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How Do I Choose the Best Beginner's Violin?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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Choosing a beginner’s violin means considering the size of the instrument and your budget. It’s best to go to a luthier, or violin maker, or a store that specializes in stringed instruments. Rentals are a good way to test a new player’s commitment and may offer some purchase agreements. When it’s time to upgrade to a better and more expensive instrument, a good relationship with your violin dealer and some help from your instructor will assure you get the best violin for your needs.

Children’s violins are smaller than adult violins, and they should not be made to play a larger instrument due to the risk of injury. Renting is better than buying at first for them because they grow fast. The child's instructor can advise you and may even come with you to choose the beginner’s violin. Experienced music store associates who are specialists in stringed instruments can also assist you. If you wish to purchase a violin, see if the dealer has option-to-buy arrangements before you make the rental agreement.

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Violin size is typically determined by measuring arm length for both children and adult players, and is expressed in fractions stating the instrument body and total lengths. Have the player stand with her arm extended and measure from her neck to the center of her palm. Luthiers or dealers may wish to do this themselves to make sure the instrument they sell you will be correct. Bow size is also determined by the arm measurement to avoid injury due to positioning or weight.

Accessories, such as a chin rest and shoulder rest, are personal to a player, and you may want to try several to find ones that are comfortable for you. A beginner’s violin usually comes with a bow and a case. As the player matures, better quality instruments and bows will be priced separately. The luthier or dealer should make sure the violin is properly tested to make sure all parts are functioning correctly and the violin is tuned with the ideal tension.

A good violin may not be the most handsome instrument you see, but it will have a more pleasing sound and will likely be louder than a poor quality one. The beginner’s violin can be either a new or used instrument. Your instructor and the dealer or luthier are the best people to help you find a violin with a pleasing tone. Choose a violin in your price range that has the best tone and power for the money.

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