The world of musicianship has a reputation for being pricey – but what’s the truth when it comes to investing in a musical instrument?
What if you’re not sure about your commitment to learning to play the violin? How much will you have to save if you want to upgrade your outfit? What about buying a violin for a career in music?
Looking for the best violin for sale to suit your needs and goals as a violinist can be confusing.
Of course, different violins are crafted with different students in mind. Some offer lots of playability for beginners whereas more advanced models will focus on timbre and allowing players to fully showcase their technical skills with higher grades of materials, for example.
With these differences in the crafting of instruments often come differences in price – but does a higher cost really make for a ‘better’ violin?
Whether you’re a complete beginner looking for your first ever violin, an intermediate player needing a new string instrument for symphony orchestra rehearsals, or you’re an aspiring virtuoso, this article with guide you through the ins and outs of the prices you can expect to pay for your perfect violin.
If you’ve always wanted to have a go at playing the violin, but you’re unsure about whether it will become a long-term hobby, there is always the option of instrument rental.
There are many advantages to renting your first instrument. For example, if you’d like to take up a stringed instrument but you’re not sure whether you prefer the violin or the cello, renting gives you the option of trying both before you buy. Rental is also a good option for parents of young violinists, who may require a small-size violin once they start learning because there is no need to purchase the next size up as the child grows.
The biggest advantage to renting musical instruments is the ‘try before you buy’ schemes which are run by many music shops.
‘Try before you buy’ schemes are aimed at beginner musicians who intend to learn a musical instrument but are unsure about committing to buying an instrument without having had any violin lessons. Instead of purchasing a fiddle before meeting their violin teacher and being sure of their goals in learning how to play the violin, students are able to rent their violin for a period of a few months before the instrument is offered to them to purchase at a reduced cost.
So, how much can you expect to pay when renting a student violin from a violin shop?
Generally, depending on the type of violin as well as your location, prices can range from £8-£20 per month with a minimum term of 3 months.
Here are a few examples of pricing for rental of a full-size violin for beginners:
|Company||Monthly Rental Cost|
|The Violin Company||£11|
|Musical Instrument Hire Co.||£14|
So, as you can see, renting an instrument when you’re just starting out in your musical career is an incredibly accessible and cost-effective option.
Prices of Violins for Beginners
Beginner violins are by far the most abundant of violins on the market. Also known as ‘student violins’, nearly ever violin maker produces at least one model aimed at budding violinists.
When it comes to buying beginner violins, there is a range of options which cater to all kinds of player.
From the coloured violins which abandon the traditional varnish in favour of standing out from the crowd, to the high-quality student violins which remain appropriate for players throughout many of their violin exams and into their intermediate grades, the world of beginner violins is perhaps the most diverse of all the levels.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular violins for beginners:
· Windsor Violin
On the market for £40-£60, the Windsor violin is one of the more affordable options for beginners.
This budget violin comes with a violin case, violin bow and rosin as part of its outfit – perfect for getting started. The only thing missing is a violin tuner.
· Stentor Student I 1400
Stentor is a popular and well-known brand all-round for beginner and intermediate violinists.
Their Stentor Student I is available for £100-£120.
Carved from spruce and maple, Stentor offers a step up from brands such as Windsor in terms of quality, whilst maintaining affordability.
· Forenza Prima 2
The Forenza Prima 2 is very similar to the Stentor I in that it costs about £100 and is of the same level of quality.
The makeup of both the Forenza Prima 2 and the Stentor I is largely the same, apart from the fingerboard, which is made of blackened rosewood on the Stentor and ebony on the Forenza.
When it comes to beginner violins, tone quality is less important than value for money. As long as the new violinist has an instrument which is good enough for learning to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, tune up and take good care of their instrument, the student will be able to learn the fundamentals of musicianship.
Prices of Violins for Intermediate Players
Violins for intermediate players offer a higher level of quality which translates into a richer overall tone.
Although better-quality materials usually make for a large increase in price, there are plenty of affordable violins out there to suit intermediate players.
Here are just some of the options available:
· Forenza Secondo Series 6
The Secondo Series 6 is aimed at students of grade 5 standard and above. It is highly recommended for players of grade 5-8 standard who are looking for an affordable yet high-quality instrument.
So, if you’re a keen violinist looking to upgrade your instrument, the Forenza Secondo Series 6 wil not disappoint!
Priced at £299 from most suppliers, this model offers fantastic value-for-money from a trustworthy craftsman.
· Stentor Conservatoire
Another popular option from a trusted and renowned brand, the Stentor Conservatoire can be bought for £240-£290, making it another affordable yet high-quality option for the intermediate violinist.
The Conservatoire is often recommended by violin teachers as a step-up instrument for students who outgrow their beginner models.
· Stentor Messina
One of the highest-quality Stentor violins, the Messina is often regarded as a violin for the more advanced among intermediate musicians.
Its reputation as a high-grade orchestral model makes it a steal at a price of just £400, and the perfect option for an intermediate violinist looking for an upgrade from a trusted maker.
Prices of Violins for Advanced Players
For those who are serious about developing their musical skills to a high level and even making a career out of music, purchasing a violin to suit their advanced level can be a major investment.
Although affordable advanced models do exist, their prices are still understandably high. Antique string instruments are also highly prized by advanced and professional players – but of course, pedigree and history drives prices higher.
Don't forget to factor in the added cost for repair and care of your precious instrument.
Here are three advanced violins at different price points:
· Il Cremonese 1715 Model Stradivarius Replica
If you know anything about violins, you’ll be familiar with the most famous and valuable names of all time in the history of violin making, ‘Stradivarius’.
Stradivarius violins were built by the Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari (or Antonius Stradivarius in Latin) and his family in Cremona in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, around 650 original Stradivarius violins have been preserved, however, due to their pedigree and age, most of them are stored safely or displayed in museums.
It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll find yourself playing an original Strad, however, plenty of violin makers craft replica models of Stradivari’s violins in the hope of reproducing the exquisite sound of an original Stradivarius violin made in Italy.
Strad copies are popular among advanced and professional players because of the craftsmanship associated with them.
For an Il Cremonese 1715 Model Stradivarius Replica, you can expect to pay £2,000 – a fraction of the £3 million the priceless original Stradivarius stringed instruments have been auctioned for.
· Eastman Master Series Stradivarius
Another cope of an original Stradivari model, the Eastman Master Series is a more affordable option for the advanced violinist at a price of £925.
· Wessex XV Series
At £2,375, the Wessex XV series is a typical professional-standard violin.
Crafted from the finest European tonewoods including maple and spruce, this violin provides a warm and bright tone with a sound projection which is perfect for the advanced violinist to showcase their musical abilities.
Electric and Electro-Acoustic Violins
Electric and electro-acoustic violins (all known as acoustic-electric violins) represent the most recent evolution of the classical acoustic violin.
The purpose of the electric violin, like the electric guitar, is to provide the violin player with a means of amplification of their instrument when performing on-stage as a solo performer or as an ensemble such as a string quartet. The lack of resonance in the body of the violin itself also means that you can have silent practice sessions - perfect if you have neighbours!
Electro-acoustic models aim to provide the musician with the flexibility of being able to play an acoustic violin which can easily be plugged into an amplifier.
As for the cost of electric and electro-acoustic models, prices generally start at £130.
In addition, aspiring electric violinists must also take the added cost of amplification into account.
You can expect to pay upwards of £100 for a good amplifier – and don’t be tempted to use a guitar amp instead! This will compromise your tone for volume and take away from your artistic ability.