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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.


Student violins: a few answers to frequently asked questions

Advice on the purchase of a student violin:
what size should it be, should i choose an old or a new instrument?


When you play first violin in an orchestra, you need an especially good instrument, a fact which no one in the ensemble would dispute. The "first violin" in the life of a budding musician, however, is often something else entirely. Many parents looking for the right instrument for their children's beginning music lessons are confronted with a dilemma: on the one hand, the family budget is limited, and no one knows in advance whether the youngster in question will turn into the next Paganini or if the violin-lesson project will die of natural causes within a few months. On the other hand, it is equally true that having the wrong instrument will prevent playing from being fun, and without that enjoyment, the child's musical education will invariably get off on the wrong foot. Ultimately only few parents are knowledgeable experts who can assess the value and musical qualities of a student violin with confidence. So how does one go about finding the right instrument? Here you will find a few answers to common questions about "first violins".


  • What size should a student violin be?

  • Are older or newer instruments better?

  • What makes more sense: buying a violin or leasing a violin?


  • What size should a student violin be?


    Proceed to Corilon violins online guide Finding a student violin in the proper size


    Older violins, newer violins: which are better?


    Given the wide range of brand-new factory-made student violins available, many people do not even ask themselves the latter question, even though the world of historic stringed instruments offers many appealing opportunities, especially for aspiring young musicians. For centuries, children have been taking violin lessons, and violin makers throughout the generations have created instruments that are the right size for younger players. Smaller historic violins often share a particular richness in sound which only such older instruments can develop. And even school children – whom you should never underestimate! – appreciate knowing and feeling and hearing that their student violin dates back to their great-grandmother's time. This sense of fascination can motivate younger students and encourage them to develop a relationship to their instrument, to keep picking it up and playing it. And that relationship can help bridge the thornier periods in which things don't sound quite the way they should or the student has to slog through a series of monotonous exercises and scales.

    This of course is not to say that there are no good new student violins for beginners; the point is simply that in shops you will come across newer pieces automatically, while historic student violins are still quite the inside tip. Corilon violins has successfully specialized in offering a selection of quality smaller-sized instruments which we present in a separate category in our online catalogue. Like all our instruments, they have been set up by our luthier and are ready to play – which is something that cannot always be said of many cheaper new violins and often involves further costs. By contrast, our student violins allow your child to begin lessons right away.


    What makes more sense: buying a violin or leasing a violin?


    A good historic student violin can be found for around € 950 or less at Corilon violins and generally rank among the most affordable old stringed instruments available, even though it is just as costly to produce them as it is to make normal-sized instruments. Another interesting option is our trade guarantee with which we can accompany young virtuosi in their musical development. If you are looking for a more affordable approach, local violin makers or music schools often have rental options for factory sets and other beginner violins. Instrument leasing of finer master violins and Italian violins over € 10,000 is available upon request at Corilon violins.



    Further reading:

    The violin: practical tips on care and maintenance

    Finding a student violin in the proper size

    How to select a violin, provenance, value and violin appraisal

    The violin bow: practical tips on care and maintenance

    Selling your violin to Corilon violins

    The history of the violin bow

    New arrivals in our catalogue
    • 3/4 - Fabulous French 3/4 violin, J.T.L. "L'incomparable" made in 1894
    • 1/2 - Antique French 1/2 violin, J.T.L. Compagnon c.1880
    • 1/2 - Italian 1/2 violin by Carlo di Citta, 1999
    • 3/4 - Violin by E. L. Gütter. Markneukirchen, approx. 1920
    • Excellent 1960's Markneukirchen violin bow
    • Old German lightweight violin bow, soft stick - warm, mellow tone
    • German Violin bow. By Albert Thomä, Markneukirchen
    • Lightweight violin bow by C. A. Hoyer. Markneukirchen c.1940
    • Antique Bohemian Czech violin,  approx. 1870
    • French violin J.T.L. Mirecourt, c.1930
    • Czech 7/8 violin. "Lady's violin", c.1940
    • French violin, Didelot by Laberte, Mirecourt, 1920's
    • Fine 18th century violin, Franz Knitl, Freising, 1769
    • Guillaume Maline: Rare violin, France, circa 1820
    • Luigi Galimberti, fine Italian violin, Milano 1925 (certificate Eric Blot)
    • 3/4 - excellent antique French 3/4 violin
    • Contemporary Italian violin from the Otello Bignami school: Gianni Norcia, Bologna
    • SALE: Richard Grünke: Fine contemporary violin bow
    • Fine German master bow, Hermann Prell school
    • Justin Derazey, French violin dated approx. 1880
    • Jean-Joseph Honoré Derazey: fine French master violin (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
    • Contemporary master violin by Bernd Ellinger, 2018
    • Modern violin bow. Bright, radiant tone
    • 3/4 - Antique French "Compagnon" 3/4 violin, approx. 1870