Brief List of Things You'll Need:
Brief List of Things You'll Want:
In order to start learning violin, you will need a few things. These are just the very basics of what you need, of course. First, we'll discuss how to evaluate your first violin. If you want a general beginning violin checklist, see my list of beginning violinist accessories here.
Evaluating a Violin for Beginners
First of all, you'll need...a violin! Hopefully this isn't a surprise. There is a wide variety of violins out there.
If you have a used violin sitting in front of you that you are considering, check the following:
Make sure that it has a bridge that is installed and upright under the strings.
Make sure that the front, side, and back panels are not separating from each other. The image below shows you the areas to especially check for this problem. If you find this problem, you should consult a violin repair shop if you are still interested in using the violin.
Make sure there are no significant cracks. My violin does have a crack, below, but it has been repaired.
Make sure the violin itself does not rattle when moved. If it does, there is a possibility that a special wooden dowel inside the violin called the sound post has fallen. This requires repair by a professional.
Very occasionally you can find a good instrument for sale via Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon, but you definitely have to watch out for cheap instruments and unreasonable prices. In general, you should not be paying less than about $300 to have a chance of getting a quality instrument.
The easiest way to do that is to
look up the instrument online and read reviews on it.
To find information about the violin:
NOTE: Do NOT get excited if the violin label says something like "Copy of Stradivarius". Many, many violin labels say that and some of them are horrible. No one truly knows exactly what Stradivarius did to create his amazing violins.
Most of these problems are repairable, although some are particularly expensive to repair. For more information, please see our Used Violin Buying Guide (Coming Soon!).
f you have a bow you are considering, check the following:
Is the bow more or less straight? Sight down the stick itself.
The violin may or may not come with a bow.
If you try to play the violin with the bow and the bow makes no sound whatsoever, either the hair on the bow (which is easily replaceable) is ruined or it has never had violin rosin applied to it (which induces friction that makes the string make sound).
Bows can have some repairs done to them, either by you or by a professional repairperson. For more information, please see our Used Violin Buying Guide (again, coming soon!).
You will also need some rosin, providing the instrument and its bow are both useable. Rosin comes in several varieties, depending on your taste and your level of ability on the violin. If the violin comes with a cake of rosin, you can more than likely simply use that for a good length of time. There are several kinds of violin rosin, depending on your needs. Learn more about violin rosin here.