Beginning violinists can either rent a violin or purchase one. Though a violinist who plans on playing the instrument for life will want to purchase, renting a violin in the beginning can be an effective way to get used to the instrument while a purchase decision is made. When you finally decide to purchase a violin, there are several violins available in a variety of price and quality ranges to suit your needs.
Though not one of the more well-known violin brands in America, Eastman violins are hand-constructed in Germany using some of the same techniques of the violin makers from the 18th and early-19th century luthiers. Eastman offers beginning violin sets that feature a bow made from Pernambuco and Brazilwood sticks. Eastman violins also feature spruce tops, maple backs and hand-inlaid purfling. As of 2011, Eastman violins can be purchased in a set that includes a case and bow for under $500.
Many Suzuki violin instructors have made the Franz Hoffmann a recommended choice for starting violinists. The instrument is made in Romania and comes with a carbon fiber tailpiece and Brazilwood/horsehair bow. Franz Hoffmann violins produce clear tones and sustain. The violins range between $200 and $500, depending upon model, with the lower-end models being ideal for beginners who may not be sure how long they will be playing.
Gliga violins, made in Romania, offer a range of instruments suitable for beginners. These violins have been compared to the Stradivari line in construction and feature solid Carpathian maple everywhere except for the top portion of wood. These violins range in price from $300 to over $1000 (as of 2011) and feature a range of instruments suited to young beginners (3 - 5 years old) and adults.
Although not as strong a contender as some of the others, the Strunal 260 model violin is an affordable option for student violinists who want playable quality for the money. While Strunal does produce some concert-quality instruments, the prime focus is on producing beginner and intermediate instruments. Strunal produces beginning and intermediate violins ranging from $300 to $500.