Violins come in all shapes, sizes, colours – and prices. But how do you really know what you should be getting for your budgeted price range?
If your child is a beginner, you don’t necessarily want to overspend on an instrument that isn’t suited to their level, but if they’ve already started out with a basic instrument borrowed from school, you may want to start looking around at intermediate priced violins instead of the cheapest available.
Every violin is different, and you should ideally look for the best value-for-money instrument placed within your budget. This guide will give you a general overview of the standards for violins within each price range and offers a good starting point for finding a violin that best suits your needs.
$200 – $400
These are the most inexpensive violins that you’ll find at music stores. At this price, you’re looking at an entry-level or beginners instrument that is typically factory-made in China. The basic structure of these violins will be well-made, but they come ‘out of the box’ with no adjustments – a professional setup service will be required to get things sounding just right. Simply for Strings includes their professional setup on all instruments regardless of price range.
For instruments in this price range, it is also important that individual parts are added or upgraded:
- Bridge – this will affect the tone of the instrument
- Strings – these should be upgraded to complement the instrument and give it a better tone
- Bow – not all accessories are of the same quality, and since a bow is essential to playing a violin, you should look to upgrade to a good quality one that will help to produce a better sound
Brands offering instruments at this level include Enrico, Arioso, Gliga and Hidersine See more Beginners violins like this on our website.
$400 – $800
There is a shift in quality when you move to this price range. A higher grade of timber is used, and so more highly skilled labour is required (resulting in a higher quality of workmanship). These violins are hand-finished and better parts are used, which further improves the quality of the instrument. The combination of workmanship and fittings gives these instruments a more mature, resonant tone.
Instruments in this range are generally better suited to an intermediate player as an upgrade from their first violin to their second. This level of instrument would be considered a ‘luxury’ item for a beginner, but the quality can really pay off in their early musical education if you can afford it.
Brands in this price range include Gliga, Hidersine WV50, Concerto and Arioso II. View more Intermediate violins like this in our online store.
$800 – $1500
From here we start to see a much higher level of workmanship and expertise going into the crafting of the instrument. They are hand-finished for finer detailing and more refined workmanship is used.
The grain of the timber is something you’ll also start to consider in these instruments. The grain is the natural alignment of fibres in the wood, and can produce a more visually pleasing aesthetic as well as improve the tones and overtones of the instrument. You’ll want to look at the tightness of the grain on the front, and the flame of the grain on the back.
These elements are a reflection of the higher grade of timber used in the instrument, which produces much nicer tones and overtones, allowing for much a more resonant and expressive quality of sound when played. They also project their sound better, producing a higher volume than the previous ranges.
This level of instrument is usually the choice of advanced students because the quality of sound allows them to play more solo repertoire and suits much more expressive playing.
Brands in this price range include Allegro, Monteverdi and Gliga. Browse the Advanced range of violins in our online store.
PRO TIP: An important thing to remember is that with instruments in all of the above price ranges the sale price should always include a case and bow (known as a violin ‘outfit’). The quality of the case and bow should reflect the price, so you’ll receive a much better outfit with an $800 violin than you would with a $200 one.
At this point, you start to find more individually priced items, and your considerations will change depending on the workshop that the instrument comes from. The reputation of the maker will strongly influence your decision, as various levels of workmanship and timber will vary and musicians may prefer one maker’s sound to another. The characteristics of the instrument’s sound become more personal and individual at this level.
Jay Haide makes the more popular instruments in this price range, starting at around $2,999. They are a popular seller because people know their reputation for producing a very high-quality, handmade product. You’ll pay for the instrument only at this level, as it’s generally expected that you have your own preferences for the bow and case.
Of course, choosing a violin doesn’t have to be a decision that you make all on your own. Here at Simply for Strings, our friendly team members are all qualified musicians who understand the nuances of each different violin we stock. We can guide you through the range and help you find the one that’s right for you. Come and visit us at our store in Red Hill or get in touch with any questions you might have.