This is such a good question. There is so much variety and so much data floating around, from how much you pay, to what kind of instrument makes the best deal, and to what kind of price you should be asking! You’ll have to read a whole page to find out what kinds of instruments are the best bargains. However, if you’re looking for a deal, I recommend the following:
1. First, the price of the instrument. This has a direct impact on the cost of the instrument. I think that there is a wide variation due to the type of wood, of course. The top of the violin is a good deal because of this. You can’t buy the top of a violin and its materials off Ebay for less than $500, but you can at least get a good deal (a nice one, I have also found).
2. Second, your budget. For many, a violin worth less than $5 is just too expensive. There are other factors to bear in mind, such as age, wood, quality of wood, what kind of strings to use, etc. The more experience you have, you may well find that not every violin is worth the money, unless you have an absolute toned gut like a lot of players.
3. Next, some tips. There are several factors to take into account when shopping. One is the price of the materials, the quality of wood, etc. Others are the strings that you want and how to tune them. Another is the string spacing. This has a direct impact on the quality of the sound of the strings (with my recent purchase, I was able to tune the string space down by one half the distance, which also made the sound smoother and a little brighter. So, as a rule of thumb, I recommend string spacing of .250 to .30 inch (10-15 mm) from the bridge, on the string.
It is also important to consider the age of the instrument, as well as what type of wood it is made out of, what type of materials are used. The more experienced you are, the more you may be able to find a good deal on a new instrument when you consider these factors. I don’t recommend the “young violin” type of instruments, in particular. Older instruments generally cost considerably more than the cheaper model. As the price of the same instrument increases, so does the cost of the materials involved. You might be surprised: the cost of an