2021 Guide: Best Violins for College Students

The gap in violin skill level between high school and college can be fairly wide, and so is the gap in the level of instrument required. This is because those players who continue to play into college tend to be the more committed violin students — the ones who already practiced a lot more than their peers in high school. If you are looking for a college-level violin you want one that can match the skill level of a committed, practiced college player.

We’ve taken a look and tested several violins considered to be good for the college level to help you narrow down your options while making this choice. Below is a list of our top three violins — what we believe are the best violins for college students. 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

1. Lazzaro Zucchi Violin★★★★★

The best choice for the best violin for College Students.

$3,300.00

How We Chose Our Top Choice

The Lazzaro Zucchi Violin is our top choice from the best violins for college students. It is a truly gorgeous instrument from its sound to its craftsmanship. Getting a chance to test this violin was a rewarding experience. The Lazzaro Zucchi has a breathtaking warm voice that is rich and opens a world of potential complexity to its violinist, which is a great asset for a college student taking their playing to the next level. Further, the instrument is beautiful thanks to an antiqued finish that almost seems to glow — it feels like a classic Italian violin. It’s not hard to see that the luthiers who handmake this model are masters of their craft. 

Obviously, this is not a cheap instrument, but its price is more than appropriate for the quality and excellent playing experience that the Lazzaro Zucchi violin offers and this is a quality that will last beyond anyone’s college years. That’s why it’s at the top of our list of best violins for college students.

For a more in-depth look, please read our review of the Lazzaro Zucchi Violin.

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OUR SECOND CHOICE

2. Giovanni Violin★★★★

The next best option for the best violin for College Students.

$2,200.00

How We Chose Our Second Choice

The Giovanni Violin is our second choice for the best violin for college students. We chose it for this position because it has a lovely mellow, balanced sound — these qualities make it excellent for college student players who want a violin with a nuanced, capable, and beautiful voice to rely on for a long time. Additionally, the oil varnish gives the Giovanni violin a gorgeous dark, rich velvet appearance that we can’t imagine anyone would ever get tired of. 

If you are a college student looking for a solid, classic instrument with a great sound quality across its entire range, then we can’t recommend the Giovanni violin enough. A handmade violin of this quality and price is hard to pass up and that’s why it’s one of our picks for best violins for college students.

For a more in-depth look, please read our review of the Giovanni Violin.

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OUR THIRD CHOICE

The last option for the best violin for College Students.

$1,875.00

How We Chose Our Third Choice

The Ming Jiang Zhu 905 Violin is our last choice for the best violin for college students. This violin has a great voice that is even across its entire range. It’s a well-balanced instrument with resonant, rich sound that’s excellent for college students doing a lot of performing, who will want a violin that is powerful in all registers. College violinists will also appreciate the craftsmanship at work in the Ming Jiang Zhu 905, as it was made by a world-class, award-winning luthier — a quality that shines through in every aspect of this model. 

The reason that this violin didn’t make it higher on our list is because it lacks the same depth of tone as the above two instruments. However, that’s not a quality that every violinist values equally, so it still makes the top three for our best violins for college students.

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Picking the Best College 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 when buying a college-level violin. 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.

Size

When choosing the best violin for you, size is still an important factor because as you start looking at more advanced handmade violins, you’ll notice some do not fit perfectly into standard violin sizing. 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 skill range, it becomes less of an issue because most college violinists are playing full-sized violins, but people (and violins) come in all shapes and sizes — it’s better to get measured to be safe. If a violin feels uncomfortable to play because of it’s size you can always return or exchange it.

Construction

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.

Outfit

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!

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