What Are the Different Types of Violins?

Did you know that playing a classical instrument has a plethora of unexpected health benefits? Not only can it decrease stress and improve mood, but it also may boost your immune system, improve muscle memory, and increase cognitive ability.

The violin is one of the most popular and beautiful classical instruments that you can learn, but you’ll need to choose the perfect instrument before starting lessons. Here, we’re going to discuss some of the types of violins available, so read on to begin your musical journey.

Modern Violins

Modern violins are what you commonly think of when you imagine a violin. They also are called classic violins and acoustic violins. These instruments are the most common ones in orchestras as well as for solo performers and learners.

These violins are made up of a hollow body called a sound box. It is made from wood that resonates the sound that the player makes by drawing the bow across the strings. This makes the full, rich sound that you would recognize from classical music.

Modern violins are made with synthetic metal strings. Lucky us – in the ancient Egypt, they were made from animal guts!

Whether you are a beginning violinist or someone with more experience, you likely will want to buy a modern violin when shopping for an instrument. They have a lot of range, are extremely versatile, and can play all of the songs that you know and love.

Baroque Violins

Baroque violins were the most common type of violin in the 1650s-1750s. However, today they’re reserved for more seasoned musicians who want to most closely match the sounds that their favorite composers would have made. Some composers who used Baroque violins include Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel.

Less-seasoned musicians may be horrified to learn that Baroque violins sometimes still have strings made from guts or horsehair. However, these strings give the violin a unique sound that distinguishes them their metal counterparts. Baroque violinists also use a differently-styled bow.

Baroque violins are fairly similar to their modern counterparts aesthetically- their main differences are in the way that they sound. However, there are some physical differences as well:

  • The bridge, base bar, fingerboard, neck, and tailpiece are shorter
  • They lack a chin rest and shoulder rest
  • Their necks are less angled than those of a modern violin

These differences give the instrument a gentler sound than modern violins. However, they are best for experienced players that already have a background in the classical violin.


Lots of people refer to “violins” and “fiddles” interchangeably, and in come cases the terms do describe the same instrument. In these situations, “fiddle” described a style of playing that’s commonly associated with country music as well as Celtic and Bluegrass. Some violinists refer it as a casual way of referring to their own instruments as well.

However, when used as a technical term, fiddles may be distinct from violins. They tend to have a flatter bridge than classic violins do. This makes sense since fiddle music involves quick runs and fast string changes.

Children’s Violins

Children’s violins are simply smaller versions of regular modern violins. They are made for young ones who are ready to develop a lifelong love of music.

There are three children’s violin sizes to consider:

  • 1/4 size violins, which are 18 1/8 inches and made for children aged 4-6
  • 1/2 size violins, which are 20 7/16 inchesĀ and made for children aged 6-9
  • 3/4 size violins, which are 23 1/4 inches and made for children aged 8-12

A full size violin for teenagers and adults is 23 1/4 inches.

Because children quickly outgrow each size, it usually is best to rent these violins. You can continue renting when your child reaches a full size, or you can rent-to-own. Buying a violin is also an option at this point, but it’s best to wait until you get there.

Electric Violins

If you’ve seen an electric guitar before, an electric violin is a similar concept. The only difference is that it’s played as a violin and has a distinct violin-like sound.

Electric violins don’t have a sound box. Instead, they need an amplifier and a speaker to connect to their solid plastic frame. They produce no sound without a speaker but sound loud and proud once you do plug them in.

Despite their unique shape and lack of a hollow sound box, you play an electric violin in exactly the same way that you would a classical violin. This makes it among he best violin options for experienced and passionate players looking for a new way to make music.

Electric violins produce an extremely sharp sound that works well for rock music. The sound is more artificial an contemporary, which makes it a popular choice for those looking to emulate modern punk-pop or rock bands.

Semi-Acoustic Violins

Semi-acoustic violins are an option that lies between traditional and electric violins. They look similar to a modern violin with a sound box, though their body is smaller and less substantial than a full-on classical violin’s.

These instruments contain a jack output that you can use to amplify it, though you won’t be able to listen to yourself play with headphones as you would with an electrical violin.

This is a great option for those buying a violin who want a lot of different options for how to play. You can play classical music a you would on a normal violin but can still play rock music as well.

Beyond the Common Types of Violins

There are multiple types of violins for beginners and experienced players, but they all have one thing in common: they’re awesome. Now that you know some of the violin options that you can choose from, it’s time to start experiencing the joys of making music.

Boothe Music isn’t just committed to helping you find the perfect instrument. We’re here to help you play with passion as well as technical finesse. Sign up for lessons with our experts to begin reaping the mental and emotional health benefits of violin music ASAP.

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