Different musical instruments have their unique characteristics and what they are best known for. The violin is associated with classical music, and you will agree that the orchestra is not complete in the absence of a violin. The choice of a quality violin has, however, become very challenging as the day goes by.
Because the marketplace is saturated with inferior and cheap violins, one could hardly separate the wheat from the shaft. Some of these substandard violins are difficult to tune, come with inferior bows, chin rests, etc., plus they produce an awful tone.
However, below are some characteristics of Brands of violins to avoid:
- Brands with Plastic tailpiece, fingerboard, and pegs Brands with Composite wood body
- Brands With painted fingerboards
- Brands with too-good-to-be-true prices
- Brands with Unfamiliar names
Just as you check out things to avoid before buying a violin, below are characteristic of a quality violin
- A well-shaped bridge
- Quality strings
- Solid wood
Characteristics Of Brands Of Violins To Avoid
Brands With Plastic Tailpiece, Fingerboard, And Pegs
Brands of Violin made out of plastic are to be avoided at all costs. It is an indicator that these brands are inferior and will not take a while before falling apart. They are easily breakable after few slips and don’t produce pleasant tones.
The tailpiece of your musical instrument has a significant effect on its playability and sound. A plastic tailpiece on the violin will not last for an extended period and won’t hold the strings in place. You will have to tune the violin frequently because the plastic pegs cannot hold pitches very well.
With all of this, it is evident that these kinds of violin brands will never sound adequate.
Brands With Composite Wood Body
The most commonly used woods for violins are rosewood, maple, willow, spruce, and ebony. Generally, maple wood is used for the neck, rib, scroll, and backplate, while the ideal wood for the front plate of the violin is the spruce.
When the violin is being played, the body and parts are under a lot of pressure. So we recommend you steer clear of a violin made of wood composite because it will not take long before falling apart. We advise you to go for violin brands made with solid wood.
Brands With Painted Fingerboards
Some manufacturers go as far as painting the fingerboards, so it looks like the black ebony color. Keep away from cheap violin brands with painted fingerboards, as this is not an indication of a quality brand.
Brands With Too-Good-To-Be-True Prices
It would be best to have it at the back of your mind when shopping for a musical instrument; no quality instrument is cheap. With this, you will not fall for the too-good-to-be-true- deals you find everywhere on the internet. You will find some inferior violins with a stamp of a quality brand but with a meager price.
They are all a warning sign to keep off such brands of violins even as beginners because they won’t produce the desired results. Students who don’t want their efforts frustrated should try as much as possible to go with their teacher when shipping for a violin. There are many junk violins out there that are well packaged; if you are not careful, you will fall for them.
Brands With Unfamiliar Names
Aside from violins brands with too-good-to-be-true deals, violins with unfamiliar brand names are everywhere, especially those manufactured from China. We strongly advise you to keep away from such violin brands to avoid buying an inferior quality violin.
There are violin brands that are popular for their top-quality products at affordable prices. So instead of falling for an unfamiliar brand, we recommend you go for a known and reliable brand.
Features Of Quality Violin Brands
Just as you have so many junk musical instruments out there, there are also many trusted brands you can pick from. However, below are some features of quality violin brands you should watch out for when shopping for one.
A Well-Shaped Bridge
Shop for a violin brand with a well-shaped bridge that complements the violin. The bridge helps the violinists in making and achieving the correct sound and tone when playing. When the bow moves across the violin strings, the bridge alleviates and bears the transmission of vibrations made.
A well-curved bridge makes it easier to play individual notes on the musical instrument. To recognize a good violin brand, the bridge should be well fit-flush against its body without leaving any gaps.
The String is an integral part of the violin that produces sound when the bow moves over it. However, the quality of sound produced depends mainly on the quality of the strings on your violin. A quality string adds excellent value to your musical instrument and helps you make fantastic music.
There are different types of strings, especially for beginners, that can help aid their learning process. Strings like: D’Addario Prelude Strings, Fiddlerman violin strings, Vizcaya Violin strings Stravilio Violin strings, and Artisans Violin strings.
As earlier mentioned, the body of a violin is under pressure when been played, so a quality violin must be made with solid wood. Violin brands made with rosewood, maple wood, or willow wood will stand the taste of time even with the pressure they undergo. You get the value for your money when you buy a violin made out of solid wood as they don’t fall apart easily.
What Are The Categories Of Violins Available?
With the countless numbers of violins out there, they fall basically into 3 main categories: The student, the intermediate, and the professional; these categories of violins have their unique characteristics, and they vary in price. Generally, violins are available in different sizes ranging from 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, to 1/32.
Nobody starts playing the violin today and becomes a pro immediately; it’s a process that takes place over time. Hence we have players with different sizes, ages, and skill levels and all of them can in no way use the same musical instrument. If you are looking at getting the best out of the violin, the violin size must fit the need of the violinist.
Below are the different categories of violins for different levels
The Beginner Or Entry-Level Violins
The beginner or entry-level violins are also known as student violins for kicking off their violin musical instrument journey. It’s worth noting that just because a violin is categorized as a beginner’s violin does not mean it is cheaper or substandard in quality. However, this is partly true about entry-level violins, but not in all cases.
Beginner’s violins are meant for those who are learning the basics of the musical instrument. So, they cannot be compared to intermediate or advanced violins in terms of sound and quality. Before now, beginner violin is a bit inferior; this is because people don’t want to spend much on an entry-level musical instrument.
However, as time goes on, they are many beginners’ violins constructed for excellent quality sound. Luthiers now make sure that entry-level violins are professionally fitted to produce the best results desired by students. A substandard violin has poor sound, which often discourages students and frustrates their efforts.
Shopping for a quality musical instrument for a beginner is essential as learning to play the violin can be very tasking, and it’s a lifetime commitment. Using a badly sounded violin when you are still trying to make the right sound is not encouraging.
The Intermediate Violin
Though the beginners and the intermediate violins may look alike, the sound quality and playability set them apart. The intermediate violins are made with quality materials, so it lasts longer and produces better sound. For violinists who have gained some level of knowledge and experience, they can tell the difference in the quality of the sound of the two violins.
The notes of the intermediate violins are very audible and more precise, and the violin is played with less effort.
The Professional Or Advanced Violin
Professional violins are pretty expensive, but they are worth every bit of the financial investment. Aside from the violins been made with premium quality materials, the craftsmanship is done with years of experience and talent by the Luthier. A violinist can tell the sound quality of the professional instrument apart from the earlier mentioned levels of violins.
Many intermediate now prefer to play on a professional violin because of the quality of sound it produces. This has, in turn, driven their desire to keep improving on their skills.
Professional violins can last for decades if properly taken care of. Just like a work of art, the instrument can be passed down from one generation to another. This is because quality violins never depreciate unless it is mishandled and it’s broken. However, be sure you are paying for what the violin is worth and not paying for a too pricey instrument.
Note that it is very vital for beginners to start their journey on a good note and with an excellent musical instrument. A good instrument goes a long way to tell whether students will take the skill to the next level or not. The superb sound from the instrument encourages beginners to want to do more and gain more experience.
What Are Some Best Violin Brands?
An experienced violinist can always tell that it has to do mainly with the ability and the quality of the musical instrument played. A top premium musical instrument helps you make melodious music with less effort. However, the choice of the brand of musical instrument depends on the preference of the violinist.
There are lots of brands that have come a long way in the world of musical instruments. They are very popular and reliable for the quality of the instruments they produce. Their years of experience can be seen in the musical instruments’ consistency, sound quality, and playability.
Below is a list of the top brands of violins you can look out for when shopping.
I am certain no one is unfamiliar with Yamaha’s name, and we have encountered one or two of their products outside the musical instrument. The quality and experience put into their products always stand them out among many others. The Yamaha violin brands are entirely hand-crafted and come with quality and well-balanced glasser bows and inlaid purfling. Their brands range from beginner’s violins which are not as expensive as the intermediate, or the professional violins.
Pros Of the Yamaha Violin Brands
- Guarantee of a superior quality violin with an excellent sound
- Last longer and doesn’t depreciate; it can be passed down to other generations.
Cons Of the Yamaha Violin Brands
- Quite expensive
- Be sure of the Yahama product as there are a lot of counterfeit violins with the Yamaha stamp
2.Stentor Violin Brands
Unlike many other violin brands from China, the Stentor stands out, providing a range of long-lasting and high-quality instruments. They have made our list of the best violin as their violins are reliable and have significantly impacted students’ performance from our review. Hence, violin instructors often recommend Stentor as the best student violin because it is easy to play and produces good sound.
They are made from durable tonewood and rosewood, making it possible for them to withstand high pressure. The Stentor violin brand is an excellent choice for beginners looking to get an affordable but quality violin. The Stentor features consistent playability and a high-quality sound that enhances the learning experience of a beginner.
The fantastic features of the violin plus the sturdy strings make them produce quality sounds. Stentor Violin brand is one of the lightest violins you can find around; the lightweight of the violin aids its playability a great deal compared to other brands. It has an outstanding finishing due to the polished tonewood that gives it a natural look.
Pros of the Stentor violin brands
- The brand is very durable and can withstand high pressure.
- Affordable for beginners
- It has incredible features that aid quality sound production
- Lightweight features making it easy to play
- Has an outstanding finishing
Cons of the Stentor violin brands
- It needs extra care not to get broken easily
3.The Cecilio Violin Brand
The Cecilio violin brand is famous for its use of top-quality maple wood and ebony to produce premium-quality violins for all levels. Their ranges of violins are suitable for dedicated beginners, intermediate and professional violinists. Although it’s a little bit expensive compared to other budget violins, it’s worth it for the sound quality.
Pros of the Cecilio violin brand
- Aside from tuning, the Cecilio violin brand requires no other set-up
- Their main priority is maintaining superior quality for all of their musical instruments.
- Their violins come with D’Addario Prelude Strings, a very sturdy string for regular use.
- Their violins are durable, designed to last longer
- Their violin comes with extra bridges.
Cons of the Cecilio violin brand
- Their beginners and intermediate violins are very great, but professionals feel it can still be better.
- Their violins are a bit weightier compared to other violins in the market
- They don’t usually come with extra strings.
- Price is relatively higher compared to other budget violins
4.The Scott Cao Violin Brand
The Scott Cao brand is renowned and loved by violinists worldwide and at different levels. This is because they produce high-quality instruments for all levels. Their entry-level violins are one of the most beautiful violins you can purchase, and the quality will help increase your desire to learn further.
Their Intermediate and advanced violins are unbeatable when it comes to sound and playability. They come with easy-to-turn pegs and Thomastik Dominant sturdy String Producing gorgeous and warm tones. The violin is worth every investment you are looking at putting on it.
Pros of the Scott Cao brand
- Produces warm tone
- Features a beautiful antiqued finishing
- Pegs are very easy to tune
- Great for all levels of skill
Cons of the Scott Cao brand
- A bit pricey
- Sell out quickly so it can be scarce.
5.Fiddlerman Violin Brand
The Fiddlerman brand is one of the best violin brands out there hence, the reason they made our list. They are committed to the production of high-quality musical instruments. They are trusted and reliable as their instrument has stood the test of time and still consistent.
Pros of the Fiddlerman brand
- Powerful sound production
- Attractive finishing
- It comes with everything you need to start playing
- Option to install perfection pegs
Cons of the Fiddlerman brand
- Sell out quickly so it can be scarce.
The excitement that comes with buying a musical instrument like the violin can be very overwhelming. Hence we suggest you go with your teacher or a professional if you are buying for the first time.
Professionals are expected to know their way around the musical instrument as choice mainly depends on preference and budget. Nevertheless, this article has made shopping easy for all levels with a list of suitable violins for students, intermediate and experts, including their pros and cons.