Best Violin Overall:
A member of the string family, the violin has been in production since the 16th century. It was the perfect instrument to keep up with a rapidly changing music industry, as musicians became more and more proficient and music began to move from the noble, private sphere, into the public domain. Its ability to closely emulate the lyrical qualities of the human voice, and versatility across multiple music genres have made it an extremely popular instrument.
Finding the right violin can be extremely difficult, as each one comes with an entirely different tone, feel, and most importantly, price tag. All of the violins on this list were chosen because they offer the best value overall, when taking into consideration price, tone, playability, and quality.
Every violin on this list has been professionally set up therefore minimizing the need for adjustment after purchase, and contributing to both the beautiful tone and easy playability of each instrument. Each of these instruments has also been constructed under expert supervision by established professionals. These select instruments produce a professional tone while remaining reasonably affordable option for a quality instrument.
This instrument produces an extremely unique tone and is remarkably even across all four strings, giving the player the best bang for their buck. It's a versatile instrument that plays well no matter the genre. Read Full Review
The Rudoulf Doetsch 701 Violin is highly dependable in many different performance settings. It delivers a high quality sound, and has first-class fittings which means fewer tuning issues or major adjustments. Read Full Review
Ming Jiang Zhu is a violin maker of world renown, supervising the creation of beautiful instruments in his workshop in China. The 907 model has a powerful tone making it an ideal instrument for either professionals or students. Read Full Review
The Karl Willhelm Model 58 Violin packs a surprising punch with a particularly resonant tone and powerful projection abilities. Price wise it's a mid range instrument which still delivers a high-quality sound, making it the perfect option for anyone looking for a slight upgrade but unable to commit to a more expensive instrument. Read Full Review
Based on the violin Paganini played for most of his life, this expertly produced copy is a fine instrument for an advancing violinist. Known for its brash, virtuosic tone, this violin is produced by US Customs Strings, and is distinguished by a fine application of Italian finish and expert reproduction of the original. Read Full Review
Best Student Violin:
There comes a point when budding violinists know they want to stick with this instrument for a long time, and are ready to find a violin they can call their own. Purchasing a violin can be a good investment, for although violins are some of the more expensive musical instruments, they dont lose their value over time when treated with care. If the violin sounds good and is easy to play, owning a violin rather than renting one can be an inspiration for a young musician, encouraging them to spend more time playing the instrument. Finding such a violin can be a challenge, however, as every instrument is unique.
There is no substitute for playing several violins to find the one that is right for you. If you dont have a good violin shop in your area, some shops are willing to ship several violins to you, allowing you to try them out and keep the one you like best. A good student violin will have a pleasant sound, consistent tone quality through the entire range of notes, responsive dynamic range, and will feel easy to play. Good craftsmanship is essential - look for a solid spruce top, aged maple back and sides, ebony pegs which dont stick or come loose, and fine tuners on an ebony tailpiece.
The list below includes instruments from trusted shops which consistently receive good reviews from teachers, parents and students. They are all available as sets complete with a case and a bow for between $400 and $600. NOTE: If you order any violin from a manufacturers website or other online source rather than from a violin shop, take it to a professional local violin shop for setup and adjustment to ensure good tone and playability.
The Marco Polo violins rich, warm tone is clearly a step above other instruments in this price range, earning it our top award. Its balanced response and excellent playability will inspire any aspiring virtuoso. Each violin is setup by hand in the Metzler Violin Shop to ensure quality. Read Full Review
Available through many different distributors as well as their own website, Gliga violins receive high praise for their tone and playability. They are hand carved in Romania from solid Carpathian maple and spruce, based on the Stradivari design. The "Gems" line offers a solid balance of value and quality. Read Full Review
Franz Hoffman violins are a dependable choice, boasting consistent warm tone and good playability. They are a favorite of many violin teachers, and are a great choice for a first violin which will be suitable for many years. Read Full Review
Carlos Rizzo violins have an excellent sweet tone, with good projection through the entire range of the instrument. They are recommended by many violin teachers, and will provide years of enjoyment for developing musicians. Read Full Review
Available through several different distributors, Eastman violins have a very good reputation among string programs around the world. They are hand made from aged tonewoods for great sound quality. The VL100 model offers an attractive balance of quality and value. Read Full Review
Best Electric Violin:
Electric violins have come a long way in the last decade. In the past, violinists looking to amplify their sound had few choices. Pickups for acoustic violins were vulnerable to feedback issues, but fully electric instruments had a distinctive tone that wasn't always desirable. These days, advances in pickup technology provide a stage violinist with much better options which not only sound great, but come in all sorts of interesting shapes.
One thing to keep in mind if you've never played an electric violin before is it can feel a little bit different from a traditional violin. Strings are often a bit wider apart for the sake of pickup clarity which can result in the fingerboard seeming a bit chunky (especially if there are five or more strings). Also, some electric violins have uniquely shaped bodies, which can require a bit of adjustment in playing style if you use the body of your violin as a spatial reference when you shift positions.
The electric violins on this list were chosen foremost for their high tone quality, with playability and user options factoring into the choices as well. They represent a variety of options available for modern violinists.
NS Design makes the electric violins of choice for many professional musicians. They are known as the gold standard for tone and playability. The instrument options, hardware, easy-to-attach accessories, and an excellent attention to detail show a real understanding of a string player's needs. Read Full Review
If you're looking for a unique violin, this would be an excellent choice. The lightweight chest support system secures the instrument to your body, eliminating the need for a chin rest or shoulder rest. This instrument also has very good tone and lots of options to choose from. Read Full Review
MSI violins have been described as having a warm "acoustic-like" sound, while still providing the on-stage advantages of a solid-body instrument. This comes from the adjustable-height bridge/pickup system. Dan Maloney's years of experience are evident in the beauty of these handcrafted instruments. Read Full Review
The Realist Violin is exactly what is seems to be, an inexpensive acoustic violin with a good pickup. It's a good choice for musicians looking to transition to amplified playing without a big style adjustment and who want the expressive sound of an acoustic instrument. Read Full Review
The Yamaha Silent Violin is a very versatile choice. The dual pickups provide a good tone, and the design of the instrument feels familiar. The highlight is the inclusion of a 1/8 inch headphone jack in addition to the 1/4 inch output, which gives you the ability to use headphones for practicing without an amp, or for creating your own in-ear monitor on stage. Read Full Review