2021 Guide: Antonio Strad Model 5H Violin Review

The Antonio Strad Model 5H hits an excellent balance between cost and a high quality beginner instrument.

There is a broad variety of student violins available on the market and they all vary widely in price and it’s hard to tell whether they are actually quality instruments. It’s difficult to sift through these options to find an instrument that suits you, especially if you are a beginner or are buying an instrument for the first time, with no idea what to expect. How are you supposed to know which are best for you and your needs? We’re here to help.

The Antonio Strad Model 5H violin is a student violin that we’ve had a chance to test for ourselves so we can give you an in-depth look at its features and how it holds up compared to its price (which, at under $500, we’re happy to say is very well!).

Defining Features of the Antonio Strad Model 5H

The model 5H is not the only Antonio Strad student/beginner-oriented violin. However, it stands out from its siblings the Model 4H and the Model 3 in a few key ways. 

Materials – All (or at least all that we’ve had a chance to get our hands on) Antonio Strad violins are handmade and most use spruce and maple in their construction to varying degrees. What sets the Model 5H apart from other student models is that its spruce top and maple back and sides are aged slightly longer (between 5 and 6 years as opposed to the 5 or less of the others). This is significant because wood that is aged longer is more resonant, producing a warmer, richer sound. So, from the jump, the Model 5H has a warmer tone.

Strings – The standard Model 5H is strung with Pro-Arte strings. You are, of course, always able to change the strings that come with any instrument you buy, however often the strings that a violin is strung with by the luthier who sets it up are chosen to accentuate the instruments preexisting qualities. Pro-Arte strings are a step up in warmth and broadness of tone compared to the Prelude strings some of the other models come with. There is nothing wrong with Prelude strings, but Pro-Arte strings are definitely of a higher caliber, singling out the Model 5H as an instrument intended for players who are moving toward an intermediate level or for those who want a violin to grow into, skill-wise.

Model 5H Overview

The Model 5H is a handmade violin, made with aged warm woods. The features of its construction and strings will make it best appreciated by beginners growing in skill level, or intermediate violinists. This may feel intimidating if you are buying for a beginner, but the Model 5H is a great instrument to grow with. This means that it’s a violin that will support a student for a long time without feeling like the instrument can’t keep up with their skill level. The 5H is also versatile in play style, students will find it has a powerful voice for solos, without taking away from its ability to mesh well into chamber or orchestral music.

At slightly under $500 it is an extremely worthy investment for a student or beginner violinist, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better quality instrument at this price point. Most other violins of equal quality will be in the $600-$900 range. Though the cost can feel high to a first-time buyer the Model 5H is a well-rounded beginner-intermediate instrument, likely the best beginner violin at its price.

Key Features:

What to Expect from the Model 5H

Bow – The bow included with the violin is the Antonio Carbon Fiber Violin Bow. It’s a fairly standard student carbon fiber bow with real horsehair. It’s well-balanced and is a good pair for the Model 5H.

Outfit – The standard outfit that the Model 5H violin comes with includes the bow mentioned above as well as a KPE Violin Shoulder Rest, RDM Woodframe Dark Violin Rosin, an Ultra Rubber Practice Mute, a Korg PC2 Tuner, and the Antonio Triangle Case. The case has space for two bows, a couple of storage compartments and pockets, a tube for your strings, and back straps. It zips shut and has a clasp with a lock. If you order the Deluxe outfit, the accessories remain the same, but the violin will have Vision strings instead of Pro-Arte and an upgraded Aubert Bridge.

Ordering – If you order the Model 5H from Antonio Strad nationwide (U.S.) free shipping is included and depending on what time of day you order you can get your violin sent out on the same day. They also have a 45-day return policy.

Should you Buy an Antonio Strad Model 5H Violin?

Are you a student, or buying for a student looking for a beginner violin that will support growing skill with a good sound? Then yes, we’d recommend the Model 5H. Especially, if you are buying for someone who expects to be playing it for several years. The Model 5H will last the bump from beginner to intermediate playing and open up to a range of new techniques as your skills improve.

It’s also well-rounded for the variety of violin playing that students often explore — solos, accompaniment, chamber music, and orchestra. If you know you’ll be only playing in one of those settings a more specialized instrument would be a better pick, but otherwise (or even if you’re not sure) a versatile violin like the Model 5H is your best choice.

The outfit the Model 5H is included in has all the essentials, so you won’t need to buy anything else, and it’s at an nigh unbeatable price for a handmade violin. 

If you are an intermediate-advanced and higher player in terms of skill level, this probably isn’t the violin for you, but for beginners and intermediate players, the Antonio Strad Model 5H Violin is a great choice that comes highly recommended.