship.

What Comes with Violins Under $500?

There are a variety of things you’ll get with your violin outfit in this price range.


You’ll get a basic violin case to hold your violin, bow, shoulder rest, etc. For under $500 it won’t be fancy, but it should be well made and nice enough to use often.


Speaking of the bow, you’ll get a bow with your violin outfit. Most are made of wood, but some of fiberglass or carbon fiber. Make sure you always have real horsehair.

Shoulder Rest

Many of these packages come with a shoulder rest, but this is certainly something you can buy on your own.


You’ll get a cake of rosin with your new violin. You rub the rosin on the bow hairs to make a beautiful sound.


You may get extra strings, a tuner, a mute, a cleaning cloth, and more accessories with the violin outfit, but these are definitely things you can purchase separately.

Violin Build and Materials

What are violins made of? Mostly wood, but with some plastic and metal too.


Usually, the top of a violin is spruce, the back maple, and other parts are made of ebony, boxwood, rosewood, etc. You’ll find some pieces made of plastic on cheaper violins that are made of wood on top violins.


For cheaper violins, the finish isn’t applied by hand in the same way as for a more expensive one. It should still look glossy and beautiful, as this protects the wood.


You shouldn’t care about color, but we are human and may prefer a certain finish to another one.

The Bow

You’ll want a bow with real horsehair and a leather grip. Otherwise, it might be made of wood, fiberglass, or carbon fiber, and all of those can be nice.

Buying New vs Used

I recommend getting a new violin at this level so you know it’s in good shape and hasn’t been kicked around!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

What Are the Best Violins Under $500?

DZ Strad LC101: Best Overall

My favorite on the list. It sounds good, it’s well made, and it’s the best violin under $500 you’ll find on this list.

Antonio Giuliani Etude: Best Value

I think this one sounds much better than it costs.

DZ Strad 100: Best Beginner Violin

If you want my opinion on the best beginner violin on this list, this is it. It’s cheap enough, but not too cheap so you sacrifice quality. The better the violin, the more you’ll stick with it.

Where Are the Best Violins Under 500 Made?

Many are made in China, but Switzerland and the US are often possibilities. People all over the world know how to make quality instruments, and most companies have branches in different countries.

What Is the Best Sounding Violin Under $500?

It’s a toss-up between the DC Strad 101 and the Fiddlerman Apprentice here. Both sound great!

Where to Buy Violins Under $500

If you’re reading this, you likely want to shop online. That’s a good place to read reviews and get all the options. In-person can work too, though.


Obviously, Amazon has a bunch of options. The advantages of Amazon are the stock, the easy returns, free shipping, and lots of reviews to see.

Online Music Retailers

Fiddlershop, Sweetwater, and Guitarcenter are excellent online retailers to use as well. I love Fiddlershop for their setup and customer service.

Your Local Music Store

If you have a local violin shop to visit, do that! You’ll make a personal connection, get to try out a variety of options, and support a local business.

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In Conclusion

I’m not as excited about the best violins under $500 as I am about more expensive violins, but there are still some great options and good values to be found! If you want to save money or if you aren’t sure how committed you (or perhaps your child) will be to the violin, you’ll want to get something from this list rather than pay more.

Just make sure it’s set up well! If the violin is too hard to play, you won’t enjoy playing it. And enjoying playing the violin is why we all do this, isn’t it?

Please share my post with your friends and leave a comment below! Have you played any of the violins on my list?