There are a number of things to consider when buying a violin. First, perhaps, is affordability.
Beginning students (and those with a casual interest in the violin) need not spend a lot of money on buying a violin to see if they wish to continue playing.
(Some choose first to rent a violin.) But there are some basics of buying a violin that can’t be overlooked, even in inexpensive instruments.
When considering to buy a violin, look out for these factors.
The construction of the violin has to be of great enough quality that the instrument will stay in tune. Make sure the tuning pegs will hold after being adjusted and that handling of the instrument will not cause tuning problems.
Ebony tuning pegs are preferred but may not be found in inexpensive instruments. Some violins have find tuners that help the instrument stay in tune.
The best violins to buy have spruce tops and maple back and sides. Student grade instruments are often made of laminate (wood that is glued in layers as plywood) and though they are serviceable and a good instrument to start out on, the violin’s tone will more than likely be lacking.
Along with examining the overall condition of the instrument, take a close look at the purfling that runs along the top and back of the violin and check for cracks or weak spots. The condition of a violin’s purfling is a good measure as to how the violin has been treated.
If possible, have a violinist or violin teacher accompany you when choosing an instrument. They can, in a short amount of time, determine whether the violin is worth its asking price and whether it is appropriate for the student to buy.
Violins come in many sizes, including ¼, ½, ¾ and full sizes. Younger players may not be able to handle a full-sized instrument until they reach the age of 14 or 15.
Another thing to consider is the quality of the violin case. If the violin is carried back and forth to school on a daily basis for example, you’ll need to buy case that can protect the violin and hold up after continuous use. Buy an additional case cover for maximum protection.
Finally, don’t forget necessary accessories such as rosin, cleaners, and extra strings before buying the violin. And ask the store owner or other violinist how to care for the instrument.