10 Best Violin for Kids – Full Buying Guide (2020)
What if you could indulge your child’s interests without breaking the bank? What if you could allow your child to be creative without spending a fortune? If your child is interested in playing the violin, this guide to the best violin for kids can help.
Encouraging children’s hobbies requires fine balance. You need to give them the encouragement and equipment they need to experiment while being prepared for much of it to not go anywhere. Music is such a hobby. One that could offer amazing opportunities throughout your child’s life, for a cost.
We use our extensive knowledge of music, the music industry, instruments and the violin in particular to bring you a list of the best violin for kids. Each has been tried, tested and not found wanting.
If you’re going to spend money on your child’s hobby, let us help you make sure it is money well spent!
- Best Violin for Kids
- Buying the best violin for kids
- Violins for beginners vs. violins for intermediate musicians
- Looking after a violin
- FAQs around violins for kids
- The best kids’ violins on the market
Best Violin for Kids
There is a real cross section of violins here. A selection across makes, models, sizes, skills level and costs. Whatever the age of your child, whatever their skill level, there is sure to be a violin ideal for their needs in this list. Here are what we think are the best violin for kids.
- Mendini 4/4 MV300 violin
- Cremona SV-175 violin outfit
- Sky SKYVN202 violin
- D Z Strad Violin Model 100
- Stentor 1500
- Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit
- Cremona SV-200 violin outfit
- Mendini 4/4 MV500 violin outfit
- D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit
- Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit
1. Mendini 4/4 MV300 violin
The Mendini MV300 violin is one of the highest rated student violins available. It has a classic design with maple body and spruce top. Wood fingerboard, chin rest and pegs are all quality materials too.
This is a beginner violin but you have to look closely to see it. The lack of ebony wood on the fingerboard lowers the weight but doesn’t detract from the sound at this level. The finishing is top class with nice varnish and quality detailing across the instrument. You would genuinely be hard pressed to see this as a beginner violin.
The wood offers a warm resonance that is immediately reassuring when you play.
The Mendini MV300 violin is an entry level violin with a cost to match. That said, the return on such a modest investment is the reason this violin always tops the charts.
Pros of the Mendini 4/4 MV300 violin:
- Traditional design and finish
- High quality materials used in construction
- Warm, inviting tone
- Very well priced
Cons of the Mendini 4/4 MV300 violin:
- Tone not as rich as some
- Needs setting up before play
- Tuning pegs have been known to slip without attention
2. Cremona SV-175 violin outfit
Cremona is a well-respected name in violins and always performs well in buying guides such as this. The Cremona SV-175 Premier Student Violin Outfit is no exception.
The SV-175 is Cremona’s best-selling violin outfit for beginners and has been largely the same for over 30 years. It’s a lightweight violin constructed from maple with a spruce top, ebony fingerboard and high quality throughout. The quality of materials and finishing is top class.
The sound is clean and rich thanks to those woods and delivers credible acoustics even with the default strings. The brazilwood bow is comfortable in small hands too.
The Cremona SV-175 Premier Student Violin Outfit includes the violin, bow and hard case. It is more expensive than some others in this list but you really do get what you pay for.
Pros of the Cremona SV-175 violin outfit:
- Great build quality
- Traditional woods
- Light and easy to hold
- Fantastic finish
- Rich tone
Cons of the Cremona SV-175 violin outfit:
- Doesn’t come with a tuner or other standard outfit items
- No shoulder rest
- More expensive than other violins for kids
3. Sky SKYVN202 violin
The Sky SKYVN202 violin comes in 1/16 and 1/10 sizes and is suitable for younger or smaller students. It’s a great starter kit and comes in blue or pink colours to offer interest for beginners.
The violin is constructed of wood, is hand carved and hand finished and looks quality despite being a beginner violin. Hardwood pegs and fingerboard feel robust while the lightweight bow uses horsehair to create great sound.
The instrument comes ready to play and will require just a little tuning before use. The violin may be oriented at beginners but no compromise has been made on construction or acoustics. While it isn’t as rich or vibrant as some, it is more than sufficient for those taking their first steps into playing the violin.
Pros of the Sky SKYVN202 violin:
- Child-friendly colours
- Light and easy to hold
- Decent tone
- Low cost
Cons of the Sky SKYVN202 violin:
- Beginner violin only, not suitable for intermediate
- Build quality not as strong as some
- Not a traditional violin look
4. D Z Strad Violin Model 100
The D Z Strad Violin Model 100 continues the brand’s reputation for delivering quality instruments at low prices. It is designed specifically for children and is a 1/4 size.
The Model 100 is constructed of maple and spruce that has been air-dried for ten years before being turned into a violin. Hardwood fingerboard and pegs complete an attractive look while feeling rugged enough to survive being played by a young musician.
The sound has great tone and a warm quality. The included strings are of a decent standard but the violin really comes alive with premium strings.
The D Z Strad Violin Model 100 is on the expensive side but is of a high enough quality to be worth it.
Pros of the D Z Strad Violin Model 100:
- Great quality materials
- Rich varnish and colour
- Great tone and sound
- Highly recommended by violin teachers
- Could take the student to intermediate level
Cons of the D Z Strad Violin Model 100:
- At the pricier end of the kids violin market
- Doesn’t come as an outfit so further purchases necessary
5. Stentor 1500
Stentor is another instrument manufacturer worthy of note. Known for build quality, finish and sound as well as value for money. This violin is a 3/4 size instrument ideal for a beginner into early intermediate.
The violin has a classic design with a rich varnished finish that is quite striking. It is manufactured from maple and spruce with ebony fingerboard. A set of quality composite is a departure from the usual but works very well. A traditional horsehair bow is comfortable to use and delivers great sound.
Despite the use of traditional woods in the construction and top quality finishing, this is a value option. The price belies the quality in many respects, making this a great beginner violin for kids.
The Stentor 1500 comes with a hard case and strap.
Pros of the Stentor 1500:
- Quality materials with traditional woods
- Classic design
- Could carry the student to intermediate level
- Backpack-style case with strap
- Very cost-effective in terms of quality
Cons of the Stentor 1500:
- Not the cheapest violin for kids
- Pegs can slip unless monitored
6. Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit
The Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit is a full size beginner violin for older kids. It has a bright, friendly finish giving it an approachable air. The traditional design still provides a premium feel while managing to also be child-friendly.
The violin is constructed of maple and spruce with ebony fingerboard. It has a lustrous light varnish to protect the wood and help with sound that feels smooth to the touch.
The Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit is an outfit and comes with a soft case, spare strings, tuner, horsehair bow and rosin. Everything the beginner student needs to begin their journey with the violin.
The Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit is a great option for beginners who are a little older. It’s a full size violin but is light enough to make it easy to get used to.
Pros of the Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit:
- Ideal for older children
- Quality materials and finish
- Good tone
- Complete kit
Cons of the Crescent 4/4 violin starter kit:
- Not the highest quality you can buy
7. Cremona SV-200 violin outfit
Cremona is a well-respected name in violins and doesn’t miss a trick even when building violins for kids. The SV-200 comes in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 4/4 sizes and is constructed using real maple and spruce for the body and ebony pegs and fingerboard.
It’s a traditional violin with classic shape and finishing. It’s a high-quality piece complete with D’Addario strings so it should sound great after tuning. The sound is warm and tonal and should be an excellent introduction to the violin for younger musicians.
Build quality is superb, finishing is first class and that bright colour should resonate well with kids. The outfit comes with a case, brazilwood bow with horsehair and Prelude strings by D’Addario.
The Cremona SV-200 violin outfit is a premium instrument but is another example of really getting what you pay for.
Pros of the Cremona SV-200:
- Hand carved with tonal woods
- Classic design and finish
- Good quality standard strings
- Great sound
Cons of the Cremona SV-200:
- Doesn’t come with a shoulder rest
- Not an outfit so more purchases necessary
- Will require setting up before play
8. Mendini 4/4 MV500 violin outfit
The Mendini 4/4 MV500 is a half size violin that often appears in ‘best violin’ lists thanks to its materials and build quality. The violin is constructed of maple with a spruce top and finished with an antique look. The MV500 is hand-made and has a great feel.
The sound is warm and vibrant with a premium note that few other violins can deliver at this price. Upgrade to premium strings and that sound keeps getting better!
This violin would be suitable for a beginner and could take them into intermediate. While it costs a little more than some here, it will last longer too. The shoulder rest is adjustable to help keep things comfortable.
The Mendini 4/4 MV500 comes as an outfit with two bows, tuner, strings, shoulder rest, bridges, rosin and a hard case to keep everything safe. There is also a 1/2 size MV500 too if that is more suitable.
Pros of the Mendini 4/4 MV500:
- Complete violin outfit
- Quality materials and build
- Rich, dark finish
- Lovely sound
Cons of the Mendini 4/4 MV500:
- Dark finish won’t work for everyone
- Will quickly need a string upgrade
9. D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit
The D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit is a 1/16 size instrument for younger beginners. It has a dark finish with traditional design that will resonate well with some kids.
The violin is made from maple with a spruce top to ensure good resonance while ebony fingerboard and tuning pegs provide the robustness we need to ensure longevity. The violin is finished to a high standard with a smooth varnish and a quality feel throughout.
It’s a beginner violin but doesn’t look like it. The sound isn’t as rich as some but is still warm and sure. The quality materials are what makes this violin shine and are what give it the character that will appeal.
The D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit comes complete with violin, brazilwood bow with horsehair strings and rosin.
Pros of the D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit:
- Quality wood construction
- Traditional design
- Complete outfit
Cons of the D’Luca DL-45016 violin outfit:
- Dark finish won’t appeal to everyone
10. Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit
Cecilio is another top name in violins and the Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit is an excellent violin for kids. It’s a half size violin that could easily take a student from beginner into early intermediate with no problem.
Construction is first class with maple body and spruce top, ebony fingerboard and quality pegs and tailpiece. The finish is superb, with a rich lustrous varnish offering a genuinely premium appeal.
The sound is warm and welcoming and ideal for those first steps as a violinist. This is another violin recommended by teachers because of this. The violin is also quite light and very easy to hold, adding to the appeal.
The Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit comes with tuner, metronome, hard case, bows, extra bridge and rosin.
Pros of the Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit:
- High quality woods used throughout
- Great sound with real warmth
- Light and easy to play
- Fine tuner makes short work of maintenance
Cons of the Cecilio CVN-300 violin outfit:
- No spare strings within the outfit
Buying the best violin for kids
A violin suitable for kids has to perform many tasks. It has to be of a sufficient quality to deliver nice sound. It has to be robust enough to put up with potential harsh treatment. It has to be attractive enough for the child to want to play it and light and comfortable enough for them to be able to play it.
That’s a lot to ask of any instrument!
Here are some further considerations to take into account when selecting the best violin for kids.
Violins have eight traditional sizes measured in fractions. They are the full size 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, 1/32. A 1/32 violin is small working gradually up to a full size violin.
Your violin teacher may be able to help with violin sizing. Otherwise have your child assume the hold position and measure from the base of the neck to the palm of their hand. This is the measurement you will use to assess violin size.
The construction of the violin influences its feel, weight and the tone it produces. The traditional mix is maple and spruce body with ebony fingerboard and pegs. Many violins for kids will follow this tradition while others will go their own way.
As long as the materials are fit for purpose and produce the right tone for your child’s ear, materials are less of an issue for beginners.
Shoulder and chin rest
The shoulder and chin rest are also very important when shopping for a child’s violin. They need to be the right size for the age, comfortable and adjustable. Most chin rests are well sized and should need little or no attention.
Shoulder rests can be bought separately if the one that comes with the violin isn’t the perfect fit. You can also play without one.
Weight is very important. You need a light violin to be easy to hold but robust enough to display good build quality and produce a rich sound. The violins for kids in our list balance weight well and should be light enough and comfortable enough for a child to hold for extended periods of time.
Most bows that come with kids violins are light and sized for children. They will be a mixture of composite and brazilwood and often come with horsehair strings. Violin outfits will come with rosin to keep the hair in good condition and producing good sound.
An outfit or not?
Some of the kids violins in our list come as a violin outfit while others do not. The advantage of an outfit is that it will include most, if not all, the accessories you need to begin playing. The disadvantage is that they can cost more or the accessories are slightly lower quality to make the price.
We would suggest buying an outfit at first and then buying elements separately once your child knows what they are buying.
Violins for beginners vs. violins for intermediate musicians
Most of the violins in this list are for beginners as that is where most children will start. A couple in the list are of sufficient quality to be suitable for intermediate, so what’s the difference?
A beginner violin will be built to a price. That price needs to be accessible enough that you don’t waste too much money if your child gets bored of the violin. It also needs to produce a quality of sound comparable to a higher quality violin to keep the child interested.
Those that can take a child from beginner to intermediate are usually at the higher end of the quality scale. They are of sufficient quality in terms of build and tone that could easily follow the young student to intermediate level before requiring an upgrade.
Looking after a violin
Even though beginner violins are priced to be accessible, it is still an investment. If your child gets to intermediate or advanced, that level of investment will only increase.
Teaching them how to properly use, clean and maintain their violin is also an investment and one that will serve them well over their time with the violin.
Always play with clean hands
Playing with clean hands reduces wear, reduces cleaning and creates a habit of respect and proper preparedness for practice. It also stops any oil or other contaminants ruining the strings.
Wipe down before and after play
Giving the violin a gentle wipe with a soft cloth before and after play is another habit to get a young violinist into. A violin’s tone is all about the condition of the instrument so you need to do whatever you can to maintain that condition.
A gentle wipe down should remove dirt, dust and sweat, preserving the finish and the sound for longer.
Always store the violin in its case
A violin is a very delicate instrument and needs to be treated as such. Most violins come with a case to protect it. This case should be used whenever the violin is not in use. If the violin came with a soft case, consider investing in a hard case. It will be well worth the cost.
Maintain the bridge and pegs
Violins are fairly easy to look after but you need to watch the bridge and pegs. Sometimes the bridge can shift out of alignment which can put extra tension on the strings. Check the bridge position regularly.
Pegs help keep the violin in tune. They need to be lubricated with peg dope, enough to be able to move but not so much that they slip. Slipping pegs may need professional adjustment.
FAQs around violins for kids
What is the best violin for a child?
The best violin for a child is the one they like the look of, is light enough to hold and has the tone that is good to their ear. Quality, colour and material are all secondary considerations. If a child doesn’t like the look and feel of a violin, they won’t play it. The violins in this list should suit a wide range of tastes.
How do I choose a violin for my child?
You can choose a violin for your child using this guide. We cover 10 of the best violins for kids and offer practical advice on buying and caring for your violin. A violin teacher is also a great source of knowledge for beginner musicians.
At what age should a child start violin lessons?
A child should start violin lessons as early as possible. Age three is typically the earliest a child can practically begin learning an instrument. Their strength, cognitive skills and coordination has developed enough to begin learning the basics and is early enough to hopefully spark the passion for the instrument!
Is violin hard to learn?
The violin is hard to learn but so is anything in life worth learning. All instruments could be regarded as hard to learn but are well worth the investment in time, money and practice.
Can violin be self-taught?
Violinists can be self-taught with or without lessons. As a beginner, you will likely spend one or two hours per week with a teacher and then many, many more hours per week practicing alone. So technically at least, we are all mostly self-taught. A teacher shows you what to do and how to do it but it’s up to us to put it into practice.
The best kids’ violins on the market
There are many makes and models of violins suitable for kids but not all of them make the grade. Those listed here are what we think are ten of the best violins for kids.
Each has great build quality, lovely finish, comfortable fitments and a mixture of materials. They all come ready to play and will require minimal setup to get up and running.
All are relatively cheap too. They combine cost-effectiveness with quality, providing the tone a child needs to engage with the instrument while not costing parents so much that it remains out of reach.