Violins are available in a huge range of prices, stretching from a couple hundred to millions of dollars. Expensive Violins are made of higher quality materials – they produce better sound quality and allow for more versatile playing.
But are expensive violins worth the money? In this guide, we’ll answer your question and discuss how much you should be spending on a Violin.
Are Expensive Violins Worth It? A Summary
The extra cost of a violin can increase the playability, quality, musician’s comfort, and durability. However, not all expensive Violins are made equal. Look out for aged wood, high-quality craftsmanship, and a reputable maker. Expensive Violins are also probably not worth the money for absolute beginners, who won’t be able to tell the difference between an expensive and cheap Violin.
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What Are the Advantages of Expensive Violins?
Let’s look at the important benefits that you can gain from using an expensive violin:
- They Sound Better Compared to Cheap Violins
High-quality Violins are more resonant, meaning notes played in tune will ring both louder and will project more. This is particularly important when playing within a concert hall. This is mainly due to higher quality materials being used.
Older wood will also allow for more complexity and richness of sound. Therefore the timbre produced will be more nuanced and will be able to ‘speak to the audience’. This is also due to the high-quality craftsmanship – all the dimensions such as the shape of the f-hole and the roundness of the fingerboard contribute to the quality of sound produced.
- They’re Easier to Play Thanks to Their Top-Notch Setup
Many people are drawn to pricey violins based on the versatility offered to the player. High-quality violins will require less pressure and tension from your hand due to their seamless setup. This will produce a higher quality sound compared with cheap violins, which could sound scratchy and forced.
This also means more hours of uninterrupted practice, which leads to improvements in the player’s skills in a short amount of time.
The same goes for experts. Because of the smooth setup of expensive violins, it should be easier for professional violinists to reach out to their audience with their music.
- They Tend to Last Longer
In terms of durability, an expensive violin promises to be your lifelong friend because it’s made of the best materials. On the other hand, a cheaper alternative may become unusable in a short amount of time.
Again, this is good to know for both beginners and professionals. Buying an expensive violin should be a once-in-a-lifetime investment that you may be able to compensate for with your success later!
- They Come With Top-Quality Accessories
A great thing about high-end violins is that they’re accompanied by a set of accessories that should make playing even more convenient.
Some of those accessories are must-haves, such as the case and bow, but they’re very finely made in case you invest in an expensive violin. Others are just extra items to boost your experience. Here’s what you can expect to end up with:
- A high-quality padded violin case for storage and travel
- A strong and responsive bow. This is particularly important for producing a high-quality sound.
- Premium violin rosin
- A comfortable shoulder rest
- A polishing cloth
What Makes a Violin Expensive?
Here are a few things that can boost the price of a violin, often to significant degrees.
- They’re made of aged wood (generally the older the wood, the higher the price)
- They’re constructed with ultimate care and quality craftsmanship after years of study and experience
- They’re created to age well, just like fine wine
- They’re made by a famous violin maker (Antonio Stradivari, for example)
Sometimes, the geographical origin is reason enough for the expensive price. For instance, Italian violins tend to cost far more than Chinese or English ones.
The instrument was invented in Italy, and for a long time, Italy has had a pedigree in producing fine-quality string instruments. Often Italian-made Violins can be up to six times more expensive than those of other origins!
Check out the amazing sound of this 276 year old Italian made Violin:
Do Expensive Violins Sound Better Than Cheap Violins?
Typically expensive violins sound noticeably better than cheap violins. This is thanks to their fine craftsmanship and top-quality material. But remember that it all depends on the player’s skills after all.
If someone is still learning their way around the violin, a pricier one won’t make them sound like a member of the orchestra all of a sudden. Still, the playability of an expensive violin is better than that of a cheaper violin.
With consistent practice, a beginner should start making noticeable progress much faster with the former than the latter.
Who Needs an Expensive Violin?
The more experienced and polished a Violinist becomes, the more they’ll start to notice the difference between cheap and expensive Violins. Cheap Violins will start to sound scratchy and hollow. Technically difficult pieces of music will become challenging to play on cheaper Violins, and it will also be tough to produce a high-quality timbre.
Of course, professionals should always invest in expensive violins to reach higher levels of mastery and connect with their audience. The sound quality in this case must be top-tier to suit the performance of a pro, so he or she can’t just go for a cheap-sounding alternative.
How Expensive Is an Expensive Violin?
The answer to this question is a broad one since there are violins that are worth millions. But we’re not talking about world-famous violins, but commercial-grade ones. So, what is the price point that violinists will start whispering “expensive” at?
Violins that cost $3,000 and up are considered expensive, and anything below that price range is just good enough.
How Are Violins Valued?
When a violin is appraised, an instrument expert inspects its physical appearance to determine its worth. Usually, deciding the worth of a violin depends on two things, its workmanship and how well-known its maker is.
An expert will take a look at the violin’s wood, its design, the quality of varnish used on it, and the craftsmanship of the fingerboard. Next, he’ll investigate its origins and whether it’s made by a revered maker.
The more beautiful and finely made the design and the more famous the creator, the higher the violin is valued.
Will an Expensive Violin Hold Its Value?
Yes, but only if it’s made of the best materials, has astounding sound quality, has aged well, and shows apparent craftsmanship. Yet, we can’t say that for all expensive violins because not every pricey instrument is a good one.
For example, a violin can be decades old, but the design may not be the best out there. In this case, it can end up being expensive based on the age alone but not the quality. And, if someone plays it, it may not sound better than a mid-tier variety.
Therefore, the key to a violin maintaining its value throughout the years is always a balanced blend of the following factors.
- Wood age, quality, and finish
- Design and setup
- Its origins and how reputable the creator is
What Are the Alternatives to Expensive Violins?
Of course, not everyone can afford to buy a violin that costs $3,000 or more. In that case, you can look for other ways to get closer to the quality and performance of an expensive violin without the hefty price.
You could invest in a mid-range violin with durable wood, a great setup, and a decent finish. Sure, it’ll probably be lacking in terms of creator fame and historic origins. Yet, a beginner will likely want something that sounds good for practice instead of an antique.
Another wonderful idea is to go for an affordable option and have it modified by an expert. By installing new strings, making a few tweaks here and there, or making improvements to the setup, you may be able to transform the violin entirely!
What Is the Most Expensive Violin in the World?
The Messiah Stradivari, which was made by the legendary violin maker Antonio Stradivari, is the most expensive violin in the world. Owning this beauty requires a roaring $16 million, not to mention it was valued at $20 million.
Why Stradivarius Violins Are Worth Millions
Stradivarius violins are worth millions for many reasons in addition to the reputation of their creator. The main factor that makes them high-priced is that these violins are seen as symbols of instruments that have remained proud for a few centuries. They simply stood the test of time.
Also, Stradivarius violins cost so much because they’re rare. There are only 650 instruments alive today out of 1,100 violins that Stradivari has crafted in the late 17th century.
Therefore, thanks to their symbolic history and interesting origins, these violins are more like antiques. They can be quite irresistible for musicians, especially those well-versed in classical music.
Of course, other factors contribute to the fame and worth of these instruments such as their unique design, finer wood, and vintage setup.
Can you hear the difference in sound between a $69 Violin and a $10 million Strad?
To Wrap It Up
“Are expensive violins worth it?” You might ask this question as an amateur trying to find their way into the big world of stringed instruments.
Now, after reading this brief guide, you have your answer in more detail. Most expensive violins are worth the price because the extra cost goes into their quality, setup, and playability. Others may not sound as good, but they might just be expensive for their age or history.
When given the chance, it’s a great idea to go for an expensive violin. Just remember to try it first to make sure it’s up to your standards, then, if it is, it’ll likely be a worthwhile investment that should keep you company for years!