10 Best Violins Under $500 (Quality Meets Affordability)

So, your history is full of searches for cheap violins but your basket is still empty, right?

Well, I’m happy to say you’ve found the right place to help you out.

The great news is, there are lots of really affordable violins out there, you just have to know where to look!

Luckily, I’ve got quite the collection, so I’m no stranger to hunting for bargains when it comes to violins.

Don’t worry, you’ll be playing a brand new fiddle in no time!

Snapshot: Top 10 Violins Under $500

  1. Cecilio CVN-300 Violin
  2. Ricard Bunnel G2 Violin
  3. Mendini MV500+92D
  4. D Z Strad Violin Model 101
  5. Bunnel Pupil Violin
  6. Antonio Giuliani Primo ViolinMost Expensive
  7. Cecilio 500 Violin
  8. Cecilio EAV+SR ViolinLeast Expensive
  9. Stentor 1500 Violin
  10. Stentor 1400 Violin

Buying a Great Violin Under $500

Best Violin Under $500

It’s tricky finding a good quality, well-crafted violin under $500.

I’ve heard so many horror stories from people who have ordered violins online. From broken bows to crumbling rosins, and cracked instruments – I’ve heard it all.

Yet, there’s an easy way to avoid all of that. I tend to only buy violins from brands I know and trust and even then I always do copious amounts of research before my money goes anywhere. Plus, let’s face it, $500 may be cheap in the violin world, but it’s still a lot of money!

So, I always make sure I’d give an instrument 10/10 myself before recommending it to any of my readers. The craftsmanship, materials, and sound have to be really high quality before I’d even think about buying a new violin.

Jeez, I sound like the world’s worst customer here… I’m either a crazy violin lady or I’m just darn picky.

Either way, I’m really excited to get stuck into the reviews. If you are in the mood to splurge i recommend taking a look at the articles we did on the best violins under $1000 and also these high end violins under $5000.

On with the ultimate guide to the best violins under $500.

The Best Violin Under $500 in 2020

1. Cecilio CVN-300 Violin Review

Sale
Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin with D'Addario Prelude Strings (Size 4/4 (Full Size),...
  • Size 4/4 (full size) violin with solid spruce wood top, maple back, neck and sides with inlaid purfling in antique varnish
  • Ebony fingerboard, pegs chinrest, and tailpiece with 4 detachable nickel plated fine tuners
  • Strung with D'Addario Prelude Strings

Cecilio is definitely one of my most loved brands. I can always trust their craftsmanship and they make some amazing affordable violins. The CVN-300 is one of their most popular models amongst beginners and I’m not surprised!

Body & Neck

At such an affordable price, I’m surprised at the quality of materials used to make this little violin. With a gorgeous warm spruce top and maple back, there’s no wonder it’s so popular. The CVN-300 is a bit heavy compared to higher-end violins, but that’s to be expected. Despite that, it’s incredibly well crafted with beautiful inlaid purflings. I half expected the purflings to be painted on if I’m honest, so that was a lovely surprise.

The bridge is definitely shaped for a beginner (less of a curve from the G to the E string), so this violin wouldn’t really be suited to more advanced players. I love the gorgeous antique gloss finish, though. I know it shouldn’t matter but us violinists are a little vain, let’s be honest…

Bow & Hardware

I love love love that the fine tuners are removable. I spoke about how I like to remove some of my fine tuners to minimize buzzing in my last blog, so it’s really great to have that option with an affordable violin. The neck is quite thick but, again, that’s kind of to be expected at this price. I have to say, I’m really impressed by this violin. It’s quite simple but it certainly does the job. It also comes with two bows – bargain!

Sound

The CVN-300 has a really gorgeous sound. I mean, for a beginner’s violin, it’s pretty impressive. It has really nice clarity with quite a playful tone. I mean it’s really smooth sounding and has great resonance and volume for a lower-end violin. The great thing about buying a solid wood violin as a beginner is that the more you practice, the better your violin will sound. So, as you improve as a player, your violin will sound even better.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and removable fine tuners
  • Bow: Two brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

A really good value beginners violin with a gorgeous, playful sound

Final Thoughts on the Cecilio CVN-300

I think the CVN-300 is incredibly good value for a beginner’s violin. It’s well crafted out of high-quality materials and is just an all-round brilliant little instrument. I think it would be perfect for a learner in an orchestra as its playful sound would blend really nicely with other instruments.

2. Ricard Bunnel G2 Violin Review

Ricard Bunnel G2 Violin Outfit (4/4) Outfit
  • Highest-rated violins on Amazon and #1-rated customer service in the U.S.
  • The only stringed instruments backed by a lifetime warranty and 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • Final assembly and setup performed by Kennedy Violins’ professional luthiers in Washington State.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the instruments from Kennedy Violins. They come with a lifetime warranty and a 45-day money-back guarantee, so it takes the risk away from buying online. This Ricard Bunnel violin is one of my favorite “cheap” violins from them.

Body & Neck

The great thing about Kennedy Violins is that they know exactly where their wood has come from and how it been grown, which makes for a beautiful sounding instrument. The Ricard Bunnel has a spruce top which was grown on the top of the Himalayan mountains where there’s less humidity (told you I do my research! Maybe I went a bit far…), so it’s better quality than a lot of spruce top violins. It also has an oil finish rather than a gloss finish, so it’s a lot lighter than most other violins at this price point.

Bow & Hardware

I have to say, Kennedy Violins always come with really good quality hardware. The fingerboard, tailpiece, chinrest, and tuning pegs are all made of ebony, which is great to see on an affordable instrument. Fortunately, it comes with independent style (removable) fine-tuners. However, if you are a beginner and you know you’ll need all four on at all times, you can opt for a sacconi-style tailpiece with fixed tuners.

Just go for whatever you’re into! Another huge plus is that the Ricard Bunnel comes with two bows. You know what kids are like, they leave things everywhere. Then again, so do I… I mean, it’s always great to have a spare no matter what your age, right?

Sound

The sound quality of the Ricard Bunnel is really quite beautiful. It has the perfect action for playing in both first and second position, so would be great for both beginner and intermediate players alike. Its voice is warm and sophisticated, I really love it. Where were these violins when I was learning?

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and removable fine tuners
  • Bow: Two brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Custom made by Kennedy Violins
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

A beginner’s violin crafted like a professional one with a beautiful warm tone

Final Thoughts on the Ricard Bunnel G2

The Ricard Bunnel is hands down the perfect beginner violin. Its set up would suit an intermediate player too, so you won’t have to upgrade as you progress which is brilliant. I definitely prefer the Ricard Bunnel to the Cecilio CVN-300 for that reason. So, if it’s in your budget I’d say it’s worth that bit extra.

3. Mendini MV500+92D Violin Review

Mendini MV500+92D Flamed 1-Piece Back Solid Wood Violin with Case, Tuner, Shoulder Rest, Bow, Rosin,...
  • Solid hand-carved 1-piece maple back, neck and side violin wtih solid hand-carved spruce top with beautiful varnish finish & inlaid purfling
  • Ebony fingerboard, pegs chin rest, and tailpiece with 4 detachable fine tuners
  • Cecilio 92D chromatic / string tuner with metronome, 2 x Brazil wood bows with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair

Okay, time to talk violins for experienced students. We’re not quite at the professional level yet. I mean, it would take a magician to find a good professional violin under $500, so the MV500+92D is probably about as close as we’re going to get.

Body & Neck

Here we have the most gorgeous affordable violin I’ve probably ever seen. Although, I think I maybe need to stop being so dramatic or you’ll stop taking me seriously. I can’t help it, a bargain always makes me excited! The Mendini MV500+92D has such a beautiful body (oh, there I go again). Its one-piece back is adorned with really eye-catching tiger stripes and its dark design gives it a really interesting retro vibe. I mean, this might not quite be a professional violin, but it certainly looks the part.

Bow & Hardware

From the setup, I can see that this Mendini would be perfect for an intermediate player. It has a lovely curve from the G string down to the E which is brilliant for playability, especially if you like playing chords on two strings. Thankfully it also has independent-style fine-tuners, so you could easily take a few off. Of course, it takes a little more maintenance but all you advanced players will be used to that!

Sound

One word – powerful. This Mendini violin has the potential to produce some really great volume if the right player gets their hands on it. It’s deep, rich tone is perfect for more advanced players and I know it would sing beautifully if played in a solo performance or as part of a duo.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: Cecilio Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and removable fine tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bow strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Custom made by Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

The perfect affordable violin with a powerful sound, ideal for more advanced players

Final Thoughts on the Mendini MV500+92D

I’m so glad I found an affordable violin for advanced players. The Mendini MV500+92D plays so easily. It’s incredibly light but is packed full of intense, yet beautiful sound.

4. D Z Strad Violin Model 101 Review

This violin is definitely a winner amongst parents. If you’re looking for a highly durable violin that’s beautifully crafted from good quality materials, the 101 is definitely your best bet.

Body & Neck

The majority of cheap beginner violins you’ll see online have been mass-made in a factory, meaning not much attention has been given to the craftsmanship. When you’re playing, especially if you’re a very new beginner, you won’t be able to tell if any funny sounds are being made by your playing, or by the violin itself. This is why I love brands like Strad who create really affordable violins like the M101 using high-quality spruce and maple.

The body, neck, and scroll have been hand carved and it really shows. The M101 is a little bit on the heavy side, compared to the Ricard Bunnel, for example. However, as a beginner, you’d hardly notice it, as you won’t have anything to compare it to.

Bow & Hardware

The bow that comes with the M101 isn’t the best. However, it does the job. I just found it a little bit heavy and I’m not sure if it’s strung with horsehair. As a result, it may just take a little longer to break in the strings. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s bad quality, and bows are really expensive so it’s great that they’ve still included one in the overall outfit. It also has fixed-in fine-tuners.

However, this is probably a good thing when it comes to beginners, especially kids, because they need barely any maintenance when compared to individual-style tuners.

Sound

Thanks to those lovely materials and the brilliant craftsmanship from Strad, the M101 sounds lovely. It has quite a sweet tone but is still really smooth sounding. If your ears have ever experienced the pain of hearing a kid play around on the violin, you’ll be glad to know this fiddle will definitely minimize the squeaking. Sometimes that’s all we want to know, right?

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude strings, ebony tuning pegs, and fixed fine tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bow
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: D Z Strad
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

The perfect beginner violin for kids as it’s well-crafted, durable and affordable

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad Violin Model 101

This is an excellent affordable violin for beginners and children. It may not be the lightest violin and the bow that it comes with isn’t amazing, but it’s certainly a well-crafted instrument. It has everything a complete beginner would need and has the potential to sound really lovely as you improve.

5. Bunnel Pupil Violin Review

Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit 4/4 Full Size Clearance By Kennedy Violins - Carrying Case and...
  • [HIGHEST QUALITY CLEARANCE] The following instrument is listed on clearance due to a slight cosmetic defect that does not affect playability or sound in any way. Ranked at #1 for customer service,...
  • [THE COMPLETE OUTFIT] Your Bunnel Pupil 4/4 violin purchase fully includes your violin, a Giuliani Brazilwood bow, Giuliani Rosin, Prelude Strings installed, a Portland Oblong violin case, extra...
  • [ASSEMBLED AND READY TO PLAY] We make sure you are ready to play your new violin by assembling and setting up the instrument for you. Final setup and assembly is performed by our professional luthiers...

Now, if you’re a more serious beginner who’s looking for a brilliant violin that’s going to suit you even as an intermediate, here’s your guy. The Bunnel Pupil Violin has been marketed as being purely for beginners, however, I have one and I still play it to this day!

Body & Neck

I love this violin’s dark oil-varnished body. It looks pretty unique and gives the fiddle quite an antique look. This is another gem from Kennedy violins, so it’s made from all the same amazing materials as the Ricard Bunnel G2. I must say, I love how nice this violin feels to hold. Its neck feels a bit thinner than some other violins, so it makes moving between the strings so easy – perfect for learning scales but even better for when you start playing chords!

Bow & Hardware

Okay, I know this violin has fixed-in tuners which aren’t great for intermediate players. However, if you email Kennedy Violins after you’ve ordered, you can just ask them to switch it out for individual-style fine-tuners which I think is so brilliant. Plus, if you do want to switch them, the individual-style tuners come at no additional cost. It’s great when you know a company will go the extra mile for their customers!

Especially one as picky as me… They also set the violin up for you (optimized for learners), which is such a nice touch.

Sound

I absolutely love playing my Bunnel Pupil violin, as silly as that may sound. It may be because I’ve had it for so long and the tonal wood has just aged beautifully but it sounds so warm and just gorgeous. It sounds really smooth in the ear as you play and holds intonation incredibly well.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and fixed fine tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Custom made by Kennedy Violins
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

A brilliant affordable violin with a beautiful warm sound – perfect for adult learners

Final Thoughts on the Bunnel Pupil Violin

Coming from a pretty advanced player who still uses her Bunnel Pupil Violin, I think it’s safe to say I’d recommend this violin to anyone. I think it’s a great violin for adult learners though, as it will still suit you as an intermediate player. Kids often have to upgrade to a full-sized violin. However, adult musicians don’t tend to have growth spurts (thank god), so it’s great knowing your violin will work for you as a more advanced player.

6. Antonio Giuliani Primo Violin Review

Antonio Giuliani Primo Violin Full Size (4/4) Bundle By Kennedy Violins - Carrying Case and...
  • [HIGHEST QUALITY RATED] Ranked at #1 for customer service, Kennedy Violins is also proud to offer our Antonio Giuliani Primo full-size violin with accessories as the highest-rated stringed instrument!
  • [THE COMPLETE OUTFIT] Your Antonio Giuliani 4/4 violin purchase fully includes your violin, a Giuliani Brazilwood bow, Giuliani Rosin, Portland Classic case, Suzuki Book 1, extra strings, and a...
  • [ASSEMBLED AND READY TO PLAY] We make sure you are ready to play your new violin by assembling and setting up the instrument for you. Final setup and assembly is performed by our professional luthiers...

The Antonio Giuliani Primo is another favorite of mine (wow, I’m really going on about myself today aren’t I? What a Leo…). This is another gem from Kennedy Violins and, considering how much I’ve bigged them up so far, you can probably guess it’s a good’un!

Body & Neck

As I said, I think it’s great to buy a violin from a trustworthy brand, that way you can trust that any mistakes being made are by you and not the violin. I hate to break it to ya, but you won’t be able to use your dodgy violin as an excuse anymore, or is it just me who used to do that? The Antonio Giuliani Primo has a gorgeous flamed back and such a lovely tight-grained spruce top. You can just tell it’s been given a lot of love and attention from its beautiful glow.

Bow & Hardware

This Antonio Giuliani Violin comes with a really great bow. It’s strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair, has a leather grip, and a half-mounted ebony frog. Good-quality bows can be pretty expensive, so it’s great to get such a lovely one included with your violin. Cheaper bows will make breaking in the strings a lot harder and don’t cling on to your violin rosin so well either.

Sound

This primo violin has such an interesting sound. Its got quite a dark, yet sweet sound which is really quite something to hear. Another great thing about Kennedy Violins is that they never use that thick varnish that you see on a lot of other affordable violins. It almost creates a tinlike sound and makes the instrument sound a lot cheaper, which certainly isn’t what we want. If you’re looking for a unique violin with a unique sound, this is the one.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and fixed fine tuners
  • Bow: Two brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Custom made by Kennedy Violins
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

A gorgeous, antique-looking violin with a really unique sound

Final Thoughts on the Antonio Giuliani Primo Violin

I love this violin and I think its unique sound is something a lot of players would be drawn to. Often, it’s not until players are more advanced that they would think about buying a violin with a slightly different tone. So, I love that there’s a unique, affordable option out there for younger players!

7. Cecilio CVN-500 Violin Review

Cecilio CVN-500 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin with D'Addario Prelude Strings, Size 4/4 (Full Size)
  • Size 4/4 (Full Size) violin with solid spruce wood top, flamed maple back, neck and sides with inlaid purfling in satin antique finish
  • 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)

Okay, so I wanted to include some great options for orchestral or group players. I know a lot of people take group lessons or learn whiles in an orchestra. So, I thought it would be really helpful to share some of the best affordable violins for orchestral/group players.

Body & Neck

The CVN-500 is a step up from the Cecilio violin I was talking (or typing) about earlier. It’s still a learner violin, but it’s a little lighter and is optimized for a bit more of an experienced player than the 300. Its hand-carved body is absolutely gorgeous and its two-piece back is really nicely book matched as well – all signs of a well-crafted violin! Its neck is a little bit thinner than beginner violins which is great for playability.

Bow & Hardware

Now, if you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know how much I love a satin finish. Anyone who’s played the violin has experienced the stress of sweaty hands. I mean, if you’re playing standing up and your shoulder rest slips, that violin is going to hit the deck. I find satin-finished instruments more pleasant to play for that reason. Gone are the days of sweat stress!

The Cecilio 500 comes with two bows, which is really handy for orchestral players. I mean, I don’t know what orchestra you play for but (not naming names) my bow used to go missing all the time. Another thing I love about this violin is the string spacing. You can tell the setup has been optimized for a bit more of an experienced player. It’s so easy to go between the strings and even play two strings at once (if you’re into that).

Another great thing about this violin is that it has been “teacher-approved” for intermediate players! It comes with a lovely unbleached Mongolian horsehair bow as well which is really nice at this price point.

Sound

The CVN-500 has such a lovely, rounded sound that blends really nicely with other instruments. Plus, its gorgeous tone sounds way more expensive than it actually is (we all know how much I love that).

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and removable fine tuners
  • Bow: Two Brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

Perfect for intermediate orchestral players, its tone blends perfectly with other instruments

Final Thoughts on the Cecilio CVN-500

If you play in an orchestra, quartet, or even just enjoy group playing, this violin will be perfect for you. It’s gorgeous smooth tone blends perfectly with other instruments and Cecilio violins are always offer assured longevity.

8. Cecilio EAV+SR Violin Review

Cecilio CVN-EAV Ebony Fitted Solidwood Violin in Varnish Antique with Deluxe Oblong Hard Case Size...
  • 4/4 (Full Size) Solid hand carved spruce top with hand-carved solid maple back & sides,
  • Beautiful inlaid purfing (not painted), Beautiful varnish antique finish
  • Ebony fingerboard, chin rest and pegs, and tailpiece with 4 nickel plated fine tuners

I honestly can’t believe the price of this violin. The Cecilio EAV+SR just proves that anyone can afford a great quality violin. This is another great orchestral option for those with a bit of a smaller budget.

Body & Neck

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or even a pro, you’ll love playing this violin. It has such a lovely antique finish and really stands out. Its dark coloring is really unique and looks incredibly expensive considering its price. I mean, I know orchestral players don’t mind the sound of their violins blending into the crowd but we still want to stand out a little, right? You can also tell how well crafted this little instrument is by its beautifully inlaid ebony purflings. Just like the 500, it’s got great playability as well. Although it has a glossier finish, it’s still lovely to hold and play.

Bow & Hardware

It also comes with individual-style fine-tuners which is fantastic. Nobody wants to be called out by the conductor for buzzing! It has some really good quality ebony tuning pegs as well, which is brilliant if you end up taking a few of the fine-tuners off. That way, your violin will still have great intonation. There’s always a battle in my mind as to whether less-buzzing is worth the hassle of always using the pegs. That’s why I love violins like this that really hold their tune.

Of course, it may take a couple of weeks for your strings to settle but all you intermediate players will be used to that. The setup is also very similar to the Cecilio 500, so it’s definitely more of an advanced instrument. It only comes with one brazilwood, Mongolian horsehair bow. However, I think we can do without the extra considering how affordable this violin is.

Sound

When it comes to orchestral playing, you don’t want a violin with too much color. A mellow, warm, and open tone is what we’re looking for and the Cecilio EAV+SR has it all. It’s not quite as mellow as the Cecilio 500, but then again it’s not as expensive so I’ll take that hit. This violin will be an absolute winner for those of you who are in a band as well. I think the Cecilio EAV+SR has a really adaptable tone. So, whatever style of music you’re into, you’ll love this violin.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: D’Addario Prelude Strings, ebony tuning pegs, and removable fine tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bow strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

A really good value, affordable violin for orchestral players with a warm mellow adaptable sound

Final Thoughts on the Cecilio EAV+SR

This violin is really good value for money, I mean, it’s worth every penny! It looks beautiful and sounds gorgeous too. It’s definitely a winner in my books and I know orchestral players would quickly fall in love with it.

9. Stentor 1500 Violin Review

Stentor, 4-String Violin (1500 4/4)
  • Hand crafted with fine-grained solid spruce top
  • Solid maple back
  • Full ebony fittings. Composite tailpiece integral adjusters

Teachers speak really highly of the Stentor 1500 and I can see why. It’s the perfect violin for beginners because it’s great quality and it’s incredibly durable, much like the Strad. This is one of the violins I’d always recommend to parents who are shopping for their kids.

Body & Neck

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the thick-glossy finish (I think that just comes back to the sweat stress though). However, I love how like the Stentor 1500 is, so It would be perfect for young kids. Especially if they’re carting their fiddle two and from school every day. I remember having to walk a mile to school every day with my violin on my back and, let me tell ya, it was not light.

You can’t really tell from some pictures but I actually think this Stentor is really pretty. It’s a lovely light color and (although I’m not the biggest fan of gloss) it’s finished really nicely. I mean, I know that shouldn’t matter but if you want your kids to practice a beautiful, shiny new violin would probably come in handy.

Oh, I forgot to mention, most violin models are the same price for every size. If you are shopping for your kids then you’ll be able to find all of these violins in 1/4, 2/4, and 3/4 sizes as well!

Bow & Hardware

The Stentor 1500 comes with rope-core strings that are perfect for pizzicato (when you pluck the strings instead of using the bow) playing. Kids are usually taught to pluck the strings first as using the bow can be disheartening when it starts screeching and sliding all over the place. So, these strings would actually be perfect for a complete beginner.

However, you might want to swap them out for some better violin strings as you progress. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll play fine with the bow as well, so you won’t need to get new ones for a while. The 1500 also comes with fixed tuners, which are absolutely fantastic for kids. I used to teach a group of school kids and I saw the way the flung about their fiddles. So, having more durable fittings like fixed fine-tuners it probably a better option.

Sound

The Stentor 1500 has a much more colorful sound than the other beginner violins I’ve reviewed. It’s still pretty mellow but I’d say it’s definitely more of a solo instrument. It has a really gorgeous, very smooth tone and has the potential to sound really beautiful as the player progresses.

I think there’s a misunderstanding that it’s a “waste” to buy a good-quality violin for a child, but it makes the whole learning experience much easier. If your violin sounds good, your mistakes won’t sound so bad. That’s what I always say, anyway…

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with an ebony fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: Rope core strings, ebony tuning pegs, and fixed-in fine-tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony

Durable and light. A great childs first violin.

Final Thoughts on the Stentor 1500

I think the Stentor 1500 is a really good beginner violin. The only thing I’m not too keen on is the strings but that’s an easy fix. Plus, they’d actually be fine for complete beginners, so it’s not that big of an issue. I love how durable, yet light it is and I think it would be perfect for a child’s first violin.

10. Stentor 1400 Violin Review

Stentor 1400 1/4 Violin
  • Featuring carved solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides
  • Solid maple back
  • Blackened rosewood fingerboard

If you like the sound of the Stentor 1500, but it’s just a bit out of your price range, you’ll love the 1400. They look exactly the same but there are some differences between the two. Let’s have a look!

Body & Neck

Okay, I’m sure you can see yourself that the Stentor 1400 looks exactly like the 1500, it’s just a small step down quality-wise. The wood hasn’t been aged for quite as long, so it’s a bit heavier but a complete beginner would be none the wiser. They’re both as durable as each other but the 1500 is just slightly easier to play due to the weight difference.

Bow & Hardware

The Stentor 1400 comes with rosewood tuning pegs and a rosewood fingerboard, which are actually really pretty. However, rosewood is slightly softer than ebony, so you might find the pegs slip a little. It’s little things like this that make all the difference, so if you can afford to go for the 1500 instead, I would recommend doing so.

Sound

Here’s where the most noticeable differences lie. The Stentor 1500 is a lot smoother than the 1400 and has a bit more of a rounded tone. This guy sounds a little bit edgier and is less mellow. That’s not to say it’s not worth the money though, because it is a great beginner’s violin. You’ll probably just have to upgrade a bit sooner, but that’s okay!

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Neck & Fingerboard Material: Maple neck with a rosewood fretboard
  • Strings & Tuners: Rope core strings, rosewood tuning pegs, and fixed-in fine-tuners
  • Bow: Brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Nut & Saddle Material: Ebony
  • Bridge: Cecilio
  • Tailpiece & Chinrest: Ebony tailpiece with a rosewood chinrest

A really affordable, basic beginner’s violin with quite a lovely sound

Final Thoughts on the Stentor 1400

The Stentor 1400 does the job as a beginner violin. It’s not quite as smooth or as mellow as the 1500, but it still sounds quite nice. It’s definitely a great option for a complete beginner, but they’d just have to upgrade a bit sooner.

Amazing, Affordable Violins for Everyone

When I was researching for this blog, I was pleasantly surprised by just how many amazing, affordable violins there are out there.

Musician Playing $500 Violin

Back when I was learning, it would have been really difficult to find a great violin under $500. So, I’m really happy that the instrument is much more accessible to a variety of players now. Whether you’re just starting out or your more advanced, there’s definitely an affordable option out there for you.

I hope this blog has shown you that anyone can learn to play the violin, not just people with budgets as long as their arm (if you know what I mean). My top tip for buying a cheaper violin is always to buy from brands you know and trust.

However, that’s pretty hard when you’re a complete beginner who doesn’t even know where to start. Fortunately, I’m obsessed with everything violins, so I hope I cleared all of that up for you. The bottom line is, everyone has a different taste in instruments.

A violin that looks amazing to me might be your idea of hell, we all have different tastes. That’s what’s so great about affordable fiddles, though.

You can figure out what you like and what you don’t like before you splash any real cash on a higher-end violin!

Further Reading: