Best Violins for Beginners (2022 Review)

Musical instruments are fantastic, whether you’re playing one as a hobbyist, amateur, or professional. But the biggest downside is the (typically) steep learning curve that they require, especially for a complete beginner.

The violin is particularly intimidating, too, because when you don’t know much about it, it looks a lot simpler than it really is when you see someone playing it. However, once you try it for yourself, you realize the sheer amount of skill it requires.

Fortunately, though, violin brands have got you covered with plenty of options for beginner violins – no “violin strings” attached. The only problem is that there’s no single best violin for beginners that suits everyone.

And while many beginner violin reviews online will give you different results, we’ve personally selected and tested eight student violins to help you find the best beginner violin for you. So let’s get into the best violins for beginners.

best violin for beginner

The 8 Best Violins for Beginners in 2022

Before we talk about the best beginner violin, there’s one quick point we need to touch on.

Some violinists, especially elitist ones, will tell you that beginner violins are “just budget violins” with low-quality strings that’ll produce terrible sound quality. Some might even tell you to pick up an intermediate violin right away and not waste your time on beginner violins.

In all fairness, it’s true that beginner violins aren’t typically made of the highest quality materials and produce lower-quality sound. But by no means is a beginner violin a “cheap instrument” in terms of quality.

The best violin brands nowadays aim to inspire violin students to enjoy playing the violin as they develop the right skills and continue their violin playing journey.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into the main course of this article so you can find a quality violin for your needs.

1. Stentor, 4-String Violin (1500 3/4) – Best Overall Pick

Stentor is one of the best student violin brands around, and you can see why looking at their 4-string 1500 model violin.

The Stentor 1500 is a solid wood violin beautifully fine-grained with spruce on top and maple on the back and sides and finished with lacquered brown paint that gives it a lustrous polish.

The 1500 is hand-crafted to eliminate errors as much as possible, using fine wooden materials to make the neck and chin rest comfortable and stylish.

Stentor, 4-String Violin (1500 3/4)

Stentor offers a few sizes of the 1500 model, and they are all incredibly lightweight, making it an excellent option for children. For reference, the 1500 4/4 model is only 3.1 (1.4 kg) pounds, while the 1500 3/4 model is just a pound (0.45 kg).

The bag in which the violin comes doesn’t add much weight either and has plenty of padding to absorb shock if you accidentally bump the bag. And with a bow holder, pockets, and straps so you can wear it like a backpack, Stentor has all the basics covered.

And for such an affordable price, you’d be surprised how good the Stentor 1500 sounds. This is because of the D’Addario strings and aged spruce, which produce a great sound with smooth transmission.

The incredible cost-effectiveness of the Stentor 1500 is the reason many violin instructors recommend their students buy it. Besides, it can function as a beginner or intermediate violin, so you won’t immediately need to upgrade as you improve your level.

Just be careful with whom you buy the 1500 from, as some vendors will try to sell you a worn-out, good-for-nothing instrument.

What We Like:

  • Hand-crafted with high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
  • Good price and incredibly cost-efficient.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Excellent sound.
  • Can be used by intermediate players.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The ebony used for fittings is a bit low in quality.
  • No protective wrap around the instrument, making it susceptible to scratches.
  • You may need to replace the stock strings.

The Bottom Line

The Stentor 1500 is a great combination of quality and affordability, and you can grow as a violin player with this instrument. You won’t need an immediate upgrade as your skill develops.

2. Mendini CVN-300 By Cecilio – Best for Versatility

Cecilio violins are some of the most popular in the violin world. Cecilio offers a handful of violins for beginners, too, and we’ve selected the CVN-300 out of them.

The CVN-300 looks fantastic with its solid maple sides, neck, and back, and spruce top. The solid wood is finished with an antique finish with inlaid purfling on the top to give it that nice, shiny look.

Also, the ebony fittings on the tuning pegs, fingerboard, and chin rest complement the woodwork nicely.

Mendini CVN-300 By Cecilio

As for the sound, the D’Addario Prelude steel strings, spruce, and maple work together well to generate a warm and pleasant tone. All this is great for a beginner violin.

This makes the CVN-300 a great and versatile violin for beginners who may want to use it to learn to play at first then continue their violin playing later on without upgrading to a more advanced violin.

For your convenience, the CVN-300 comes with a complete package of extras that you’ll usually need to buy separately from other violin brands.

For example, you’ll find extra strings, two brazilwood bows, a rosin cake, and a lesson book. This package of extras is one of the reasons many beginners enjoy a Cecilio violin.

We appreciated the lesson book that contains 32 pages of many popular classic pieces with simple-to-play arrangements, and we’re betting you’ll enjoy it too as a beginner violinist.

What We Like:

  • Cost-effective violin that will last for a few years.
  • Easy to play and produces relatively good sound.
  • Made of high quality tone woods that won’t warp and produce a warm tone.
  • Includes several extra accessories.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The bows aren’t very high-quality.
  • The pegs often slip, so you’ll need to tune the violin every time they do.
  • The rosin cake isn’t high-quality either.

The Bottom Line

The Mendini CVN-300 is a good violin for beginners, especially for students looking to continue playing years after their courses without needing to upgrade to a high-quality violin.

3. Bunnel Premier – Best Handcrafted Violin

The Bunnel Premier is an upgraded version of the Bunnel Pupil we’ll talk about soon. The Premier is hand-crafted with a fine hand-carved maple bridge and top and spruce wood on the bottom. The fittings on the pegs are made of ebony wood, just like they often are in many violins.

The oil finish isn’t commonly done by beginner violin brands, as it’s done more often on professional violins. Yet, we see it on the Bunnel Premier, and it’s hand-rubbed, in fact.

This oil finish gives the instrument a glossy look that feels more professional and truer to the historical standards of violin craftsmanship.

Bunnel offers the Premier model on clearance outfits due to some cosmetic defects on the violin, such as a finish blemish, small dent, aberrations, or a minor scratch on the wood. That’s why you might find these violins priced a bit cheaper than the Bunnel Pupil.

However, these cosmetic defects (more like imperfections, honestly) don’t affect the violin’s performance. You can still tune it and play it as you would any other student violin. In short, the Bunnel Premier is a good beginner violin.

Bunnel Premier

The maple on the Bunnel Premier offers a rich tone when playing the instrument, and the ceramic pickup extends the sound range.

The Bunnel Premier is available in several sizes, including full-size violin (4/4), 3/4, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, and 1/18, so there’s something for almost all arm lengths.

Depending on where you buy your Premier from, your instrument might arrive completely pre-assembled by a professional luthier, which saves beginners a lot of hassle. If you receive yours this way, all you have to do is tune it before it’s playable, which is pretty easy to learn.

The Premier’s case comes with a brazilwood bow, rosin, and extra strings. However, it doesn’t come with fine-tuners.

What We Like:

  • Hand-crafted to the standards of contemporary violin makers.
  • Rich and warm tone with far-reaching range.
  • Can often be found in clearance sales.
  • Comes with several accessories.

What We Don’t Like:

  • When sold on clearance sales, it’ll likely have some cosmetic errors.
  • No fine-tuners among the accessories that come with it.
  • Amp only runs on battery – no plug.

The Bottom Line

If you’re searching for a classic-looking, hand-crafted student violin that produces good sound for its price tag, then the Bunnel Premier is a good choice. Just remember your model might have some scratches or aberrations, but that won’t affect the instrument’s performance anyway.

As a bonus, you might get your Premier shipped pre-assembled if you buy it from the right place, which will save you a lot of hassle.

4. Mendini MV300 – Best Minimalist Pick

The Mendini MV300 is a minimalist violin elegantly. But, at a shockingly low price, does the MV300 deliver?

The MV300 boasts a hand-carved spruce top with a maple back and sides. And what looks like an ebony fingerboard is actually made of maple as well, but it’s stained to give it an ebony look. The pegs are also made of maple.

We would’ve preferred ebony over maple for the fingerboard and pegs. But in all fairness, we can’t hold it against the MV300 when it comes with such an attractive price tag.

As for the rosin cake, it’s glazed to keep it coarse during shipping. However, this means you’ll need a filer or sandpaper to remove the glaze layer until the rosin cake is powdered up.

Mendini MV300

The MV300’s package is quite lightweight at just under 4 lbs (less than 2 kg), and it includes the rosin, two bridges, an extra set of strings, and an adjustable shoulder rest.

Once you take the violin out of the package, you’ll need to set it up before producing proper sound. For example, you’ll have to take off the strings and apply the rosin on the pegs and their holes until they become powdery.

Then, just be careful to remove and attach the strings one by one.

As for the sound, it comes off a bit more mellow and warm than other Mendini models. This isn’t objectively a good or bad thing; it all depends on your preference. Either way, the sound quality is good for the price.

If you’re looking for colorful and affordable violins, then we’re happy to tell you that the MV300 comes in a few different colors, such as black, cyan, and baby pink.

What We Like:

  • Affordable.
  • Available in a few different colors.
  • Good sound for the price.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to play.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not as sturdy as its more expensive alternatives, will require maintenance.
  • Set-up may be difficult for some new users.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of simplicity and good minimalist design, then consider the Mendini MV300. It’s an affordable and good beginner violin, as you would typically expect with Mendini. Just be ready to hone your violin set-up skills once it arrives so you can get it working right.

5. Cremona SV-75 Premier – Most Colorful Brand

Cremona is one of the best violin brands for beginners on a tight budget who want something that’s not just a violin-shaped object. Their SV-75 Premier violin is an affordable quality violin. Let’s look at the SV-75 in some detail.

The first thing we noticed was how much color variety Cremona offered with their SV-75 Premier. There are six colors available for starters: the good old traditional brown and five sparkling colors: black, blue, green, purple, and pink.

Adults will probably prefer traditional brown or maybe sparkling black, which looks really interesting for a violin. As for the other colors, they’re more catered towards children since such a bright violin usually looks more like a toy or a cheap violin knock-off.

Cremona SV-75 Premier

Regardless of color, all SV-75 Premier violins are made of hand-carved tonewood with hardwood fittings on the fine-tuners and inlaid purfling. Overall, the construction is quite solid, considering the price tag.

The SV-75 Premier’s sound is okay. It’s not world-class, of course, but it’s enough to help you get your feet wet. You’ll probably have to upgrade to a higher quality instrument once your skill level is more intermediate, though.

Still, it’s not a bad deal considering it’s an affordable beginner violin – emphasis on beginner.

As for the case, it’s well-padded to keep your violin safe. It’s also quite lightweight, so carrying your violin from A to B week in and week out won’t be a huge hassle. Even a kid could carry it on their own.

What We Like:

  • A variety of colors is offered.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Comes ready to play, and doesn’t need extensive tuning.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The strings are of lower quality than its more expensive alternatives.
  • Doesn’t come with a rosin cake.

The Bottom Line

The SV-75 Premier doesn’t offer something mind-blowing. Instead, it’s a fun, affordable, and good violin. The colors offered are mostly catered to kids, but traditional brown looks as great as you’d expect a classical violin, and sparkling black has a fascinating look that could suit adults.

6. Paititi 1/2 Size Artist-100 – Best for Children

If you want your kid to try the violin, then the best violin brand for them is possibly Paititi with their Artist-100 model. Let’s see why.

First of all, when we think of violin-playing children, we imagine them carrying the instrument and maintaining their balance and stability so they can play well. And to do so, they need their instrument to be lightweight. At just over 2.5 pounds (over 1.1 kg), the Artist-100 checks this box.

Next, you as a parent might be reluctant to pay a hefty sum on what your kid may play with for a few months, then drop in the attic to collect dust. Luckily, the Artist-100 is an affordable violin that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Paititi 1/2 Size Artist-100

So at a low cost, you can buy your kid a good violin, and it can help your kid discover their talent and stick with the violin for a while.

As for the looks and design, it’s what you’d expect from a beginner’s violin at this price range: tonewood on the top, bottom, and sides, and a brazilwood bow with unbleached Mongolian horsehair. It looks good, though sometimes we felt it looks like an antique piece. Take that however you like.

The main drawback with the Artist-100 is how much maintenance it needs. For starters, the pegs are a bit loose, and you’ll need to adjust them and push them in each time before playing, sometimes with extra force. Otherwise, they might slip during play.

You’ll also need to rosin the bow for five minutes before you play the violin for the first time, then rosin it again every 4-6 hours of practice.

What We Like:

  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Good-looking basic design.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slippy pegs.
  • Requires high maintenance.

The Bottom Line

The incredible lightweight of the Paititi Artist-100 also makes it possibly the best violin for beginners of more diminutive stature and especially little children.

7. Costzon Full Size 4/4 Solid Wood – Best Budget Pick

The Costzon Full Size 4/4 Solid Wood is one of the most affordable violins you’ll see today. The price tag is jaw-dropping compared to other violins. And it’s not surprising as Costzon, as a violin brand, is known for its insanely affordable products.

The question is, does the Costzon Full Size suffer from being made too accessible?

The Costzon Full Size is a very beginner-friendly violin, and it’s probably the best violin you’ll find for anywhere near the price tag it carries.

In fact, we’re betting almost everything else in its price range is either a toy or a “violin-shaped object,” as we call them.

Costzon Full Size 4/4 Solid Wood

But the Costzon Full Size isn’t a bad one. It’s pretty light at five pounds (2.25 kg), and feels stable in your hands as you play it.

In terms of design, the Full Size is made of quality tonewood, which you’ll commonly see in violins that cost three times as much. However, Costzon didn’t specify what finish they used, and we’re guessing it isn’t top-of-the-line stuff, but it works alright.

Costzon used white wood dyed black instead of ebony wood for the fingerboard and aluminum alloy for the composite tailpiece to cut down on costs.

As for what comes with the violin, you’ll find all the basics you need except for the shoulder rest, which you’ll have to buy separately elsewhere. Once you unpack the box, you can assemble the violin yourself as it’s not difficult for the most part, but the bridge is a bit tricky to assemble.

The sound is surprisingly pleasant for the price. However, there may be some tinning here and there because of the cheaper strings.

What We Like:

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Good sound for the price.
  • Solid tonewood design.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not very sturdy.
  • Doesn’t come with a shoulder rest.

The Bottom Line

If you’re on a tight budget, one of the barriers to entry into violin playing is the price, but with the Costzon Full Size, you can consider this barrier removed. For a budget violin, the Solid Wood offers good looks and good sound, despite the imperfections in design.

8. Bunnel Pupil Violin – Best Premium Pick

The first thing that might catch your eye on the Bunnel Pupil violin is the relatively hefty price tag. Also equally eye-catching, though, is the attractive design with a solid maple back and solid spruce top and full ebony fittings on the chin rest and tuning pegs. The ebony fingerboard is more subtle but is excellent as well.

However, this much material makes the Bunnel Pupil a not-too-light musical instrument at about 7 lbs (3 kg). It’s not too heavy for adult players, and children will be okay with it, too, unless they’re playing for hours on end.

Since the Bunnel Pupil is a more expensive starter violin, the sound quality is expectedly better than cheap violins. One of the critical sound components is the steel D’Addario Prelude strings that produce a rich tone.

Bunnel Pupil Violin

On the other hand, intermediate and advanced students with a finer ear for tone may notice a tinniness in sound. But that’s generally expected with beginner violins anyway.

After all, a beginner’s violin will never match the quality of an advanced violin that costs thousands of dollars, so it’s okay.

The Bunnel Pupil comes with a nice Giuliani brazilwood bow fitted with genuine Mongolian horsehair and a Portland Oblong high-quality case. We noticed that the bow bends a little bit with time, though, which we didn’t like, but it’s still manageable.

Moreover, you can find the Bunnel Pupil in five sizes: 4/4 (full-sized violin), 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, and 1/16, so you can find a suitable size for almost everyone.

What We Like:

  • Attractive look with relatively high-quality materials.
  • Great sound quality for a beginner’s violin.
  • Comes with a nice and durable case.
  • Lifetime warranty.

What We Don’t Like:

  • A bit expensive for a beginner violin.
  • The bow is prone to bending or twisting over time but remains usable.
  • Accessories are prone to wear and tear.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve got a higher budget, the Bunnel Pupil is the best beginner violin to enjoy the warm and rich sound of a violin while learning it on a beginner-friendly instrument. Since the Bunnel Pupil is a relatively expensive violin, it’ll survive longer than its cheaper alternatives too.

How to Pick a Beginner Violin

Before we wrap up, we’d like to give you a few pointers to look at when buying a beginner violin so you can understand the intrinsics of these string instruments even more.

Size

When purchasing a violin, make sure its size is suitable for your arm length. Never go with an oversized violin or get your kid a big violin and expect them to grow into it, as it could cause chronic stress-related neck, back, and arm injuries.

If you’re ever in doubt, remember that it’s better to go with a smaller violin than an oversized one.

Materials

Luthiers mastered the art of violin-making centuries ago, and we haven’t changed it much since then because it works fantastically. Violins are typically crafted from quality tonewoods like maple and spruce.

Also, a few signs of good craftsmanship are deeply carved scrolls and symmetricity.

Sound

When you’ve selected a violin to buy, try listening to it first. You’ll find sample clips on YouTube and probably Soundcloud of people playing a few pieces on the violin you’re targeting. If you feel like something’s off, it’s best to trust your gut.

Final Thoughts

That’ll be our wrap-up of the best violins for beginners! To recap, there are many good-quality violins you could check out. Depending on your situation, you’ll find the right one for yourself.

If you’re looking for an all-around solid option, the best overall pick is the Stentor 1500 violin, which offers excellent craftsmanship, portability, and sound.

However, if you’re on a tighter budget, then you check out our budget pick, the Costzon Full Size Solid Wood violin, which is probably the cheapest violin you’ll find in the foreseeable future that actually functions as an instrument.

There are more options we’ve looked at. For example, one of the violins that stood out the most to us was the Cremona SV-75 Premier. And although it’s a good violin and all, we couldn’t ignore the intriguing colors that it comes in, including sparkling black. Check that out!