wikiHow to Buy a Violin

The violin (sometimes called a fiddle when used in folk music) is a four-stringed classical instrument played by rubbing the strings with a bow and using your fingers to adjust the sound of the strings. The violin is mainly used in classical music, but is also used in country, folk, and in some cases, rock.

Unless you're a beginner, you'll need to buy a good sounding, high quality violin. After all, you're going to be paying quite a bit for this fine instrument, and you don't want to make the wrong choice. This article will show you how to pick out a violin and make sure you don't get ripped off.


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    Make sure you have enough money saved up to buy a violin. You can get a student violin in a price range of about $100 - $300 dollars. Better violins can range from $400 - $50,000+. You may be able to find a decent one for about $500 - $600.
    • The reason some violins are more expensive is because of who made them. Once you get to $10,000 the quality of the instrument doesn't change, just the "brand".
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    Know where to buy. Have your mind set on where you are going to go, search the internet, looking for places that sell violins at reasonable prices, but don't go too low, or you may be buying a fake. If there's any doubt, refer to the above step when buying or look at the source "How much does a good violin cost?"
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    Go to the place you found and look at what they have in store, look at the pricing range, the quality, and the artistic touch. If you like what you see, continue on to Step 4. If not, go back and look for another one. After all, you're spending quite a bit of money on this instrument.
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    Ask for the type of wood it was made from. Maple, spruce, ebony, willow, boxwood, and rosewood are the best woods, and it is recommended that you don't buy any other types.
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    Ask for the type of varnish.
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    Ask if you can take it home to practice on it. Many places are very generous and will allow you to do so for up to two weeks, which is plenty of time for you to decide whether or not it is the right violin for you. Practice different techniques, styles, and pieces on it to ensure that it will respond well to all of these. Also test it out with the bow you own, as the sound a violin makes when played with one bow can definitely vary from the sound it makes when played with another.
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    Find out where and when it was made. The violins usually have it written on the inside.
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    Don't cheap out on the bow. It will be tempting to, but the bow is still an important piece of the instrument.
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    When you are absolutely sure you've found a good violin within your budget, follow through with your purchase.


  • Don't rush through this process. Try multiple violins and compare them with each other to decide which one is absolutely right for you.
  • Also remember that it is the violinist that makes the violin. In a famous story, Jascha Heifetz, arguably one of the best violinists of all time, stood behind a screen and played the same piece on a number of different violins for a panel of judges. No one could tell the difference between the violins. However, buying a good student violin is crucial to the development of a good sound and is also excellent motivation for the musician.
  • Take a friend or a teacher, and listen to them play the instrument. A violin sounds different "under the ear" than "in the hall."
  • Even if you're a little worried about the money that a violin costs, if its absolutely the right violin, take comfort in the fact that they do not depreciate in value, unless damaged in some way. In fact, violins become more expensive as they get older, so there's always the possibility of re-selling it for more money. Its an investment (and is a lot safer than the Stock Market.)
  • Keep in mind that you want a violin that is right for your tone and playing ability. If you've only been playing for a year, don't go ahead and buy the most expensive violin you can find.
  • Remember, a violin, especially a handmade violin, is a work of art that is unique in terms of sound and appearance. It's worth investing the time to find the right one to suit you for a lifetime (seeing as mastering the violin is going to take a lifetime). That said, it is also important not to immediately go out and buy the most expensive one you can find - the reason why some teachers prefer you to work with cheaper, lower quality violins is to learn to appreciate playing a truly good instrument that suits you completely later on.
  • Sone stores are even nice enough to have one of their employees play on 2 different instruments so that you yourself can hear the difference.
  • If the violin is second hand, you are likely to need to buy new strings. If you do not know how to apply the strings, the seller of the violin is likely to do so for you.
  • Always play them yourself and listen to someone else playing it. It may sound nice while you're playing it, but not as great for the listener.


  • If you're expecting to find a Stradivarius for $500, it's just not going to happen. Generally, violins with better sound run for higher amounts of money. Also, older violins are regarded by some as having a better sound, because the wood has had time to 'settle.' And because they're older, they generally run for more money.
  • Some instruments you find may be hot pink or electric blue or any other color- they might even look like real wood! But be wary and watch out for violin shaped objects (VSOs) as they are not real instruments and will not work correctly in a multitude of ways. Your violin will refuse to be in tune, the angle and placement of the strings will be off, the tone of the instrument will be squeaky, and unappealing, and the tuners will likely bend and break. Even if the price is low, do not buy a VSO!

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Categories: Violins and Violas