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Violins information

The violin is one of the most prominent parts of the string section in a symphony orchestra and also plays an important role in a lot of bluegrass music, pop and various jazz sub-genres. The violin is plucked or bowed and, in order of size, it's a close sibling of the viola, the cello, and the double bass.

Picking Out Your Violin at Bax Music

Any beginner that wants to get to know the violin without spending too much money, or any more experienced musician in search of a more serious study model will find exactly what they need right here at Bax Music. You can browse through a range of models on our site, and even if you're uncertain which model to go for, you can take advantage of our 30-day trial period or just rent a violin from us instead. For further information about hiring gear from Bax Music and to read the full Terms & Conditions, see our Gear Hire page.

Acoustic or Electric Violins?

You can get both acoustic violins and electric violins, and there's a big difference between the two. Acoustic violins have a hollow body made of a top plate, sides, and a back plate. The top plate features f-shaped soundholes which project the acoustic sound, since the sound of an acoustic violin is created and amplified by the vibration of the strings bouncing around inside the body. Electric violins, on the other hand, usually have a solid body with no soundholes and a piezo pickup fitted under the bridge. An electric violin doesn't have much acoustic volume, so needs to be plugged into an amplifier or PA system. Silent violins are electric violins fitted with a headphone port.

The Different Violin Sizes: 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4

The various different violin sizes are described in fractions, where a 4/4 violin is a full-sized model - which is the perfect size for adults or children aged 12 and up. In the list below, you can see which violin size would be best for which age. Don't get tied up in the fractions, since the measurements follow a specific system, meaning that a 1/2-sized model isn't actually half the size of a 4/4-sized model. What's also important is the arm-length that a specific violin has been designed for. If you're in any doubt, get some advice from your violin teacher.

1/16 – 2 to 4 years old
1/8 – 3 to 5 years old
1/4 – 4 to 6 years old
1/2 – 6 to 9 years old
3/4 – 8 to 12 years old
4/4 – (12+) teenagers and adults

Learning to Play the Violin

Learning to play the violin isn't easy. When it comes to the basics, the violin is actually one of the hardest instruments to get to grips with. The average student of the violin can spend a couple of years working on their technique before they can get a pure, clean note out of their instrument. Because the learning curve can be so steep, anyone who wants to learn to play the violin needs to have a lot of patience and perseverance. On top of that, playing the violin can be physically intensive, so your technique needs to be perfect to avoid repetitive strain injuries. All of this is excellent reason to take lessons with a violin teacher, so you're getting professional guidance at every step.

Bowing or Plucking the Violin

Most of the time, the violin is played by drawing a bow across the strings. With a bow, you can perform playing techniques like legato, where the notes flow seamlessly from one to the next, or staccato, where the notes are clearly separated and defined. You can also pluck the strings of a violin, which has an entirely different timbre to bowing.

Different Violin Strings

There are many different kinds of violin strings available, which all influence the sound and the playing feel. Some also have a longer lifespan as others, and some are more expensive than others. There are three materials commonly used to make violin strings: natural gut, steel, and synthetic materials. Gut strings have a really warm sound and a flexible playing feel, but are usually relatively expensive and don't last so long. Steel strings have a much brighter sound and are relatively cheap, the downside is that they have a more stiff playing feel and sound less rich with overtones. When it comes to the price-to-quality ratio, synthetic strings are usually the best option. They have a warmer sound than steel and a flexible feel. However, they do need a little more time to break in.

What Violin Accessories Might You Need?

There are range of different accessories available to help you fully enjoy your violin. So you can keep your violin in a secure spot after your practice session, you can use a violin stand. You can safely carry your violin to lessons, rehearsals and performances by tucking it away in a violin case. If you're still training your ear, you can tune up your instrument with the help of tuning pipes or a violin tuner. And, to keep your violin healthy and happy, you might want to treat it to a clean and polish every now and then using the right products. Then there are plenty of violin books available to help expand both your learning and your repertoire.

Frequently Asked Questions About Violins

How much does a beginner's violin cost?

For around £50 to £100 you can pick up a good entry-level violin, but if you're a serious musician looking for the best sound, playing feel, and tuning stability, then you'll need to pay a few hundred pounds to get what you need.

How expensive is a good violin?

If you're looking for a serious study violin, then you'll need to pay a few hundred pounds. These intermediate models are often constructed from solid woods using high quality tonewoods. They also often have an ebony finger board and have a very accurate set-up.

How many strings does a violin have?

A violin always has four strings.

How do you tune a violin?

The strings of a violin are tuned, from the lowest pitched to the highest pitched, in G, D, A and E. Just like the viola and cello from the violin family, the violin is tuned in perfect fifths, with the A string serving as the starting point, which is usually tuned to A at 440Hz.

Is playing the violin hard?

It's actually quite difficult to get to grips with the basic techniques required to play the violin. It's also difficult to play the correct note, since the finger board of the violin has no frets, unlike the guitar. On top of that, learning to make your instrument sound beautiful as you draw the bow across the strings is also very hard. In short, learning to play the violin takes a lot of dedication and needs to be practised every day. The guidance of a good teacher is always recommended.

How much did André Rieu's Stradivarius cost?

André Rieu plays a Stradivarius violin that was built in 1667 and is known as the Ex-Captain Saville. The exact value of his violin is actually difficult to calculate, but it definitely runs into a few million pounds. | Bax Music Aftercare Package