As the long-suffering parents or housemates of beginners will agree, the violin isn’t easy to learn! But the right instrument can make a world of difference.
Here we take a look at seven of the best violins for beginners. They’ll help new players get a good sound, whilst not breaking the bank. And if you need some help choosing, our buying guide will walk you through the questions to consider.
The ADM full-sized violin will suit adults and taller children.
It comes as part of a competitively priced outfit including a case, bow, shoulder rest and rosin. There’s even a spare bridge, spare strings, electronic tuner, and music stand. The tailpiece includes four integrated black adjusters to fine-tune the strings. And you’ll get a polishing cloth too.
Everything you could possibly need as a beginner is present and correct. For this price, it’s an excellent deal.
The top of the violin is spruce and the back, sides and neck are maple. The fingerboard is made of technical wood, rather than ebony, the chinrest is ebonized, and the tailpiece, unusually, is metal. The only ebony you’ll find here is on the pegs and the frog of the bow that comes with it.
The finish is medium-sheen oiled, and there’s no thick coating of lacquer to impair the sound. The tone at this price isn’t, of course, professional standard, but it’s perfectly pleasant.
The case that accompanies it is decent quality too. It’s got a hard shell and a fabric covering to keep off the rain. Open it up, and you’ll find an interior lined in plush midnight blue velour. There are holders for two bows and a compartment to keep your rosin and spare bridge.
One thing to note is that it isn’t large enough for your shoulder rest. There is, however, a handy zippered pocket on the front that will hold your music.
You won’t be getting a finely honed musical instrument here, but most beginners won’t need that. You will get a set that includes everything needed to embark on your musical journey. And while the accessories may not be top of the line, they offer a decent entry point at a reasonable price.
Decent tone from the spruce and maple body
Good quality hard case, including zippered external pocket for music
Outfit includes spare bridge and strings, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, music stand and tuner
The fingerboard is made of technical wood rather than ebony
The tailpiece is metal – not the best for sound quality.
Eastar’s EVA-2 is designed specifically with beginners in mind. And it’s one of the least expensive options on our list.
Although we’re reviewing the half-sized violin here, the same model is available in a range of other sizes. Choose between a quarter, half, three-quarters and full-size.
This is another set that includes much more than the violin. You’ll also get a hard case, bow, shoulder rest, two bridges, a spare set of strings and rosin. The value is hard to beat.
The real boon for beginners is the fingering guides. The pear-wood fingerboard is inlaid with Muscovite to show where the first, second, third and fourth fingers are positioned. It’s a more secure and attractive option than self-adhesive stickers. And it will be a big help to new players developing their intonation.
The back and sides of the violin are made from maple and the front from spruce. The tailpiece and chin rest are made from date wood. The tail plate includes four black adjusters to help fine-tune the strings.
The violin arrives with one set of strings in place, but you will need to position the bridge yourself. Loosen the strings first, and make sure the bridge is in line with the center of the f-holes.
If you haven’t done this before, you’ll need to take your time. The strings will need to be tuned again afterward. The best approach for those who aren’t confident is to ask your teacher to do it for you. An experienced professional won’t take long.
Tuning is a bit of a challenge. Press the pegs in as you turn them to get them to stay in place. If you’re still having problems, apply a bit of rosin or Peg Drop to the peg holes.
The bow is strung with Mongolian horsehair, which will give you a better sound and grip than synthetic versions. Give it a good coating with the rosin included in the package before you play it for the first time. Then add a little more rosin at the beginning of each practice session.
Inlaid fingerboard shows you where to position your fingers
Comes with a decent quality horsehair bow
Also includes integrated adjusters, a hard case, spare bridge and set of strings
You’ll need to position the bridge and re-tune the strings yourself (or get your teacher to do it)
A little further up the scale price-wise comes the CVN-300 from Cecilio. This violin straddles the boundary between beginner and intermediate. If you’re looking for an option that will grow with your playing skills, this is a good one.
You’ll get plenty of accessories here too. There are two bows, rosin, an extra bridge, a shoulder rest and a hard case. And to help you get started, there’s a chromatic tuner with built-in metronome and a lesson book.
A particularly nice feature of this violin is that all the fittings – fingerboard, pegs, chinrest and tailpiece – are made of ebony. That gives a higher quality feel, as well as a warmer tone. The tailpiece also includes four metal adjusters to help fine-tune the strings.
The front of the violin is formed from a panel of spruce, whilst the back and sides are made of maple. It’s coated in a high-sheen varnish, so if you prefer something more subtle it won’t be the right choice. It’s strung with better quality D’Addario Prelude strings, although in this case, you won’t get a spare set.
The result is a tone that’s bright and lively, yet warm and smooth. Both beginners and intermediate players will find this an instrument that’s responsive to their touch.
It’s available in four sizes, from a quarter up to full-sized. All but the smallest players will find a size to suit them.
You won’t need to worry about installing the bridge with this one – it comes with it in place. Just check to make sure that it’s positioned correctly – it may shift in transit.
We’d also recommend taking a look at the pegs to make sure the strings have been wound cleanly around them. We’ve heard of cases where the strings have been crossed, which would make them vulnerable to snapping. If you find crossed strings, rewind them before you begin to play.
This is another violin where the pegs are prone to slipping. Changes in temperature won’t help, but these do seem to be trickier than most. Adding rosin or Peg Drop to the peg holes will help sort them out.
And if you order this violin online, check the bows when they arrive. We’ve heard from some people that they haven’t been loosened before shipping. If that’s the case, loosen them off before you store them.
Warm yet lively tone
No need to do any set up
The package includes a shoulder rest, two bows, case, tuner and lesson book.
You may need to apply to rosin or Peg Drop to deal with slippery pegs
If ordering online, make sure the bows are loosened when they arrive.
This outfit from Lagrima is the cheapest on our list – so does that mean compromising on quality?
Well, there’s certainly nothing to complain about when it comes to the sheer range of what’s included here. As well as a full-sized violin you’ll be getting a hard case, bow and rosin, and adjustable shoulder rest.
It comes with two bridges, as you’ll need to put the first one in place yourself. This isn’t particularly difficult, but take your time and make sure you loosen the strings off sufficiently first. A spare set of strings is also included in the package.
After installing the bridge, you’ll of course need to tune your violin before you can play it. An electronic tuner and integrated adjusters are included to help you in that task. The tuner actually clips onto the scroll to eliminate background noise.
It’s also a handy gadget to re-tune between lessons. If you need help using one, there are some good videos online.
The bow here is made of Brazilwood and Mongolian horsehair. It will need to be coated with rosin before being used for the first time.
You’ll also get a cleaning cloth, and a fingering guide to help learn where to place your fingers. It’s best to ask your instructor to position the stickers for you along the fingerboard.
The case is attractive, with a pale gray interior. There’s a Velcro strap that sits over the neck of the violin to keep it secure. Also, included are holders for two bows and a small storage compartment, perfect for rosin and a cleaning cloth.
The violin itself is handmade with a spruce front and maple back and sides. Unsurprisingly, for a violin at this price point, there’s no ebony anywhere here. The fingerboard is made of pearwood, while the chinrest and tailpiece are date wood.
The tone is a little scratchy – but as an instrument for a beginner, that won’t matter too much. And with pretty much everything you’ll need included in this very economical package, we think it’s a great buy.
Integrated adjusters for fine-tuning
Includes a fingering guide to help beginners
Outfit includes a case, bow, rosin, adjustable shoulder rest, spare bridge and strings, and tuner
Vangoa’s violin set is another that offers plenty of accessories for a very modest price tag. Here, your violin will come with a bow, rosin, shoulder rest, tuner, spare strings and hard case. You’ll also get a pick-up if you want to use it with an amplifier.
The sides and back of the violin are made of maple, while the front is made of the traditional spruce. Vangoa says that the spruce is aged so it’s denser and will produce a more resonant sound. And indeed, the sound quality here is surprisingly good for such an inexpensive instrument.
The fingerboard is authentic ebony too, although the chinrest is made of composite. There’s an integrated adjuster to fine-tune each string.
The case is decent, with a hard, lightweight shell and pale gray interior. There’s a Velcro strip for the neck of the violin, a single bow holder, and a small storage compartment. You will, though, need to keep your shoulder rest somewhere else.
The bow is made from Brazilwood and strung with Mongolian horsehair. It does require a lot of rosin before the first use. We’ve heard from some people who’ve preferred to upgrade to a different bow.
One thing to watch out for with this one is that the pegs have a tendency to slip. This is the case with many violins, but these are particularly tricky. It’s worth adding a rub of rosin or drop of Peg Drop to the peg holes to help them grip.
This may be slightly more expensive than some packages on the market, but it’s still pretty economical. And with a step up in terms of the sound quality, we think it’s well worth serious consideration.
Warm and mellow sound
Ebony fingerboard and integrated adjusters
Outfit includes case, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, spare strings and tuner
The pegs have a tendency to slip
The bow isn’t perfect – but still offers good value for money.
The Bunnel outfit from Kennedy Violins is considerably more expensive than others on our list. However, the investment may be worth it if you’re determined to progress as a violinist. It will be suitable for both beginners and intermediate musicians.
The violin comes in a range of sizes – 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, ¼, ½, ¾ and full-sized. You’ll also receive a case, additional bridge and strings, a shoulder rest and a bow. You’ll even receive a soft blanket to provide extra protection for your instrument.
It comes fully set up with steel cored strings by D’Addario Prelude. The bridge will already be in position too.
The top of the violin is spruce, finished in a satin oil polish, and the back and sides are made of maple. While the tailpiece is composite, both the pegs and fingerboard are made of ebony. And there are four integrated tuners to fine tune the strings. The tone is full-bodied, warm and resonant.
The accessories are a step up from less expensive outfits too. The bow is manufactured by Guiliani and features an ebony frog, leather grip, silver winder and Mongolian horsehair bowstrings. It even comes pre-rosined, courtesy of the luthiers at Kennedy Violins.
The case is also the best we’ve found in a beginner package. It has a hard shell and an attractive velour interior in light blue, navy or amber. Note that if buying online, you won’t be able to choose the color.
The strap to hold the neck of the violin in place is finished in matching velour. There are holders for two bows, and two compartments for your shoulder rest and smaller accessories. Best of all, there’s a hygrometer, so you can keep an eye on the humidity inside your case.
There’s no escaping that you’ll be paying more for this set, though it’s still far from expensive. But the sweet tone of the violin, and the good quality accessories, still offer excellent value for money.
Full-bodied, warm tone
Good quality accessories, including a Guiliani bow and case with hygrometer
No need for any set up
You won’t be able to choose the color of the case interior if you’re buying online
Pricier than other beginner packages – but you’re paying for quality.
The SKYVN102 from Sky is available in a range of sizes, from 1/16 all the way up to full-sized. Alongside the violin, you’ll get a case, bow, shoulder rest, rosin and a rubber practice mute. A full set of adjusters are also positioned on the tailpiece.
There’s no set up to do here. The instrument will arrive strung and with the bridge in place. Just check that you don’t need to adjust the position – it can move during transit. You will, of course, need to tune it and rosin the bow before playing.
It’s also worth checking the height of the bridge. We’ve heard of some cases where the bridge has been rather high. That can hurt your fingertips as you play, so if that’s the case, have it lowered.
The front of the violin is made from spruce and the back and sides from maple. Both front and back are oil varnished to an attractive medium sheen. The tailpiece is made of alloy and the chinrest and peg tips are plastic. The sound is fairly smooth for an instrument at this price point.
The bow is made from Brazilwood and Mongolian horsehair and is inlaid with mother of pearl. The shoulder rest has rubberized feet for a secure fit.
The case is lightweight but sturdy. It has a weatherproof fabric covering, with a zippered pocket to hold your music. The interior is an attractive pale gray with a matching strap to keep the neck of the violin in place. There are holders for two bows and an accessory compartment for rosin and your mute.
Note that you will need to find a separate home for your shoulder rest, though.
All in all, this is a good value violin outfit with size options to suit beginners of all ages.
Available in sizes from 1/16 up to full-sized
Good quality case with weatherproof canvas covering
No set-up required
The peg tips and chinrest are made of plastic
Check the bridge height – it may need to be shaved down.
If you’re still not sure which is the right beginner violin to choose, don’t worry! Read on for some factors to consider before you make your selection.
Get the right fit
It’s very important for any violinist that their instrument is the right size. Violins come in sizes measured infractions, from 1/32 all the way up to 4/4 or full-sized.
To get the right fit, budding musicians should stand with their left arm fully extended. The distance from the base of their neck to their wrist will give the measurement for their ideal violin. If it’s 23 inches or more, they’ll need a full-sized instrument. For measurements less than this, consult an online size guide.
For growing players, it’s also worth measuring the distance from the base of their neck to the center of their palm. This will tell you the largest possible instrument they can play. That can help you minimize the number of times you have to replace their instrument as they grow.
Look for a helping hand
Whilst good sound quality is always nice to have, for beginners it’s not going to make that much difference. Players still working out where to put their fingers can make the most expensive violin sound awful! It’s just part of the learning process.
But there are plenty of things that can help make learning easier. Top of the list is a guide to show players where to position their fingers on the fingerboard. This can be created with simple stickers, and Lagrima’s violin set includes just such a guide.
For a smarter look, Eastar’s EVA-2 has a fingerboard inlaid with Muscovite. This will mean, however, that it’s obviously a beginner’s violin, and players may want to upgrade sooner rather than later.
Getting a violin that comes with some accessories can help take the headache out of getting started too. A case, bow and rosin are essential. New players can make do with a piece of foam in place of a shoulder rest, though they’ll need to upgrade before too long.
Tuners and mutes are nice extras, but not essential for beginners. And while violin teachers will welcome built-in adjusters, new players aren’t likely to be tuning their own violins.
Consider short and long-term costs
Finally, it’s worth considering the trade-off between short and long-term costs. There are some exceptionally good value violins for beginners out there. The least expensive, however, will need to be upgraded after a couple of years of playing.
If you’re confident of progressing from beginner to intermediate – and your beginner isn’t growing any longer – it may be worth making a larger investment upfront.
A violin like the Bunnell or Cecilio reviewed above will grow with your skills. And whilst you’ll eventually need something more advanced, it will offer you many years of pleasurable playing.
Time to choose!
We hope our reviews of seven of the best beginner violins out there have helped you to narrow down your search. The good news is, you won’t have to spend a fortune to get a good standard of violin and accessories.