violin’s parts are made from different wood materials. You can spot a
high-quality violin based on what its parts are made of. A high-quality
violin will typically follow this design:
is the only material used for the front plate of the violin because it
is the only material that is strong enough to manage the heavy tension
of the strings while offering a resonant sound to emanate from the
instrument. It enables the best acoustical properties for the front
plate of the violin and has the ideal strength-to-weight ratio.
Furthermore, older-aged spruce is a sought-after material for a violin
because the more “aged” a wood is, the richer the tone it offers. The
minimum preference for violin-makers is a 5-year aged spruce. In
general, older-aged wood will cost more than younger-aged wood because
it is a more scarce material.
is the best material used for the violin’s neck, sides, and back. It
strengthens the stability of these parts and offers excellent acoustical
properties and good response. A technique used to enhance the beauty of
the maple called “flaming” is preferred by many players. This technique
adds to the cost of the instrument as it requires fine workmanship from
violin-makers. Although flaming enhances the visual appeal of the
violin, it does not affect its quality of sound.
is a great material used for the violin’s fingerboard, pegs, tailpiece,
and chin rest. It is a dense and dark wood that is very strong but
and Boxwood are also used for the pegs, tailpiece, and chin rest as a
substitute to ebony. Ebony is stronger than rosewood or boxwood but it
is also a more expensive material. Cheaper violins will have rosewood or
boxwood fittings while more expensive violins will have ebony
A good-quality bow is made out of Pernambuco
(which is a high-grade of Brazilwood) and strung with horse hair.
Pernambuco is known for its strength, beauty, and resilience. Bows of
lesser quality will use Brazilwood (but not a Pernambuco Brazilwood) and
are strung with nylon or synthetic hair instead of horsehair.
manufacturers employ technicians who “set-up” the instrument to prepare
it for play when purchased. Set-up entails: shaping and shaving of the
bridge, fitting the bridge, fitting the pegs, adjusting the bridge, and
fine-tuning of the instrument. A set-up violin gives the player an
instrument that is ready for play because all the necessary fittings and
adjustments are already made by the manufacturer.
is a strip of laminated wood that is inlaid to the body of the violin.
The inlaid purfling of the violin appears as lining on the rim of the
instrument’s body. Its function is to provide resistance to wear and to
cracks that may form at the edges of the instrument. Thus, inlaid
purfling is a sought after feature by violinists because it protects the
instrument. Cheaper violins will have painted instead of inlaid
is a hard, clear, protective film used in the wood finishing of
violins. The varnish of the instrument’s wood affects the way the wood
vibrates and ultimately, how the instrument will sound. There are mainly
two types of varnish used in violins:
Oil varnish – usually hand-applied, offers a smoother sound, and is more durable
Spirit varnish – usually applied with a brush, offers a brighter sound, looks more glossy, but not as durable as an oil varnish.
is a sticky substance made from tree sap. It is regularly applied to
the hair of the bow to help the strings vibrate and smoothly produce a
tone by adding grip to the hair. D'Addario Piranito rosin is a
well-known brand of rosin and is of great quality.