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What is a VSO?

The term VSO refers to the umbrella of items passing as violins but not functioning as them. This earns the item the name Violin Shaped Object. While a VSO may look exactly like a regular violin, they do not sound like one! VSOs are found for cheap, but do not be tempted by the low price point - as the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for"!

How to spot a VSO:

Very shiny, thick lacquer varnish or painted finish that deadens sound

"Mystery" wood that is not declared by the seller

Painted black “ebony” fingerboard that is made from a cheaper, lighter wood

Cheap, plastic fittings that break easily

Improper nut height that sets strings too low or too high 

Bridge is soft wood, misaligned, and/or not custom cut to fit the violin

Painted purfling

Investing in your child's future

It is always tempting to buy a cheap instrument for a young student or beginning adult. Keep in mind, however, you may end up spending hundreds of dollars in necessary improvements just to make the VSO playable. And even after spending the money you still may not like the way it sounds or feels! A well made student violin will last throughout the years and is always a worthy investment in your child's future.

At Kennedy Violins we take utmost pride in the craftsmanship and set up of our instruments. Our luthiers’ high standards during the setup process ensure consistent quality in every violin. Our violins are available for a variety of budgets and abilities. Whether students start with the Bunnel line, advance with the Louis Carpini G2, flourish with the Antonio Giuliani, or dazzle with the

Nickola Zubak, they are sure to find the perfect violin. If you have any questions about our lines of instruments, please do not hesitate to reach out! We are available by phone at 1-800-779-0242 or by email at