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You are here: Home > Violins > Violin Buying Guide & Tips

Violin Buying Guide & Tips:

What you need to know before buying a violin:

Set-up vs. Not set-up ; Set up on a violin means that the bridge is shaved and pre-cut to fit the violin and strings. It is set in its place, and the strings (not tuned) will have enough tension to hold the bridge in place while shipping. A violin that hasn’t been set up will often have the bridge tucked under the tailpiece and will need to be fit and sometimes adjusted to fit the violin perfectly.

Sizes ; Violins come in many different sizes: 4/4, ¾, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/10, and 1/16. The 4/4 is the full-sized violin and is meant for musicians around age 9 to adult. The different sizes are meant for younger students learning violin, when the size of the 4/4 may be too large for them to play. To determine which size violin would be best for your student, have them hold their left arm straight in front their body (as if holding a violin). Measure from their neck to the middle of their left palm (where a violin would be). 4/4 violins (23.5”+); ¾ size (22” to 23.5”) ages 9-11; ½ (20” to 22”) ages 6-10; ¼ size (17.6” to 20”) ages 4-7; 1/8 size (17.1” to 17.5”) ages 3-5; 1/10 size (15 3/8” to 17”) ages 3-5; 1/16 size (14” to 15 3/8”) ages 3-5.

Electric/Silent; The standard violin will not have electric pickups and is a purely acoustic instrument. Some manufacturers offer acoustic/electric and electric/silent violins as well. Acoustic/electric violins are normal violins with built-in electrical pickups for additional amplification. These instruments will sound like a normal violin without it though. Electric/Silent violins are the same overall size as a normal violin, but without the resonating body. So these will not make sound without amplification.

Accessories; Your violin will come with a case. Most will also come with a bow, rosin, or cleaning cloth. A bow and rosin are needed in order to play (arco style) your new violin. The rosin is applied to the bow hair and gives it grip, without it the hair will not cause enough friction on the string to make sound.

Shipping & Tuning ; Violins are not shipped tuned in order to protect them from possible shipping damage. When in tune, a violin’s strings are under a great deal of tension, and if bumped or jarred, could cause damage to the instrument. When your violin arrives, it will not be hard to tune, but you will have to “break-in” the strings, which could take up to a month. Violins are tuned (low to high) G,D,A,E. The pegs are friction fitted, not geared like a guitar, so the musician has to be careful when turning the tuning pegs. Use the friction as a “lock” and only turn the peg when it is not “locked” in position.

Colored vs. Natural ; Colored violins are available for those adventurous musicians who want to stand out in the sea of violins. These instruments will sound like a normal violin, but they are not meant to be equal with professional level instruments. The color comes from a colored lacquer coating similar to a violin’s varnish coating. The wood quality on a colored violin may not be as high as a normal violin, since any imperfections will be covered up by the color.

If buying for a beginning student

Recommended violins for students who are “not-yet-personally-committed yet has potential” to play for years

Full Package: ODOCA Handmade Violin Outfit 4/4 -1/10 Sizes-Professionally Set Up (Best Value Violin)

Ametto CV100 Professionally Setup Violin Outfit 1/16 - 4/4 Sizes

ODOCA OVL-200 Ebony Handmade Professionally Setup Violin Package All Sizes (Teacher's Choice Violin)

Recommended violins for students who express personal commitment to play for years:

TYGENN USA AVL-100 Violin w/ Case & Bow Package (1/16-4/4 All Sizes)

YAMAHA Deluxe Violin AV5 Outfit w/ ABS Upgraded Case

TYGENN USA AVL-200 Violin w/ Case & Bow Package

Yamaha Model AV7-44SGU 'Braviol' Intermediate Violin (4/4 Size) + Upgraded Case

If you have any other questions, please contact us at or 800-860-4077.