Whether you're pricing student, intermediate or professional violins, the general rule is, you get what you pay for.
New violins for sale range in price according to many different factors including quality of the wood, the maker, the accessories, the country of origin and more. Typically violin shops and online violin stores will categorize their instrument offerings in three different categories: student violins, intermediate violins and professional violin models.
Generally speaking, you should expect to pay between $300 and $800 for a quality student violin outfit, which includes a student bow and a violin case. A decent student violin by itself, minus the bow and case, could cost between $200 and $500. These types of new violin outfits are made specifically for students.
Most of the very inexpensive violins below $200 are not even playable. To make it playable, a violin shop would need to perform a variety of work on the violin that could cost more than the student instrument itself.
When purchasing a student violin or student violin outfits, only purchase them from reputable makers like Eastman and Otto, which craft their high-end student violins by hand rather than with a machine.
High-quality intermediate violins, for intermediate players, generally start at around $1,200 and intermediate outfits by reputable violinmakers such as Snow, Eastman and Jay Haide can cost as much as $3500 with accompanied with a higher quality bow and case. These violins are also hand crafted and hand varnished and some of the best ones are antiqued to look as though they were crafted during the golden age of violinmaking.
There can be a vast difference between the workmanship and sound quality between beginning and intermediate instruments. Any well-crafted violin will sound better and better as it is played, but the improvement will be more noticeable with intermediate violins.
Advanced, or professional level violins, are generally not offered as outfits; they are sold without bows and cases. These violins generally start at around $3500 and can cost many thousands of dollars depending on the maker.
The difference in cost between beginning, intermediate and professional violins reflect the amount of time a violinmaker spends on crafting the instrument, as well as the quality and finish of the wood used. Intermediate and professional level violins also use higher-quality fittings such as pegs, tailpieces and chin rests.