The price of Violins ranges from $100 or less up to millions of dollars. It’s difficult to know how much to spend and what to look out for when purchasing a Violin.
You don’t want to waste thousands on a poorly made instrument, nor do you want a cheap and nasty Violin that sounds terrible.
In this article, we’ll look at whether cheap Violins are any good and what you should be looking out for.
Here’s Whether Cheap Violins Are Good:
Very cheap Violins are mass-produced and produce a scratchy, superficial sound. Whilst this type of Violin is useable by an absolute beginner, they’ll quickly outgrow the instrument and their progression will be limited.
It is possible to find inexpensive high-quality Violins. The reputation of the luthier is more important than the price.
How Expensive are Violins?
The price of Violins varies drastically. On the very cheap end of the spectrum, Violins are mass-produced using cost-cutting measures. They can cost as little as $100. This usually results in a poorly made instrument with sound quality being significantly impaired. The sound will be scratchy and metallic.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Stradivarius Violins sell in the millions. Expensive Violins tend to be handmade by famous Luthiers. They are also typically old and have been passed through generations of players. This means the wood has aged and therefore produces a deep, resonant tone.
There are many types of Violins within this range, and we’ll look at how much you should reasonably be spending given your level of expertise.
What is the Average Price of a Beginner Violin and a Professional Violin?
At the low end of the price spectrum, an ideal price for a beginner violin would be in the range of $600 and $1000. You can also find cheap violins as low as $300 or even less. However, we’d only recommend spending this little for absolute beginners on a tight budget as you’ll quickly outgrow a cheap, mass-produced instrument.
The next group of violins are usually sold starting from $1,000 and can run up to $5000. This price range would be suitable for 90% of the keen hobbyist Violinist. Typically these Violins are handmade by experienced luthiers.
Finally, professional, high-end violins will generally cost anywhere from $5,000 and upwards. These Violins are likely to be well-aged and passed through generations of players.
How Much Should a Good Violin Cost?
The quality of the materials and manufacturing process is far more important than cost. A good violin should come at a moderate price range around $1,000 to $3,000.
The great thing about violins is they don’t depreciate, unlike some non-string instruments.
Whether you opt for an inexpensive or premium violin, the most important thing is finding a reputable dealer. This will ensure that you get the best quality and that you’re getting your money’s worth.
In addition, you can go to them any time your instrument needs repairs or touch-ups of any kind, and you know it’ll be in good hands.
Do Cheap Violins Sound Bad?
High-quality materials produce good sound quality. So, does this mean that cheap violins sound bad?
Cheap Violins don’t necessarily sound terrible. Cheap violins may sound similar to high-end instruments to an inexperienced audience.
However, this is only true of basic or beginner music. As the piece of music becomes advanced, the quality of the instrument becomes more important. A higher-quality instrument requires less pressure to play and allows more versatility for the player. Skipping between strings and playing staccato will sound crisper.
The player, however, will certainly tell the difference. They’ll find it hard to tune the strings or create the bright sound they’re looking for in their instrument. That’s all due to low-quality materials and improper fittings.
Can You Hear the Difference Between a Cheap and an Expensive Violin?
Cheap violins will probably not sound like their professional, high-end counterparts.
Compared to a high-quality Violin, a cheap Violin will feel and sound cheap. It will produce a thin, superficial tone. It also won’t project and fill a room with sound.
Here we are specifically referring to the very cheap mass-produced Amazon variety of Violin. The dimensions are likely to be off, the quality of materials will be poor and the workmanship will be shoddy. In addition to noticing the difference whilst playing the violin, you’ll also visually notice a cheap Violin.
Check out this video where the spectrum of Violins is compared:
Are Cheap Violins Good for Beginners?
Cheap violins are only a viable option for the absolute beginner. They’re manufactured using inexpensive materials, which makes them accessible to anyone with a budget.
Beginners can benefit a great deal from learning to play a cheap violin. However, not all cheap Violins are made equal. Being affordable doesn’t necessarily mean low quality.
Find a reputable shop and ask for a well-made violin within your set price range.
One benefit of starting with a cheap violin is it can withstand all the jolts and bumps thrown its way. This can be particularly beneficial for very young people learning to play. Nonetheless, knowing how to properly take care of a precious instrument takes time.
From personal experience, we can tell you that finding a well-made, affordable violin takes time. This is why it’s important to know what to look for to avoid buying just any violin with a low price tag.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Avoid buying violins made of plastic or laminate because they tend to warp the sound
- Pick a violin made of solid wood to ensure fine-tuning
- Stay away from mass-made instruments that lack proper varnish
- Look for handcrafted violins that offer a flawless finish
How Long Will a Cheap Violin Last?
As a general rule, beginners are encouraged to upgrade after about three years. However, if the Violinist is a young, growing child, this is likely to be far sooner. Violins are made as small as a 1/16 size which is suitable for 3 – 5-year-olds.
If you’re buying a used violin, chances are it’s previously been ‘played-in.’
Thus, it’s more likely to already have that resonance you want out of your violin. Plus, violins normally get better with age, so that you might hold on to that one a bit longer than a newly bought instrument.
What Makes a Violin Cheap?
In this section, we’ll tell you the elements that help determine the price of a violin.
Factors that Affect the Cost Value of a Violin
Knowing the basics of how a violin is made can help you determine which ones are cheap and why. Read ahead for more.
The materials that make a violin are the number reason behind their varying prices. Cheap violins are typically made of plastic, laminate, or cheap wood. Unfortunately, cheap materials aren’t good at producing those bright, rich sounds we’ve come to associate with high-end violins.
Having expensive materials, like natural hardwood, doesn’t guarantee the parts of the violin will be carved or fitted the right way.
Before the advent of machines, all violins were made by hand. Luthiers spent long hours carving various parts, then gluing them one by one. Even today higher-end Violins are still handmade as this produces the highest quality finish.
Cheap violins are made from cheap materials assembled by cheap labor. This means your instrument will be entirely made and fitted by machines.
Despite the quick outpour of machine-made violins, certain companies are combining the best of both worlds. First, they carve the pieces in the factory. Then, when it’s time for the fitting, they rely on a hands-on approach of expert luthiers. Needless to say, these violins don’t come cheap.
How Are Cheap Violins Made?
Almost all cheap violins are mass-produced at a factory. They’re punched out of the same huge sheet of ‘fresh’ wood, which hasn’t been given time to age properly. This results in hundreds of other violins that look and sound the same.
Then, their accessories and add-ons are fitted and glued together within a matter of hours. So while it’s quick and affordable, there certainly won’t be anyone laboring over the durability of the pegs or the correct height of the bridge.
Could a Professional Use a Cheap Violin?
Professional violinists are adept at playing almost any type of violin. So, in theory, a professional can use a cheap violin.
That said, they’ll immediately be able to pick up on minor discrepancies.
The sound may not be all that different to a casual listener. Though, a professional will find it difficult to produce versatile tones because of its low-quality finishing.
Is a Cheap Violin Bow Good?
The first thing you’ll notice about a cheap violin bow is that they’re unstable. As a result, they’re unable to create loud, rich sounds.
Even on a cheap violin, it’s better to upgrade to a carbon fiber bow to improve your playing. Carbon fiber isn’t affected by weather conditions, such as humidity and heat. Plus, they are typically affordable.
What Is More Important: the Violin or the Bow?
A good, moderately priced bow can bring out the sound of a cheap violin. Depending on your personal preference and budget, you can choose from carbon fiber or traditional wood bows.
That said, any well-made bow feels sturdier in your hand. As a result, it can go a long way in enhancing your technique. Even with a cheap violin, your performance can greatly improve with the help of a well-balanced, reliable bow.
However, we’d offer the same advice in looking for a cheap bow: purchase from an experienced and well-known manufacturer.
So, are cheap violins good? They can be, especially if you’re just starting out and are on a cheap budget. They are an excellent way to lower the barriers to entry to a traditionally expensive hobby.
Sure they won’t sound fine-tuned and vivid like those that cost thousands of dollars. Still, they make for a decent launchpad for beginners.
The important thing is to have a basic idea of what determines a violin’s price. This way, you can consider all your options and find the one that checks all the boxes.