Violins are items that are viewed as simple stringed instruments by some but as historical works of art by others. With some violins having multi-million dollar valuations, one may wonder how a violin receives its value and how much violins are supposed to cost. Whether a violin is viewed as a tool to advance one’s playing career or as a special historical artifact that needs to be preserved, every violin has a value that is assigned to it.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what factors affect how much a violin costs and what to expect at each of the different price ranges.
Quick Answer: How Much do Violins Cost?
Obviously, with every instrument, there is a large range of prices and you can spend as little or as much as you want.
- Beginner violins: $100-$500
- Intermediate violins: $600-$2000
- Professional violins: $2000+
What Factors Affect a Violin’s Price?
There are a number of different factors that determine how much a violin costs. Below, we’ve listed some of the main things that affect how much they cost.
The Violin’s Maker
The maker of a violin, more formally known as a luthier, is one of the largest factors to determine how much a violin is worth.
As with many other products, there are manufacturers that have strong reputations for building high-quality violins, and there are manufacturers that build violins of lesser quality as well.
There are many reputable luthiers who consistently build great violins and have developed their reputations over years of work.
However, especially due to the fact that most quality violins are hand-crafted, these luthiers are limited in the number of violins that they can create at a time.
Therefore, violinists typically have to pay more for these crafters’ works as they are rarer.
On the other hand, there are many brands that mass-produce violins and due to the volume that these manufacturers are able to pump out of their factories, these violins tend to be cheaper.
Another factor is that these mass-produced violin’s build qualities are not always great and the best materials are not usually used to make these violins as they’re targeting the lower-cost end of the market.
The Violin’s History
A violin’s history plays an especially unique role in how much the violin is worth.
Violins that were played by famous violinists, such as Jascha Heifetz or Itzak Perlman, are inherently worth more than a violin that is brand new and has never been played.
However, history assigns an intrinsic value to a violin and is not a value that can accurately be assessed.
There are many older violins that are worth millions because of their histories, and there are also older violins that are primarily worth sentimental value to the families that they were passed down through.
The materials that a violin is constructed with can also considerably affect how much the violin costs.
First of all, you have the type and quality of the wood that the violin is made out of.
Cheap and readily available woods will be used on less expensive violins and vice versa, rarer and more quality woods will increase the price of the violin.
A violin that is built out of solid wood, for example, is less likely to crack after a few years than a violin that is built with a cheaper thin wood.
You don’t have to make violins out of wood either.
On the low-cost end, you can use plastic which is what they use to make very affordable violins.
You can even make a violin out of gold or use it as ornamentation with materials like mother of pearl which can be hard to both acquire and craft into the violin further increasing the value.
High-quality materials are also usually used by skilled luthiers, so these violins are typically built very well.
Aside from adding to the appearance of a violin, materials that are of great quality are more likely to last longer and stand the test of time.
As you will experience in many other fields, the condition of a violin is a big factor in the violin’s price.
Violins that are well-kept, properly maintained, and in pristine condition will be worth more than violins that are cracked and have missing components, for example.
The condition of a violin usually plays a role in how the violin will sound and will certainly play a role in the longevity of the violin and therefore its cost over the years.
The Violin’s Age
The age of a violin can have both a positive and negative impact on the violin’s price.
Age is accompanied by several other factors, like the condition of the violin and the violin’s history.
A violin that is older usually has a history that is included with it which can add to the violin’s value as it makes it more unique.
However, a violin that is older also needs to be well-maintained and kept in good condition so that it can retain its quality of sound.
The size of a violin plays a role in the violin’s price as a 1/16 violin, for example, will usually cost less than a full-size 4/4 violin.
Violins are crafted in eight different sizes:
These sizes are developed to suit players of different age ranges and different proportions.
As can be expected, it also takes less material to craft a 1/32 violin than a 3/4 violin, for example.
Violins that are smaller sound different from full-size violins as well, producing brighter sounds with less dynamic ranges.
Who is the Seller?
The person or entity that is selling a violin can also determine how much the violin costs.
If you are purchasing a violin from a reputable dealer, for example, you will pay more for the violin because these sellers typically do their due diligence when they acquire violins.
Additionally, under the care of a reputable dealer, a violin will be maintained properly, stored safely, and taken care of.
Depending on the violin that is being purchased, it may be crucial to purchase the violin only from a dealer that has a strong reputation to ensure the authenticity and quality of the violin.
Private sellers can affect the price of violins as well.
If a person that is selling a violin has a history with the violin, then they may charge more for the violin due to sentimental reasons.
However, the opposite is also true, where a seller may not understand what they are selling and may sell a valuable violin for less than it is actually worth.
Violins that are sold with accessories usually cost more than the violins by themselves.
Accessories alone can be costly so they tend to be bundled with violins to give customers products that they need for less than the individual products by themselves.
However, violins in the lower price ranges are typically sold with accessories, whereas more expensive violins usually don’t have accessories included.
Prices and What to Expect
Now that we’ve covered some of the different things that can affect how much violins cost, we’ll now take a quick look at what you can expect at different violin price ranges.
$200 and Below
Violins that are sold for $200 and under are typically great violins for beginners who are learning how to play the violin.
These violins offer the basic features and allow beginners to perfect their crafts and to determine if they want to continue learning the violin.
While these violins do not tend to offer the greatest sounds, there are many great deals that exist for less than $200.
You will find many kits that offer a multitude of accessories, like violin cases and violin bows, being sold in this price range.
These products will most likely not be the highest quality products, however, but do allow violinists to become better acquainted with becoming musicians.
As can be expected, there are some less-than-stellar products that are also sold in this price range, but there are also some great bargains for less than $200 as well.
$200 – $500
Violins that are sold between the $200 and $500 price range, like many violins that are sold for less than $200, are usually violins that are created for beginners and are most likely mass-produced in factories as well.
These violins, however, are typically sold with better features and produce better sounds than sub-$200 violins.
Violinists can find violins that will last until their intermediate playing years in this category, with diligent research.
$500 – $1,000
Intermediate violins typically are sold for $500 to $1,000, though some do extend outside of this price range as well.
These violins are typically crafted out of higher-quality wood.
Additionally, these violins tend to be hand-crafted rather than mass-produced in factories. However, some factory violins are sold within this price range.
Finding complete violin kits that are within this price range is less common, as violinists who are shopping for violins that are above $500 usually have their own sets of accessories or understand what they are looking for.
Violins in this category also usually produce great tones that can carry a violinist further into their career.
$1,000 – $2,000
Violins that are hand-crafted by luthiers are usually violins that are sold for $1,000 to $2,000 and upwards.
These violins are crafted from scratch with specific sounds and qualities in mind.
Rather than the short amount of time that mass-produced violins are made in, violins that cost over $1,000 can take several weeks or months to make.
During their development, revisions are continually made to these violins if they don’t meet the requirements of their luthiers.
These violins are great for both intermediate and advanced violinists to own.
$2,000 – $10,000
Professional violinists typically own violins that cost between $2,000 and $10,000, though some certainly do own instruments that cost much more.
Check out our post on the most expensive violins in the world to see how much they can go for.
Developed for advanced violinists to perform with, these violins have excellent dynamic ranges and produce pleasing sounds for audiences to enjoy.
These violins are hand-crafted with high-quality wood and designs.
There are several great professional instruments that can be purchased in this price range.
$10,000 and Above
Violins that are in the price range that rises above $10,000 are typically professional violins that have some of the best features that are available for violins.
The craftsmanship of these violins is typically high-quality and you will find finely carved wood pieces on violins that are in this category.
Special attention is given to the small details of violins that cost over $10,000.
These violins are a rarity among violins, due to the extensive amount of skilled labor that is involved in creating them, and are typically sold to skilled violinists who can properly maintain their conditions.
However, violin collectors and prominent amateur violinists also purchase these violins on occasion.
As you climb higher above this price range, you will find violins that have long histories and have been owned or played by notable figures.
Antique violins that have been properly maintained throughout history will be above the $10,000 price range.
These violins hold more than just material value but have years of history and heritage that are behind their strings.
The violin that was famously played by Wallace Henry Hartley as the R.M.S. Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, for example, is worth well over $1,000,000 in its cracked and unplayable condition.
As you can see, there are multiple factors that each play individual roles in the cost of a violin.
With these numerous factors and the many violins that are in existence, it can be hard to place concrete values on violins.
Understanding these factors, however, can certainly help you to find your next violin and to understand how much it is worth to you.
No matter what your budget is, there is definitely a violin that is out there for you.
Do your research on violins that you like so that you can find the best deals.