Good Violin For Beginners

by MaryF

Buying a violin can be a bit daunting for a beginner. It doesn't have to be though - finding a good violin for beginners, isn't that hard thanks to the Internet!

What is the Best Violin For Beginners?

When I learnt to play the violin, the only violin's available were pretty much second hand ones, and I was lucky to buy a 80-year-old German violin from a former player's widow. Its a beautiful instrument (I still have it 35 years later), but these days there is no need to save for years for your first "real" violin, like I did! 

Best Violin For Beginners

Well for a beginner you actually want a violin that can make a decent sound, even if you don't quite know how to do that yourself yet! Violins range enormously, which is why the ancient Stradavrius's command such huge prices, that top-class concert violinists, often don't actually own their instruments! 

At the beginner end of the market though, fortunately its a whole different story. You may consider renting a violin for a month or two, but really at the prices you pay onlne, its actually cheaper to buy, even if you end up selling it a year or two down the road, because you've moved onto another instrument. 

Or you may just end up keeping it for half a lifetime, "just-in-case" you start to play again!

I think this popular Mendini violin is an excellent start for a beginner. The price includes a case (something you have to have, a violin is fragile), not one but two bows (not sure why, its hard to break a bow unless you carelessly over-tighten it, spare strings, that you will always need, plus rosin - which you also need. The only thing I'd add is a scarf, or a small piece of silk or soft cotton material to cover the violin with to prevent rosin from the bow getting on the violin's body (its not good for it). This particular package's rosin doesn't get a very good reviews - though you can't use any rosin straight out of the box - make sure you rough the surface up with sand paper before you use it. I personally prefer an oblong block rather than a circular one. Rosin lasts for years, so the price is minor. Personally I've never used a shoulder rest - if you don't like it - take it off and try without - you might be surprised - but use the scarf between the violin and your shoulder so you don't get sweat on the wood. 

Just a note for the total beginner. No violin comes tuned, in fact you should never put a violin away for long time without loosening off the strings. You will need to tighten the bow, and then tune the instrument using both the pegs and the fine tuners. If you don't have a keyboard handy, a pitch pipe can be very useful. 

If the pegs either stick or won't hold - its probably not a manufacturing fault. Its more likely that its your local climate, violins change dramatically depending on the local humidity and temperature (they really don't like a lot of either, remember the instrument was developed in for the mild climates of Germany and Italy). Try some peg oil, if its sticking, or rosin if they are slipping. 

Violin for Beginners: Checking the Size

If you are an adult you need a full-size or 4/4 sized violin. However violins, come in kid sizes as well - the crtical measurement is the length of the arm. If you don't have a teacher to advise you: use this check list. If there is a conflict between age and arm length - go with the arm length. 


suitable for 


arm length
1/4 size 4 - 7 years 17.6" to 20"
1/2 size 6 - 10 years 20" to 22"
3/4 size 9 - 11 years 22" to 23.5"


The smaller sized violins are notoriously fiddly to tune and to stay in tune. If you child is just under 23.5", and they are strong enough, you might be best starting them on a full-sized 4/4 violin. 

Beginner Violin - Useful Accessories

Glaesel Violin Ultra Practice Mute

This was the first thing my mother bought me for my new violin! Also required if you play in orchestras or groups where sometimes the violins need to be muted

Only $5.2
Super Sensitive Light Violin Rosin

Nice size and shape - the light is the right version to buy for violins. Seems to get rave reviews, one piece of rosin will last you years

$6.53  $6.46
The Original Peg Drops by Ardsley

Nothing more annoying than pegs that won't stay - and one bottle will last you years

Only $18.49
Bow-Right for 3/4 - 4/4 Violin

I wish this had existed when I learned to play. Getting and keeping the bow parallel to the bridge as you play is critical - and this little device will make it so much easier to do without looking!

$23.95  $19.47
Violin Pitchpipe

Again technology makes life easier. I was taught to use a tuning fork for A string and tune the others off it - but this looks so much easier - no-brainer purchase for the price (unless you own a piano)

Only $9.99

Have You Ever Considered Online Violin Lessons?

There are more options for learning violin than traditional classes
Its not always convenient, or even possible to attend a local music school. In this article I review some of the best options for beginners looking for online violin lessons.
Updated: 02/13/2012, MaryF
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MaryF on 02/14/2012

Did you see my online violin lessons page linked at the bottom - it appears that you can actually get reasonable lessons online! I was cynical before I researched it, now I'm considering signing up :-)

Angel on 02/14/2012

I played in the concert band and marching band in high school - french horn and F horn during marching season. I always wanted to learn how to play violin. Reading this makes me think I need to take lessons! Thanks.

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