Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Best Violin For Professionals 2023? Here’s 13 (Incl. Stradivarius)

What kind of violin do professionals use? Are Stradivarius violins really better? We investigate...

Deciding on the best professional violin ain’t easy.

And we don’t just say that to be pedantic. Not only are pro-grade violins a sizeable investment, but they can also have a dramatic impact on your sound. Something that as a professional is basically your USP – i.e. the main reason why someone might hire you over the next violinist. So really, it wouldn’t be too fetched to say that your choice of violin as a seasoned pro, is more important than it ever has been!!! 

And yes – that really did need 3 exclamation marks. Because, if done right, your choice of violin can come as a MAJOR competitive advantage. Useful intel to have if you’re trying to persuade a talent agent the invest their valuable time & resources into getting you gigs. Take it from us – the greatest music all stems from individuality… that’s what agents/ labels look for. So if your choice of violin encourages you to be just that, then congrats – you’re already half way there.

Plus, if you’re not bothered about bookings, with the right violin you’ll be able to find your sound a whole lot easier too; it’s a win-win. So with that in mind, what violin do professionals use? & how much does a pro-grade violin cost? We investigate.

After something specific about the which is the best quality violin? Or just curious what we deem to be the best professional violin? Use the menu below to get all the answers you need fast…

a violin bow running over a set of strings

NOTE: Interested in more than just pro-grade violins? Be sure to also check out our guides to the Most Popular Violin Bows + the Best Violin Rosin.

So you’ve decided to upgrade to a professional violin. Well done, but…

That’s not say finding the right violin is as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, choosing a professional violin is likely to be the hardest violin purchase you ever make! Mainly because the price is significantly steeper, but also due to how each pro violin is so different in their own right. Yep – professional violins are whole different breed. 

So aside from each having their own distinct characteristics in terms of tone, there’s also a lot more to think about in terms of playability & longevity. But before you get your knickers in a twist – relax. We’ve done the 90% of the hard work for you. Simply read on & we’ll reveal what we consider to be the best violins for professional players…

1: D Z Strad Old Spruce Model 609 4/4 violin

 the polished shine of a high-end ming Jiang violin

2: Ming Jiang Zhu 905 4/4 professional violin

3: Yamaha V3 Series 4/4 professional violin

4: D Z Strad Hellier Stradivarius Model 505F violin

buy a professional violin online

5: Sky NY100 Bird’s Eye vintage professional violin

6: D Z Strad Model 220 4/4 violin

7: Ming Jiang Zhu 909 violin for professionals

professional violin player playing during a wedding ceremony

8: Sabomenia G10 solid-wood 4/4 violin

9: Andreas Eastman Model 305 professional violin

10: Scott Cao Guadagnini pro 4/4 violin

close up of the wood finish on a professional violin

The words ‘budget’ & ‘professional’ don’t often go together.

However with the price of professional violins, we’re almost certain that a lot of you wish they did. And besides, while £$€ can be a good indication of quality, that’s not always the case. So much so that if you’re a pro level player who’s after a pro sound, but doesn’t have a small fortune to spend, we’d urge you not to abandon your search. Because if you’re willing to be less particular, you can still bag yourself a pro sounding violin for less than you might think.

Without further ado then, here’s what we consider to be the best violin for professional on a budget…

11: Cremona SV-600 premium 4/4 violin

No two children learn at the same pace.

So in the case of little ones, getting hands-on with a professional violin early on, could prove to be extremely beneficial, especially if they’re outgrowing their starter instrument at rapid pace. And while professional violins may be towards the steeper end of the pricing scale, buy wisely & they’re surprisingly cheap. By that we mean, they turn into a pretty solid future investment; buying a child a pro violin at the age of 10 is hardly bad if they’re still playing it at aged 25 now is it.

So with that in mind, here’s what we consider to be the best professional violin for kids who have the musical touch…

12: D Z Strad Model 350 professional violin

violin protected in a luxury hardcase

Being a left handed violinist isn’t always an easy gig.

Simply because (what with most players being right handed) the selection of left handed violins out there is few & far between. Something that you could even say puts left handed players at a disadvantage; finding the best professional violin take on a whole new meaning when half of the violins out there aren’t even up for consideration. But with that being said, there are still a few left handed violins that offer good performance – quite impressive, in fact!

So to save you time (& heaps of frustration) here’;s what we deem to be the best violin for left handed players…

FYI: Paganini was also ambidextrous, so don’t despair lefties – you’re in good company.

13: D Z Strad left handed violin for professionals

Enjoy this review of the best professional violins & keen for more? Jump into our latest Reviews Of String Instruments, as well as our thoughts on surrounding all types of Musical Instruments. Recently, we also did a rundown of the Best Electric Violins + another on the Best Violins For Beginners, which may also be a good read!

Stradivarius violin for sale

Or, if you’re here purely to learn more about professional violins, keep reading & we’ll answer even more of your burning questions…

The best way to tell how well-made a violin really is, would be to take a look at its seams & overall finish. A manufacturers attention to detail here can usually be a sign of how fine tuned the sound will be – i.e. the sign of a good violin (that’s fit for professionals) which will last the test of time.

Things to watch out for would be evidence of glue, a lack of an even varnish or even things like jagged edges in the cut of the wood. Typically these are all things which increase in quality as the £$€ of a violin increases. However, that’s not to say that all expensive violins are top quality. Just like with pretty much any instrument, a good chunk of the asking price largely comes down to the violin brand.

Although with that being said, if we had to choose, we’d say those made by DZ Strad are some of the best quality violins you can buy. As far as violins go, DZ Strad really have nailed the concept of an all-rounder! Just as they’re nice to hold & easy to play, their sound is no slouch either – many a time better than even bespoke made violins… although that is of course subject to opinion.

If you’re a proper brand junkie, then you’re going to want to at least know a few of the best violin brands for professionals. These being brands that you can trust to deliver a quality instrument both in terms of build & sound.

So while it is possible to get pretty sexy sounds out of a starter violin, for the sake of professionals, brands like Cecelio & Eastar don’t cut the mustard. There we said it. In which case if you’re an intermediate player looking to upgrade or a pro after a new instrument, here’s the 3 violin brands we think you should consider…

  • DZ Strad – Masters of the all-round professional violin. Not the most pricey, but as an overall package, these are pretty hard to beat. For intermediate players looking to level up, these are the ideal safe option.
  • Scott Cao – Violins with this brand are pretty much all about the sound. Scott Cao violins really do sing, be that in soft tranquil play or during more vigorous bow strokes. And yet, price-wise they’re pretty reasonable. A good pro violin from Scott Cau will usually set you back around £1500 here or thereabouts & include a load of high-end accessories.
  • Ming Jiang – This a brand who really does pay fine attention to detail. Violins by Ming Jiang feel incredibly solid & produce a light, yet sharp sound. They’re a well-rounded instrument & feel like they’ll last the test of time.
  • (if you’re on a budget) Yamaha – If you’re after a semi-pro violin & don’t exactly have a large budget, then a Yamaha violin would be a sensible choice. Not the best by any means, BUT superb value for money. In terms of build, Yamaha is up there with the best.

If you believe critics, yes. If you ask us… maybe.

You see, while Stradivarius violins do have an almighty reputation for being the instrument of the pro player, that’s not to say that they’re always worth the extra £$€ – let alone ‘better’. Whether that’s the case for you really all comes back to how & where you play. Stradivarius violins are all about the increased clarity, volume & projection.

Therefore, if you’re a professional who’s yet to play BIG venues, then chances are a Strad isn’t going to be worth the upgrade. Yes, the sound will be ‘better’ than the average pro violin, BUT consider how much more expensive they are to buy, & really the return on investment just isn’t there. However, if you’re one to play larger gigs (concert halls for instance) keep reading…

Because for playing large concert halls or even performing in the theatre or an auditorium, Strads are the way to go. Something that’s due to their slightly different shape, construction & wood type. But we won’t bore you with the details. To read up further on what makes a Strad so great, click here.

Itzhak Perlman is, without a doubt, one of the greatest classical violinists alive today. This educator, composer, and performer has almost reached superstar status and is consistently one of the most in-demand musicians. He has delighted audiences since he was a little boy with his outstanding instrument proficiency, lovable charisma, and vibrant musical expression. 

Itzhak has performed with some of the best orchestras in the world, received countless accolades from various organisations, and never ceases to wow audiences with his extraordinary talent. Yehudi Menuhin once had the Soil Stradivarius violin from 1714, regarded as one of the best violins created during Stradivari’s “golden time” and is currently being played by Perlman. Additionally, Perlman performs on the Carlo Bergonzi 1740 “ex-Kreisler” and the Guarneri del Gesù 1743 “Sauret.”

If there were such a thing, Italy, the birthplace of the most renowned and sought-after instruments in history, would have to get a National Award. Then again, with all that Italian passion, it’s no real surprise.

FUN FACT: Cremona make their violins in Italy. In fact, the brand itself is named after the Italian city of Cremona where there are 100+ workshops all making violins, as well as other stringed instruments. You could say this is the town following in the footsteps of its great violin makers, as it was also home to the iconic, Antonio Stradivari. The brains behind the legendary Stradivarius.

But while Italy is the creme of the crop for professional-grade violins, France & Germany aren’t far behind. France especially, is known for the production of the best violin bows & as a result, French & German violins can be just as (if not slightly more) expensive. Really it all comes back to preference.

Some say German instruments lack the tonal qualities of the Italian violins, while others disagree. The story’s much the same with those made in France too.

It’s pretty much impossible to say how much you should spend on a professional-grade violin.

So while on average, those which are regarded as the ‘best professional violins’ sit somewhere in the region of £1k-4k, how much you should be paying really all depends. It depends on your ability, needs when playing & most importantly, how seriously you’re taking violin; if you’re doing violin as a hobby, there’s little point buying a super expensive violin. Only when it’s your career would that be a wise move.

For most pro-grade violinists, the range of £1k-2.5k would likely suffice. So aside from the drastic improvement in build, a violin of this £$€ will also get you an upgrade in sound in comparison to a starter violin. The sound & tonal characteristics between professional violins & those for beginners really is quite noticeable. The accessories you get included will also be significantly higher quality too.

* And yes, before violin nerds start screaming, the cost of violins can even stretch above £5k – sometimes into the 10s of thousands. However, unless you’re a member of a professional orchestra & can put it through as a business expense (cheeky move there), or are making a healthy living off your violin playing alone, we’d say instruments of this calibre aren’t even worth considering.

REMEMBER: there’s a difference between professional violins & collectors items.

Good news – the Strad is NOT extinct. Bad news – you’ll have to have VERY deep pockets if you want to get your hands on one.

It’s rumoured that there’s little more than 500 genuine Strads left in the world. Many of which are safely concealed by private collectors. According to the BBC, one recently sold at auction for a whopping £9.8 million!!

This being the iconic violin which was the product of Antonio Stradivari – a 17th Century violin maker, who’s said to be one of the best to ever live. Stradivari was known for the flawless quality of his violins as well as their powerful, yet delicate sound. For many, the Strad’s signature blend of spruce, willow & maple make it one of ‘the’ best violins to date.

Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù are two names that frequently come up when discussing outstanding violins. The fundamental design and sound of a violin were significantly altered by some of history’s most renowned violin manufacturers. 

Here are some things to consider while contrasting Stradivari with Guarneri. Guarneri’s work had a coarser design but was far more daring and had excellent aesthetic and experimental expression. In contrast to Stradivari, Guarneri had limited influence with the European courts, which made his violins more well-liked by the average musician who needed a superb tone without spending more money. 

On the other side, the Guarneri has a shorter scale distance end to end, which some players like since they feel it makes playing easier. In describing her choice for the Guarneri, renowned violinist, Rachel Barton Pine says, “They are as lovely as Stradivari violin when they require being, but they’ve got guts too!”