What Is The Best Violin To Buy?


Looking for the best violin to buy? Whether you're just starting out or looking to upgrade, scroll down the list to find the violin that best fits your need and compliments your wallet. Since price is a major issue for most people, we have included several affordable options.

If you are looking for smaller sizes see our page dedicated specifically to selecting child violins.

Organized by price, this simple to read guide will go through the basics of each recommended violin plus the pro's and con's of these top violin brands. Keep in mind that the best violin to buy is not the same for every person. Follow this guide to find a sound, price, and look that is right for you!

Stentor Violin - $175 - $245
This is a great beginning violin and is recommended by many violin teachers as well as violin shops. When looking for a student-grade violin, this could be the best violin to buy. The Stentor is a reliable, and well built instrument made to withstand the rough handling of a beginner student. It also has a warm playable sound, which is very important to a beginner student. The main complaint of the Stentor is the uneven thickness of varnish. This violin comes as an outfit including violin case, bow and strings. However for optimal sound, we recommend replacing the strings with Dominant Brand violin strings.


Knilling Violin Brand - $200.00 & up
The Knilling brand is one that is well known among violin teachers and beginning students. In fact, it is one of the largest suppliers of student-grade stringed instruments in the world. Many rental shops use the exact student model featured here. If you're a beginner student keep in mind that in the long run, buying the violin is a lot more affordable than renting, and that the best violin to buy might just be the one you are already renting.



Cremona Violins
There are many options available within the Cremona brand. Much like the Stentor, Cremona violins make the 'best violin to buy' list due to playability. This is important because a violin that is difficult to play will deter beginning students from practicing. Cremona also receives high ratings for their looks, and with a nicer chin rest and tailpiece fitting could potentially be a very professional looking violin. As with all student-grade violins, Cremona violins have their downsides. The testers of String Magazine noted that although the Cremona violin was very easy to play and built-to-last, "the projection seemed muted and the tone pinched".

Cremona makes several models in different price ranges. Here are the violin's that get the best customer reviews. As price goes up with violins so does the quality. Nicer woods, more experienced craftsmen, and higher quality fittings are used on more expensive violins.

Cremona SV-150 Premier Student Violin - Less than $200.00
Cremona SV-1260 Maestro First Violin - $500-$700
Cremona SV-1500 Maestro Master Violin - $900.00 & Up



Scott Cao Kreisler Violin - $1600.00
For intermediate violinist who are ready to upgrade violins, beginner violinist with a larger budget, and even advanced violinist looking for that perfect violin, the Scott Cao comes highly recommended. Cao violins are made of first-class Italian spruce and Bosnian maple, varnished with either a "straight" or "antique copy" varnish.
Hear what the critiques at String Magazine had to say about Scott Cao instruments, "The sound is complex, with good projection and a lush tone. The instrument is well set up and holds its tuning better than many of the others we tried. The craftsmanship is superior, although the varnish is almost orange and heavy in spots. The fittings were unusually refined for an instrument in this price range. We recommend this as a good investment if you’re looking for a workshop instrument with the price tag of a factory-made model."


Ming-Jiang Zhu Violins - $2500 & Up
Ming-Jiang Zhu is a highly acclaimed maker and has won numerous awards at international competitions, including two gold medals for violin at the prestigious Violin Society of America. Violins from his workshop are crafted by highly trained makers overseen by Mr. Zhu and Mr. Shao Chen. They offer beautiful woods and craftsmanship, easy playability, and superior tone. Zhu violins are frequently discussed on violin forums, and many people agree that they are one of the best kept secrets in the violin buying world. Zhu violin's aren't sold in just any violin shop, and those who play them love them. If you are a advanced violinist looking for a violin to take you to the next violin, you should seriously consider a Ming-Jian Zhu violin. As far as expensive violin goes, Zhu instruments are the 'best bang for your buck' that you will find. I have yet to meet someone that didn't love their Zhu violin.

Tips for when the best violin to buy is Online

In years past I would've said, never purchase a violin online. But times are changing and so are my opinions. Purchasing a violin online opens up new possibilities and competitive pricing. You are no longer limited to the general music store down the street. Not only that, but greater measures are being taken to ensure safe travel of the violin during shipping. Free shipping prices are often offered on instruments, as well as money-back guarantees and trial periods for testing an instrument. Here are some simple tips to make your online instrument purchasing a better experience.

  • Many sellers offer 100% money back guarantees for products returned in specified time frames that are in like-new condition and in the original packaging. Some of the sellers on Amazon with excellent customer service are; Johnson String, and Southwest strings. With Amazon, not only do you have the promises and relationship of the direct seller, but you can have the peace of mind with the Amazon.com A-to-z Guarantee claim.

  • Buying a violin off of ebay is usually not a good idea. You are unable to try the violin out before the sale is final. In other words, there is no money-back guarantee. Many fake and fraudulent instruments have been purchased on ebay with no way of knowing until it is too late.

  • If you find a violin online that you think you might like, and you have a local violin shop, visit the shop and check it out. That way you can get a feel for what the violin will be like before purchasing, and you can also do a little price comparison.

  • It is easy to find a violin online that is less than $100.00. It is not easy to find a violin online for under $100.00 that is even worth playing!

  • Before checking out, make sure you understand what the violin is coming with. Some violin's come as an outfit and some violin's do not. If your violin does not come with an outfit you will need to also order a violin bow and case to have ready for when the violin arrives.

  • Other Great Resource for finding the Best Violin To Buy

    Zaret & Sons Violins
    Article on 'Best Violin To Buy' by Strings Magazine


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