Fiddlerman’s 8 Tips When Buying Your First Violin

Fiddlerman with beginner violinBuying your first violin can be exciting. But with so many factors to juggle, many first time buyers end up with an instrument that doesn’t make their learning justice. Fiddlerman has listed 8 tips to help you purchase your first violin. The following guide will help you navigate through the jungle of instruments and instruments shops out there, so you can get the violin you deserve, at a price you can afford.

1. What’s unique with Fiddlershop, is that Fiddlerman has done extensive research. He has tested and chosen about 20 different beginner violins that all are worth purchasing. You can choose between buying the instrument and all its accessories separately, or an outfit, which means it includes everything necessary to get started.

2. Read reviews on the instrument that you are interested in. Even though Fiddlerman and everyone at Fiddlershop will give you an honest opinion, getting feedback from individuals learning to play from scratch, can be valuable. Some instruments (product pages) haven't been around long enough to get reviews and should also be taken into consideration.

3. Decide on your budget. Our student violins range from $100-800. When deciding on your budget, keep in mind that the least expensive violin is often not as easy to play, thus making learning more difficult and not giving you the fairest chance. Unfortunately, many who decide to learn to play lose motivation. For this reason, an investment in a great instrument may be a better choice, if you can afford it.

4. Buy only from a dealer who will accept returns. At Fiddlershop we accept returns up to 45 days after purchase if the customer is not satisfied. No excuses necessary.

5. Read the contents of your instrument outfit carefully on the description. Make sure you have everything you need. Other than the violin, you will need a case, bow, rosin, a shoulder rest (some people play without), extra strings and sheet music.

6. When buying a beginner violin, your instrument most often will come set up with steel core strings. They are better for beginners because they stay in tune longer and are easier to tune. Synthetic core strings tend to have a warmer more pleasant sound and can make learning more enjoyable, provided you can tune them. Consider testing those kinds of strings to improve your overall enjoyment, when you feel ready.

7. Many first time customers wonder which bow is the best for a beginner. The bow is your number 1 tool to produce a good tone from the violin. A good bow will improve the tone and playability, which in turn makes it easier to play. That means that a bow that costs more than $50-60 will help develop better skills. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a bow, but the least expensive bows can be very soft, heavy, or off balance, making it more difficult to play.

8. Carbon fiber or wood bow – which is the best? Wood bows are said to have the warmest sound. But carbon fiber bows are better at keeping their shape, consistency through a variety of humidity levels, and usually have a great bowing action and response. Carbon fiber bows are also more durable. Don’t hesitate to call the violin shop and ask questions, if you are uncertain regarding your needs.

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Hi Lee!
You’ve certainly come to the right place, and your budget of $2,000 can get you a really good intermediate/advancing level violin. Our favorite recommendation for you, based on your description, is the Holstein Traditional Red Mendelssohn violin:
This violin produces a very sweet/warm, full, and brighter tone. It does not include a case and a bow. You can contact Fiddlershop Support directly if you need any recommendations.

Lee Shurtleff

Looking for a recommendation. I’ve been playing violin for 10+ years. I would like to upgrade. I play bluegrass fiddle and country styles. I am also becoming more and more interested in Western Swing.

As a benchmark, those styles of which I am most interested in creating include artists like:
Mark O Connor, Andy Leftwich, Jay Unger, Darol Anger, Ian Walsh, Chubby Wise, and so on.

Do you have a fiddle package recommendation?

Currently playing a 1910 Ludwig Koschat Stad Model. Though now looking for something brighter and more responsive (several top cracks and glue repairs have altered the sound and resonance) is $1,500-$2,000 a good budget range (intermediate)?

Thanks for your response,



Hi Renee!
If budget allows, we would recommend the Fiddlerman Concert Violin. You get a lot of violin for the money, a great sound, and it’s also very easy to play.
Included in the price is the full outfit, with a case, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, mute, polishing clothe and even a digital tuner.
I hope this helps! All the best to you :)

Renee Chandler

I am a seasoned musician though a novice at violin playing. I would like to own a violin which doesn’t take a lot of expertise to produce a warm sound, although I know that is largely up to me. My violin gets too bright of a sound for my taste. Can you advise me.please?

Asa Holstein

Hi Marsha!
How nice of you! Fiddlerman gets this question often, and according to him it’s easier to play with a normal (classical) set up. Especially if your husband is a beginner. What’s more important is that you pick an instrument that is easy to play on. That means to not buy the most inexpensive instrument, have it set up carefully in the shop before buying, to read reviews and also talk to other beginner musicians. Good luck and Happy Holidays!!

Marsha Blevins

I am wanting to surprise my husband with a fiddle for Christmas. He is a beginner and wants to learn to play Bluegrass music. I have been told that the set up is different for that type of music. Will a fiddle arrive set up for Bluegrass music or classical music? I really need guidance on this surprise adventure for him.
Thank you


Hello Michele!

The reason we recommend the Concert above the Apprentice is because the wood working and graduation is much better in the Concert. Everything priced below a Concert will have what I would best explain as a bit thicker woods so it doesn’t allow for as much open vibrations.

The Concert is the perfect starter violin for anyone learning and it’s good enough to bring you through a bit of the advanced lessons as well.

The reason we include the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber bow with all of our outfits is because cheap wood doesn’t allow for “good” vibrations and the Carbon bow is extremely easy to handle and brings a big tone. We recommend a quality wood bow above our Carbon bow because nice wood bows have a more full/rich/dark tone – something that we prefer.

Best Regards,


I am in a similar position as Ted. I am planning to learn to play the violin and need advice in choosing an instrument. I am also willing to spend somewhat more than what it would cost for a very basic model and was thinking along the lines of the Apprentice violin until I read your response to Ted. My concern is also for ease of playability so as to not hinder the learning process, so I’m willing to bump my budget some (from that of the Apprentice) if that will help. I’ve also read your reasoning for including a carbon fiber bow with an outfit, so I’m wondering at the reason for recommending the sandalwood bow? I do recognize that I may need to upgrade at some point but have no specific plan in mind for when that will happen. And just in case it may affect your recommendation, I am 60 years old but so far have no issues with arthritic fingers. :)


Hello Ted! We were going to recommend the Fiddlerman Artist violin before we read your last line. We can recommend a couple of other models that are comparable (like the Scott Cao 500), but you get more for your money with the Fiddlerman violins.

What I’d rather recommend is getting the Artist (preferred) or Concert – with an upgraded Holstein Yellow Sandalwood bow. That would really complete this violin outfit and set you up right!


I have never played violin but am planning to learn and will soon purchase an instrument. Any recommendations? I do not want the cheapest instrument and would rather spend a bit more initially to help in ease of playability. I also plan to upgrade in a couple years once I am more skilled in order to play more difficult pieces. I’ve seen your various Fiddlershop brand models and was thinking about either the Concert or Artist as an initial purchase. Can you also recommend a few other options?

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