How to Buy Your First Violin

how to buy your first violinThe art of playing the violin has long held a unique place in history, and It has been considered an elevated art form for well over a thousand years. But learning how to buy a violin can almost be as tricky as learning to play the instrument itself. With such a wide array of styles and prices, it can be daunting, but there are some basics that can help you learn how to buy a violin without paying an outrageous price.

First and foremost, students need to know that there are many different violin brands on the market these days. It may help to compare violins with automobiles. The Lamborghini of the violin world is the Stradivarius. In fact, at an auction in 2010 an Antonio Stradivari violin sold for a record breaking 3.6 million dollars! The good news is that you definitely don’t need to pay that much for your first violin. Here is a list of the most common violin-makers found around the world:

  • Stentor
  • Yamaha
  • Cecilio
  • Hofner
  • Hermet Schartel
  • Cremona

There are far more than just these, but these are fairly common and not hard to find. A good music store will have a selection of several brands to try out.

Size is perhaps one of the biggest influencing factors in a violin purchase. A typical student-size violin will be small and not entirely durable when compared with a professional’s violin. You’ll want to have your violin sized appropriately, as this will make a huge difference in your ability to play. There should be some reach when you rest your chin on the base, but it should not overextend your neck. The bow should feel balanced in your hand as the violin is in place. Check with your teacher or another violin professional to make sure you’ve chosen a correctly-sized instrument.

From there, it will come down to how comfortable the instrument feels in your hands. You will be using it quite a bit, so you need to feel comfortable with the weight of the instrument and the bow. If it feels too heavy, try a lighter model.

Once you have found the proper weight and size, you should then look at

the material used to construct the violin. The best woods are maple, ebony, rosewood, willow, boxwood and spruce. Try to stay away from violins made of plastic. These will not last and will not hold the notes as properly as a wooden violin. They may be cheaper, but after you replace it a few times the expense will be negated. Plastic violins are also notoriously hard to tune properly.

Of course, buying a violin also depends on what you can afford. Most student violins run anywhere from $100-$300. Violins range drastically in price from there though so it really comes down to what you want to pay. Obviously you would not want to pay thousands of dollars for your first violin because it is going to take a lot of wear and tear.

Another important factor for buying your first violin is where you make your purchase. Purchasing a musical instrument is quite a lot like buying a car. You want to research your make, model and cost, but you also should consider where you are making the purchase. You should always look around for the music store that fits your needs best. This will be a relationship of sorts, because you’ll most likely be taking your violin in for repair, advice and upgrades. The sales people should be very knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to help you even after the sale is complete. A good working relationship with your local music store is a must.

You will soon discover that learning how to buy a violin is the start to a wonderful journey. It will take time and practice, but it is well-worth every bit of it once you are able to play at the level you desire!


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