Finding the best violin is a big venture for beginner and advanced violinists alike. Your violin will be your tool for development and success, and it should meet your expectations. I’m here to help you find the best violins, at a price you can afford.

I’m a musician and have played the cello (the daddy of the violin family) for 25 years. Playing the cello involves a lot of playing with violinists (and violists). In turn, I have become somewhat of an expert on instruments in the violin family.

Quick-Look: Best Violins & Violin Brands

#1 Best Violin Overall: D Z Strad Model 509

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As a teacher and performer, I recognize what both students and professionals need to succeed in their musical endeavors. I’d like to share my top picks from the best violin brands, as well as some advice on what to know and look out for before buying.

What is a Violin?

A violin is essentially a small wooden box with four strings pulled across its front. It’s the highest-pitched member of the string family.

Invented in Italy in the 16th century, the violin was born into the world of Western classical music. Today, the violin is played across all kinds of musical genres: classical, pop, jazz, folk, country… the list goes on.

A set of violin

After several years of playing on the professional stage, I’ve learned that the role and sound of the violin can be incredibly diverse. For instance, violins are commonly heard in an orchestra or string quartet, but they stand alone too, often playing solo or in a band.

Types of Violins

Knowing what type of violin you want to play is a good first step, and there are several on the market. To help you get familiar with them, I created a list of the most common types of violins played today.

Acoustic Violin

The acoustic violin is one of the world’s most popular instruments. As a result, the acoustic violin has found its way into music from classical to modern, and is heard on tracks from the likes of the Beatles, Coldplay, and Britney Spears.

Because of its traditional sound and look, I’d recommend an acoustic violin as a great place to start for any aspiring violinist.

Electric Violin

Electricity brings the standard violin to a whole new level. Amplifying the violin has made large venue performances (such as in stadiums) easier, and gives you the ability to practice quietly at home with headphones.

With built-in pickups, an electric violin usually has a solid and smaller body, making it a more durable and travel-friendly instrument.

Acoustic-Electric Violin

The acoustic-electric violin is a crossover instrument, typically made of hollow-bodied wood and in the shape of an acoustic violin. Because of the pickup built into its body, it’s a great middle ground for someone who wants to go between different styles of music.

Aesthetically Beautiful Violin

While the standard violin is already beautiful with its varnished wood and hourglass shape, perhaps you’re interested in a violin with a unique look.

Some violin brands offer instruments made from specialty wood with a range of custom colors and designs.

The Best Violins Overall

From the thousands on the market, picking out the top three violins is a tricky task. Concentrating on the standard “acoustic” violin, these are the clear winners.

Sound, playability, beauty, and quality are the most important criteria, and these violins all tick the boxes.

1. D Z Maestro Old Spruce Strad Model 509

  • Available sizes: 1/16 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, carbon fiber bow, case, shoulder rest & rosin
  • Material & finish: Naturally seasoned Alpine/Italian spruce top & maple back and sides, with ebony fittings. Antique varnish finish
  • Strings: Dominant
  • Best for: Professionals

D Z Strad offers quality instruments, and with most of them, you can’t go wrong. This violin is one of their best for its vibrant sound and antique beauty.

Handmade in D Z Strad’s workshop in either New York or Minnesota, this violin is often chosen by professional violinists for its fine materials and detail.

Pros:
✅ 100% Handmade
✅ Antique Look
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Sophisticated Sound
Cons:
❌ High Price Tag

Why I Recommend It

The D Z Strad Model 509 is a great violin and I absolutely love its tone and beauty. If you are looking for a violin that will last a lifetime, I highly recommend it.

This violin comes with a Brazilwood Bow AND a Carbon Fiber Bow, which I appreciate for advanced playing and contemporary bow techniques.

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2. Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist

  • Available sizes: 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, brazilwood bow, lightweight case
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, with ebony fittings. Dark-brown oil varnish finish
  • Strings: Anton Breton Perlon strings
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

Although manufactured on an assembly line, this violin is beautifully made and has a well-shaped, one-piece maple back. You can trust Cremona when it comes to quality.

With its clear and loud sound, it is a great choice for an aspiring soloist. Cremona has promised a lifetime of enjoyment with this violin!

Pros:
✅ Clarity and Volume in Sound
✅ Includes Travelite Case
✅ Set up by Cremona in their U.S. Workshop
✅ Beautiful Dark Oil Varnish
Cons:
❌ Only Available in Full Size
❌ High Price Tag
❌ Factory Made

Why I Recommend It

I have found that the Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist has sound, quality, and beauty that you can trust. It is undeniably a great violin that is comfortable to play. It also comes with Domanti strings and a hill-style bow that should set you up for life.

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3. Louis Carpini G2 by Kennedy Violins

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/16 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case, rosin, extra strings, string cloth, luggage tag
  • Material & finish: High-flamed maple back with ebony fittings. Brown amber varnish finish
  • Strings: Prelude
  • Best for: Beginner/intermediate students

This is the highest-level student violin offered by Kennedy Violins. It has a well-rounded sound and beautiful resonance that’s tough for other violins in its price category to beat.

Offered in a wide range of sizes (great for young musicians), this violin comes with most necessities any aspiring violinist might need.

Pros:
✅ Professional Setup Before Shipping
✅ High-Quality Wood
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Deep, Rich Sound
Cons:
❌ Shoulder Rest NOT Included
❌ Factory Made

Why I Recommend It

The Louis Carpini G2 might not be a professional violin, but it sits at the top as the best student violin. With its high-quality wood and craftsmanship, this instrument provides sound and playability that’s well-rounded and perfect for anyone serious about learning the violin.

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Best Beginner Violins

For my list of the best violins for beginner students, I’m focusing on playability and budget, but also on violin packages that will give a beginner a great setup.

1. Mendini MV300 Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/32 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case, extra strings, two bridges, rosin, shoulder rest, violin lesson book, tuner
  • Material & finish: Spruce top and maple back and sides
  • Strings: Cecilio

Mendini offers several violins for tighter budgets, but this violin stands out with its hand-carved spruce top and solid maple back and sides. The quality of the instrument is definitely not high-end, but this is a great instrument for someone trying out the violin for the first time.

Pros:
✅ Lowest Price Tag
✅ Best Outfit Package
✅ Large Size Range
Cons:
❌ Compromised Sound
❌ Low-Quality Craftsmanship
❌ Pegs are known to slip

Why I Recommend It

Mendini hit the nail on the head with the Mendini MV300 violin, providing an extensive outfit package at a low price. This is the best cheap violin, and I think it’s a fantastic package for anyone who isn’t sure but wants to give the violin a go.

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2. Bunnel Pupil Violin by Kennedy Violins

  • Size: Available in sizes 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, rosin, extra strings, case, shoulder rest, string cloth
  • Material & finish: Spruce and maple with ebony fittings. Satin oil finish
  • Strings: Prelude

Kennedy Violins offers this violin that comes in an outfit that includes everything beginners need to start their musical journey. The Bunnel Pupil violin has an interesting satin oil finish, which makes it stand out more than most standard beginner violins.

Pros:
✅ Unique Satin Oil Finish
✅ Easy Playability
✅ Comes Fully Assembled
Cons:
❌ Compromised Sound
❌ Low-Quality Wood

Why I Recommend It

Kennedy Violins has outdone themselves with their Bunnel Pupil Violin, allowing beginners to start their learning experience with quality and easy playability. From my experience in the field of teaching, I can say that this is a great first violin for any aspiring violinist.

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3. D Z Strad Model 101 Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/32 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case, rosin, shoulder rest
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, with ebony fittings. Spirit varnish finish
  • Strings: Prelude

The D Z Strad Model 101 is a beginner instrument that offers a warm and round tone. D Z Strad is one of the top violin brands, and this is one of their most popular beginner violins.

Pros:
✅ Great Price to Quality
✅ Great Size Range
✅ Good Sound
Cons:
❌ Limited Outfit

Why I Recommend It

I have seen many students start on this violin and move on to become professional violinists. It has great playability that will keep beginner violinists motivated and get them ready for the next stage of their musical journey.

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Best Intermediate Violins

Intermediate violins are a great transition from a beginner instrument to a professional one. Or, if you know you are a serious beginner (and your budget allows it), you could start with an intermediate violin for a more reliable setup and better quality of sound.

For kids who need to size up anyway, moving from a beginner violin to an intermediate can be an exciting thing and will help them in their development. Intermediate violins have better playability than beginner violins and come at a slightly higher price point.

1. Louis Carpini G2 by Kennedy Violins

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/16 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case, rosin, extra strings, string cloth, luggage tag
  • Material & finish: High-flamed maple back with ebony fittings. Brown amber varnish finish
  • Strings: Prelude

Kennedy Violins has done well with this violin, offering an instrument with a great sound and extensive outfit package — and at a great price.

Offered in many sizes, this is intermediate violin will help you in your musical development without breaking the bank.

Pros:
✅ Professional Setup Before Shipping
✅ High-Quality Wood
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Deep, Rich Sound
Cons:
❌ Shoulder Rest NOT Included
❌ Factory-Made

Why I Recommend It

The Louis Carpini G2 is a favorite student violin. Its well-rounded sound and playability make it a fantastic choice for an intermediate player.

If you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into buying a more expensive or more professional instrument, this violin might be for you.

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2. Cecilio CVN-600

  • Size: 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, two bows, case, shoulder rest, extra bridge, rosin, tuner, lesson book
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, highly flamed maple back and sides, with ebony fittings. Hand-rubbed oil finish
  • Strings: Cecilio

Cecilio is a company that produces good budget violins, and this intermediate violin is no exception. It features seven-year aged maple that has been highly flamed and comes in an extensive violin outfit.

Pros:
✅ Beautiful, Unique Look
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Great Price
Cons:
❌ Pegs are known to slip

Why I Recommend It

The Cecilio CVN-600 violin is a great price for what you get, and I’ve picked it as the best violin under $500. It is a quality violin with a great outfit package and is the intermediate equivalent to the beginner Mendini MV300 violin.

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3. Knilling 110VN Sebastian Series Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/8 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case & care products
  • Material & finish: Seasoned tonewoods with ebony fittings. Attractive finish
  • Strings: Steelcore

The Sebastian Series is known for its high-quality instruments, with exceptional sound. The Knilling 110VN is an attractive, affordable, and reliable violin that offers a great start for a serious beginner. Or, it’s a nice transitional instrument for an intermediate player.

Pros:
✅ Great Sound for Money
✅ Attractive Finish
✅ High-Quality Construction
Cons:
❌ Limited Outfit

Why I Recommend It

I have seen many students either begin or transition on this violin. It has a beautiful look and sound, and its playability will be the perfect stepping stone to a professional instrument.

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Best Violins For Professionals

Professional violins sit at a higher price point and closely replicate the violins of Italian 16th-century masters such as Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari. We have chosen our top three based primarily on sound and quality.

Considering that many professional violins can cost between tens of thousands and even millions of dollars, these are my picks for more “affordable” options, as far as professional violins go.

1. D Z Maestro Old Spruce Strad Model 509 Outfit

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/16 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, brazilwood bow, carbon riber bow, case, shoulder rest & rosin
  • Material & finish: Naturally seasoned wood, including Alpine/Italian spruce & selected maple
  • Strings: Dominant

The Model 509 from D Z Strad is a great pick for professional violinists of all ages. Handmade in the USA, it’s made from fine materials and promises a great sound.

Pros:
✅ 100% Handmade
✅ Antique Look
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Sophisticated Sound
Cons:
❌ Higher Price Tag

Why I Recommend It

Although it sits at a hefty price point, this violin is a great deal for what it offers, and it definitely won’t disappoint. It only sounds better with time, making it a fantastic investment for a professional violinist.

I love that the D Z Maestro 509 comes in so many sizes, allowing a professional violin to be accessible to talented, serious violinists of all ages.

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2. Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist

  • Size: 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, lightweight case
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides and ebony fittings. Dark-brown oil varnish finish
  • Strings: Anton Breton Perlon

Despite producing relatively budget-friendly violins, Cremona promises quality, and this professional-level instrument is no exception. With its dark oil finish, it has a beautiful clarity in its sound and is a great starting point for a professional violinist.

Pros:
✅ Clarity and Volume in Sound
✅ Includes Travelite Case
✅ Set Up by Cremona in their U.S. Workshop
✅ Beautiful Dark Oil Varnish
Cons:
❌ Only Available in Full Size
❌ High Price Tag
❌ Factory-Made

Why I Recommend It

I recommend the Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist for its beauty, quality, and sound. Cremona is a trustworthy brand, and they offer a violin with great playability. With Domanti strings and a Hill-style bow, this is a fantastic first choice for a professional violinist.

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3. Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin

  • Size: 4/4
  • What’s included: Just the violin!
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, boxwood and ebony fittings
  • Strings: Thomastik Vision

Ming Jiang Zhu is the best violin maker on this list, having won a Violin Society of America gold medal. This violin, also known as the Model AAA, is made by luthiers at the workshop of Ming Jiang Zhu and is the best concert violin. It is an extremely fine violin that will guarantee satisfaction.

Pros:
✅ Best Sound
✅ Best Quality
✅ Craftsmanship supervised by Ming Jiang Zhu himself
✅ Easy to play
Cons:
❌ Highest Price Tag

❌ Violin Only (no outfit package)

Why I Recommend It

Ming Jiang Zhu 909 is the best violin on this list as a stand-alone violin, but it hasn’t made my top three, as it comes without a violin outfit package and at a hefty price.

It’s a Guarneri copy, but can also be requested as a Stradivari copy. I absolutely love it for its sound and quality. It’s a beautiful instrument, made from the finest wood with beautiful boxwood fittings, and it comes fitted with a professional level bridge and Thomastik Vision strings. It’s simply top of the range!

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Best Cheap Violins

Mendini makes the best cheap violins beginning at just $50. Their standout, affordable violin is listed below and is great for anyone on a tight budget.

Mendini MV300 Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/32 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, extra strings, two bridges, rosin, shoulder rest, violin lesson book, tuner, case
  • Material & finish: Spruce and maple wood
  • Strings: Cecilio
  • Best for: Beginners

Mendini is a brand known for its low price range, and the Mendini MV300 violin is my pick of the bunch. This is a great first-time violin outfit package that will get you started with everything you need.

Pros:
✅ Low Price Tag
✅ Best Outfit Package
✅ Large Size Range
Cons:
❌ Sound
❌ Quality
❌ Pegs are known to slip

Why I Recommend It

The MV300 has secured its place as my favorite cheap violin. At such a low price, I haven’t found a violin outfit package that can beat it.

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Best Violins For Kids

There are some specifics to look for when buying a violin for a younger musician. For example, as children grow, they will need to size up every couple of years, and not every violin model offers multiple sizes.

A young musician should have a good setup for the beginning of their musical journey, and a reliable instrument is good preparation for years of music making to come.

1. Knilling 110VN Sebastian Series Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/8 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case & care products
  • Material & finish: Seasoned tonewoods with ebony fittings. Attractive finish
  • Strings: Steelcore

Knilling offers a great start for kids with this violin. It’s also a nice transitional violin for an intermediate young musician. The Knilling 110VN Sebastian Series has a wonderful sound and great playability because of its high-quality construction.

Pros:
✅ Great Sound for Money
✅ Attractive Finish
✅ High-Quality Construction
Cons:
❌ Limited Outfit

Why I Recommend It

I’ve seen many kids begin their violin journey and then flourish on this violin. It’s also a great transitional instrument before they move on to a professional instrument.

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2. Mendini MV300 Violin

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/32 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, extra strings, two bridges, rosin, shoulder rest, violin lesson book, tuner, case
  • Material & finish: Spruce and maple wood
  • Strings: Cecilio

Mendini offers several violins for tighter budgets, but this violin stands out with its hand-carved spruce top and solid maple back and sides. The quality of the instrument is definitely not high-end, but this is a great instrument for a younger musician trying out the violin for the first time.

Pros:
✅ Low Price Tag
✅ Best Outfit Package
✅ Largest Size Range
Cons:
❌ Sound
❌ Quality
❌ Pegs are known to slip

Why I Recommend It

I feel that Mendini MV300 Violin has hit the nail on the head, providing an extensive outfit package at a low price. The size range is unbeatable, which makes it the perfect beginner violin for kids.

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3. Louis Carpini G2 Outfit by Kennedy Violins

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/16 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, case, bow, rosin, extra strings, string cloth, luggage tag
  • Material & finish: High-flamed maple with ebony fittings
  • Strings: Prelude

Kennedy Violins is a great brand for kids in general, and this violin is right at the top of their assortment. Offered in a wide range of sizes and providing ease of playing and a great sound, this violin is great for young musicians.

Pros:
✅ Great Size Range
✅ High-Quality Wood
✅ Great Outfit Package
✅ Deep, Rich Sound
Cons:
❌ Shoulder Rest NOT Included
❌ Factory-Made

Why I Recommend It

The Louis Carpini G2 has the perfect setup for a children at the beginning of their musical journey, and it will also transition them into a more intermediate level. This violin produces a deep, rich sound without completely breaking the bank.

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Best Acoustic Violin

If you’re shopping for an acoustic violin, you should look for something with great resonance and sound projection. A beautiful instrument doesn’t hurt either. Craftsmanship is an extremely important factor here too, as you want your violin to last a lifetime. Here is my pick.

Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin

  • Size: 4/4
  • What’s included: Just the violin
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, boxwood and ebony fittings
  • Strings: Thomastik Vision

The Ming Jiang Zhu 909 is the best acoustic violin on our list. With beautiful attention to materials and detail, this violin produces a sound that is unmatched by any other on our list.

Pros:
✅ Best Sound
✅ Best Quality
✅ Craftsmanship supervised by Ming Jiang Zhu himself
✅ Easy to play
Cons:
❌ Highest Price Tag

❌ Violin Only (no outfit package)

Why I Recommend It

I think this acoustic violin is simply perfection. The fact that it’s available on Amazon is a bonus, as you can’t find many other instruments of its caliber online. If you want to make a large investment, I can’t recommend this violin enough.

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Best Electric Violin

If you’re interested in amplifying your instrument and you like to experiment with different styles, an electric violin is the way to go. If you need a violin that you can practice on quietly while wearing headphones, these are great.

Electric violins are also great instruments to travel with, as they are more durable than acoustic violins.

Cecilio CEVN-2BK

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/32 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, headphones, pickup, AUX cable, batteries, case, rosin, bridge
  • Material & finish: Solid wood. Available in Metallic Blue, Black, Pearl White, Red Mahogany & Yellow Maple.
  • Best for: Violinists who play in a band! Beginner, intermediate and professional.
  • Strings: Cecilio

Whether you’re practicing, recording, or performing on stage, this is a fantastic electric violin. You can practice without disturbing others, take it on a hiking trip without destroying it, or use it in a stadium performance in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans.

Pros:
✅ Great for practicing in silence
✅ Great for recording
✅ Durable
✅ Available in several colors
Cons:
❌ Heavier than a regular violin

❌ Batteries required (included)

Why I Recommend It

I chose Cecilio CEVN-2BK as a favorite electric violin for the fact that it caters to all violin levels. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, you can find a use for this instrument. The dark color choice isn’t bad either.

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Best Acoustic-Electric Violin

If you’re not 100% committed to buying an electric violin, or if you need something more versatile, I’ve found the best acoustic-electric violin on the market.

Silver Creek SC3B

  • Size: 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, case, pickup
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, ebony fittings
  • Best for: Beginners & violinists looking for versatility
  • Strings: Prelude

The Silver Creek SC3B is a great option for beginners interested in learning traditional violin, but also want the capability to record and plug their instrument into an amp or PA system. This violin has a fine sound, whether played acoustically or electrically.

Pros:
✅ Versatile
Cons:
❌ High Price Tag
❌ Comes with Soft Case
❌ Sound has limited control

Why I Recommend It
This violin made my list because it’s unique. Although it does sit in a higher price range, it has a fine sound that will work for musicians looking for more versatility in their playing.

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Best Aesthetically Beautiful Violin

Not all violins need to look the same, and there’s a wide range of violins made from unique materials with all imaginable colors. Rozanna’s violins provide a great range of artist designs, which will make your violin stand out.

Rozanna’s Violins Sunflower Delight

  • Size: Available in sizes from 1/8 through 4/4
  • What’s included: Violin, bow, lightweight case
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, maple back and sides, with ebony fittings. Custom transparent varnish finish highlighting its unique design
  • Best for: Beginners, and violinists looking for a unique, artistic looking instrument
  • Strings: Perlon or D’Addario

There is a large range of Rozanna’s Violins, and this is my particular favorite. But it purely comes down to taste. All of these violins are made from nicely aged wood, with quality craftsmanship and sound. The deluxe artwork on these violins will make you smile whenever you open your case.

Pros:
✅ Most Unique
✅ Good Quality Case
✅ Quality Made
Cons:
❌ Limited Outfit

❌ Limited Playing Level

Why I Recommend It

These violins are wonderfully unique, and there is definitely a market for them. Whether you are a young student or an artistic individual looking for a design to reflect your personality, you will find something in this violin range.

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Best Violin Brands

Some violin brands are better than others, and there are plenty of great brands out there. My many years of teaching and playing on the professional stage have informed this selection of the best violin brands.

Knilling

Karl Knilling violins were originally handcrafted in Germany and exported all over the world. Today, most Knillings are made in Korea or China, where the manufacturers still adhere to strict guidelines that have been in place since 1922.

Knilling is a popular and trusted brand that offers a wide range of violins. Whether at the lower or higher price point, the quality of these violins is surprisingly good.

Cecilio

Cecilio violins are handcrafted in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and then tested by luthiers at the distribution facility in Los Angeles before shipping. The design and quality of these violins are great, and they come in a range of sizes and colors.

Cecilio is one of the best violin brands for intermediate violinists and also for beginners who are looking for an affordable, quality instrument with advanced features.

Note: Cecilio violins arrived disassembled, meaning you will have to put on the bridge and strings yourself.

Mendini

Under the umbrella of the Cecilio brand, Mendini puts its focus on providing beginners with affordable violins.

As one of the best violin brands for beginners, Mendini will also provide you with all necessities, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance costs such as replacing strings.

Although not as loved as the Cecilio brand, Mendini offers some of the best starter violins that still have a decent sound quality and are offered in a few different sizes and colors.

Cremona

The Guangzhou Cremona Violin Company (GCV) is a Chinese violin manufacturer founded in 1989. They make high-quality violins, as well as violin outfits (that include a case, bow, and quality strings), that are well-suited to serious beginners.

Because of their affordability and fantastic playability, GCV is a popular violin brand amongst beginners worldwide.

D Z Strad

D Z Strad is one of the best violin brands for professionalism and is one of America’s leading violin workshops. It offers a line of violins that starts at budget-friendly and ends in the thousands.

At a price that sets them apart from other brands, their lower-price-range violins still have fine attention to detail with a deep quality of sound. Whether you are buying a beginner or a professional violin, D Z Strad will always deliver high-end quality.

Some of D Z Strad’s products are exclusively available on Amazon, a good thing to note.

Rozanna’s Violins

This company is fairly new, founded in 2011. They sell violins with designs on them, popular amongst children and adults alike. If you’re looking for a violin outside of the box, you will be pleasantly surprised by the array of designs they offer.

Ming Jiang Zhu

Ming Jiang Zhu is an award-winning violin maker who produces some of the best violins in the world. Although they are at the highest price point on my list, I love Ming Jiang Zhu’s violins and have selected one as the best sounding violin. I think you won’t be disappointed either.

Silver Creek

Silver Creek is a popular violin brand, offering a range of violins which includes a great option for an acoustic-electric violin. Made in Romania, these violins are shipped to and tested in America. These fiddles are well-made and stand at a midrange price point.

Kennedy Violins

This is an American company, focused on providing students with quality violins. Because of its great ratings, customer service, and online presence, I love this brand! You will find several of these violins on the list of my top picks.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Violin

Sound and quality are most important, but it’s a good idea to think about your goals when choosing a violin. For this, ask yourself some questions: Do you want an acoustic or electric setup? Are aesthetics important to you? What is the best violin for your budget?

An up close of a violin with a musical notes on the background

Several things come into play when you decide on the best violin. Here is a list of things that I always consider before buying a new instrument.

Level of Experience

Buying a violin is a serious decision for violinists of all experience levels, and musicians often spend weeks, months, or even years thinking about which instrument to buy.

It may be tricky to tell violins apart, but there are big differences between beginner and professional violins. So, before spending your money, have a read about what makes them so different.

Beginner Violins

“Beginner Violin” has been a term associated with low-quality instruments for decades, but in recent years, quality-manufactured beginner violins with the same affordable price have become available on the market.

Beginner violins have four fine tuners, as well as four pegs, making tuning easier for beginner violinists.

A beginner violin might be made from low-grade wood and built in a factory, but some models can help inspire beginners who are not yet 100% decided if playing the violin is the right path for them. If you’re unsure, online reviews are a good thing to consult when choosing your beginner violin.

Intermediate Violins

Intermediate violins stand in the moderate price range and are something I would recommend for a more dedicated student. Whether handcrafted or not, intermediate violins have better playability and a higher quality of wood than beginner violins.

When buying an intermediate violin, check for something that has been checked by a qualified luthier, and is primarily made of spruce and maple wood with ebony fittings.

Professional Violins

Professional violins are where the price point starts to reach a new level, but also where things like the character of sound start showing. This is because most professional violins are handmade by luthiers from carefully selected wood.

While original Stradivarius and Guarneri models cost into the millions, many brands and luthiers make exact copies for a more realistic price. These violins have an incredible sound, and I would recommend trying them if you’re a more experienced player who’s considering becoming a professional violinist.

The most important factors for choosing a professional violin are sound, character, and how the violin feels under your fingers all very subjective things.

Size

You may have heard of half-size violins, quarter-size violins, and three-quarter-size violins. Choosing the correct one can be a game-changer, especially for young beginners.

From 12+ years and into adulthood, a full-size (4/4) violin is usually the way to go. But if you are buying for a younger beginner, choosing the right size can be trickier.

Violins come in fractional sizes range from 1/32 (very small) up to 4/4 (full size). When in doubt, you can follow this rule of thumb:

  • 3-5 years: 1/16 or 1/8 size
  • 4-7 years: 1/4 size
  • 6-10 years: 1/2 size
  • 9-11 years: 3/4 size

Wood

Crafting a violin takes skilled craftsmanship, and one of the key elements is the careful aging and selection of wood. There are several types of wood a violin maker can choose from to make a violin.

For instance, spruce is used for the top of the violin because it’s light and flexible for projecting the sound. Maple is used for the body because it’s aesthetically beautiful, and ebony for the fingerboard and other fittings because it’s a dense and durable wood.

Finish

The finish is another important aspect of producing a good violin, and a skilled violin maker will always use natural glues and ingredients.

Varnish contributes to the overall sound of an instrument, and it is a well-known fact amongst luthiers that having a bit of metal in the varnish will help produce a vibrant sound.

Color

A typical violin is made of natural wood but the tone of the wood can vary. This depends on the cut of the wood, how it aged, and how it was seasoned and finished.

Modern violins vary more, with some violin brands offering every color you could imagine, and others even offering custom designs. Electric violins are known for their contemporary and adventurous colors and designs, for instance.

The Bow

The bow of the violin is as important as the violin itself. The bow, a wooden stick with horsehair tightened across its length, is responsible for producing that distinctly vibrant violin sound that we all know and love.

Weight and balance are important factors to consider when looking for a bow, and the right one can make a significant difference to the playability and sound of your instrument.

Therefore, many musicians have several bows for different sounds and occasions — I own five!

The Overall Tone & Sound

The most crucial factors for your violin are its tone and sound. After all, your violin is for making music, right?

Try out your violin before you commit to buying it, and listen carefully to the richness of the sound. Above all, make sure all four strings have a resonant and even tone.

A musician plays violin

If in doubt, try to get a second opinion. Take a step back and have someone else play it for you (even if just to hear the open strings) — that way, you can hear it from a listener’s point of view too!

Price

Price plays a big role in buying a violin, but it’s fairly straightforward, as the quality is usually a reflection of what you pay. If you aren’t sure about your budget, here’s some advice for different price range options.

Budget Violins

Because I play professionally, budget violins are not my personal favorite, but I can understand that they would be a preferred choice if you’re unsure the violin is right for you. If you have a tight budget, there’s a wide array of cheaper violins available.

Midrange Violins

I would personally recommend midrange violins as a place to start if you’re serious about the violin. If you have the budget, a midrange violin will set you up just right and last you for many years of music making to come.

Top-End Violins

Top-end violins range from about $3,000 to several million. But there are some professional violins at a lower price, beginning at around $1,000. If you buy a professional violin, you will be sure to have a violin for life.

Extras

Although most violins come in an outfit pack with many necessities, it’s always good to check before buying if there are any extras you need.

Here’s a list of a few things that are commonly not found in violin packs:

  • Extra strings (all violins come with strings, but you’ll need an extra set on hand as they can break easily!)
  • Shoulder rest
  • Rosin
  • Mute (there are several mutes available for a violin, and a metal or rubber hotel mute might be useful for you if you like to practice quietly)

New vs Used

There is nothing quite like buying a brand new violin — the fresh smell of varnish and shiny new strings are a joy, and if looked after well, a new violin will last you a lifetime. Plus, your instrument can only improve with age.

A well-cared-for, used violin will have more mature wood, meaning its sound will have settled. If you fall in love with the sound of an older violin that has been passed on from a professional, go for it!

A different types of violins hanging on the wall

But buying a used violin is a risk, especially online, as it might not have been looked after well. Cracks in the wood, breaks in the glue, and worn-out fingerboards are common, so for beginners, I would recommend buying a new instrument from a trusted brand.

What’s in a Violin Box?

This list will let you know what to expect in the box when you buy a violin. All brands include different things, so check the description of your violin before buying, so that you know what you might still need.

Violin

The main event! Pretty self-explanatory, but the violin will be the first thing you see in your violin box.

Violin Bow

Almost as important as the violin itself is the bow, and you will almost always receive a bow with your violin. A bow is a wooden (and sometimes carbon fiber) stick that has horsehair connecting its two ends. Make sure to tighten your bow before playing it, and loosen it when putting it away.

Rosin

You will need rosin to go with your bow, and it is not always included in a violin box. Rosin should be spread on the length of the hair of the bow before playing. It gives friction to the strings for getting the best sound out of your violin.

Violin Strings

Strings are always included with your violin. Did you know, different brands of strings can completely change the sound of your violin? If you aren’t happy with the strings in your violin box, you can always purchase different ones and keep the original set as a spare.

Violin Carry Case

Your violin definitely will come in a case, as it needs to be properly protected during shipping. There are all kinds of cases of varying qualities on the market: soft cases, hard cases, lightweight cases, and even ultra-lightweight cases.

Violin Tuner

A tuner will most likely not be included in your violin box. But some violin outfits (like the Mendini MV300) will come with clip-on tuners. Tuners are especially useful for beginners who are still figuring out how to tune by ear.

Violin Bridge

A violin bridge will definitely be included with your violin, and some boxes include two to choose from. Bridges help your strings keep tension, and a higher bridge will give your violin a more vibrant sound.

Shoulder Rest

Violins can be played without a shoulder rest, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The shoulder rest helps the violin rest easily on your shoulder, which in turn helps you to move freely around the violin. Shoulder rests are not always included in your box, so you might have to buy one separately.

String Cloth

A string cloth is a simple cloth used to wipe dust and excess rosin off of your violin. Many string cloths are made from special micro-fibers, but if your violin box doesn’t come with one you can easily use something you have lying around the house. Just make sure it’s clean and won’t scratch your instrument.

Certificate of Authenticity

A certificate of authenticity is something that will come with your violin, especially if it is above the $500 price point. With this certificate, you can be sure that your violin has been checked by a professional luthier. Hold on to this piece of paper — if you want to sell your violin in the future, you will need it to get a good price.

Violin Brands to Avoid

While there are many exceptional brands, there are always some that should be avoided. I haven’t had much direct experience with these brands, and luckily they aren’t too well-known either.

A set of violin on the ground

Without naming names, let’s just say that if something is being sold on eBay, stay away!

The most common things to look out for from bad violin brands are a tailpiece, fingerboard and pegs made of plastic, and a composite (not solid wood) body. If you stick to the ones on this list, you’ll be fine.

Violin Parts

It’s a good idea to get familiar with the violin before buying one by learning about the different parts of the instrument:

Body

The body of the violin is a hollow wooden chamber that produces all of the resonance of the instrument. It is usually made of maple wood, with a spruce top.

Neck

The neck is the part of the violin between the body and the scroll.

Scroll

The very top of the violin is usually a decorative scroll. Sometimes it is carved into a unique shape, such as a lion’s head.

Chinrest

The chinrest is there to support your chin while you play, so you don’t ruin the varnish of the wood. It also helps with the resonance, as you won’t be dampening the wood with your chin.

F-Holes

The f-holes are where the sound can escape the violin. They are in the shape of a decorative “f” hence the name.

Fingerboard

The fingerboard is the black surface where your fingers press down on the strings. It is usually made of a hardwood, such as ebony.

Tuning Pegs

There are four wooden pegs, one for tuning each string. Tightening a peg raises the pitch of a string, whereas loosening a peg lowers the pitch.

Fine tuners

Fine tuners will tune your violin in smaller increments than the pegs will, and beginner violins will often have four of them. Professional violins normally only have a fine tuner for the smallest string, the E string.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you have a question before buying a violin? Below you’ll find the most frequently asked questions posed by prospective violin buyers.

How Much do Violins Cost?

Violin prices can range from $50 up into the millions! But don’t worry, there will be a violin right for your budget, and without compromising on quality. There are many violins available for all budgets and skill levels. For a quality instrument, you can expect these average costs:

  • Beginner violins: $90 – $600
  • Intermediate violins: $500 – $1000
  • Professional violins: $1000+

What are the Best Violins?

These are the best violins:

D Z Maestro Old Spruce Strad Model 509

The D Z Maestro Old Spruce Strad Model 509 is a handmade professional violin. It’s the best for sound, playability, beauty, and quality vs price.

Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist

The Cremona SV-1400 Maestro Soloist violin is another great choice if you’re looking for a professional violin with outstanding sound and quality.

Louis Carpini G2

The Louis Carpini G2 is the best beginner/intermediate violin. It has a great sound, is made from quality materials, and won’t break the bank.

Where are the Best Violins Made?

The best violins are traditionally made in Italy, and most modern models are based on Italian violins from the 16th century, such as those made by Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari.

Today, you can find quality handcrafted violins from anywhere in the world. The best violins are generally made in Europe, America and Asia.

What is the Best Sounding Violin?

The Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin is the best concert violin and has the best sound from this list. It’s based on an original Guarneri model, is handmade, and has a vibrant sound.

Where to Buy Violins

You can find the best violins both in-store and online, and each has its benefits.

Buying online offers fast delivery, free returns for testing, variety without leaving the house, as well as plenty of discounts. Just be wary of the super cheap ones.

Buying in-store allows you to try out different instruments against each other, and asking the sales assistants for their advice is always a plus.

Amazon

Amazon.com has an endless variety of the best violin brands and prices. As a result, they have plenty of reviews to read, and being able to test and return your violin for your money back is another great service.

Online Music Retailers

Online music retailers such as Fiddlershop.com are great places to buy your violin. They often offer deals and will provide you with the best customer service.

Your Local Music Store

If you have the possibility to go to your local music score, I would recommend it. This is because in-store you can test out a violin and compare it to others, making sure every string sounds full of resonance and pleasing to your ear.

Tip: You can always find the violin you like in-store, and then buy it cheaper online!

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In Conclusion

The best violin won’t just fall into your hands, but with this resource, I’m confident that you’ll find the right instrument for you.

When in doubt, think about the sound and how the violin feels under your fingers. Do all four strings ring evenly, and are you happy with the tone? Is it comfortable to play? Trust your intuition — only you will know the answers to these questions.

Have you already tried some of these best violin brands, or can you think of something to add to this list that I may not have mentioned? Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend!