How to Buy a Beginner Violin

Buying a violin is almost considered an art for the violin enthusiast. There are so many intricate details that make up a fine violin that it is easy to get stuck in the professional aspects of the instrument. Most students just want an inexpensive alternative to begin lessons. That’s what this article is all about.

The Wood

If you are looking into buying a used violin, you have to be careful that there are no cracks in the wood. Cracks can often be repaired, but if left unfixed they will not only make the violin difficult to play, but they can also lower the value of the instrument. Cracks that you need to watch out for are on the back of the violin. Small imperfections near the top of the violin will often be less of a problem to repair.

The ribs, meaning the sides of the violin, also deserve your attention. The ribs of a poor quality instrument will often start to bulge out toward the front or back. This happens because the wood was not prepared correctly which causes it to shrink.


Whenever buying a used violin make sure that it is aligned correctly. You need to look down the instrument to see if everything is symmetrical. The neck/bridge needs to be centered around the two holes on the violin called “F Holes” (named for their “F” like shape).

Set up

The setup includes making sure the strings are the proper height away from the violin, the strings don’t buzz, the pegs turn smoothly, and the tone is adjusted properly. Most brand name instruments will come completely set up. Some used instruments that have not been played for quite a while might need some extra care. If this is your case, you can have it adjusted in your local violin shop.

Violin Bow

Professional violinists can spend thousands of dollars for a well made violin bow. Fiberglass or Brazilwood will run you much less than the professionally preferred Pernambuco wood bows, and you won’t notice any problems if you’re a beginner.

Violin Sizes

For child students professional cello come in many different sizes. The best way to decide what size violin to get for your child is to have your child hold different sizes until they find the one that is most comfortable for them. Age can be used as a general guideline.

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