Violin prices

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First of all, it is hard to calculate the price of violins if not all the characteristics are known. Indeed, even if two instruments are the same in every way, their prices will vary according to the assembly work, the prices of their accessories and even the prestige of the workshop. Besides, these notions become even more subtle on old, rare instruments or those made by renowned violin-makers. However, in this article, I will try to give you the average range of prices that you can usually find in shops. This will give you an idea of how much it can cost.

Price of violins in a violin-maker workshop
The price of violins is inconstant and evolving. Here are some keys to better understand what is going on.

Price of Chinese violins

They are far from the heavy and shapeless things that first came to us from Asia not so long ago. Chinese violins have even become a must-have these days, combining very competitive prices with more than adequate craftsmanship. Whether they are made in factories or in artisanal workshops, these instruments have many advantages that appeal to students, amateurs and even professionals. The best instruments are always adjusted and assembled in violin-making workshops once they arrive in Europe to get the best out of them. Indeed, pegs, fingerboard, and saddles are fixed. Also, bridges and soundposts are carved specially for the instrument. This is also where the choices for strings and accessories are made.

Price of Chinese violins
Over the last few years, Chinese violins have offered exceptional value for money.

Of course, as there are different levels of quality made in China, you should always be careful. Do not forget that, for these manufacturers, their main focus is to flood the market with low-cost instruments and accessories. That is why quality is not always their key argument.

Moreover, if you buy in a non-specialised shop, whether on the Internet or not, you will only get a violin coming straight out of a container. Yes it will be a lot cheaper, but simply because it would not have been examined. In fact, in some cases, your instrument is not even playable and certainly need to be changed at once.

 

Why do violin prices vary?

Prices of instruments can be highly different, not only according to their quality but also the manufacturing methods. There is also the time spent by the violin-maker to assemble and prepare the violin, viola or cello to take into account. Knowing that preparing a violin is the most crucial step for sound and playing comfort, skipping it can be quite disappointing for the musician.

This is also why you may notice price variations between violins from the same manufacturer. It does not necessarily hide a fraud but instead, plenty of criteria are involved which are very specific to the place where assembly happens.

 

Why choose a Chinese violin?

Generally speaking, it is a simple option to get great value for money (at least if the work is done properly). That is why getting a new instrument like that would probably be more advantageous.

Additionally, these are often available by hire or simple rental. However, one of the biggest drawbacks is that they can be relatively hard to resell, especially smaller models, or at a much lower price than when purchased. In other words, we can assume that a Chinese violin loses 40% of its value as soon as it is purchased. Moreover, “disposable” instruments that can be bought on the Internet with rock-bottom prices are simply impossible to resell.

However, some Chinese trademarks have a good reputation, such as Kaiming Guan or Passion Tradition which will sell much better. Also, if you have to justify the value of the instrument, the reputation of the violin-maker or of the workshop will work in your favour. Even more so if you ask for a certificate of authenticity or a certificate of value.

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Guan Kaiming Violin – KMG special series

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Violon Passion Tradition Maître
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Passion-Tradition Artisan violin

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Price of European violins

Manufacturing instruments in European factories or workshops is still happening today. It is especially the case in Romania. These instruments are quite similar to their Chinese cousins regarding quality – the best and the worst can be found.

I’d say that, for the same quality, the price of these violins is still higher than Asian ones. But this could change in a few years.

price of old violins
In fact, it isn’t because a violin is far from its original appearance that it loses its value.

 

Price of old violins

Old violins can firstly gather a lot of violins that travelled through time to reach us. Whether they have been manufactured in factories, workshops or by a violin-maker master, they will all be considered antiquities. Thus, it will always represent an investment that will never be devalued, even if their price can seem much higher when purchased. In any cases, each of them will carry a story as well as a particular soundpost. Everything can be found among these instruments, even violins which sound fine despite their low price. But also the contrary, expensive instruments which do not sound so good.

Rankings of violins

Every old string instruments that we can see passing through the workshop can be ranked in one of the following caterogies. Although I’m just talking about violins here, this can be applied to violas and cellos as well. Of course, this is only a generalisation and each of these categories displays different value ranges which can be overlayed. Therefore, even though this ranking is theoritically from the lowest to the highest quality, instruments from the higher categories can have lower values than some from a lower category. On the other hand, and even if it isn’t entirely true, manufacture quality criteria do not necessarily have a real impact on the sound quality.

 

Violins from factories

The vast majority of violins ever produced are in fact intended for beginners. They are characterised by the cheapest price possible, which implies the cheapest materials and the minimum amount of work. These simply have no artistic value. They are usually thick, very sturdy, and they sound like a saucepan.

Usually made with dull wood, the ebony of the pegs and fingerboard really just is painted. The varnish is often opaque, sprayed and very friable. On some of them, we can notice the lack of blocks, of linings on a piece, and sometimes also a bassbar directly carved into the belly.

Contrary to what we could think, many of these instruments bears a Stradivarius label… But at a glance, we clearly notice that the instrument never was in Italia.

 

Violins from registered trademarks

A step further up on the quality scale lets us find violins for which manufacturers have no shame to put their own labels on. Here as well, prices can vary a lot according to the selected wood, varnish, supplies and manufacturing methods. The best of them can be graded by hand with thicknesses that allow them to vibrate well. Although most are finished by hand like this, a major part of the work is still done by machines. Which does not prevent them to bear a label saying “handcrafted“.

 

Violins from workshops

Each of these instruments has received a unique attention, more or less in-depth, during its making. They can even be built by the same person from beginning to end, but usually there are different craftsmen. Each of the craftsmen is experimented and works under the supervision of a master violin-maker who directs the creative part. They also select the materials and classical templates to follow. Once finished, these violins will then be considered as products of the master and will bear their label. Even if they only briefly contributed to their creation, by assembling pre-cut parts or by simply applying varnish on bare-wood instruments.

Therefore, the master’s work is sometimes mistaken with the one of their craftsmen.

 

Lesser known violins from violin-makers

These instruments are first of all the original and handcrafted work of thousands of violin-makers whose names only remain on labels in their violins. Which float like bottles thrown into the ocean of history.

These violins, which are often very well made, offer musicians the opportunity to enjoy a real work of art for a very reasonable price. Of course, the artistic aspect can be quite biased as it can very well be made by an amateur or by a perfectly skilled professionnal.

For the connoisseur, the quality of the work on the instrument will make it truly valuable, yet the sound quality should not be overlooked either.

Price of master violins
The price of violins made by a master violin-maker, even today, can reach mind-boggling figures.

Violins from master violin-makers

It is the authentic production of a violin-maker who has been recognised as a master thanks to their professional training, their reputation but also their highly artistic approach. Winning a competition prize has always helped many masters to distinguish themselves. But achieving greatness in tone and consistency of work are also criteria.

The price of violins by the greatest Italian masters can reach mind-boggling figures! You can also read more about some of them in this article:

 

Price of old violins

First of all, here is a list of prices that correspond to old instruments that can usually be found in France. Although their value will change a lot according to their origin, their label, and even their condition. This will provide a rough estimate. Also, prices shown here are for violins in perfect aesthetic and playability condition. Finally, it is possible to find damaged or unassembled violins for much lower prices. However, these are not necessarily in a condition to be played.

  • €650 and more for a 1/4 violin
  • €700 and more for a 1/2 violin
  • €800 and more for a 3/4 violin
  • €875 and more for a 7/8 violin
  • €900 and more for a 4/4 student violin
  • €1500 and more for a 4/4 middle-level violin
  • €3500 and more for a 4/4 master violin

 

Price of violins from modern violin-making

First of all, it is important to know that the price of worldwide contemporary violin-makers’ violins can vary a lot. In fact, it is often a matter of reputation and geographical location. Thus, Italian violin-makers will always sell their instruments for more than a Romanian violin-maker, for example. Simply because Italia is THE country of violin-making, the historic birthplace of the famous Stradivarius. Just as well, violin-makers based in the countryside do not have the same operating expenses than those based in a city, which can have a direct impact on prices.

The reputation of a violin-maker mostly relies on their years of experience and on how many contests and prizes they have won.

In fact, some violin-makers today are so popular that their order book is full for the next few years. Also, the price of their violins can reach more than $40,000. In Europe, it costs on average €10,000 for a custom-made classical violin.

As for me, my violins are custom-made and entierely handcrafted in my workshop. They are completely made according to the musician’s tastes and needs in order to exalt their performance. That is why their price can vary depending on the model. Finally, for more information, I suggest you to check out the dedicated page about the making of my customised instruments.

 

Violins prices in the shop

Now that you perfectly know what is involved for the prices of violins, violas, and cellos. You can also check out my online shop where you will find different types of instruments.

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