Beginner violin + tips & purchase advice

The best violin for beginners
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What to keep in mind before buying a violin for beginners

  • Starters: Better buy a new instrument

  • Pleasant playing feel & haptics

  • The e-string should not sound too prominent

  • Violin sizes: 4/4 for adults and children aged 9 years and older

  • High-quality, solid wood such as maple or spruce

  • Invest in a ready-to-play violin


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Getting started!

Violins have that special something: not only optically the string instrument scores with elegance, also the violin playing testifies to natural grace. While the violin plays an important role in every orchestra, it also convinces solo. At the same time, playing the violin is highly demanding and it takes several hours of practice before one can elicit a straight tone from the instrument. Therefore, the violin is not suitable as a first instrument, especially for children. Especially at the beginning you need a high frustration tolerance and stamina to be able to play first melodies on the violin.

  • Requires a good musical ear

Another important factor: the musical hearing. Especially with a demanding string instrument like the violin, the musical hearing is decisive for the sound result. For this reason, children should first test it with a less demanding instrument such as flute and then slowly approach the violin. Unlike the piano, for example, the violin cannot be played intuitively, which is why it first requires a great amount of technical practice before you can really start playing.

  • Not suitable as a first instrument, especially for children
  • Cannot be learned intuitively

Choosing the right violin size

Violins come in many different sizes. Especially for beginners, there is a lot of confusion as to which violin size is best suited for their personal body type. While adults usually reach for a 4/4 violin, different sizes are recommended for children, depending on their growth. However, you should not only consider the age of the violin but also the arm length when choosing the model. Using our table (inches) below, you can easily determine which violin size is best suited for you or your child.

Size:1/161/81/41/23/44/4
Age:3-5 years4-6 years5-7 years6-8 years7-10 years<9 years
Arm length:14"-15"16"-18"18"-20"20"-22"22"-23"<23"
Body length:8"10"11"12.5"13"14"
Total length:14.5"17"19"20.5"21"23.5"

Violins in the most popular sizes:

  • Thomann 1/4 Violin Foto
    • Solid wood
    • Ebony fretboard
    • Jujube pegs and chin rest
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  • Stentor 1/2 Violin Foto
    • Solid spruce soundboard
    • Solid maple body
    • Ebony pegs & fretboard
    check offer
  • Stentor 3/4 Violin Foto
    • Solid spruce soundboard
    • Solid maple body
    • Ebony pegs & fretboard
    check offer
  • Thomann 4/4 Violin Foto
    • Solid wood
    • Ebony fretboard
    • Jujube pegs and chin rest
    check offer

Which types of wood are best suited?

Professional violin builders prefer slow-growing, fine-grained violin wood.

The right wood for the optimal sound

Finding the perfect wood for making a violin is a science in itself. For example, the famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari is said to have obtained his fine-grained resonance spruce wood from the mountains of the Val di Fiemme near Tyrol. Of course not every violin has to be a Stradivarius to produce a good sound. In fact, even beginner models from well-known manufacturers such as Gewa or Höfner offer inexpensive violins made of woods such as spruce or maple. Because not only the workmanship is decisive for the sound of a violin, but also the material from which it was made – ideally by hand. The top of a violin is usually made of spruce, while the back is made of maple, cherry or walnut. These woods are often an indication of the quality of the violin and should be considered when buying.

The wood should have these characteristics

If you go into a little more detail, it is not only the type of wood that is decisive for the sound result. Especially with spruce wood, the violin builder should consider using slow-grown wood (from mountain regions, for example) that has been stored for several years before processing. In addition: the finer the wood, the finer the violin. This is characterised by particularly small annual ring widths and produces – as Stradivari already knew – a particularly beautiful sound.

  • Violin soundboard mostly made of spruce wood
  • Bottom and sides made of maple, cherry or walnut
  • Special quality feature: Slowly grown and stored fine-grained spruce wood

The most popular brands for acoustic violins

Yamaha violin for beginners

Yamaha has long since made a name for itself as a manufacturer of instruments and is even the market leader for acoustic violins. Most of the Japanese company’s instruments are of very good quality and therefore often range in the higher price segment. However, there are exceptions anyway, which is why a beginner who has committed himself to this brand can also find a reasonably priced violin by Yamaha. However, Yamaha is a bit more expensive when it comes to electric violins, which is why it is preferable to buy beginner models from brands such as Harley Benton or Gewa.

Investing a little more in an acoustic violin from Yamaha is definitely worthwhile. From as little as 300 euros upwards, you can profit from high-quality extras such as a hand-carved soundboard. Whether a violin was handmade by an experienced violin maker or milled by a machine is also noticeable in terms of sound. If you want to play seriously and on a long-term basis and have the necessary small change, you should consider the somewhat higher-priced option.

Gewa violin for beginners

Since 1925 the Vogtland-based company Gewa has been producing high-quality violins made in Germany using traditional manufacturing methods. The proven quality of the violins has not only given the company a place among the leading instrument manufacturers, but has also made it a name in the violin sector. In terms of price, beginners take pleasure in this brand: in addition to some more expensive models, most violins range in the lower price segment up to 400 euros.

One of the characteristics: Hand lacquering with extra thin lacquer application even with the inexpensive beginner instruments. If you invest a little more, you can benefit from selected fine-grained woods, which is also noticeable in the sound. Which wood and which condition are best suitable for your own playing, crystallizes usually after some years of playing. If you can’t consult an experienced violin teacher when buying a violin, it’s better to slowly approach the right wood and first invest in a reasonably priced violin for beginners.

Two good beginner violins from Yamaha & Gewa

  • Yamaha V7 SG44 Violin 4/4 Foto
    • Solid wood
    • Hand-carved spruce soundboard
    • Maple soil
    • Ebony pegs, chinrest and fretboard
    check offer
  • Gewa Aspirante York 4/4 OBL Foto
    • Solid spruce soundboard
    • Hand lacquered - extra thin lacquer application
    • Solid maple bottom and sides
    • Ebony trim
    check offer

Does it make sense to buy a used violin?

Buying a vintage violin

The purchase of a used violin is a desirable option not only for professional musicians. While for professional violinists the sound charm of antique violins – preferably from the 19th century – is in the foreground, beginners want to save money by buying a second-hand violin. Buying a used violin is particularly worthwhile if you first want to try it out and don’t want to invest too much money at the beginning. In this case it is important to pay attention to the same quality characteristics as when buying a new violin: Which wood is the violin made of? Are there sharp edges (e.g. at the transition between fretboard and neck) that could interfere with playing? Under certain circumstances, the brand can also testify to the quality of the instrument. But beware: while no-name products are generally not recommended, brand models can also produce a messy sound due to damage.

A trial play prevents disappointment

Ideally, you should play the violin for a trial before buying it. When buying online, you can check whether the seller lives near you and offers a trial. This can show whether the violin has been stored correctly. An environment that is too dry will cause cracks in the body and thus also change the sound result. Also ask how old the strings are when you test them. Uneven sounds can also be caused by outdated strings and do not necessarily indicate incorrect storage. To be on the safe side, beginners can also take their violin teacher with them when buying a used violin. This can quickly expose irregularities during playing and thus protect against wrong purchase decisions.

An overview of the structure and components of a violin

The construction of a violin is comparable with other string instruments, but can be confusing for beginners. For this reason, you will find an overview of the single elements and functions in the table below.

ComponentFunction
Body- Consists of three parts: Soundboard, bottom & frames
- While the soundboard is often made of spruce wood, the back and sides are usually made of maple.
Chinrest- Simplifies playing in different positions as well as difficult or high tones
Pegs- Used for mounting and tuning violin strings
F-hole- The F-hole - or sound hole - is decisive for the sound of the violin. Here the air escapes from the resonator.
Neck & fretboard- Strung with four strings of aluminium or steel
- The fretboard should be made of solid ebony to avoid wear and tear
Strings- Made of steel or aluminium
- A total of four strings: G-string (G3), D-string (D4), A-string (A4) and E-string (E5)
Bridge & fine tuner- The violin strings are attached to bridge whirls and fine tuner.
- Tuning is best done with a fine tuner, as it is more difficult via the pegs.
Snale- The snail is a decorative element and is usually carved by hand. It is not relevant for the sound.
Bow- The bow strings are strung with natural horsehair

The components of the violin in single purchase:

  • Pirastro Strings 4/4 Foto
  • Gewa Chinrest Foto
  • Gewa Bow 4/4 Foto

How to care for your acoustic violin

Bow care

To ensure that the sensitive horsehair strings of the violin bow last as long as possible and to get the metal strings working properly, they should be treated with rosin. This is a natural resin obtained from firs, pines or spruces and applied to the bow strings once or twice a week (depending on the practice intensity) like a balm. Important: Since violin and bow varnish react sensitively to colophony dust, a cloth should be placed over the F-holes during the first bow strokes after colophonizing in order to protect the body. After playing, the bow stick should also be wiped off briefly.

Another tip: Torn bow hair should be cut near the edges with a small pair of scissors or a fine knife. In order to keep the hair as long as possible, the bow should be relaxed regularly when not in use.

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Geipel Künstlerlob Rosin Foto

Body care

The violin body is the biggest and most sensitive part of the violin and should be wiped regularly with a dry (!) antistatic cleaning cloth. Since a little rosin dust from the bow hair always gets onto the body during playing, you should wipe over the corresponding spot briefly to prevent the rosin from corroding into the violin varnish. Another tip: Put a few grains of rice into the body of the violin and swivel the instrument a few times. Then begin by shaking the rice grains – along with dissolved dust and dirt – out of the F holes again. To re-polish the body, it is best to use a special polishing agent from a specialist retailer. If you are a beginner, however, it is better to leave the repainting of the body to a specialist.

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Viol Cleaning Fluid 20ml Foto

Taking care of chinrest, strings and fretboard

A microfibre cloth should also be used when caring for the chinrest and fretboard. Paper handkerchiefs are not recommended for this procedure, as they not only contain small friction particles, but can also get stuck in the fine string windings. For occasional string care, methylated spirits are recommended. Here, however, care must be taken to ensure that no liquid drips onto the sensitive body. If the fretboard is made of solid ebony, methylated spirit can also be used for cleaning. The chinrest, which collects sweat and dirt during regular practice, should also be cleaned regularly – preferably before practicing – with an alcohol-containing solution.

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Petz Microfibre polishing cloth Foto

Violin tuning with and without tuner

Tuning your violin with a digital tuner

The easiest way to tune a violin is to use a digital tuner. This type of tuning is especially suitable for beginners who still have to train their musical hearing. First of all you need a tuner or a corresponding smartphone app. Usually the factory setting of a tuner is 440 Hz. If you play together with other musicians, you should choose a slightly higher setting at the same frequency, about 443 Hz. Tuning always starts with the A string. Now play the string and look at the tuner. The tuner indicates whether the pitch is correct. If the played tone is too low, turn the violin peg clockwise until the correct pitch is displayed on the tuner. If the pitch is too high, turn the peg counterclockwise. Then proceed in the same way with the other strings.

  • Best method for beginners
  • Takes a little more time

Tuning your violin without a tuner

Any violinist who plays together with other musicians will soon notice that tuning with a tuner is often more time-consuming. A faster method is tuning by ear. However, this requires a little more experience: as a violin beginner you should either have gained experience with other instruments or at least have a good musical hearing. To tune, first play the A-string. If the tone played is too high, turn the corresponding tuning knob counterclockwise. If the tone is too low, turn it clockwise. Proceed in this way with all strings one after the other. Tip: If you do not have a tuner at hand and are unsure whether the pitch you play is correct, you can compare it with the corresponding tone on a keyboard or electric piano.

  • Fast and for free
  • Not recommended for beginners

Practical tools for tuning your violin:

  • Wittner Fine tuner Foto
  • Wittner Tuning pegs Foto
  • D´Addarío Digital tuner Foto

Changing violin strings and rewinding them

Beginners who practice a lot and regularly will notice after a few months that the sound of the violin is diminishing. This usually means that it is time to replace the old E-strings with new ones. First the old string has to be removed. In order to preserve the wood, it is best to start with the A-string and replace it completely before replacing the other strings one after the other using the same procedure. To remove the old string, turn the violin peg counterclockwise until the tension is sufficiently loosened and the lower end of the string can be removed from the tailpiece or fine tuner. Now turn the swivel further clockwise and at the same time pull out the upper end of the string. Now hang the new string with the ball or loop on the tailpiece and pull it over the notch on the bridge up to the swivel. Insert the upper end of the string through the hole in the pegs until the end protrudes by half a centimeter. Now turn the pegs clockwise, keeping the string slightly tensioned and pulling tight.

What you need for a string change:

  • Thomastik Violin strings Foto
  • Wittner String winder Foto
  • Pirastro Violin strings Foto

How can I reduce the volume while practicing?

Practicing silently with the electric violin

Many a neighbours are regularly overcome with cold horror when weekly violin lessons are scheduled next door – not to mention the daily practice hours! As beautiful as the violin may sound with a little practice, it usually takes quite a while before you can elicit a straight tone from the demanding instrument as a beginner. E-violins should help here: Since the tones produced are redirected to headphones via a pickup system, even beginners can pursue their studies undisturbed with the e-violin while still benefiting from good sound quality and an authentic touch. Last but not least, electric violins are not much more expensive than the “originals” and range in prices between 100 and 150 Euros. Our conclusion: A good and inexpensive alternative for beginners who don’t want to attract the displeasure of family and neighbours.

  • Quiet practice with headphones
  • Similar prices as for the "real" violin
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Harley Benton 4/4 Electric Violin Foto

Reduce volume with dampers

If you do not wish to purchase an electric violin or already own an acoustic violin, you can reduce the volume while practicing by using special dampers. These are usually placed on the bridge over the strings. This prevents the bridge from vibrating, which reduces the volume without affecting the sound. The disadvantage: Unfortunately, the dampers only reduce the volume. If you have particularly sensitive neighbours or would like to practice silently, an electric violin is the better choice.

  • Low cost
  • Only reduces volume
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Artino PM-01 Practice Mute VN/VA Foto

How to learn playing the violin

Violin lessons

Since the violin is a very demanding instrument, it is advisable to invest in professional violin lessons. Especially if you are learning to play an instrument for the first time, you should not try to learn to play the violin on your own, because unlike other instruments such as the piano, the violin cannot be played intuitively. The teacher is also able to recognize and correct posture errors directly, which is a great advantage when it comes to violin and bow posture. There are also price differences between individual and group lessons. How much the 45-minute violin lesson costs, however, depends strongly on the offer. Music students, for example, who would like to earn some extra money, often offer violin lessons at a lower price than music schools.

  • Practice-oriented learning
  • Direct exchange
  • Long-term cost
Taking violin lessons
Taking violin lessons

Violin textbooks

Anyone who has already learned an instrument – perhaps even a string instrument – can think about learning to play the violin using textbooks. It is important that the teaching material is well structured in exercises that build on each other, with corresponding notes or fingering tables, and that it has an additional CD/DVD with audio examples. Those who choose this method should also have sufficient stamina to consistently work through the exercises and put them into practice independently on the violin. This method is therefore rather unsuitable for children and those who are learning an instrument for the first time. The advantage, especially for professionals: flexible learning at the lowest possible cost.

  • Low cost
  • Self-directed learning
  • Requires discipline and stamina
Learning by violin textbooks
Learning by violin textbooks

Videos for violin beginners

If you don’t want to invest in violin lessons or want to learn the theory from the teaching material, you can try it using free instruction videos on platforms like Youtube. The advantage of this is that you can quickly find out the optimal violin and bow position from the examples shown and convince yourself of the sound result right away. However, you will have to purchase sheet music and additional teaching material separately. If you like a mix of instructional video and teaching material, you can also look for online courses for violin beginners. Here, new learning content is activated on a weekly basis at a monthly fee.

  • Free amateur videos
  • Practice-oriented learning
  • Paid online video courses

Good violin textbooks for beginners

  • Alfred Music Publishing Suzuki Violin School Vol.1+CD Foto
  • Schott Fit In 15 Minutes Foto
  • Oxford University Press Violinworks 1 Foto

Violin for beginners: Checklist for your violin purchase

  • Ready-to-play instrument

    If you don’t dare to tune the instrument yourself or don’t have a guitar teacher at hand, you should invest in a ready-to-play violin. Many beginner models of well-known brands have the instrument tuned from the factory.

  • Gig bag

    A violin case is essential for storage and transport in order to prevent damage to the instrument. Temperature fluctuations can also be mitigated by a gig bag.

  • Violin size depending on body size

    For adults a 4/4 violin is the right choice. To find the right violin size for your child, please refer to our size chart.

  • Material: solid woods such as maple or spruce

    The use of solid wood such as maple or spruce is an important quality feature when buying a violin. Although plywood is also acceptable for beginners, it should be avoided in the long term as it impairs the sound.

  • No no-name goods

    No-name providers from the Internet often supply cheap violins of inferior quality. Better: well-known manufacturers such as Yamaha, Stentor or Thomann, who also offer inexpensive beginner models.

  • Rosin

    Since the bow strings should be cared for with rosin about once or twice a week, it is worth ordering rosin directly when buying the instrument.

Good violin sets for beginners compared

Size4/44/44/44/4
ProductStentor
SR1400 Violin Set 4/4
Thomann
Classic Violin Set 4/4
Gewa
Pure Violin Set EW 4/4
Thomann
Student Violin Set 4/4
Picture
Stentor SR1400 Violin Set 4/4 Foto
Best deal
Thomann Classic Violin Set 4/4 Foto
Gewa Pure Violin Set EW 4/4 Foto
Best price
Thomann Student Violin Set 4/4 Foto
Solid wood
Fretboard materialMalasEbonyEbonyBlackwood
Set content That contains the Violin-beginner set
Violin Violin Violin Violin Violin
Bow Bow Bow Bow Bow
Case / Gig Bag Case / Gig Bag Case / Gig Bag Case / Gig Bag Case / Gig Bag
Shoulder rest Shoulder rest Shoulder rest Shoulder rest Shoulder rest
Care kit Care kit Care kit Care kit Care kit
Offer
only 139 €
only 109 €
only 173 €
only 88 €

Equipment for acoustic violins

  • Rosin Karwendel Foto
  • Shoulder rest Foto
  • Violin gig bag 4/4 Foto
  • Note stand Foto

The most important questions and answers at a glance

How can I tune the violin myself?

If you are a beginner and want to tune your violin yourself, it is best to use a digital tuner. If you play a string, this indicates whether the tone played is reproduced correctly. If the tone is too low, turn the whirl of the string clockwise until the display on the tuner corresponds to the desired tone. If it is too high, turn the pegs counterclockwise. Here we have compiled a detailed list of how you can tune your violin with and without a tuner.

What are the individual parts of the violin and how is it constructed?

The violin consists of three main components: The body, which serves as a resonating body thanks to sound holes, the neck and the so-called snail. The chinrest, string bridge and fine tuner, to which the lower string ends are attached, are located on the body. The fretboard is on the top of the neck, the tuning pegs and the pegbox are attached to the snail. A clear presentation and description of the individual components can be found in our chart.

Where can I buy a violin?

As with most instruments, quality is crucial when purchasing a violin. Therefore, you should buy from well-known manufacturers and avoid cheap no-name goods from the Internet. Also well-known manufacturers like Yamaha, Stentor or Thomann offer high-quality beginner models at favourable prices. The purchase itself is made either at local retailers or at established online retailers such as Thomann or Kirstein.

What does a violin for beginners cost?

There are many violins and the prices are just as varied. The good news is that beginners who don’t want to invest too much don’t have to buy cheap no-name goods. High-quality beginner violins made of solid wood can also be purchased from well-known manufacturers for less than 100 euros.

Where can I learn to play the violin?

The violin is a demanding instrument that – unlike the piano, for example – cannot be learned intuitively. Therefore, lessons with a private teacher or in a music school are highly recommended for beginners. If you already have some experience with string instruments, you can also learn to play the violin with textbooks or Youtube tutorials.

What is a 4/4 violin?

4/4 is a size category for violin models and is suitable for adults and children aged 9 and over. There are also other violin sizes available, for more information please refer to our size chart.

Are there also violins for left-handers available?

In fact, there are also violin models available for left-handers. Unfortunately, the selection is still very small compared to instruments like the guitar, so that violins for left-handers are relatively expensive.

Which wood is best suited for an acoustic violin?

High-quality violins are usually made of solid wood. The violin soundboard is usually made of spruce, the back and sides are carved from maple, cherry or walnut. A special additional quality feature: Slowly grown, fine-grained spruce wood – however, this is also noticeable in the price.

Which violin size is best suited for which age?

Up to an age of about 9 years different violin sizes are relevant. The 1/16 violin for children between 3 and 5 years is the smallest model. For adults and children 9 years and older a 4/4 violin is the right choice. Please refer to our size chart to find out which other violin size may be the best for you or your child.

Why is playing the violin so difficult?

The violin is one of the most demanding instruments because it cannot be learned intuitively. Instead, it takes a lot of practice and, in the best case, a good teacher to elicit tones from the violin for the first time. Beginners who have already gained experience with other string instruments will find it a little easier.

How many strings does a violin have?

A violin has four strings: One E-string (E5), the A-string (A4), the D-string (D4) and the G-string (G3). These are usually made of steel or synthetic, the bow strings are made of natural horsehair.

How often do I have to exchange the strings of my violin?

When the string of a violin has to be changed depends strongly on the intensity of use and the string material. While experienced players often determine during playing whether the tone of a string is diminishing, optical irregularities can also give beginners an indication whether the string is damaged and needs to be replaced.

How often should I wax the bow strings with rosin?

Depending on how much you practice, the strings of the bow should be cared for with rosin once or twice a week. We will explain exactly what you need to pay attention to here.

How should I store my violin?

A padded gigbag or violin case is the best choice to protect the violin from scratches and temperature fluctuations caused by storage. If you want to hang your violin on the wall, you should do so in an unused corner of the room and ensure a constant room temperature with sufficient humidity. For example, if the heating air is dry in winter, the violin wood can dry out and even crack – so a few plants in the room or a humidifier will be beneficial.

Is it possible to play the violin without a shoulder rest?

The shoulder rest simplifies the safe positioning of the violin on the body and thus simplifies playing. Principally the violin can also be played without support.

Can you play the violin without a chinrest?

Playing the violin without a chin rest is not recommended, as this can lead to postural difficulties. If your violin does not already have a corresponding chinrest, you can buy it without any problems and mount it on the instrument yourself.

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Thomann Classic Violin Set 4/4 Foto
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