10 Of The Best Violin Brands Of All Time

Written by Izaak Walton
Last updated

There is nothing quite like the poignant sound of the violin. This sweet-sounding instrument has a rich history that many dedicated luthiers (the term for someone who makes string instruments) carry on.

When it comes to building a good-quality violin, there are countless factors to consider. From materials to testing protocols, manufacturers have tried and tested ways to get violins that sound beautiful for the player and listener.

If you are in the market for a violin, you probably want the best. So we have listed here 10 of the best violin brands in the world. Read on to learn about them!

1. Yamaha 

One of the most well-known and highly respected brands in the world of violins is Yamaha.

Founded in Japan in 1887, Yamaha has been making musical instruments for over 130 years and has established a reputation for producing high-quality violins that are favored by both beginners and professional musicians alike

Besides violin, the company produces pianos, guitars, violas, cellos, brass instruments, and drums as well as audio equipment, semiconductors, home appliances, and more!

Whether you are a beginner looking for your first violin or an experienced player in search of a new instrument, a Yamaha violin is a great choice that is sure to provide you with many years of enjoyment.

2. Scherl & Roth  

In 1932, Heinrich Roth, a well-known seventh-generation German violin maker who immigrated to the United States, joined forces with Max Scherl to buy a company that became known as Scherl & Roth. With Roth’s expertise, the company found particular popularity after World War II.

Wanting to provide quality instruments to violinists, he hired the most skilled craftsmen for his company and has since been manufacturing top-notch violins for beginners and professionals alike.

If you come across a Scherl & Roth violin, you should know that they can come in many quality levels. This range is a result of the options offered for different budgets and different ages. The company also offers appraisals for its products. 

3. Knilling

Excellent violins can also be found in Knilling. The company was founded by Bernard Kornblum in 1922 in St. Louis, who had deep knowledge in music and violin craftsmanship. He named the company after Johannes Knilling, a well-known German luthier.

Knilling is known for its high-quality, long-lasting instruments. They ensure quality through a rigorous creation and inspection process. Their priority is to create instruments for educators and students.

You can find a violin for any level of expertise from Knilling, from standard to advanced. Specialized series are also offered, like their Nicolo Gabrieli and the Bucharest series.

4. DZ Strad 

Looking for high-quality instruments for all levels of violin players, DZ Strad may be the one for you. Beyond offering instruments for sale, they also have instruments for rent and a trade-in policy.

The company sells a wide range of violins. From the budget and beginner-friendly DZ Strad Model 220 to the more advanced Model 800 and beyond. While the company mostly produces its instruments, it also sells antique pieces, fine instruments, and European instruments.

In addition to violins, DZ Strad produces violas, cellos, and double basses. Bows and accessories are also available for purchase.

5. Eastman   

This company was founded in 1992 by Qian Ni, a flutist from Beijing. Though they have now grown into a global music supplier, it originated as a small business run out of the back of Qian Ni’s car.

Eastman produces string instruments, including the violin, viola, cello, and bass. It also makes guitars, mandolins, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, cornets, trombones, French horns, and more.

As violin manufacturers, Eastman prioritizes traditional German luthier workshop methods. They produce instruments that work for all levels of violinists, from beginners to professionals.

Students may opt for models like the Samuel Eastman VL80, while professionals may enjoy the Eastman VL605 Master Series. Electric violins are also offered for those wanting a more raw and sharp sound.

6. NS Design  

If Eastman’s electric violin options are not enough for you, you might find what you need with NS Design. The company was founded in 1990 by Ned Steinberger, who wanted to develop electric bowed instruments.

This company has three series of electric violins. These include the CR Series, NXTa Series, and WAV Series. Each of the violins has four- or five-string options.

While beginners may want to start on an acoustic option before committing, more experienced violinists who are new to electric violins may enjoy the WAV-5 Electric model.

Beyond violins, NS Design also produces violas, cellos, Omni basses, upright basses, and bass guitars. Besides instruments, they have electronic tuners, tuning hardware, and other accessories.

7. Hofner  

Founded by Karl Höfner, German company Hofner started producing high-quality violins in 1887. His sons and granddaughter later took up his mantle and continued his legacy.

In the 21st century, this company is the biggest manufacturer of stringed instruments in Western Europe. Despite the company’s size, Hofner prioritizes careful, superior work in its workshops.

To be environmentally friendly, this company makes their Green Line violin without tropical timber. Over ten different violin models are made with Green Line materials, for beginners and professionals alike.

Violin models from Hofner include the Stradivari Violin H225-AS and Guadagnini Violin H225-BG. They also produce other string instruments such as guitars, basses, violas, cellos, double basses, and accessories.

8. Stentor  

Known for their quality and affordability, Stentor is the best brand for novices who do not want to compromise sound because of budget restraints.

Founded by Edward C. Doughty, Stentor started out as a rosin and gut string company in 1895. Over time, they began producing different models of violin.

Recognizing the importance of providing access to top-of-the-line instruments, Stentor’s instruments are designed with students in mind, though professional models are also available.

The Stentor 4-string 1500 is an ideal choice for beginners, while the Stentor Amati 1995A violin works well for more advanced performers.

9. Cremona

Another brand suitable for students is Cremona, named after the Italian city known for its rich musical traditions and home of well-known luthiers.

Though advanced models are available, Cremona mainly caters to novice violinist. Music teachers often suggest this brand for its reputation for quality and for being budget-friendly.

For model options, beginning students may favor the Cremona SV-175 Premier Student violin, while more experienced students may like the Cremona SV-1500 Master Series.

The price range for Cremona violins ranges from $200 to over a thousand, depending on the model. They also offer several electric violins for both beginners and professionals.

10. The Realist  

Lastly, we have the Realist. This company produces products that amplify acoustic instruments. In addition, they also produce violins with built-in amplification technology.

Made in Europe, Realist violins come in a few different models to choose from, including the four-string model (RV4e), the five-string model (RV5e), the professional four-string model (RV4PeA), and the professional five-string model (RV5PeA).

Made from carved Carpathian spruce, Realist violins are crafted to ensure quality, rich tones are retained even while amplified.

The Realist also offers transducers for violin, guitar, mandolin, banjo, viola, cello, and bass, as well as sells SoundClip, Docking Station, and LifeLine accessories.

Summing Up Our List Of The Best Brands of Violin 

Violins may have been invented hundreds of years ago, but the interest in violin design has not waned.

Several companies are dedicated to producing high-quality instruments for everyone from professionals to students picking up a bow for the first time.

With the variety of brands we have listed, we’re sure that you’ll find the best option for your music needs.

Photo of author

Izaak Walton is a violinist and violin teacher based out of Denver, Colorado. Izaak received a Master’s in Violin Performance at the University of Denver, and a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance from the University of Georgia. Exposed to a variety of violin methods and musical styles, Izaak built passions for music history, literature, and violin technique.