Best Violin Brands and Models 2018

Buying a violin can be expensive so you want to make sure that you are buying the best violin and best violin brand. You want to buy a violin from a company that is has a great reputation so that you know you are getting a high-quality violin. We’re here to share with you what violin brands we recommend so that you can be confident that you are buying one of the best violin brands.

Most violins cost somewhere between $200-$5000, and the violin brands listed below are within that price range. We will call out typical prices and recommendations for skill level for each of the best violin brands below.

Best Violin Brands 2018

We have listed our favorite violin brands below. We’ll start with an overview of the best violins for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players. We’ll then list the remainder of our recommended violin brands below in the order that we recommend them.

Use this list as a guideline for which violin brands to buy. While not every violin brand on this list will fit your budget, experience level, or other search criteria, we hope it provides a great baseline to begin your search.

Best Beginner Violin Brand

Stentor is a well-known stringed instrument brand and the best violin brand for beginners because they look and sound better than their price range.

Features:
• Affordable
• Quality
• Complete starter kit

stentor violin

Best Violin Brand for Intermediate Players

Kennedy Violins is one of the highest rated violin brands by customers and it shows. These fantastic intermediate violins are handcrafted from solid maple and spruce tonewoods, and come with everything you need to get started playing.

Features:
• Highly rated
• High-quality sound
• Includes complete kit

Louis Carpini G2

Best Violin Brand for Advanced Players

Eastman’s hand-crafted violins are known to be some of the best violins for advanced players since they combine beauty with sound quality. Often going for $1,500+, these violins should only be purchased by those who need a very high-quality instrument.

Features:
• Beautiful sound
• Look amazing
• Hand-crafted

eastman violin

Best Electric Violin Brand

Yamaha violins are known for their high-quality construction and sound and they make amazing electric violins. Our favorite is the Yamaha SV-130.

Features:
• High-quality
• Beautiful sound

Cheapest Violin Brand

Mendini makes decent violins, but their most popular violin is the Mendini MV300 which costs less than $60.

Features:
• Cheap
• Functional
• Hand-carved

Mendini

Stentor

Recommended For: Beginner

The Stentor violins are very affordable and have made a name for themselves by being one of the highest quality violin brands for the price. This is a great instrument to develop your violin skills one before moving on to an intermediate violin. Stentor is often recommended as one of the best violins for beginners.

While these instruments are manufactured in Chinese workshops, Stentor checks each instrument in its United Kingdom warehouses for quality before delivery to your home or store.

Stentor is sure to have the right violin for your student, from absolute beginner to slightly below intermediate.  They come in a variety of sizes and are very sturdy, a plus for parents worried about durability while being transported to and from school.

Like their other instruments, Stentor violins are made in the traditional way out of solid tone woods. This includes a solid ebony fingerboard (as opposed to the Cecilio above), pegs, and fittings with maple sides and back, and a spruce top. Stentor violins also have inlaid purfling to prevent the softer spruce wood top from splitting.

Packages on Amazon include a violin bag, wood and horsehair bow (usually brazilwood), and rosin.

Recommended Models:

Stentor 1500 4/4 Violin

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

Stentor 1550 4/4 Violin

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

Kennedy Violins

Recommended For: Intermediate

Kennedy Violins, a Washington state-based violin maker, is an up-and-coming luthier in the space. Their violins range from beginner to intermediate, but their intermediate violins are some of the highest-rated violins on Amazon.

The Louis Carpini G2 violin is our favorite. It has a 4.9/5 star rating on Amazon and glowing reviews. It is handcrafted with solid maple and spruce tonewoods and comes with everything you need from a violin kit.

This brand is definitely worth looking into if you are looking for a high-quality intermediate violin.

Recommended Models:

Eastman Strings

Recommended For: Advanced

While Eastman Strings does make student model violins, they are well-known for making advanced violins and violins that sound beautiful which is why we highly recommend them for the advanced player. Strings Magazine often recommends Eastman violins for advanced players due to their playability and tone.

The violins are handcrafted with a select spruce top and highly flamed maple back, ribs, and scroll. They come in either Stradivari or Tertis patterns. Outfits generally come with a base Despiau bridge, which can of course be modified after-market, and a metal alloy tailpiece.

Outfits on Amazon usually only include the instrument, no bow or case. As Eastman’s violins are built for advanced players, the bow choice is often up to the player.

Recommended Models:

Andreas Eastman Model 305 Violin

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

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Eastman Model VL200

See Eastman VL200 on eBay

Yamaha Violins

Yamaha has established itself as one of the premier musical instrument companies. Founded in the late 1800s as Nippon Gakki Company, Yamaha started with pianos and reed instruments. However, it slowly grew to be one of the most trusted instrument manufacturers in the world.

Yamaha makes well-known acoustic and electric violins. All of their instruments are handcrafted to provide the highest quality product.

The main downside to Yamaha violins is that they are quite expensive. Most of their violins, especially the electric violins, are priced at $1,000 or above so they are not ideal for beginners.

Recommended Models:

Yamaha V3 Series Student Violin Outfit

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

Cecilio

Recommended For: Beginner

Cecilio is one of the most well-known student violin brand in the world. At a fraction of the cost of other big-name players, they produce quality beginner instruments that are all  hand-made, even the less than $100 CVN-100.  To learn more about the other Cecilio violins, read our guide on the best Cecilio violins.

Cecilio violins are made out of hand-carved solid tonewoods in the traditional fashion: spruce top, flamed maple sides and back, and inlaid purfling. Their upper tier of student violins also feature well-defined flames.

The main shortcoming of Cecilio violins is that their fingerboards are made of maple instead of ebony. Ebony fingerboards are sturdier than maple since ebony is a hardwood which means ebony fingerboards can withstand the repeated pressure of fingers tapping on them. Of course, removing the ebony fingerboards makes for a lower-cost violin, but you may need to take your violin in for repairs more often.

These violin outfits are also very generous. Most Cecilio outfits come with a quality brazilwood bow with unbleached Mongolian horsehair. They also come with boxwood pegs, tailpiece (with four fine tuners), and both a soft and hard case! Great value for your money.

Given the value you get for the price, the Cecilio violin brand gets a thumbs up from us, but if you are an advanced player, we recommend looking at some of the higher-end violins below.

Recommended Models:

D Z Strad

Recommended For: Intermediate

D Z Strad violins are consistently rated as some of the best mid-tier violins. Reviews on Amazon rave about the sound quality of these instruments so we had to give one a try. We were blown away! The Model 509 in particular is a great instrument for the intermediate violin student for its quality sound. Not to mention it looks beautiful.

The company has a workshop in New York and Minnesota and offer a complete range of services for the string community. The violins themselves are made with hand-rubbed Italian tonewoods that have been naturally dried outside on a covered, ventilated area for 20 years. The wood is then placed into a drying room, consistent with old world traditional European practices to ensures that the wood will not open or expand, and guarantees stability.

To see more DZ Strad violin options, you can read our guide reviewing the best DZ Strad violins.

The outfits include the violin, a violin case, and a violin bow. For a high-quality violin that ranges between $600-$2000 depending on size, this is a ton of value.

Recommended Models:

D Z Strad Violin Model 101

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

D Z Strad Violin – Model 509

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

Primavera

Recommended For: Intermediate

Primavera violins are a very affordable intermediate violin brand. Slightly more expensive than many of the beginner brands ($600-$1000), Primavera violins are made out of high quality solid tonewoods, including hand carved maple and spruce with inlaid purfling. The fingerboard and pegs are made out of carved ebony, as well as the fittings. In addition, the Primavera intermediate violin outfit comes with a “student-proof” (ie. very strong) composite bow with an ebony frog and Mongolian horsehair. To make it even more student-proof, you can get a hard violin case for it.

Primavera has made several decisions to cut costs while improving the musical experience. For example, they use a metal alloy tailpiece with four fine tuners, instead of a solid wood tailpiece.

Primavera beginner violin outfits come in many sizes, so you can find the proper fit for you or your child. Most also come with a hardwood bow and soft bag.

Cremona

Recommended For: Beginner

Cremona violins make great beginner instruments for a decent price tag. While the parts are made in China, Cremona violins are assembled in California, so there is definitely American craftsmanship involved. Made out of select tone woods, such as hand-carved maple, spruce, and ebony, these violins perform pretty well as-is, but can sound a lot better with minor improvements.

Out-of-the-box, Cremona violins come with Prelude strings which are okay, but swapping them out for a higher-quality violin string brand can make a world of difference.

Cremona violins are built to MENC standards (National Standards for Music Education as prescribed by the Music Educators National Conference in 1994) in their Cremona workshop in the state of California. The MENC standard ensures that they are playable when they arrive, and can be easily integrated into your child’s school orchestra or ensemble. It’s no wonder that students and teachers alike favor Cremona over other student violin outfits.

Each outfit comes with a high-quality Brazilwood bow, a Cremona bridge, a violin bag, and a Breton composite tailpiece with 4 built-in fine tuners.

Medini

Recommended For: Beginner

Medini is a subsidiary of Cecilio that specializes in starter violins. The violins usually cost less than $100 and are useful for trying out the violin as an instrument for absolute beginners, but are not great for any long-term playing.

The lower cost is attributable to low-cost materials used for construction. Instead of the typical ebony components, Medini uses maple wood for the fingerboard, chin rest, and pegs.

The beginner Medini kits do come with everything you need to begin playing including rosin, a case, bow, and sheet music, but these instruments aren’t ones you’ll want to keep for long.

Recommended Models:

Mendini 4/4 MV300 Solid Wood Satin Antique Violin

See Pricing and Reviews on Amazon

What else do you need?

While most of the violin brands above come with everything you need to get started, some of the packages don’t come with everything you need. Violins need the following basic accessories such as rosin, a case, a bow, etc. You can read more what you need to buy for a violin in our Buying a Violin Checklist guide.

Conclusion

Our list of the best violin brands below is based on quality and affordability. It is intended to help you select a high-value violin brand that fits within your budget. We have also evaluated each violin brand on whether it is intended for beginner, intermediate, or advanced level violin players.

Every violin brand on this list may not suit your individual personality. You need to find a violin that sounds right to you and that you know you will play for a long time, but also fits in your budget.

Buying a musical instrument online is a fairly recent thing with the advent of the internet. If you don’t feel comfortable buying an instrument online, we recommend trying out violins at a local music shop before you shop online for the best deal. However, if you feel comfortable with Amazon’s return policy, you can certainly buy from them and return the violin if it doesn’t sound quite right.

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Bobby
Bobby plays both the violin and viola. He performs in several orchestras around the Pittsburgh area and is currently attending Carnegie Mellon University for his Master's.

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