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What is the Difference Between a Beginner Violin and an Intermediate Violin?

Understanding the difference between beginner and intermediate violins can often be a bit confusing, as it's somewhat subjective. This guide will clarify these distinctions, reflecting common definitions used in most violin shops, and how we at Kennedy Violins determine these differences.

A beginner violin is typically meant for someone with zero to two or three years of experience, whether they are a child or an adult.

An intermediate violin is generally defined by two metrics: price and the player's experience level.

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1. Price

Most violin shops might not play test all their violins, instead relying on labels such as beginner, intermediate, advanced, and master provided by wholesalers to establish prices.

Violin shops often adopt these definitions given by the wholesalers and price and label the violins accordingly.

2. Player's Experience Level

While shops often rely on wholesalers for their definitions, there is general agreement that an intermediate violin suits someone who's been playing for at least two years and would remain content with the instrument for an additional two to four years.

This is highly dependent on the player's practice level and whether they have a private instructor. A student with a private instructor will likely be satisfied with the violin for a longer time, while a student without one may advance more quickly and need to upgrade sooner.

At Kennedy Violins, we define the difference beyond just price and player's experience level. Our distinctions typically hinge on four primary elements:

1. Bridge Type: Our intermediate and advanced violins are generally fitted with a French bridge. This contributes to the violin's durability and sound production.

2. Varnish Type: Our intermediate instruments generally do not have a lacquer finish. Instead, they feature an oil or oil spirit combination finish, which is beneficial for both aesthetic appeal and sound production.

3. Internal Carving: More time spent on the violin's internal carving generally results in superior sound production.

4. Sound Quality: At Kennedy Violins, we play test our violins, giving us an intimate understanding of the sound variations across different models and makers.

In summary, understanding the distinctions between beginner and intermediate violins can help you make informed decisions as you progress in your violin journey. Remember, the right violin for you will ultimately depend on your skill level, goals, and personal preferences.