McNeela Violins just launched their latest model of Maestro violin for sale and they sent our very own Maestro a sample to test it out. Her response? “Worth every penny”.
A great violin is essential if you want to make music your livelihood. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing market when there’s so many violins for sale.
We are here to help. We take a look at seven of our favorite violins. We give an honest review of each of them, as well as our opinion on what is great and not great.
Our buying guide can help you narrow down your search. This guide will help you make the best decision.
The 2022 Best Violin for sale
1. The McNeela Maestro Violin (Our Top Pick)
The Maestro violin by McNeela is perfect for looking for a professional-level instrument and is entirely handmade by McNeela’s luthiers. It has a soft antique varnish finish that gives it the appearance and feel of an older instrument.
All tonewood is naturally seasoned. The top of the violin's body is made from Alpine Italian Spruce. The sides and back are made of hand-selected maple.
To achieve a rich, powerful and refined tone, the wood is carefully graduated. It has depth, color and sophistication.
It is strung using Dominant strings. They have a synthetic core that is made up of many strands. This gives them a warm, clear tone and soft sound. They are flexible and won't be affected if there is a change in humidity.
You'll find a variety of additional items included in this outfit. Two bows are available, one with a Brazilwood stick and one with carbon fiber sticks. The inlays of mother-of-pearl fleurs-de-lis inlays are attractive on both frogs, as well as the intricate windings.
A decent shoulder support from FOM is also included, as well as a quality italian rosin. All items are housed in a hardshell case with weatherproof fabric cover.
It is a fun instrument to play and responsive. Many private violin tutors and Suzuki teachers are among its owners. The whole set is a great value for money.
There is not much to dislike about this violin. This violin is not recommended for those who prefer a more glossy finish. It comes with one adjuster, which is located on the E-string.
These are the only problems we were able to locate. This is a great outfit for a violin.
- A perfectly graduated body creates a rich, warm and resonant tone
- Thomastik-Infeld dominant strings provide a clear sound that is impervious to changes in humidity
- One Brazilwood and one Carbon Fiber bow included.
- Only one adjuster comes pre-installed
- The subtle varnish is our favorite, but it's not the best choice if you want something more glossy.
2. J Brown Violins
J Brown offers their Model 1 at a slightly higher cost than their other models.
This is a replica of a Gasparo da Salao violin, one of the first makers of modern violins. Around 80 of his instruments survived to this day, which was in the 16th century. They are as well-known for their quality as they are for the cost.
This instrument was inspired by designs from da Salo’s Adam Collection. It has the appearance and feel of an antique Italian violin. The price tag for this item is significantly lower.
Both the front and back plates were made of aged maple and inlaid by double purfling. The back is especially striking with flourishes at the top and middle. This distinctive pattern is what ties da Salo together.
This violin has a warm, resonant sound with a wide dynamic range. Thomastik-Infeld, an Austrian manufacturer of Dominant strings, strung the violin. They are resistant to humidity and will keep your violin in tune even if the environment changes.
The violin was set up by J Brown's professional luthiers. It has a Rock Maple Bridge. You will only need to check that it has not moved during transit and tune the strings. If you wish to adjust the G, D, and A strings yourself, you will need them.
This J Brown violin is part of a larger ensemble, as with all other J Brown instruments.
Two bows are included, one with a carbon fibre stick and one from Brazilwood. Both bows feature ebony-frogs with an inlay of fleur-de-lis and a mother-of-pearl slider. Also included is a cake made with high quality Pirastro Goldflex Rosin.
A striking violin case is also available. It stands out from the rest with its weatherproof fabric cover featuring contrasting dark and powder blue panels. No one will be able to pick up the wrong case during rehearsals.
For those who prefer a more subtle look, the flourishes at the back of this violin and the colorful case will not suit them. They do however mark this violin as something very special.
- Beautiful, striking violin based on a 16th-century design
- No set-up required
- Two bows, good rose and a high-quality bag complete the outfit.
- Not everyone will like the bright and colorful case.
- Only one adjuster comes pre-installed.
3. Helen Violins
Violins from Helen is a great choice for a high-quality instrument at a reasonable price. This violin is more for intermediate to advanced students than for professionals. It's an acceptable compromise if you have a tight budget.
You can get it in sizes 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, and full-size. It's also available in 7/8, according to some retailers. It costs half as much as the Model 509. What do you get for your money then?
A top made of Engelmann spruce will be provided. It has been air dried for at least ten year. Maple is used for the sides and back.
The fingerboard is made from ebony while the pegs and chin rest are made of boxwood. You won't enjoy the appearance if you don't prefer a lighter color for your chinrest or tailpiece.
It is strung with the same high quality Thomastik Infeld strings as J Brown's higher-end violins. They won't shrink or stretch when humidity levels change because they are made of a multi-strand synthetic core.
The E-string adjuster is included. Some sellers will install the entire set for you if you'd prefer.
It is entirely hand-made. The varnish is applied thinly so that it doesn't affect the tone. This sound is rich in color and depth, and it's expressive and sophisticated.
This outfit also includes a case, bow and rosin.
The ergonomic curve and foam top of the shoulder rest make it comfortable. The polished wood base looks great.
The bow features a Brazilwood stick, ebony frog and a Brazilwood stick. The frog has a mother of pearl fleur-de-lis inlaid with mother-of–pearl, as well as an attractive winding screw that contains more mother-of–pearl. The Pirastro Goldflex Rosin will give you a great grip and sound.
The smart black case is last but not least. The case has a hard shell that protects your violin and a canvas cover to keep moisture out.
This is a great option for anyone looking for a violin that has a soft sound and a reasonable price.
- Expressionist and sophisticated sound
- Strings made with Dominant strings that are resistant to humidity
- Includes a Brazilwood bow, case, rosin, and shoulder rest.
- This course is for intermediate-to-advanced students and professionals.
- The boxwood chinrest and tailpiece will not be for everyone.
4. J Brown Model 8
The Model 8, which is the last violin by J Brown to make it onto our list, is also the most costly. It is nearly twice as expensive as the Model 326. It's still quite affordable when compared to the price of antique Italian violins.
This model is only available in full-size, and it has some of the same features as other J Browns.
The Italian Alps are where the spruce tonewoods and maple tonewoods originate. To ensure that they are fully seasoned, they are air-dried for many decades. Maple is used as the back panel and sides, while maple is used for the panels.
Two pieces of flamed maple are used to make the back. The varnish adds to the wood's beauty without dulling its tone. It is a replica of a violin 100 years old, but many times more expensive.
The bridge also made of maple. The boxwood tailpiece, chinrest and chinrest are beautifully shaped and are a rich brown. The fingerboard and pegs have ebony finishes. The pegs spin smoothly and stay in place.
The tailpiece has one adjuster. You will need to purchase additional adjusters for the G, D, and A strings. It is strung with Dominant strings that will withstand changes in humidity and not lose their tension.
The sound is rich and full with excellent projection. This violin is great for concert halls. You can get a violin comparable to boutique instruments for a fraction of what it costs if you have the means.
It is fully assembled. You will only need to check the bridge position and adjust it before you can play.
A hard shell case is included with the violin. The case has a canvas cover that protects your instrument from water. It also includes a bow and good quality rosin cake. The Brazilianwood bow features J Brown’s trademark fleur-de-lis design and mother-of-pearl slide on the frog.
- Amazing projection and rich sound
- Attractive flamed maple back
- Fully assembled
- Only available in full-size
- Only one adjuster.
5. Hiroshi Kono
This beautiful violin is priced somewhere in between the Model 326 of D S Strad and the Model 800.
Hiroshi Kono, a Japanese violin maker, and his two assistants hand carve the maple and spruce panels and sides. American luthier Bill Weaver refines the gradations. His family has been selling fine instruments for more than 100 years.
Bill Weaver then installs the new bass bar. A thin coating of varnish is applied to the wood to protect it and enhance its rich tone. It has the look of an antique violin, but with a much higher price.
This violin has a lot of power in both the lower and higher registers. The violin is responsive and dynamic, with an expressive sound.
The E-string is the only adjustment that comes pre-installed, as with other violins designed for professional players. You can purchase the other strings separately if you want to fine tune them.
Although the violin does not come with any accessories or bow, you will receive a case. You can choose your case from a variety of options. These models include Bobelock's.
This is not the best option if you are looking for a complete outfit. If you are willing to purchase your accessories separately, it will be possible to select the right options for you and your budget. Although it may take longer, you might end up with a better product.
- Powerful sound in both the lower and higher registers
- Elegant antique finish
- Price includes your choice of case from a variety of options
- It doesn't include a bow, or any other accessories
- Only the E-string has a pre-installed adjuster.
6. Cremona Maestro Soloist Violin
Cremona manufactures beginner violins , and intermediate violins. The SV-1400 violin is their best-of-the range model and is suitable for advanced players.
It is priced between the Model 509 and the J Brown Model 220 in terms of cost. It's worth looking into for professional violinists with a smaller budget.
It is a beautiful instrument. The back is made from a single piece of flamed maple and the sides are maple. The front is made from spruce. It has a classic mid-sheen thanks to a thin varnish layer.
The bridge is made from maple, while the fingerboard and pegs are made of ebony. The chinrest as well as the tailpiece are made out of boxwood. The tailpiece has four VP14 adjusters for fine tuning. Clear sound with bright and full tones.
The violin comes fully assembled with an Anton Breton VNS-150 Perlon string set. The only thing you will need to do is check that the bridge has not moved during transit and then tune it.
The case comes with a bow and the bow. J LaSalle made the bow. It features a Brazilwood stick and Mongolian horsehair. The bow is well balanced all the way.
This case is the deluxe model TL35 by Travelite. The case is robust, well padded and has a weatherproof cover. There's a plush velvet lining in the forest and holders for four bows. The humidity can be monitored by a hygrometer.
You will find plenty of space for your rosin, clean cloth and other items. It will not fit a collapsible leg shoulder rest.
You can upgrade certain elements if you have the funds. You can replace the strings with Dominant strings and have your luthier fit a custom bridge. A violin this affordable will produce impressive results.
Last, but not least, be aware that the pegs can be difficult to tune. You can rub rosin on the holes of the pegs or use a little Peg Drop to help them stay in place.
- Bright sound and clear tone for a very affordable price
- A single piece of flamed maple makes a beautiful back
- It comes with a high quality case and bow
- Pegs are prone to slip
- Upgrade the bridge and strings to get a better sound.
7. Ming Jiang Zhu 909 Violin
The 909 Ming Jiang Zhu violin is similar in price to the HoroshiKono. However, it has many advantages.
It has a strong pedigree. It was made by Ming Jiang Zhu's senior luthiers.
Ming was awarded numerous prizes in the international competition of Violin Society of America, including two gold medals for his violins. His son and brother-in-law have been in charge of his workshop since his passing in 2014.
This violin sounds rich, rich, and full. It is reminiscent of old Italian violins, which can be as expensive as a million dollars. The 909 beat far more expensive violins in double blind testing.
However, this is a brand new violin. As you play the violin, you will hear its tone change and expand. You will notice a significant improvement in tone and volume after a few weeks of consistent playing.
It is beautiful to behold. It is made from two pieces of flamed maple with maple sides and a front of spruce. The fingerboard is made from ebony and the tailpiece, chinrest, and pegs are all made of boxwood. The varnish is thinly applied to achieve a medium sheen appearance without affecting the rich tone.
Two models are available. The G909 was inspired by the Guaneri violins. The S909 is a reinterpretation of the Stradivari violins. The S is more sweet, while the G has more bite and darker tones. You can choose which one you prefer.
Be careful. There are many fakes out there, as the news has spread about how great this is. You should ensure that the instrument you purchase can be traced back to its workshop.
This is the only option for a violin. You will need to purchase accessories and a bow separately if you are looking for the violin. Fiddlerman will send you a free case if you order through them. There are many options available.
- Amazing sound from a workshop with an Award-winning Pedigree
- You can choose from Stradivari or Guaneri copies
- Beautiful appearance with mid-sheen varnish and flamed maple back
- There are no accessories available, but you can purchase a Fiddlerman case.
- Be wary of fakes
Guide to buying
Are you still unsure which violin to purchase? Continue reading to learn more about the various factors that should be considered.
What should you spend?
How much should a professional player pay for antique violins made by master violin makers, which can cost up to millions?
It will cost you a lot to get the antique violin status. It's not necessary for a great tone, despite what violin snobs might have you believe.
All violins can be improved with practice. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you should buy a violin that has been around for hundreds of years. Antique instruments can have their own problems. Joshua Bell's multi-million dollar Stradivari is one example. It occasionally requires repair to split at the seams.
Modern instrument makers have access to a wide range of equipment and techniques that were not available hundreds of years ago. A skilled luthier can create a modern instrument that has a rich, resonant sound.
In double blind tests, violins made by the Ming Jiang Zhu-owned Chinese workshop have outperformed antiques. This should be enough reason to wonder if you need to spend more on your violin as on your house.
Even a less expensive violin can be upgraded with a custom bridge and quality strings. A quality bow is also a good investment.
Try before you buy if you can
We have to admit that reviews are not always helpful, no matter how much it hurts. It is difficult to describe sound quality using words. Everyone will have different acoustic or playing preferences.
You can test the tone and physical fit of a violin by trying it out. Is the neck comfortable in your hand? Is the chinrest well-formed and smooth? Is the bridge at the right height?
Many shops allow you to borrow a violin before purchasing, and some will let you take it home for a test period. Both of these options are great ways to find out if a violin is right for you.
Accessories shouldn't distract you
While it is convenient to have accessories with your violin, they shouldn't be the deciding factor. An accessory such as a case, shoulder rest, or bow can always be upgraded. They're likely to cost a fraction of what your violin costs.
Instead, you should be focusing on the violin. It will become a part of you as a professional musician. It should speak with your voice.
If you are going to spend a lot of money on your violin, it is worth asking if accessories can be included. To close a deal on a high-end violin, retailers will often offer you a selection of cases.
Are you ready to pick your violin?
This brings us to the conclusion of our tour of seven professional violins. We hope you're convinced that there is no need to remortgage to purchase a beautiful instrument with great sounds.
The Maestro 509 by J Brown is our top choice. Its powerful, yet refined sound and rich color are what we love about it. It is also affordable and includes a variety of accessories.
The 909 violin from Ming Jiang Zhu will be a great choice if you have the budget. The rich tone and power of this violin are a testament to its award-winning pedigree. Tell your fellow violinists that you spent three times as much as it cost. They'll be impressed.
We hope that you and your audience enjoy many hours of enjoyment with whatever violin we choose.