Violins have an interesting place in the world of music.
They are not quite old enough to be considered ‘ancient’ but not something that were invented in modern times either.
A violin is an instrument that most refer to as a ‘classical’ instrument. Although you can find some solid violin sounds in a decent synthesizer today, nothing beats the real thing.
Mainly used in classic, jazz or orchestra style music, today violins (Like electric cellos) can be heard in literally all kinds of genres.
They might have been created during the so called “Medieval” times but have firmly secured their place in our current modern genres of music.
Another popular name for a violin is a fiddle. Most people think they are two different instruments (I use to think that as well) but it’s just two names for one instrument.
Anyways, let’s have a look at the best violin brands and fiddles they make 🙂
Best Violin Brands
There are quire a few quality violin brands to choose from but at this beginner stage, you don’t need to spend too much time on this.
Here are a few of the famous violin brands that you can check out.
By far, the best in the business. Especially for beginner violin enthusiasts who are looking for a quality violin to get started with. Violins by Stentor are sturdy, well built and create excellent sound.
Another great American brand from St. Louis. More expensive than Stentor though and may that’s why it’s more popular among the teachers than the students. A good brand for beginners but even better for intermediate players.
Mostly high quality, light weight and produce great sound. Cremona violins have been featured all over the place. It takes about 250 hours to make a quality Cremona violin. Cremona (A city in Italy) takes great pride and rightfully so as their violin making tradition literally goes back hundreds of years.
When you get a Cremona Violin, you are getting a high quality music instrument that has incredible heritage. In fact, they are still making violins like they did 300 years ago. The only difference is instead of candles, they use electric bulbs for lighting. Phenomenal isn’t it?
Based out of California, Cecilio has quickly established it self as a prominent producer of quality musical instruments such as the violin, trumpets, french horns and more. They also make the accessories that go along with their instruments.
Best Violin For Beginners – Stentor 2 (1500) Violin
- Hand crafted with fine-grained solid spruce top
- Solid maple back
- Full ebony fittings. Composite tailpiece integral adjusters
The Stentor 2 violin aka 1500 is the most recommended violin for beginners by experts, teachers and players alike. It’s fairly affordable for most, super less scratchy than most violins that are out there, it’s light weight and the sound it produces is quite deep and rich.
What’s included is the bow, the hard case, a strap and a few other things. Just make sure you tighten the bow once you get it (Standard practice) and “rosin” it properly. The strings and already in place and after a few tweaks here and there, you’ll be set to play.
Anatomy of a Violin
Serves the same purpose as the head of a guitar, the scroll is also what a violinist holds on to while playing a violin.
The strings of a violin are rolled around a peg. Also used to tune a violin.
The top part of the neck (Black part) that is directly under the strings. When you press a string against the fingerboard while playing a violin, it creates the desires note / sound.
Literally the ‘waist’ of a violin.
Also known as ‘Ame’ (French word), the sound post is use to further tune the violin. Even a slight change using the outpost can dramatically change the sound of your violin.
Another small but important part of a violin. Plays a key role in tuning a violin so you can get the sound you need.
Along with fine tuners, the tail piece helps in tuning your violin properly.
What creates the sound in a violin or any other stringed instrument. Unlike a guitar though, strings of a violin are chosen by tension. Strong, medium and low.
Purpose of an F hole is to project the sound created more properly. Keep in mind though, sound doesn’t necessary come from an F hole. It just helps in the dynamics of a violin. Unlike a guitar, a violin is actually pretty sophisticated.
Holds the strings together on a violin and most stringed instrument.
Refers to the top of the body of a violin. Top refers just to the body though and not the neck or scroll.
Where a player rests their neck while playing a violin.
How To Select A Violin For Beginners
First you have to pick the right size. A violin is labelled buy the following sizes (Smallest to the largest):
- 1/16 (Smallest violin size).
- 4/4 (Full size for adults).
Now how do you know what size violin do you need? Well the good news is unless you are a ‘little person’, a 4/4 (Full sized violin) should be right for you.
The easiest way to tell is when you hold a violin like you’re suppose to (Chin resting on the bottom end of the violin and all), your elbow must be bent and your hand should be firmly placed over the scroll.
The scroll is the top part of a violin (Similar to the head in a guitar). If your arm is too stretched while holding a violin than it’s too big and if your arm is too squeezed in, the violin is just too small for you.
The ‘bend’ should almost look like a triangle with the body (Neck down) of the violin serving as a a decent base.
Now how do you know what size violin you need when trying to get one online?
If you think you’re not an ‘average’ sized adult (Man or Woman) then you simply go by how long is the length of your arm.
Below is a violin size table to help you pick the best one as well.
Don’t worry though . . . if you’re a full grown adult (As I pointed out earlier), a 4/4 size should do you good.
That’s the standard violin size anyways.
To give you an idea, most 12 year olds use a full size (4/4) violin. Unless you’re starting your child off at a very early age (Just a little bit older than a baby), that’s when you should consider looking at this table:[table “21” not found /]
Next step is to make sure you get a quality violin.
Violins are a hit and miss so quality is something you need to keep in mind. To ensure that you are getting a good quality violin, I highly encourage you to go with a brand name.
Let’s look at the best violin brands out there today.
Do I need a chin rest on a violin?
Not necessarily but if you are practicing a lot, it’s a good idea to get one. Most violins come with a chin rest like the Stentor 2 package we mentioned earlier but it’s always a good idea to double check.
Does a left handed person need a left handed violin?
See unlike with a soprano, tenor, concert or baritone ukulele, heck even a guitar, where you can simply switch the strings in the opposite way and you got your self a left handed instrument, the violin is a tad bit more complicated.
Almost all violins are specifically designed to be placed on your left shoulder (For right handed people). So what you need to get is a proper left handed violin like the one below:
- Size 4/4 (full size) LEFT-HANDED violin with solid spruce wood top, maple back, neck and sides with inlaid purfling in...
- Ebony fingerboard, pegs chinrest, and tailpiece with 4 detachable nickel plated fine tuners
- Strung with D'Addario Prelude Strings (Note: Does not include extra set of strings)
These are specially made to be placed on your right shoulder.
How tight does a violin bow need to be?
This is a common issue that most beginner violin players run into. If the bow is as tight (Super straight) as the stick than you should loosen it up. The wood should be bent (From the middle) and closer to the hair of the bow. Again from the middle only.
Overall, the bow should be firm but not too hard. You’ll know once you see a curve in the middle of the bow.
One thing to keep in mind is after every single time you’re done playing your violin, make sure you loosen up the bow quite a lot before storing it.
So the bow keeps it’s strength for as long as possible.
Do you need a shoulder rest for violin?
It depends on your preference. Do you need one? No.
Will it help you be more comfortable while playing a violin, yes.
Getting a shoulder rest for a violin is more of a personal preference.
What size violin bridge do I need?
A bridge is just one of the many parts of a violin that plays a key role in producing the right sound. A bridge has 4 holes. Two on the sides and two on the top. The strings of a violin are put through the bridge in a very precise manner so get the desired sound. It’s amazing how sophisticated violins really are.
Anyways, as far as the bridge size goes, it’s usually around 1.5mm thick and around 4 inches in heigh and length. The best size is the one that works with your violin size. So if you have a full size violin, you need to get a bridge for a 4/4 version.
If it’s a 1/16, same goes for your bridge. You don’t need to worry about this initially as most violins for beginners already have a bridge. That said, it’s definitely something to learn about as you dive deeper.