So, you’re an intermediate, or advanced violinist looking to buy a violin that’s going to take your playing to the next level. You want an instrument that sounds amazing and is exciting to play to keep the learning plateau at bay, but it can’t be too expensive, after all, you might need to upgrade again once you’ve advanced further. If that sounds like you, VBG has your back. We’ve been testing violins in the $500-$1000 range to find the best violins under $1000 so you can have the pick of the litter (pick of the luthier?).
Below are our top picks for the best violin under $1000. Each of the violins listed has been personally tested by us, so we’re confident in our picks. Scroll down to see our top three choices, our reasons for choosing them, and the criteria you will want to consider when making your choice.
OUR TOP CHOICE
The best choice for a student instrument under $1000.
How We Chose Our Top Choice
The Antonio Strad Heritage Violin is our top choice for the best violin under $1000. The Heritage is on the high side of our price range, but it’s worth every penny. It’s designed for violinists that are advancing quickly, intermediate to advanced cusp players who want to delve into new techniques and harder pieces. It has a powerful tone that allows for nuanced dynamics and musicality. Its defining feature is the brilliance of its sound — the Heritage is bright and precise, giving improving violinists a fresh voice to express themselves with.
The beautiful, handmade quality of the Heritage can’t be beaten. Its ability to adapt to new play styles, skills, and techniques, as well as its strength as both a solo and orchestra instrument, make this our top pick for violins under $1000.
For a more in-depth overview of this violin, take a look at our full review of the Antonio Strad Heritage Violin.
OUR SECOND CHOICE
The next best option for a student instrument under $1000.
How We Chose Our Second Choice
The Antonio Strad Legacy Violin is our second choice for violins under $1000. It holds this position thanks to its warm, and resonant sound. If you’re a fan of violins with rich, full-bodied voices, then you’ll love the Legacy. It’s a violin that is probably best appreciated by intermediate students growing into their musicality, but a beginner buying the Legacy in hopes of an instrument that will stick with them for a while won’t be disappointed either.
The reason that this isn’t our first choice is that the Legacy is a slightly less advanced violin than the Antonio Strad Heritage, but that’s also reflected in the difference in price. If you’re on a tighter budget or if you’re not looking for a more advanced violin the Antonio Strad Legacy is a great pick for a violin under $1000.
For a more in-depth look at this violin, take a look at our full review of the Antonio Strad Legacy Violin.
OUR THIRD CHOICE
The last option for a student instrument under $1000.
How We Chose Our Third Choice
The Scott Cao STV-017E Violin is our last choice for the best violin under $1000. This Scott Cao model is the cheapest of our top 3 violins, but don’t be fooled, this is an excellent upper-beginner violin. It’s outfit does not include all the bells and whistles that the Heritage and Legacy do, but at this level you may already own most of the things you need. It comes in every size under the sun so regardless what age or size you are there is a Scott Cao STV-017E for you. Further, it has a great bright sound — similar to the Heritage, but more beginner friendly so you won’t have to worry about sounding shrill because of lack of finess in playing.
What differentiates this model from the other two is again, the level of player that it’s intended for as well as the price. If you are looking for a nicer beginner violin for under $1000, the Scott Cao STV-017E might be for you!
Picking the Best Violin for You
Now that you’ve seen the models we recommend, here are some factors that are most important to consider when making your decision. Some may apply to you more than others, and those are the ones that will be most valuable when it comes to narrowing your options down.
When choosing the best intermediate violin for you, size is often an important factor because many intermediate student violinists are also children. Making sure that a violinist has the correct size instrument is imperative as playing on the wrong size can damage not only your technique but also cause physical harm. If a model doesn’t carry the size you need right now, it is not worth buying. Save it for when you’ve grown into it, or find a similar model that carries your size.
You may have noticed that all of our picks are handmade or hand-carved in some capacity, this is because it makes a world of a difference over factory-made instruments. The expert touch of an experienced luthier means each instrument is optimized for its intended player. The construction, in general, will also be better; you can expect a handmade instrument to stand the test of time as long as it is maintained regularly.
A violin outfit is essentially a bundle of everything you need to start playing including, of course, the violin and bow, but also often things like mutes, tuners, rosin, and more. If you are upgrading from a previous violin, you may already have some of these things, and therefore do not need an outfit. Or if this is your first violin, you may need these things and won’t have to buy them separately thanks to the outfit. Think about what you need beyond just the violin when making your decision. Often, but not always, you can get a specific violin model with or without the outfit. Checking if an outfit is or is not available and what is included may be worth your while!