Best Violin Reviews 2018

When you’ve finally answered that first question of whether to buy or rent a violin, and have decided to buy, you’re faced with a new task which can be daunting considering the wide selection you have to choose from. There are violins that cost about $100, and there are those that cost in the thousands. How do you know which is right for you and which will be a total waste of money? We’re here for you. We’ve carried out extensive research and have narrowed down this wide selection to just five brands. These are brands we have identified as manufacturers of top-quality violins. From these brands, we’ve chosen a model from each to review to give you a general idea of what they offer. They have other models of violins you can go ahead and check out on your own, should you need to.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Weight
Body
Finish
Bow
Our Top Choice
Kennedy Violins Carpini G2 Violin Outfit
Kennedy Violins offer quality string instruments at affordable prices. Professional luthier staff at Kennedy Violins completely assembles each instrument, ensuring their quality.
It’s very well-crafted, looks and feels great, plays beautifully, comes with a good quality case and accessories, and is backed by an awesome customer service.
There may be a few small flaws in the wood, that don’t affect the sound.
Available in 3 Sizes
11.5 pounds
Spruce and maple tone woods
Hand-rubbed, oil-based finish
Giuliani Brazilwood
Best Value
Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Fitted Violin
Cecilio has consistently been at the fore of inspiring musical talent with its string instruments which offer quality and value, helping build and nourish young talents.
It looks great and sounds great, is lightweight, comfortable to play, and holds its tuning well. The included tuner is a great addition.
There are some complaints about the quality of the shoulder rest and bow.
Available in 4 Sizes
5 pounds
Solid spruce and maple
Antique varnish finish
Brazilwood Bow
D Z Strad Maestro Stradi Violin
D Z Strad is a manufacturer of string instruments of the best quality, handmade by award-winning luthiers and graduated to deliver a very refined yet powerful tone.
It’s a beautiful instrument with a great sound and tone quality. The included accessories are also top-quality.
It could be considered pricey.
Available in 6 Sizes
5 pounds
European tonewoods
Hand oil-varnished
Pernambuco/Carbon Fiber Bow
Yamaha Model 5 Violin Outfit
Yamaha is all about sharing passion and performance. It offers instruments that enable people the world over to create excitement and cultural inspiration irrespective of their location.
It has impeccable workmanship, a sweet and mellow sound, and a beautiful presentation.
Some consider it expensive for a student instrument.
4/4
6.6 pounds
Solid spruce and maple
Fully hand brushed oil varnish
Brazilian Wood
Stentor Student 1500 Violin
Stentor believes that every child should be given an opportunity to play a musical instrument that’s easily playable and offers responsive sound. This is what it’s now doing.
It’s a superior instrument for the student, has a great look and good sound, comes with everything you need to start playing, and makes playing easy.
Included strings and rosin may need upgrading to improve the playability of the instrument.
4/4
4.4 pounds
Solid spruce and maple
Polished warm brown laquer finish
Octagonal Wood Horsehair Bow

(Updated )
Related Reviews
Best Viola
Best Saxophone
Best Trumpet
Best Harmonica
Watch Our Violin Review

How Do I Choose the Best Violin?

A violin is a violin, right? Wrong! All violins are not created equal, which is why you’re reading this guide. There are different levels of violins for different levels and types of players. On the outside, most acoustic violins have the same general shape, and of course they’re all called violins. However, while some can be purchased for $100, others will require a few thousands before you can even think of getting them. There certainly is something different here.

When choosing a violin, it should be a careful, well thought-out process. You should know exactly what you’re looking out for so you can identify it when you see it. We’ll go through this guide to show you important things to look out for when choosing a violin.

Musicians usually come to a point where they need to look out for new accessories—guitarists may look into amplifiers, and flutists may need cases for security. As a violinist, these are things you too will need to consider. If you’re getting an outfit, aside from the violin itself, you’ll also be getting a bow, rosin, and a case. If you, however, get just a violin, you’ll likely need to purchase these things separately, along with new strings as time goes on—similarly to how a drummer may need to purchase drumsticks.

Getting an outfit is advised in some instances, which we’ll look into later. This guide will help you decide if getting an outfit or simply getting each item for yourself is the best way to go. These are all decisions you’ll be able to make after you have read through this guide.

In a short while from now, you should be able to confidently pull out your violin bow and play on your new violin, happy in the knowledge that you made the right choice.
Price
If there ever was a product for which price was a major issue, it is the violin. As simple as it looks, it could cost a lot of money. In fact, in 2011, a Stradivarius violin sold for $15.6 million. We hope we’ve not just lost you there… We just mentioned this to show how insanely expensive they can be. You can heave a sigh of relief, because we found that depending on your preferences, you can get a good violin for between $160.00 and $1,200. Of course, none of them is a Stradivarius violin. You already know how much those cost.

On a more serious note though, despite the fact that the violins we selected aren’t Strads, for the amount you pay for them, they will deliver value. In fact, some may actually deliver more value than you expect. So for this price range, there are no cheap violins. Every violin listed here will deliver good value from the most affordable to the most expensive, even if their quality and features differ with price. The higher the quality you want, the more you should be ready to pay.
Features
We said earlier that choosing a violin should be a deliberate act. This should be based on specific yardsticks for measurement of suitability and quality. We shall list some important features to look out for and some yardsticks you should use to determine which is right for you. The features to look out for include:
  • Size
  • Material – type of wood
  • Outfit or single violin
  • Accessories – bows, rosin, strings, case
  • Age/size of player
  • Use – practice or performance
  • Level of player – beginner, intermediate, or professional
Let’s look at these in more detail…
Construction and Design
Violins generally come in 9 sizes, with the most common being the full size written as 4/4. Most violin players - even from as young as 11 years of age - will play the full-sized violin. However for smaller players, there are the 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32 sizes.

How do you know which size will be a fit for your young player? The easiest way to know is to ask your child’s instructor to tell you what size you should get for the child. If this isn’t possible, you can do the following to get an estimate to use with the chart below.

There are two measurements that can be taken. One will give you the measurement of the largest size your child can play at that age, while the second will give you the measurement of the size that will be most comfortable for the child.

For the first measurement (largest size the child can play), let the child stretch his/her left arm away from the body and hold it straight. Measure from the base of the neck to the middle of the palm. This will give the first measurement. For the second measure (the most comfortable size), measure from the base of the neck to the wrist.

Check your measurement against this reference chart:
  • 23 inches and above - 4/4
  • 22 inches - 3/4
  • 20 inches - 1/2
  • 18 ½ inches - 1/4
  • 16 ½ inches - 1/8
  • 15 inches - 1/10
  • 14 inches - 1/16
  • 13 inches - 1/32
If you’re still unsure, consider the growth rate of your child and how quickly s/he is likely to outgrow the instrument.

The material a violin is made of is a major deal. Top-quality violins such as Strads are handmade from tonewoods that are sometimes air-dried for over 25 years. Most violins you will find have a mixture of spruce and maple. Most have spruce tops and maple sides, neck, and back. The top wood is the soundboard, that is, the wood that amplifies the resonating strings. Spruce is preferred for this because of its properties; it’s naturally stiff and dense, creating better resonance than more porous wood. It also means that it can be carved without getting misshapen.

The tonewoods can, however, be the same while the quality of the instruments differ. This is usually because of the quality of the spruce wood. There are different species and different preparation processes that all contribute to the quality of the spruce wood.

The same goes for the maple wood used for the back, neck, and sides. It also can differ in quality, contributing to the overall quality of the instrument and of course the cost. The type of material used for the fingerboards, tuning pegs, chinrests, and bridges are also very important; ebony is preferred for these parts. Any violin with plastic or a different material for these parts is a cheap instrument.

One more thing that can affect the quality of the instrument is the finish. Top-end violins are finished with very thin coats of varnish which are usually hand-brushed. The varnish will accentuate the wood’s natural beauty, adding to the general quality and appeal of the violin.

Depending on your level, rather than going for a stand-alone violin, going for an outfit may work out both cheaper and more effective for you. This is especially the case if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate player. An outfit comes with everything you need to start playing – a violin, strings, bow, rosin, and case. This is the best bet for a beginner and an intermediate player. As you get more proficient, you can begin to choose individual accessories as you see fit.

Even if, for some reason, you find that some of the accessories don’t meet the standard you want, you could always replace them. In most cases however, beginners usually cannot tell the difference. The moment you begin to be able to tell the difference, you then really are due for an upgrade.

A beginner isn’t likely going to want to spend so much money on an instrument they have yet to master. Such a person should simply look for a beginner violin, preferably an outfit. What actually determines the designation of the violin – beginner, intermediate, and professional – is the quality and nothing else. Beginner violins are usually of the least quality while the professional violins are usually of the best quality. It therefore doesn’t make sense to spend so much on a beginner instrument. You’ll have enough time to spend the thousands when you become much more proficient.

The same goes for instruments used for practice and those used for performance. Actually, professional musicians like practicing with their performance instruments as they feel connected to it. For others who desire to have practice violins different from performance violins, the difference surely will only be with the quality. Thankfully, you can get nice-sounding and very playable violins even on a budget.
Performance and Ease of Use
Violins are delicate instruments that need care. Yes, beginner instruments may not need as much care as professional ones mainly due to the materials they’re made from. However, you should still know how to care for your instrument. If you went for an outfit, then certainly it came with a violin case. If you just got a violin, then it’s very important that you get a good case.

If you’re buying an expensive violin, then you really need to know this. An acoustic violin should be kept at about 45-50% relative humidity so as to avoid damage to the tonewood. Yes, this is important to all violins but more so to the very expensive ones. For those living in dry areas, it will be a good idea to get an instrument humidifier to keep your violin in perfect shape.

As a violinist, you should change your strings every 6 to 12 months. This depends on how often you play your instrument. The more often you play it, the earlier you should change them. This will keep the tone of your instrument at its best.

Finally, keep your violin free of dust and dirt by cleaning it often. If you got an outfit, you may find some cleaning accessories in the package. If not, get cleaning supplies for your violin and keep it in prime and proper shape so it can serve you, and serve you well, for years to come.

What is the Best Violin?

There are different types of violins best suited for different types of players. There are violins for students, children, intermediate players, and professionals. Getting the “best” violin requires that you first determine who this violin is for and what’s best for them; this is the only way you can choose the right violin. While this is entirely your decision, we hope that with the help of our guide and reviews you’ll soon make that perfect purchase.
Our Top Choice
The Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit is all you need to be a complete violinist. This outfit includes: a Giuliani Brazilwood bow, a wood-shell case, and more. Need a beginner violin? Go for the Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit 4\/4 Size.
Kennedy Violins Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit – Available in 3 Sizes

Kennedy Violins Violin - Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit 4/4


Features
Kennedy Violins offers top-quality string instruments at very affordable prices by getting each instrument directly from the makers. This cuts off intermediary costs, allowing the instruments to be sold to the end-user at more affordable prices. Before the instruments are distributed for sale, professional luthier staff at Kennedy Violins completely assembles them in Vancouver, Washington, ensuring their quality.

The Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit is a bundle of everything you need to be a complete violinist. At the core of this outfit is the Louis Carpini G2 violin which is made from a select combination of maple and spruce, carefully put together by top craftsmen to improve its tonal quality and projection. It also includes other accessories for everything you need to get started immediately. Its features include:
  • Solid-carved spruce and maple tonewoods
  • Sized 4/4
  • Weighs 11.5 pounds
  • 100% ebony fingerboard, pegs & fittings
  • Hand-carved French Aubert bridge
  • Precisely measured string height for comfortable playability
  • Hand-rubbed, oil-based finish (no thick lacquer)
  • Kaplan Artcraft rosin
  • Giuliani Brazilwood bow
  • Installed D’Addario Prelude Strings
  • Four independent fine tuners
  • Professional, full-suspension, wood-shell case
  • Exceeds all Suzuki and MENC standards
Best Value
The Cecilio CVN-300 is perfect for a beginner. It's well put-together with quality materials giving it great tone, resonance, and a smooth response. With this, the learning process on the violin can be smooth and focused. Need something for a more advanced player? Try the Cecilio CVN-500 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin, a suitable step-up from beginner instruments.
Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin – Available in 4 Sizes

Cecilio Violin DA_4/4CVN-300+SR+92D+FB1 – 4/4


Features
Cecilio has consistently been at the fore of inspiring musical talent with its string instruments which offer quality and value, helping build and nourish young talents.

The Cecilio CVN-300 Violin is the ideal violin for the beginner. Its well put-together design and quality material gives it an exceptional tone and resonance with a high level of responsiveness, making it the best instrument for the beginner who doesn’t need the distraction of badly made instruments. With this piece, the learner's developmental process on the violin can be smooth and focused. Its features include:
  • Solid spruce wood top, maple back, neck, and sides
  • Sized at 4/4
  • Weighs 5 pounds
  • Hand inlaid purfling
  • Ebony fingerboard, pegs, and chinrest
  • Ebony tailpiece
  • 4 nickel-plated fine tuners
  • Antique varnish finish
  • 2 x Brazilwood bows with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair
  • Adjustable shoulder rest
  • Quality rosin cake
  • Extra bridge
  • Lightweight hard case
This set also includes the Cecilio chromatic tuner and lesson book.
The Maestro Stradi Violin is made with aged European tonewood, naturally air-dried for over 25 years and made to old world European traditions. This is a professional violin which delivers a powerful, nice, full voice. Need a very high-end violin? Go for the D Z Strad Violin N615 Full Size 4\/4 with Italian Alps Spruce.
D Z Strad Maestro Old Spruce Stradi Violin - Available in 6 Sizes

D Z Strad Violin #509 - 4/4


Features
D Z Strad is a manufacturer of string instruments of the best quality. These professional level instruments are handmade by award winning luthiers and painstakingly graduated to deliver a very refined and yet powerful tone.

The D Z Strad Maestro Stradi Violin (Selling at $1,199.00 - suggested retail price) is an instrument for the discerning professional. It is made with aged European tonewood that was naturally air dried for over 25 years. Made to old world traditional European practices, this is a professional level violin which delivers a powerful, nice full voice. Its features include:
  • Maestro Full Size 4/4
  • Aged European Tonewoods
  • 100% Handmade
  • 100% hand oil-varnished
  • Hard-carved pegs, tailpiece and chinrest
  • 31" x 10" x 5.8"
  • instrument weight – 5 lbs.
  • Pernambuco wood bow and carbon fiber bow
  • Bricks Pilot case
The Yamaha Model 5 Violin is a piece crafted and finished by hand to ensure that young musicians also can have the benefit of good quality instruments. All the accessories that come with this outfit are good quality. Would you rather have a more affordable student violin? If so, then go for the Yamaha V3 Series Student Violin Outfit.
Yamaha Model 5 Violin Outfit – Made with Spruce Top and Maple Back & Sides

Yamaha Violin V5SC


Features
Yamaha is all about sharing passion and performance. Drawing from its experience gained over the years of devotion to sound and music, it offers instruments that enable people around the world to create excitement and cultural inspiration irrespective of their location.

The Yamaha Model 5 Violin Outfit is built around a violin crafted and finished by hand to ensure that young musicians can also have the benefit of good quality instruments. All the accessories that come with this outfit are of good quality - the lightweight case, bow, and rosin. Its features include:
  • 4/4 - full size
  • Weighs 6.6 pounds
  • Solid carved spruce top, solid carved maple back & sides
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Rosewood tuning pegs, chinrest & tailpeice
  • Brazilian wood bow
  • Super sensitive mini rosin
  • Prelude strings
  • Expertly shop adjusted to meet or exceed MENC standards
  • Includes lightweight triangular cordura-covered case
The Stentor 1500 is a student violin that’s highly recommended by teachers and music services. It’s professionally made from solid tonewoods and delivers good tone, a responsive sound, and performance reliability. Need something colorful? Go for the Stentor 1401PK-3\/4 Harlequin Series Pink Violin Outfit.
Stentor Student II Violin Outfit with Solid Spruce Top

Stentor Violin 1500 4/4


Features
As the leading manufacturer of quality student stringed instruments in the world, Stentor believes that every child should be given the opportunity to play a musical instrument. More so, it believes that as they learn, they should have access to instruments of good quality; instruments that are easily playable and offer responsive sound.

The Stentor 1500 Violin is a student violin that’s highly recommended by teachers and music services. It’s of good quality and reliable. It’s professionally made from solid tonewoods to deliver a violin with good tone, a responsive sound, and performance reliability. This is the violin for the beginner. Its features include:
  • Carved from solid tonewoods
  • Sized at 4/4
  • Weighs 4.4 pounds
  • Carved, spruce front
  • Carved, maple back, ribs, and neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • High-quality ebony pegs
  • Composite tailpiece integral adjusters
  • Rope core strings
  • Good quality wood bow
  • Lightweight case

Get the Best Violin of 2018!

Now that you have come this far, it’s our hope that you now have enough information to know exactly what you want. You can now confidently choose your ideal violin. Go right ahead and place that order now.

Our Top Choice
Kennedy Violins Carpini G2 Violin Outfit
Best Value
Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Fitted Violin
D Z Strad Maestro Stradi Violin
Yamaha Model 5 Violin Outfit
Stentor Student 1500 Violin