As you are progressing to a higher level in playing the violin, be it a professional or student, you will reach a stage where you need to upgrade your violin. When is it time to upgrade your violin? It is when your violin doesn’t produce the sound quality that matches your skill level; it doesn’t produce the sound quality that a professional violin can.
Higher tier of violins will have better materials and so, produce better clarity in sound quality, a wider range of tone colors, better response, and playability. Not to mention, with a good set up, the tension in hand required while playing is lesser, now you can practice longer without feeling tired easily! Clarity of violin comes in handy in practice, too; you will notice any mistakes easier and fix it, helping you to progress faster in your practice.
However, there are many brands out there on the market, made up of different woods, materials, bow, quality of workmanship, etc. All these factors will affect the violin’s characteristics, making it a hard decision on which violin to go.
But don’t worry, we are here to help! Taking into account all the factors, we have chosen 5 violins on the current market that suit professionals the best.
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1) Scott Cao 1679 Hellier STV 950
Hellier 1679, a very famous violin said to be one of the best Stradivaris ever made and is currently held at Smithsonian Museum. What makes this violin so special is the warmth and fullness of the tone and yet no excessive treble when playing on high notes. This is due to the design, the neck of the violin is thicker and has a heavier body compared to other violins, the way “F” holes crafted were also different from his previous works too.
A violin as rare as Hellier 1679 is merely impossible to find on the market, and not to mention the price is extremely high. The good news is that reproductions of it are made available by Scott Cao in STV 950 and 1500 models, capable of producing the tone characteristics of Hellier 1679. Scott Cao Violins, a violin making company established in 1989, is a relatively young company but become famous in a short period of time because of its craftsmanship. In terms of tone quality, Scott has won 5 times (out of 6) tone awards in the Violin Society of America’s international competition and many other international competitions.
Only high-quality woods are carefully picked and used to ensure the best quality deliver to buyer. Aged European maple is used for the body of STV 950 with a tiger-striped design. The fingerboard was made using Indian Ebony, which allows the violinist to perform shifting flawlessly. Other than that, chinrest and tailpiece came in the same color and were carved perfectly.
The violin is varnished and set up by professional luthiers in the US; the process is monitored by master maker Scott Cao himself to ensure the quality. With the craftsmanship and materials used, Scott Cao Violins are able to reproduce the tone and characteristics of Hellier 1679 but at a lower price, making it affordable to violinists to get their hands on this masterpiece.
2) Yamaha Model 5
Yamaha isn’t just a famous Japanese company that manufactures bikes. They are also one of the leading companies that make a variety of reliable instruments, and of course, the violin is one of them.
The model that we are going to introduce here is the Model 5. Although some might say that this is the violin for the student, but bear in mind that the woods, materials, and craftsmanship put into this violin is superb, making it a top-notch violin that serves professional violinists their needs at a lower price.
Woods used in this model is definitely worth the money. Solid carved spruce aged more than 5 years is used for the top of the violin, 5 years aged solid carved maple for the bottom and side, ebony fingerboard and rosewood were used for tuning pegs, chin rest and tailpiece. Woods used in this violin is something you won’t see in other violins at this price range.
In terms of craftmanship, it is hard to find any flaws or defects on this violin. When it comes to this model, Yamaha uses the same traditional methods used on their high tier violins; this means that the violin is handcrafted carefully by the professionals, and the quality of the violin is guaranteed. The violin itself is nice and smooth to play on, and the sound characteristics are sweet and mellow.
In conclusion, Yamaha model 5 is a good choice if you have a lower budget, definitely a great violin to get with big values at this price range. Model 5 comes together with fine tuners and Prelude strings. Additionally, you will also get a lightweight Cordura-covered case, rosin, and Brazilwood bow.
3) Mikhail Vitacek Violin Outfit
Speaking of quality and value, another model will be Mikhail Vitacek from Kennedy Violins. Kennedy Violins has a special way of practice; unlike other companies, Kennedy Violins deals directly with the makers, saving up the cost, which allows them to lower down the price. That is the main reason why the price is lower than other competitors and yet maintain the high standards of quality and the premium construction.
Mikhail Vitacek has an aged Canadian spruce top and one-piece maple back. Fingerboard, pegs, chinrest, and tailpiece are made of high-grade ebony and have pearl inlaid as well, showing off the violin’s premium look. The bow is made of Brazilwoods to ensure durability, and it carries the Mongolian horsehair. The violin only comes with one fine-tuner, but the buyer can request an additional fine tuner installed at no extra charge.
To ensure the quality of the violin, the final assembly and setup are done in Washington State by professional luthiers. The outfit features a hard casing, string cloth, extra set of strings, and rosin. What Mikhail Vitacek amazes me the most is that it comes with a lifetime warranty and 45 days money-back guarantee. This is something you will never see on the string instrument market; the buyer can give this violin a try without worrying any defects on this violin.
4) One Piece Back Maestro Old spruce Stradi
Next, we have One Piece Back Maestro Old spruce Stradi 4/4 Full-Size Violin D Z Strad Model 509. This violin is from the company, D Z America, where it is crafted by award-winning luthiers. Model 509 is one of their best model, the quality and durability of this model showcasing the work and energy this company put into this violin.
All the woods used in model 509 are seasoned naturally. It has an Alpine/Italian spruce top and one piece back made of maple. Same as the back of the violin, the sides are using maple as well. Visual of this violin is gorgeous and has the looking of an antique instrument, to replicate that, varnish finish is applied and hand rubbed carefully by the luthiers.
Model 509 has a characteristic of warm and depth yet colorful sound, making it one of the violins favored by orchestra violinist. Not only the sound but also the consistency and playability, making it suitable for performance on and off stage.
Outfit for this model includes a hard casing, Brazilwood bow, rosin, and shoulder rest. If you are a performer in the orchestra or planning to be one, this model will be the one you are looking for.
5) D’Luca Violin (PROJBV44)
Another “high value, low cost” violin we would like to recommend to you is the D’Luca PROJB44. This violin is on professional standard and, of course, has high tier features too, but it doesn’t cost you like what a high tier violin does.
PROJB44 features a carved close-grained dark brown solid spruce top. It also has one-piece maple back and maple sides with stripes that look like tiger stripes, together with the oil varnish finish, this violin looks stunning! Other than that, it has an ebony fingerboard, pegs, and chin rest. The tailpiece used on this model is adonized metal, which is more durable and corrosion-resistance, which means there is no need to worry about rust.
Adding value to the package, this violin comes together with SKB Professional Case, horsehair bow with silver winding, extra set of D’Luca Perlon strings, D’Luca Chromatic Violin Clip-on tuner, and 1-year limited factory warranty.
If you are looking for a professional standard violin with high tier features at a lower price, please check on this model, you will be surprised.
After introducing all five violins, to summarize, if you are aiming for a violin that allows you to shine as a soloist on stage, Scott Cao STV 950 suits you the best. If you are looking for a professional standard violin at a lower budge, Yamaha Model 5, Mikhail Vitacek, and D’Luca PROJB44 will be your choice. If you are playing in an orchestra, consider One Piece Back Maestro Old spruce Stradi. It all depends on your needs and your role as a violinist.