Updated: May 16, 2015

Violin Basics

The anatomy of a violin is similar to most string instruments. The body of the violin is attached to the neck, with the tunings pegs at the end of the neck (the very end of the violin neck has the curved scroll, which is ornamental only). The fingerboard runs most of the length of the neck - it is where the violinist places their fingers to change notes on the strings. Two S shaped sound holes or F-holes sit on either side of the body, and the chinrest is on the lower end of the body (to be tucked under the chin while playing). The bridge is the piece that elevates the strings above the body, before they connect to the tail piece. There are four strings that attach to the pegs. The thickest string is the G string, and plays the lowest notes, while the E string is the thinnest, producing the highest notes.

The sound of a violin is created by dragging a horsehair bow across the strings (the bow is coated with rosin), making the strings vibrate, while the body of the violin resonates the sound. Violins are normally constructed of maple or sycamore, with spruce wood used for the belly. The parts of the violin are held together by hide glue (hide glue can be "un-glued" easily, without damaging the wood). The S shaped sound hole give the violin its timbre Early violin models date back several thousand years - the instrument was first plucked rather than bowed. During the middle ages, refinements were made to the violin -- adding the fingerboard, adding strings, adding the ribs and tailpiece. The violin was initially called the Renaissance viol, with two round sound openings. In an orchestra, the violin is a soprano instrument, producing high, clear notes.

Buying a Violin - Leasing a Violin

A good violin is not cheap, and it is not a toy. For small children, you should definitely look for a lower price, lower quality instrument. Make sure they are interested and committed, and are able to care for their violin before purchasing a nicer instrument. For beginners, take a look at KennedyViolins.com. They offer cheap violins for beginner students - $68. They come in various sizes depending on the age of the student - check out the sizing chart (a 5 year old would get a 1/8 size, while a 10 year old would get a 3/4 size - regardless, they are all priced at $68). While these violins are inexpensive, they aren't cheaply made. They come fully assembled and tuned, made of solid carved maple with solid spruce on the top. Kennedy also carries intermediate violins, so you can move beyond the most basic, cheapest ones. Once you are beyond the beginner stage, you can consider FriscoStrings.com - they offer a good selection of violins, violas, and cellos, for experience magicians. They offer violins for sale, like an Andreas Eastman 615 for $1700 (made from European tonewoods, but assembled in China, finished in US), or a monthly lease of $39. Or the Richard Henson for $1900 (built in Germany, rich tones and projection), or the Jurgen Klien violin for $2500 ($49 monthly lease). Their lease program is very popular. It is available nationwide, and 90% of the first year lease payments can be applied towards the purchase price of the violin if you decide to buy.You can upgrade or purchase at any time, and there is a 14 day no obligation trial period so you can evaluate and use the instrument prior to a financial commitment - that makes buying or leasing online a lot more comforting! Browse the best selling violins online here.

Free Violin lessons Online

For basic tutorials on violin playing, check out FolkOfTheWood.com. The violin lessons start with basics, like how to hold a violin, parts of the bow and bow preparation, parts of the violin, tuning your violin, learning to read music, bowing techiniques, vibrato and tremolo tips, learning scales, beginners melodies, and more. For children, you are probably going to want in person violin lessons from a local music teacher. For a grown-up just playing around with a violin, starting with free online violin lessons is OK. But finger placement on stringed instruments is difficult, especially for children, and their is no substitute for personal attention from a trained music professional. For more online lessons on violin basics, check out ViolinOnline.com - they have a comprehensive section dedicated to caring for the violin, changing strings, holding the violin, choosing a violin, bridge adjustment, finger placement, fingering charts, tips on finding a violin teacher and more. They have sheet music for practicing scales, and technique builder exercises. You can also get video and DVD violin lesson and instructional tapes if you are determined to learn at home - make sure you find something appropriate for your level. Finally, for a directory of violin instructors, check out Suzuki-Violin.com. They have listings by city and state of Suzuki method violin teachers in your area.

Violin Sheet Music

For free violin sheet music, check out 8notes.com. They have classic tunes from Bach and Beethoven and Paganini. They are available in PDF format. VirtualSheetMusic.com also has a good violin section, though they charge from $2-$10 for most downloads, though you can also opt for an annual membership fee of $38, which gets you free downloads after that. They have sheet music for more than 4000 compositions. SheetMusicPlus.com sells professional, printed sheet music. Get music from your favorie movies and plays, from your favorite artists, etc. They have violin specific titles, like "37 Violin Pieces You Like To Play - Violin" for $19. For violin sheet music only, check out StringSheetMusic.com. This is another pay site with a variety of violin instructional books, sheet music, as well as violin accessories.