As one grows in musical skill, having an instrument that can match your level is very appealing. No one wants to have to push their violin to the limit in order to get a good sound, especially if you’re performing solos in which you want your sound to command the performance space. Luckily, within the $1500-$2000 range, we begin to see advanced violins that are excellent for this purpose.
Below are three of several advanced violins we’ve tested that we think are the best violins under $2000, so you can narrow down your options. 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 $2000.
How We Chose Our Top Choice
The Lee 30 Violin is our top choice for the best violin under $2000. This model has an amazing range, achieving brilliance in the high octaves and a rich, deep, lower range. All the while it maintains a powerful voice and a capability to project well, making it an ideal violin for advanced students, especially those interested in pursuing solo performance, though it will still do great in orchestra or chamber groups. Further, the Lee 30 is made from spruce and maple that’s been aged for 10 years, which contributes to the violin’s beautiful resonance. It is on the higher end of the price range, but its high-quality materials and sound mean it’s unlikely you’ll regret making this investment.
For a more in-depth look please read our review of the Lee 30 Violin.
OUR SECOND CHOICE
The next best option for a student instrument under $2000.
How We Chose Our Second Choice
The Chang Lee Violin is our second choice for the best violin under $2000. This is another great violin for advanced players. The tone of the Chang Lee is lush and warm, without lacking in power or nuance. It is an instrument that would do great in the hands of players interested in refining their techniques because it handles styles rich in subtlety best. This model is also crafted from ten year aged spruce and maple.
Though it’s superior in price compared to the Lee 30, what puts the Chang Lee in second place rather than first is it isn’t quite at the same level when it comes to its strength as a solo instrument. That isn’t to say it would be a bad solo instrument, it just lacks the full range that the Lee 30 has, however, whatever the Chang Lee may be missing in that department it makes up in price. If that extra boost in solo playing isn’t something you want right now then I wouldn’t hesitate to look to the Chang Lee.
For a more in-depth look please read our review of the Chang Lee Violin.
OUR THIRD CHOICE
The last option for a student instrument under $2000.
How We Chose Our Third Choice
The Scott Cao 850 Violin is our last choice for the best violin under $2000. It’s not quite on the same level as the top two, but it is still a beautifully crafted instrument. It’s primarily made from Bosnian maple and Italian spruce. Further, the pegs, fingerboard, and tail are made of high-quality Indian ebony. The instrument on a whole is beautiful and it has a strong sound that is no stranger to subtlety. This Scott Cao model is also the most affordable of our three picks, being just over $1500. If you’re looking for a solid advanced violin made of great materials for a good price, the Scott Cao 850 is the best violin 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 student violin for you, size is often an important factor because many 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. Within this price range, it becomes less of an issue because most people paying between $1000-$3000 for a violin are playing full-sized violins, but people come in all shapes and sizes — it’s better to get measured to be safe.
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 or if the shop you buy from offers discounts on anything you want to add on to your violin purchase may be worth your while!