How much does a violin cost? Antique and new violin price overview

The question of how much to pay for a violin is an issue that not only beginning musicians have to handle. Advanced players and even professionals often have an equally difficult time answering the question about what a suitable price ought to be. After all, even though most violins bear a certain resemblance to each other, there are major differences in the details. Corilon violins is pleased to offer you this page and give you an overview of the prices of old and new violins, information about the accessories you need, and a brief glance at the prices you can find in the world of historic collectors‘ instruments.

Overview:

  • What do new violins cost?
  • What do old violins cost?
  • What do the accessories for my violin cost?
  • What does a Stradivari cost? The world’s most expensive violins

 

What do new violins cost?

There is not a hard-and-fast rule which states that newer violins are automatically more expensive or more affordable than old violins. A well-made new master instrument will certainly cost more than an older but simpler student instrument, and the reverse can also be true: a violin crafted by a historic master can be pricier than a new instrument with the same acoustic quality.

1. New violins under €500

When purchasing their first instrument, many beginners consider less expensive mass-produced instruments, some of which are even available for less than €100. We cannot recommend these poorly made violins: good playing properties and a sound you enjoy are important factors which motivate students and help them learn, especially in the sensitive phase of early violin lessons. 

2. New violins up to €1000

Recommendable new instruments such as the ones we have chosen for our CV Selectio portfolio can be found at a price point between €500 and €1000. Modern techniques in crafting violins can often produce astonishingly good results in these violins. Furthermore, if they are then professionally set up and reviewed by experienced luthiers and musicians – as the case with the instruments in the Selectio collection –  dependable violins can be found in this price sector, and you can play them for many years and with great success.

3. New violins of top quality

The price range of better violins for non-professional musicians can generally be set between around€1000 and €5000. We also offer instruments from the CV Selectio portfolio in this sector which were created with an even greater love of detail and finely crafted to optimize the sound.

4. New master violins

Violin students, orchestra musicians, music teachers and soloists usually have the greatest success finding the instruments which best satisfy their personal acoustic preferences and intended use at prices of €5000 and up. Within this category, the laws of the modern violin market may go into effect, and subsequently the instruments of well-known masters will generally be sold at more expensive prices than the works of luthiers at the beginning of their careers or those are less well-established for whatever reason. (To learn more, please see our article with general information about the quality and value of a violin). The best procedure for buying a premium violin is to start by determining the upper limit of your budget – and then trying out a reasonable selection of interesting violins. Our policy of giving you 30 days to get to know your instrument and our trade-in guarantee give discerning musicians the perfect framework for handling this sensitive process effectively.

What does an old violin cost?

Overall, the same approach applies to buying an old violin as it does to newer instrument, although there are a few additional details to keep in mind.

1. Old violins up to €1000 

Unlike our recommendations for new violins, we generally advise against purchasing older violins at a price below €500. The issue here is that such “bargains” made at flea markets or via online portals usually require repairs or at least will need to be set up and re-fitted with new strings and a new bridge, and – assuming a bow was part of the deal – the bow will need to be re-haired. Hidden flaws and forms of damage that are not apparent at first glance are only one potential problem here: a greater concern is that even professional violin makers can only determine to a limited extent whether an old violin that is currently unplayable has a sound that will be worth the effort of having it restored. If, for example, you pay €150 for an old violin in bad condition and decide to have it professionally repaired, you can quickly spend over €1000.

These kinds of risks are not present when you buy a historic instrument from the Corilon violins catalogue, however: we draw upon over twenty years of expertise as we select each item, and every single instrument is carefully set up by the experienced violin makers at our restoration workshop. If you love old violins with their distinctive historic charm and their unique mature sound, you will be well served by the competence our trained professionals offer.

2. Old top-quality violins and master violins

The history of violin making is as multi-faceted as the world of historic stringed instruments; it is full of interesting discoveries for professional musicians and discriminating amateurs alike, and surprisingly affordable opportunities can be found. It is not uncommon for information about a particular luthier of an outstanding master violin to be lost in the course of time, which means that in such cases we can offer the finest of instruments for a few thousand euros, whereas a piece with a documented provenance from a famous master would cost many times that price.

In the field of the top instruments by historic violin-making masters, an unfortunate trend has been evident for many decades: the musical quality of an instrument has become largely divorced from the price it generates, and surviving violins by luthiers such as Antonio Stradivari or Guarneri del Gesù have long since become investment objects. Obviously many of these violins are among the best in the world from a musical perspective, but the quality of their sound is at best only a partial justification for their price. In selecting master violins for our catalogue of historic instruments, we always ensure that they meet the highest musical standards which their masters’ names deserve.That said, major names have never been the focus of our collection; instead, they are an aspect of the identity of excellent instruments – and they ensure your investment, since old master violins with a documented provenance are solid assets which generally appreciate in value.

What do the accessories for my violin cost?

Especially if you are buying your first violin, you will need some basic accessories which should be taken into account as you budget.

1. Violin bows

The most important accessory for a violinist is the right bow which is a good match both for your personal style and for the instrument so that together they can produce the desired sound. Especially when it comes to top-quality stringed instruments, the bow plays a surprisingly large part in shaping the violin’s sound, which is why there are many soloists who emphasize the choice of bow as much as they do their instrument. But beginners also need to make sure they find a bow of good quality, and it does not have to be expensive. We have a hand-curated selection of old and new violin bows well under €100, and upon request we would be happy to select one that complements your instrument perfectly.

2. Rosin

Rosin is indispensable for your bow. It consists of natural resins poured into a mould and hardened, and it is rubbed onto the the bow hairs to improve their ability to “grip” the strings. Experienced musicians have found the rosin which best suits their instrument and bow after years and years of trial and error. Rosin is sold in pieces of different sizes which range in price from around €5 – 20. We offer rosin by Bernardel as a high-quality and affordable option which is perfect for the needs of beginners and a solid tip for advanced players.

3. Strings

We have to admit that you do not need to buy a new set of strings right away when you purchase a new violin. Waiting too long to buy strings can backfire, however, because then you will not have a backup on hand if a string breaks or the winding unravels. Simple steel strings are available under €10, although we do not recommend them for any of our instruments. For many years we have used Pirastro Tonica strings for both our new and old violins – a popular brand which offers good value for money at prices under €50 per set. As an alternative, we also use the somewhat more expensive strings by Evah Pirazzi, another Pirastro brand.

4. Shoulder rest 

Playing with a shoulder rest is a standard in classic violin training, which is why a shoulder rest is a widespread item among the accessories violinists need. You can find simple and perfectly adequate shoulder rests for well under €20 such as the model we recommend with our violins. In recent years, inventors and luthiers who enjoy innovation have launched a number of new models, some of which are made of very sophisticated materials and can reach prices of around €250.

5. Violin case

A rugged violin case is one of the indispensable basics: not only does it protect your instrument outside of the home, but it also keeps it safe from dust and damage within your own four walls. Good cases can be had between €50 – 100. Whether you need a simple case or a pricier option that is more robustly constructed and more comfortable is largely a question of how often you have to transport your violin on a regular basis and what distances you have to cover.

 

What does a Stradivari cost? The world’s most expensive violins

You can always daydream – or shake your head at the exorbitant prices in the current ranking of the world’s most expensive violins.

RankLuthierNamePrice
1 Antonio Stradivari „Lady Blunt“ 12,6 Mio $
2 Guarneri del Gesù „Ex-Kochanski“ 7,9 Mio $
3 Guarneri del Gesù „Ex-Carrodus“ 5,6 Mio $
4 Antonio Stradivari „La Pucelle“ 4,7 Mio $
5 Antonio Stradivari „Ex-Szigeti“ 5,7 Mio $
6 Guarneri del Gesù „Lord Wilton“ 4,7 Mio $
7 Antonio Stradivari „Dolphin“ 4,4 Mio $
8 Antonio Stradivari „Ex-Ries“ 3,8 Mio $
9 Antonio Stradivari „Molitor" 2,9 Mio $
Instruments