sharmusicI have been a Shar Music customer for over 30 years and always refer students there for instrument outfits, move-up instruments, bows, strings and accessories. I do not receive any kind of commission from Shar for recommending their products; in fact, many products are available to my students at a discount when they order by phone and give my name as their teacher. Shar ships quickly and provides excellent customer service.

Beginners will find month-to-month instrument rentals or purchases at very reasonable rates. Shar carries ready-to-play good quality student violins from 1/16 size up, as low as $16.99 a month, no minimum rental period. For guidance getting the correct size instrument for your student, click video below (sizing chart at 1:16):

With any musical instrument, you get what you pay for. I encourage families to rent or purchase the very best instrument and bow they can afford. DO NOT BUY AN INSTRUMENT OFF EBAY OR CRAIGSLIST except in very specific situations — ask me first! Save money on the case instead! The rule of thumb is that a bow is properly matched to an instrument when it is worth about 1/3 the price of the instrument. In other words, don’t play a $600 violin with a $600 bow OR a $50 bow– look for a $200 bow instead, or else get an $1800 violin.

Here are my recommended violins and bows from Shar at several price points for each level.  (prices may have changed since this was last updated)

Young Beginners (Level 1-2) in fractional size violins (1/8 – 3/4)

Franz Hoffmann Amadeus (for the youngest beginners)
Franz Hoffmann Prelude – Available as a rental, “Standard Outfit”
Bow: Ask Shar for bow recommendation depending on instrument (no more than $75)

Middle-school Beginners (Level 1-2) in full-size violins, and young intermediate students in fractional move-up violins

Franz Hoffman Concert – Available as a rental, “Premium Outfit”
Franz Hoffmann Koe
Bow: A carbon fiber bow at about $100

High-school and Adult Beginners (Level 1-3) AND advancing younger students ready for a first full-size violin:

Carlo Lamberti Sonata $550 – this is “plenty of violin” for a beginner.
Bow: A carbon fiber bow at about $200

Advancing student (Level 4-6):

Carlo Lamberti Symphony $950
Snow Model SV200  $1020 (approx. w/ teacher discount)
Bow: Presto Ovation Carbon Fiber $285 or pernambuco wood bow priced $300-$500

If the student is ready for a full-size violin and planning to continue playing for the long term, invest in the next level of violin and bow (Upper-Intermediate and beyond).

Upper-Intermediate student (Level 7-9):

Snow Model SV400  $1410 (approx. w/ teacher discount)
Carlo Lamberti Master Series Guarneri $1425 (approx. w/ teacher discount)
Bow: Presto Impulse Carbon Fiber $599 or pernambuco wood bow priced $400-$700

Advanced student (Level 10) or Lifelong Player (Adults Level 5 and up):

Recommended Shar option: John Cheng Limited Series Violin $2400 (approx. w/ teacher discount)
Also visit local shops to try out violins in the $1500-$3000 price range.
Bow: Pernambuco wood bow priced $500-$1000

Here I am, live-rating several upper-level instruments: (This video is from 2014, Shar has added other instruments to the lineup since then)

Other Supply Resources

Local violin repair and restoration shop.
Sheet Music Plus Homepage For specific book purchases, visit my Bookstore page.