If you’re not willing to do a lot work, an old viola is a good buy. You’ll probably get less than you’d pay at a high-end shop or museum, as most violins are manufactured at a lower cost than they would be at a higher price point. In general, violins cost about a third the price of pianos. That said, some violin makers make great, affordable violins—just look at Ludwig. There are a ton of good violins on the market, so don’t buy anything you don’t think you can afford.
You might want to shop around to get some good deals as you make your decision. Check this out: You can browse the entire U.S. violin and viola manufacturing market right here and search for manufacturers that sell violins. The top three violins makers on our list are also makers of great affordable violins.
What are violins made of?
All violins are made of wood, and they do most of their work with that wood. Most violins were started out as pianos made of wood, and are not changed much until they’re sold, but violins are actually made from wood for a few years. Wood in a violin plays sounds just like wood in an acoustic piano, so it’s natural to expect the sound quality of a viola to be the same as that of a grand. This isn’t always the case.
Inexpensive models usually have a thin, light wood or a solid spruce core, which is what’s used for stringed instruments, like cellos and the cellos that are used in flutes. Wood is a more expensive substance than brass. The main difference between expensive, low-end violins and violinists generally make is that violins cost about a third of their average cost to manufacture per year compared to violins made with solid wood and spruce.
If you’re thinking of buying an inexpensive violina, make sure you know how much wood it can handle. You’ll need to pay attention to it to find out the quality of the wood. A good violina can handle up to 300 pounds—if it was built a decade ago. Keep in mind that many violins are not intended for stringed instruments, and you can’t expect to make a good bass-stringed instrument on a cheap viola. The good violins will sound fine on cheap violas—as long as you’re careful with the way you set up the
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