When it comes to violins, or any other musical instrument for that matter, prices can escalate quickly!
And as I always like to reiterate, having the most expensive instrument won’t necessarily make you a better player. In fact, many times, it can actually hinder your progress.
So it’s important to to choose the right violin for your playing level and ability.
Having an understanding of violin price ranges can help you to make a decision or start planning your next investment.
As a beginner looking to make the transition to a higher-quality intermediate violin, you may want to begin saving a for a few months before you take that jump! Having a rough idea of an intermediate violin price will help you set that target.
Same with someone that is currently renting a violin and is considering purchasing one for their own.
It’s also useful to understand what factors determine a violin’s price. This way you’ll be more informed and educated when the time comes to making your purchase.
The Ultimate Violin Price Guide
Before you make any kind of investment on a musical instrument, I find it very useful to truly understand the different features that determine its overall quality and essentially its value.
Even just knowing a few basics about the violin will help significantly in making a good buying decision that will pay off in the long run.
What Determines the Price of a Violin?
The type of wood used is one of the largest contributing factors to a violin’s price. This is because the wood a violin is crafted with is integral to its resonant qualities and therefore sound.
The top part of the violin, where the “f-holes” are cut, is often made of spruce. Spruce is preferable due to its density, and can, therefore, be shaved to an extremely thin thickness while maintaining its strength and integrity.
For the sides and neck of a high-quality violin, they’re usually constructed from maple wood, similar to spruce in its qualities. The bridge, the most important part of the instrument in regards to sound, is also typically made of maple.
As expected, both types of wood are perfect for conducting and producing sound.
On top of the neck is the fingerboard, which is preferably made from ebony or another dense and strong hardwood. The fingerboard is usually crafted with hardwood to withstand the enduring hammering from the player’s fingers.
Depending on the individual violin maker, the chin rest, scroll box, and pegs are normally crafted from ebony or other types of hardwoods.
At the end of the day, the type of wood and qualities they possess play the largest role in the sound the instrument produces, and therefore have the most impact on a violin’s price.
Now, just because you have the finest materials in the world, it doesn’t mean they’re shaped and put together in a way that produces the highest sound quality. Craftsmanship is the second biggest factor when it comes to the price of a violin.
Traditionally speaking, a luthier (craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments), would spend the time to create the different parts of a violin by hand. However, nowadays, this initial stage of building is often conducted in a setting to manufacture at scale.
Generally speaking, if the second stage of construction, the fitting process, is still completed by hand, it’s a good sign that the violin is of higher quality than say a fully modern manufacturing process in a factory.
Because a completely handmade approach will lead to a high violin price, companies that combine superior manufacturing processes with a hands-on fitting process offer exceptional value at a more affordable price.
Violin Price for Beginners
There are plenty of beginner violin price options in the range of $150 – $300. However, I wouldn’t consider purchasing a violin in this price range. Instead, renting a violin is the most economical solution until you can afford to spend at least $650 – $850.
The reason I’m saying this is to save you money in the long-run. Not only does renting give you the time to see if you actually enjoy learning to play the violin, but a cheap violin won’t last long, and you’ll soon be looking to upgrade.
Also, many musical instrument rental programs will allow you to use part of the already paid rent towards buying your own violin, from their shop of course. But still, this is the perfect option for someone just starting out.
*Just a heads up, I’m only talking about the stand-alone violin price. This doesn’t include the bow, case, or rosin. These necessary items must be bought separately unless you decide to buy an “outfit” which includes them.
It’s worth noting that a violin bow price will generally cost between $75 and $150 for students and intermediate players.
Violin Price for Intermediates
The intermediate level violin price range will largely depend on your first purchase and playing ability. Generally speaking, intermediate level violins will cost between $1,000 – $3,000.
At this price level, you will be able to afford a high-quality violin crafted with solid tonewoods. At the upper end, the top piece will be hand-carved from spruce, the back and sides of maple, and the fingerboard ebony.
This is when you’ll really start to notice and hear improved tonal quality, possibilities, and a wide range of tonal variation, especially when it comes to complexity.
This violin price range is for the established player, those that are serious about the instrument, and those that are looking to produce a more full and pure sound from their violin.
Violin Price for Professionals
For many, the previous violin price range is enough to satisfy all musical desires and needs. Above the $3,000 mark and you’re entering professional territory level.
At around the $3,000 level, you’re violin will most likely be crafted by one person from start to finish.
The sound at this level becomes even more complex and possesses an even greater dynamic range. For highly-skilled violin players, there should be no limits as to what they can bring out of the instrument musically.
At this price level, your violin becomes an investment. Because with age and maturing of the wood over time the sound of a violin will improve, some of the options at the upper end ($6,000+) of this price level will be aged already, possibly even 20 years or older.
When it comes to finally buying a violin, there are a few approaches I would recommend taking. Firstly, if possible, go to a store and play the violin before you buy it. It’s also a good idea to take along someone with you, a violin teacher or experienced player is best.
Having a few more listeners is a good idea as they will naturally hear different sounds from what you hear while you’re playing.
If possible, I’d also try to purchase from an established luthier rather than a general music store. The reason being that a good violin shop will often have put the time and effort into offering a solid range of starter instruments.
Also, you will know they’ve been properly fitted and setup, which is a highly skilled process in itself. A poor setup will significantly hinder your learning process.
You’ll probably end up paying a little more when going to a dedicated string instrument or violin shop, but in the long run, it’s worth paying the initial higher violin price!
Frequently Asked Questions About Violin Prices
How much does a violin cost?
A violin can cost anywhere from $50 to over $10,000. As a beginner, the price of a violin should match your playing ability and long-term goals as a musician. If you want to buy a violin that will last, you should look to spend at least $650.
How much does a Good Violin cost?
For an intermediate player, a “good” violin will cost around $1,000 – $3,000. At this price level, high-quality and solid tonewoods will be used. For a professional, a “good” violin can cost anything from $3,000 to $1 Million.
How much does an electric violin cost?
Electric violins cost between $350 and up to $3,000 for the most high-end models. Generally, electric violins cost less than acoustic violins.
How much is a violin for beginners?
Prices for beginner and student violins can range from $100 – $400. An economical solution at this level is to rent until the player knows that they want to continue playing. They will also be more informed and educated when the time comes to buying their own violin.
Final Thoughts on Violin Prices
When it comes to choosing a violin, make sure to take your time and enjoy the process.
Having a rough idea of the price of a violin and the different factors that contribute to the cost will help you plan ahead and consider all options.
Visit different shops (violin makers and general music stores), try out a variety of different brands, and if possible have an extra pair of ears on hand to help make that final decision.