Latest posts by Amy Aitman (see all)

    We are in a golden age for inexpensive string instruments. There are many violins available for very reasonable prices. But with so many choices, finding the best violin can be a big challenge, which is why I’m here to help. 

    A good violin is one that stays in tune and lets you sound your best. All the violins we have chosen will do that for you, but each also offers other advantages that set it apart from the competition. 

    Top Violin Picks…


    Why is it Special?


    - Perfect for younger students

    - Amazing value and quality craftsmanship 

    - Plays beautifully, with inlaid purfling and real ebony fingerboards.

    Best Violin for New Players

    - Solid maple body with lovely sound

    - Great value for serious new players

    - Kit includes everything you need to get started.

    Best for Serious Players or Students

    - Handcrafted with solid maple and spruce tonewoods

    - Kit comes complete with high-end, pro-level accessories

    - Lifetime guarantee.

    Best for On-the-Go Adult Beginners

    - Complete student set for adults

    - Professionally set up and ready to play

    - Premium travel case. 

    Best for Students Working to Master Tone

    - Pure, clear, bright sound

    - Easily adjustable weight for each part

    - Lightweight and safe case. 

    #1. Best Overall: Mendini by Cecilio Violin – MV400

    Buy at Amazon

    Cecilio Instruments has become a major player in the student instrument market and I’m not surprised. This MV400 violin has a lot of features you don’t usually find at this price point, like inlaid purfling and real ebony fingerboards. 

    But the savings don’t stop there. With this package deal, you also get a metronome, a tuner, bow rosin, and extra strings. And if you’re looking for a child’s first violin, the MV400 also comes in smaller 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 sizes. 

    The MV400 is my top pick because it has an excellent price-to-value ratio. It is a student violin that plays as well as instruments costing several times as much, and offers a good choice of sizes for younger players.  If you are a beginner violinist or looking to get back into violin playing after a long absence, the Mendini MV400 is the best violin for you.

    #2. Best Violin for Serious New Players: Vangoa 4/4 Violin

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    The Vangoa violin package offers many of the same benefits as our top pick and comes in at a slightly lower price. Made with a solid wood maple body, the quality for this price is outstanding. The ebony fingerboard is dense and made to withstand the daily use and practice new students desire.

    This kit includes a beginners guide, tuner, pickup, shoulder rest, extra strings and rosin, and a lightweight hard case, so travel is a breeze. 

    Vangoa does not offer as many violin body size selections as Cecilio, and the Vangoa’s purfling lines are simply painted on, not inlaid like the MV400. This means the Vangoa will be more prone to cracking if bumped from the side so might not be a perfect fit for rambunctious young players. 

    I think the Vangoa is best for new violin owners who want to save some money, but still, have a cherished instrument to learn with because it offers many of the benefits of the MV400 at a slightly lower price point. Vangoa also offers a 45-day satisfactory solution so new owners can test the sound quality and be assured that this is an instrument that they’ll love!

    #3. Best Violin for Serious Players or Students: Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit by Kennedy Violins

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    Next on our list is the Bunnel Pupil violin outfit, my top pick for serious beginners who want to invest in an instrument that will not only sound great but will last a lifetime. 

    The Bunnel Pupil outfit is play-tested and prepared by professional luthiers (stringed instrument technicians) before shipping. The Bunnel is strung with high-quality D’Addario Prelude steel core strings and has inlaid purfling and a carbon fiber shoulder rest. The Bunnel Pupil also comes in smaller 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 sizes for very young students. Every Bunnel violin is crafted with care; they pay attention to every detail to make this a truly pleasurable playing experience. 

    This kit also comes with a Giuliani Brazilwood Bow, Giuliani Rosin, a Portland Oblong Violin Case, an extra set of Portland Strings, a Portland Carbon Fiber Shoulder Rest, and a string polishing cloth. 

    I think the Bunnel Pupil is best for serious beginners (or the parents of serious young beginners) because it comes in smaller sizes and is a beautiful high-quality instrument that you’ll love for years to come. 

    #4. Best for On-the-Go Adult Beginners: Pyle Full Size Beginner Violin

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    I’m making this my top violin pick for on-the-go beginners who want to start playing their violin right away, as this full-sized Pyle beginner violin comes with everything you need to play from day one.

    Pyle is best known for its audio equipment like power distribution racks and audio interfaces. The digital tuner that comes with the Pyle package is easy to use, reliable, and will help you keep your instrument in tune from the beginning.

    Great for adult beginners who want an instrument that delivers great sound from the first play. This kit also includes an extra set of strings, shoulder rest, a cleaning cloth and a student bow, and a tough, durable case for hassle-free travels.

    While its Full-Size Beginner Violin gets good reviews for its tone and durability, Pyle does cut some corners in the construction (compared with my other choices on this list). The Pyle’s fingerboard and tuning pegs are made of painted hardwood rather than ebony. The Pyle’s body is made of plywood with a thin maple veneer, not solid spruce and maple as my #1 pick.

    I think this is best for those who are familiar with Pyle audio equipment and want to add a violin to their collection because it is a good example of Pyle’s serviceable workmanship for a great price!

    #5. Best for Students Working to Master Tone: Aliyes Solid Wood Violin

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    While the other manufacturers on this list expect you to string your new violin yourself, the Aliyes violin arrives at your door fully strung and ready to play. The Aliyes has a genuine spruce body and ebony fingerboard, though the pegs are painted.  It is an easy and cost-effective entryway into the world of violin studies.

    Unfortunately, Aliyes does not include a digital tuner in their package, and after it travels with you, your new violin will certainly need tuning.  There are, however, a number of free and low-priced tuners available for iOS and Android phones. 

    I think the Aliyes is best for parents who lack confidence in their ability to string their child’s instrument because it arrives fully strung and is an excellent violin for the money.

    Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs for Violin Buying

    Question: What is the Most Expensive Violin?

    In 2014 the Vieuxtemps Guarneri Violin, made in 1741 by Italian luthier Giuseppe “del Gesú” Guarnieri, sold for an estimated $16 million. The Vieuxtemps gets its name from its most famous owner, Belgian violin virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps. Today the Vieuxtemps is on lifetime loan to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.

    Question: Why Do I Need Rosin for a Violin Bow?

    The violin’s body makes music by amplifying the vibration of the strings. But the strings need friction to vibrate, and if you try playing with a bare horsehair bow you will only get a soft and muffled sound. Rosin, made from pine resin, makes your bow’s surface stickier and rougher. This added resistance leads to stronger vibration.

    Question: Why are my Fingertips Dark after Practicing Violin?

    Many cheaper violins use painted hardwood for their fingerboards instead of the rarer and more expensive ebony. This paint can rub off after practice and lead to dark fingertips. If you have not been taking proper care of your violin and keeping it clean, you may also be picking up dirt from the fingerboard as you play.

    Conclusion: The Mendini MV400 — My Top Pick Overall

    The violin takes a lifetime to master and these violins will get you started on that lifetime journey.

    I really love the Mendini MV400 because it will give you everything you need to begin learning violin, and will be an excellent practice or spare violin once you move on to a more advanced and expensive instrument.

    The Mendini MV400 provides you with amazing value due to its quality craftsmanship. I think you’ll love the beautiful sound it makes, the inlaid purfling, and real ebony fingerboards as much as I do.




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