The best violin
While all instruments have their strengths, few sounds can beat the tones of a well-played violin. The melancholy lows and dramatic highs will be elevated by the rich tones of a quality instrument, so it's important to choose the right one.
The following guide will help you find the best violin for your preferences and level of experience. Kennedy Violins Bunnel Premier Clearance Student Violin is our favorite model. Despite being a student violin, it sounds great and plays like a far more expensive instrument.
Considerations when choosing violins
You'll find three main types of violins, grouped according to their overall quality:
Student violins are designed for novice players. They tend to be made from lower-quality components but come at a reasonable price to match -- a good choice for any beginners because it's foolish to spend thousands on an instrument you might not take to playing.
Intermediate violins are mid-quality instruments. They're designed for experienced players who haven't the need or budget for a top-end violin.
Professional violins are the best models out there. They're made from the highest-quality materials, and every piece is handcrafted with care and attention. Due to the extremely high price, these instruments are generally reserved for top-level professionals.
A 4/4 violin is a full-sized instrument, but you can find smaller models for children, all the way down to tiny 1/32 violins. Most people older than the age of 12 can manage a 4/4 violin, but younger players need smaller models. Violins that are 3/4 are generally suited to 9- to 11-year-olds, 1/2 violins to 1/4 violins to 6- to 10-year-olds, 1/4 violins to 4- to 7-year-olds, and smaller models to even younger kids.
The top of a violin is usually made from spruce and the back made from maple, but there are some exceptions. The wood used will make a difference to the overall sound.
Student violins usually arrive with a bow or two included. Whereas intermediate and professional instruments often do not because higher-level players usually already have a bow preference.
Violins often have a case included. Ideally, this should be a hard case to offer protection from knocks and bumps.
The chinrest is usually made from ebony, but it can be plastic on some inexpensive violins.
Student violins cost between $100 and $600, depending on the quality. Intermediate violins are for serious players and cost between $800 and $5,000. True professional players will require a professional instrument, which can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000.
Q. How can I begin to learn the violin?
A. If you're just beginning with the violin, you might be wondering how best to learn. For best results, look for a local violin teacher for either group or one-on-one lessons. Alternatively, you can teach yourself from beginner violin books or YouTube videos.
Q. Should I buy a new or vintage violin?
A. When choosing a professional or high-end intermediate violin, you may find it difficult to decide between a new and a vintage violin. You can find some truly stunning vintage violins. Some of them are excellent, but you tend to have more consistency with a new violin, not to mention a smaller price tag. In blind tests, it's been found that even experts can't hear the difference between new and vintage violins of a similar quality.
Violins we recommend
Our take: A solid violin for novices or more experienced players who don't have the budget for a high-end violin.
What we like: Available in a range of sizes from 1/16 to 4/4. Made from maple and spruce with ebony fittings. Holds its tuning well.
What we dislike: Competitively priced due to a slight cosmetic defect.
Best bang for your buck: Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin
Our take: A beginner's violin at an extremely reasonable price with everything you need to start playing.
What we like: Includes a case, two bows, a shoulder rest, a tuner, and more. Available in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4 sizes. Ebony pegs and chinrest.
What we dislike: Sound post easily dislodged.
Our take: A reliable student violin with an attractive flamed maple finish. It includes extra strings, bows, bridges, rosin, and other accessories.
What we like: Arrives pre-strung. Easy to tune with help of included tuner. Pleasantly rich tone. Quality hard case for storage and transportation.
What we dislike: Each piece of wood is unique, so flaming may not be as pronounced as in the photo.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.