How Much Does a Violin Cost? Pricing Guide

Today, acoustic violin prices start from $10, going up to as high as $1 Million. Entry-level violins cost between $100 to $600, while mid-level violins start from $600, going up to $3.000. High-quality professional violin prices start from $3.000 and can go up to a million for special violins.

Entry-Level Violins

Entry-level violins for beginner violin players can be found for between $100 and $600. A decent entry-level violin with solid tonewoods and durable construction would cost a minimum of $500, the range recommended for new players.

If you want to purchase your first violin, but you do not have enough economic power to get a decent one, then you can rent one until you can spend more than $500. This is because lower-quality violins are not durable, do not sound good, and are harder to play. Beginners who buy a lower-quality violin soon find themselves looking for an upgrade anyway.

The reason behind the low quality is mainly due to the woods used in the instrument. As violins are acoustic instruments that heavily rely on the quality of tonewoods and craftsmanship for creating their sound, the materials, construction, and attention to detail are crucial for a decent violin.

These prices are stand-alone violin prices. Do not forget that you will need a bow, a case, and a rosin to be able to play the instrument. The violin bow is the most important one here, which costs between $75 and $150. 

Mid-Level Violins

Intermediate-level violins have a wide price range starting from $600 going up to $3.000. A decent mid-level violin would cost at least $1.000 on average. These violins feature high-quality tonewoods and solid construction that are ideal for hobbyist players as well as violin students.

Higher-end mid-level violins have hand-carved tops from spruce, maple sides, and back along with ebony fingerboard. The improved tonal quality, playing possibilities, and tonal variations are immediately felt and heard when playing these violins.

The mid-level violins are suited for serious players who are after a pure and full sound coming from their instruments. They are great for music students and semi-professional players as well as hobbyist players who have enough budget to purchase a good-quality violin.

High-End Violins

For professional violinists, high-end violins are ideal, whose prices start from $3.000 and can go up to a million. These types of violins are often specially crafted by one person from start to the end with top-quality woods and production techniques.

The sound at this level features an amazing dynamic range and is highly complex. They are special instruments with high-quality sound, playability, and durability. Professional violin players have no limits to what they can get out of these instruments.

As these are some of the most expensive musical instruments, they become an investment as well as an object to play music. High-quality violins feature premium-quality woods, which mature over time, improving the sound. Some of the high-end options above $7.000 already have aged wood. There are many models with woods that are 20 years older or more.

Electric Violins

Electric violins cost slightly less than acoustic violins, as they rely less on the quality of the woods and craftsmanship due to their pickup system that delivers the sound. They cost between  $350 and up to $5,000.

In electric violins, the pickup system is as important as the tonewoods used. So, as the sound is not solely created with the tonewoods, the tonewood quality is less important in electric violins compared to acoustic violins, which allows the prices to decrease slightly.

How Much Do Used Violins Cost?

Used violin prices are not that different from new violins as the sound waves vibrating in the violins’ body keep the sound alive, improving the tonal qualities of instruments. Most mid to high-end violins will have similar prices in the used and new models if they do not have any damage.

For example, the highest-end violins like Stradivarius violins, which were made during the 17th and 18th centuries, are considered some of the highest-quality violins ever made. They are rare instruments sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.

What Affects Violin Price?

Two important points affect violin prices. These points are the material quality and the workmanship quality. High-end violins are produced with top-quality tonewoods and are often designed and crafted step by step by one person with great attention to detail.

Materials

As violins produce the sound acoustically, the tonewoods are crucial for tonal quality – the type of wood used is the largest contributing factor to the price of a violin.

The top of the violins is spruce due to its density and durability. Spruce is a special wood that can be shaved very thin, yet it does not lose its integrity or strength.

The sides and neck of decent-quality violins are mainly made of maple wood. The bridge is also often made of maple. Maple is similar to spruce and is widely used for string instrument necks.

The fingerboard of high-quality violins is mainly from ebony, another strong hardwood. Also, the chin rest, scroll box, and pegs are made from ebony or different hardwood types.

In short, the type of wood and qualities are crucial in the sound quality of violins which is the reason for the tonewood’s heavy impact on the price.

Craftsmanship

While the tonewoods are crucial for a high-quality violin, the other half of the process is shaping and putting together these woods in a way that they can deliver the best sound quality possible. So, workmanship is as important as material choices.

Luthiers, who are the makers and repairmen of various string instruments, create violins mostly by hand, paying attention to every detail. However, only high-end violins are made by hand, and nowadays, the initial stage of production of most violins is conducted in setting to the manufacturer at scale.

Some violins are fully created with modernized manufacturing techniques, which end up in the entry-level or mid-level realms. But some mid-level instruments have their second stage of construction, the fitting process, made by hand, which is a great sign of a good-quality instrument.

A completely handmade violin will lead to a premium-quality sound and a very high price. These are perfect for professional players. For the rest, cost-effective instruments that are partly made by hand and partly made with different manufacturing processes are ideal as they have great value for the price they are offered.

How Much Should You Spend on a Violin?

The price you should spend on a violin heavily depends on your playing level, intention, and budget. If you plan to be a professional player looking to make a career playing the violin, you need a high-end violin. For the rest, a decent mid-level violin above the $500 mark can get the job done.

I do not recommend buying a low-end violin below $500. Instead, as mentioned before, you can rent a violin until you have the budget for a decent quality instrument. An instrument above the $500 limit can be considered a mid-level violin with decent woods and craftsmanship for getting a good quality sound and enough durability.

Conclusion

Violins are some of the most important instruments for western music traditions. This is because they need to be crafted with premium quality woods and workmanship for the instruments to have good sonic performance. So, having an idea of the price ranges and different factors contributing to the cost of different quality violins can aid in your decision.

If you can, go to a music store or a luthier to try the violin you want to purchase. You can visit different shops or violin makers, try different violins, listen to their sounds, and examine different brands to be sure which models you are satisfied with.

Berk Öztuna is a handpan player, percussionist, and guitarist. He has been playing multiple instruments over the last 10 years. He started his music career as a guitarist, playing with several bands before putting his main focus into playing the handpan.

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