Violin Basics

10 Best Violin Brands for Anyone Learning the Violin

Ready to learn the violin? Before you dive into lessons and practice sessions, it’s important to find a quality violin from a reputable brand. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to find the right violin that will meet your needs and skill level. 

Fortunately, the violin experts at Trala have done the research for you and compiled a list of the 10 best violin brands that are perfect for anyone learning the violin. You’ll learn what sets these brands apart, their reputation in the music world, and why they are a great choice for your violin journey.

Key considerations in selecting the right violin brand

Not all violin brands offer good quality instruments, and settling on a random violin brand might make it difficult to progress in your learning (and may even discourage you from continuing). The quality and brand of your violin can significantly impact your sound quality, comfort level, and overall experience. So it’s important to consider:

Sound quality

It’s important to find a violin brand that produces musical instruments with excellent sound quality, as it will significantly enhance your learning and playing experience. Listen to recordings or watch videos of modern violinists playing a brand’s instrument to hear the overall tone, resonance, and clarity. You can also try out different violins in person to hear and feel the difference in sound quality.

Price

Going for the cheapest option might seem like a good idea, especially for beginners on a budget. However, remember that extremely cheap violins often have poor sound quality, may be difficult to play, and can affect your progress and motivation to continue learning. 

It’s crucial to find a balance between affordability and quality when selecting a beginner violin. Often, very inexpensive violins (usually under $100) are made with low-quality materials, have inferior craftsmanship, and may not produce a desirable sound. We call these “violin-shaped objects,” or VSOs: They may look like violins but certainly don’t sound like them!

Craftsmanship

The attention to detail, precision, and skill that goes into crafting each instrument greatly impacts its sound and playability. A well-crafted violin by a master luthier (violin maker) will have good tone, resonance, and projection, making it easier for the player to produce beautiful music. 

The best violin brands take pride in their craftsmanship and use high-quality materials to create visually appealing, durable, and highly playable string instruments. 

Poorly crafted violins, on the other hand, can have uneven fingerboards, poorly set up bridges, and weak joints that can affect the sound quality and playability. You may struggle to keep up during your beginner violin lessons if you have to constantly tune your instrument or fix its issues.

Outfit

The term “violin outfit” refers to the accessories that come with a violin, including the violin bow, case, rosin, chin rest, and sometimes even shoulder rests or tuners. Some brands offer basic outfits, while others include higher-quality accessories. It’s important to consider the outfit when selecting a violin brand, as it can save you time and money — rather than purchasing these items separately.

10 top-notch violin brands for violin learners

At Trala, we believe in providing the best learning experience for violin enthusiasts, regardless of skill level, age, or budget. Here are our top 10 picks for the best violin brands, based on sound quality, brand reputation, and craftsmanship.

1. StringWorks

StringWorks is a family-owned and operated company with 25 years of experience in hand-crafting violins, violas, and cellos. They are known for producing some of the best student violins, as well as professional-grade instruments for advanced players. 

Their master luthiers use only the finest tonewoods and materials to hand-craft violins that have excellent sound quality, playability, and visual appeal. 

So, what makes StringWorks an ideal choice for beginners?

  • The StringWorks Setup is included with every violin purchase (regardless of the price range), ensuring you get a quality instrument that’s ready to play out of the box.
  • Their 14-day in-home free trial lets you test out most of their instruments before committing to a purchase.
  • They offer a trade-in policy on most instruments that allows you to upgrade your violin as you progress and improve in your journey. You can trade in your old StringWorks beginner violin for a professional-grade instrument (with a 100% trade-in credit for your first trade-in and 80% on subsequent upgrades).

Best of all? Trala students can get great deals on certain StringWorks violin outfits thanks to our partnership!

2. Fiddlershop

Fiddlershop is a one-stop shop for all your string instrument needs, and they specialize in violins, violas, cellos, and basses. They sell high-quality instruments and accessories at affordable prices for players of all levels. 

Their team of luthiers hand-selects and sets up each instrument to ensure optimal playability and sound quality. They offer a variety of beginner violin outfits, intermediate violins, professional-grade instruments, and a selection of electric violins. What makes this violin shop stand out?

  • Violin outfits with everything you need to start your musical journey, including a Brazilwood bow, case, rosin, digital tuner, practice mute, and shoulder rest
  • 45-day return policy and one-year standard warranty on all instruments
  • Free shipping if you spend at least $35
  • Luthier services and repairs available for any issues with your instrument, including bow rehairs, soundpost adjustments, and major repairs

Fiddlershop also offers a range of educational resources on its website, including video tutorials, articles, and a community forum for violin enthusiasts to connect and share their experiences.

Get high-quality violin outfits for less with the Trala x Fiddlershop partnership.

3. Yamaha

Founded by Torakusu Yamaha in 1887, Yamaha is a Japanese multinational corporation known for producing high-quality, reliable, and innovative musical instruments, including pianos, drums, guitars, and violins. 

Yamaha violins are used by musicians all over the world, from beginners to professionals, and have earned a reputation for their consistent sound quality, durability, and playability. Their hand-carved violins feature solid spruce tops, maple backs and ribs, ebony fittings, and inlaid purfling for added strength and resonance. 

Some of the best Yamaha violin models for beginners include the AV20 SG, AV7 SG, AV5-SKU, and YVN003. These instruments are known for their warm tone, responsive tuning, and ergonomic design that is comfortable for beginners to hold and play.

4. Fiddlerman

Pierre Holstein, a professional violinist and teacher, founded Fiddlerman in 2011 to provide high-quality, affordable instruments for beginner, intermediate, and professional violin players

Skilled luthiers in China hand-craft Fiddlerman violins — a line of violins sold by Fiddlershop — using high-quality, carefully selected tonewoods and materials. They are then tested, adjusted, and set up by experienced technicians in their Florida workshop to ensure optimal playability, sound quality, and intonation. 

You’ll find several violins in the Fiddlerman line that are perfect for beginners, including the Fiddlerman Concert, Fiddlerman Apprentice, and Fiddlerman Soloist. The varnish on their violins is hand-applied, giving each instrument a unique and beautiful finish.

5. Stentor

Stentor is a British string instrument brand that has been making high-quality violins since 1895. Edward C. Doughty (professor of music and violin teacher) started the company as a gut string and rosin manufacturer but quickly expanded into making violins due to popular demand. 

Stentor violins are popular among both teachers and students due to their reliability, affordability, and consistent quality across all models. Their use of solid tonewoods (spruce, maple, and ebony) contributes to their warm tone, excellent projection, and smooth playability. 

Some of their popular violin models include the Stentor Student Standard violin outfit, the Stentor Student 1 violin outfit, and the Stentor Conservatoire violin outfit. These violins are known for their durability, easy playability, and comfortable design — perfect for beginners who are just starting their musical journey.

6. Cecilio

Another brand of violin students can rely on for quality instruments is Cecilio. Founded in 2004, Cecilio has quickly become a top choice for beginners, intermediate, and professional players. Their violins feature hand-carved solid spruce tops, maple backs and sides, inlaid purfling, and ebony fittings that offer solid durability and brilliant sound quality. 

A standout feature of Cecilio violins is their use of genuine Mongolian horsehair for their bows, which offers a smoother and more responsive feel. 

Among their popular violin models for beginners are the Cecilio CVN-500 and Cecilio CVN-300, which come as complete outfits with a bow, rosin, and case. These violins boast playable action, smooth tuning, and a warm tone that’s great for beginners.

7. Knilling

Purchasing your first violin from Knilling means you’re investing in a reputable, established brand with over 100 years of experience. Bernard Kornblum started the company in St. Louis in 1922 and named it after German luthier Johannes Knilling. 

The brand’s knowledge of tonewoods, advanced wood processing technology, and skilled craftsmanship have earned them a spot as one of the top violin brands for beginners and intermediate players. Knilling violins are known for their excellent projection, rich tone, and attention to detail in design and construction. 

Notable series from Knilling include the Sebastian, Anton Eminescu, and Bucharest lines — perfect violins for students to start their musical journey with confidence and ease. The hand-carved European spruce and maple woods used in Knilling violins provide a warm, full-bodied sound, while the ebony fingerboard, pegs, and chinrest offer durability and a classic aesthetic.

8. Cremona

Cremona is a brand that prides itself on its Italian heritage and tradition of hand-crafting string instruments with precision and care. It’s named after Cremona, an Italian city renowned for its violin-making history and home to some of the most iconic luthiers, such as Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri. 

Cremona violins combine traditional craftsmanship with modern technology to produce instruments that are beautifully designed, easy to play, and offer excellent sound quality. Some of their popular models for beginners include:

  • Cremona SV-200 Premier Student Violin Outfit
  • Cremona SV-500 Premier Artist Violin Outfit
  • Cremona SV-175 Premier Student Violin Outfit

You’ll enjoy superior sound projection, excellent playability, and aesthetic appeal from any of these options.

9. Mendini

Mendini violins are popular among beginners due to their affordability, quality, and variety. The brand is part of the Cecilio family, which means it shares the same commitment to providing high-quality instruments at an accessible price point. 

Mendini violins are hand-crafted with care and precision using solid tonewoods, such as spruce, maple, and ebony, for a traditional look and warm tone. Some of Mendini’s popular beginner violin models include the Mendini MV200, Mendini MV300, and Mendini MV400, which feature hand-carved tonewoods, inlaid purfling, and four fine tuners for easier tuning.

10. Tower Strings

If you’re looking for a good quality violin that doesn’t compromise on sound and playability, Tower Strings is a great brand to consider. Violins from this brand feature 100% ebony fingerboards, carbon composite tailpieces (with in-built fine tuners), hand-carved spruce tops, and maple backs. 

The brand strongly focuses on craftsmanship and attention to detail, ensuring that each violin is set up and tested by professional luthiers before you purchase it. So you can be confident that your favorite violin songs will sound just like they should.

Embark on your violin journey with Trala

The next step after finding the perfect violin is to learn how to play and improve your skills. Trala is a revolutionary violin learning platform that offers personalized, interactive lessons with world-class instructors for all skill levels. 

You can learn at your own pace with instant feedback on your playing, personalized practice plans, and a vast library of violin songs to choose from. With Trala, learning the violin is fun, engaging, and accessible for everyone. If you’re not sure where or how to buy a violin, don’t worry — the Trala team can help you find what’s best for you.

Start your violin journey: Sign up for your first Trala lesson today.

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