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Finding a beginner violin that blends a low price with a quality build can be tricky. Especially today when you have hundreds of entry-level violin models to choose from. This Cecilio CVN 200 review and guide will prove helpful for you in your search for the best violin for beginners.
My Bottom Line Up Front: The Cecilio CVN 200 stays true to Cecilio’s well-known history of quality value violins. It’s a well-built, reliable violin for beginners that compromises tone for a very affordable price.
For a price around the 100$ mark, the CVN 200 surprised me with the details in the finish and playability. However, there are some limitations to the instrument that justify its low price. In this Cecilio CVN 200 review, I will detail every element you should consider before deciding to buy this model or any beginner violin.
- The violin’s body is built out of a Spruce top and Maple’s back, neck, and sides.
- Maple Fingerboard and inlays in natural varnish
- Four detachable fine tuners and a well-designed bridge, adjustable shoulder rest, boxwood pegs, and chinrest
- Stringed with D’Addario Prelude Strings
- You can choose between different sizes from 4/4 to 1/10, making it a great starter violin for children and adults alike.
- The violin is well designed and built to last the years you need to advance from beginner to intermediate player.
- It comes with a good set of Strings
- There is hardly any scratch in the sound
- It’s a solid body lightweight violin making it rare for this price
- The 4 fine tuners work well and will be helpful to beginners
- The price makes it a great first violin, easy to replace in the future
- The tone is very bright, thin, and almost too harsh to play at times. Not what you would want to play after becoming an upper beginner player.
- The shiny finish and hardly any graining make it look very “plastic.”
- It might occasionally need a setup before playing it, as a cheap instrument can have imperfections that make it hard to play.
- Not much volume and resonance
Built quality and hardware
The Cecilio CVN 200 is surprisingly well-crafted and features decent tonewoods, hand-carved, and shared in more expensive violins.
Although the tonewood types are good, on a low-budget violin like this, their quality is not the best, and you get what is called a ‘wet” wood. Meaning that the wood has not been seasoned enough or at all. Depending on temperature and humidity in time, it might shrink and cause problems. Also, they are not tonewoods that will age and get warmer sounding in time, but still, the tone is not really what’s essential for beginners.
The finish is well done, and there are no apparent flaws on the instrument or nothing that a good setup can’t fix. This instrument should not be judged much by the look, as you will most likely use the CVN 200 for practice only.
Out of all the hardware, the 2 that impressed me the most were the removable fine tuners and the bridge. Cecilio has thought well for beginners who can’t tune using the pegs at first and some players who like to keep the fine tuners only for the E string, removing the rest.
The Bridge has a good curvature that you can tell when playing the violin. Apart from that, the bridge is very thick, causing a lack of volume and resonance. Issues however that are not that important for an entry-level student model.
Don’t expect anything special from the bow. However, it does its job nicely, and it’s decently balanced.
The Cecilio CVN 200 comes with not one but two Brazilwood bows strung with unbleached Mongolian horsehair. Don’t get lost in the fancy name, as the bows are probably of the lowest real horsehair quality.
I would not put that much importance on the quality of the bow as the violin itself does not have a great tone that a band can interface with. Also, a good bow might be needed after getting a good grip on the techniques, not for complete beginners. Upgrading it to a more expensive one after some months of playing might be a good idea.
The bad side of purchasing a cheap instrument is that almost always, the tone won’t be rich and warm. The same can be said about the Cecilio CVN 200.
Making this violin easy to play and reliable at a low price meant that Cecilio compromised the tone. The brand is known for its warm and balanced-sounding stringed instruments; however, the maximum you can achieve tone-wise is not sounding too “harsh” on this model.
This instrument, in my opinion, does not have what a musician would call a tone, so don’t expect to play it in any serious musical situation and impress people with the sound. It’s very bright and tiny sounding, and it will not get warmer in time as it does with expensive violins.
On the good side, there is hardly any scratch when playing due to the good bridge design. For beginners, this is essential to play cleanly.
What balances out the lack of tone is the set of strings. This D’Addario set apart from sounding good will save you the money of replacing the strings as you usually should when first purchasing cheap stringed instruments.
The Cecilio CVN 200 is a decent-sounding violin for a beginner player.
What violin should a beginner get?
Beginner violin players should always pick a violin that is easy to play and reliable enough to last a few years.
Getting a good tone is not essential in the first years of playing. Even the players themselves won’t tell the difference in tone when just starting to play. The most important aspect of a beginner violin is that it should have little to no scratch in the sound, and you find it comfortable in size.
Tuning stability is very important. If the pegs are not aligned and the tuners are not appropriately drilled, the violin might detune frequently. A small thing like this can make you or your child lose interest in playing. Making playing the instrument as easy as possible is crucial, and minor issues can interfere with that.
My advice is to stretch your budget to the point that you can, always keeping in mind you might need to buy another violin in the next 2-3 years.
With these criteria in mind, the CVN 200 is a good violin for beginners.
What are beginner violins made of?
Beginner violins are made of lower-quality wood and hardware compared to professional violins.
The most common tonewoods in entry-level violins are non-seasoned Maple, Spruce, Plywood, Boxwood. In some models, Ebony might be used. As we mentioned before, the type of tonewood is not as important as its quality and seasoning. A 1000$ violin with a spruce top and maple body does not use the same tonewoods as the CVN 200, even though the wood types are the same.
Compared to a handmade violin, an entry-level factory-made violin does not have the same attention to detail. The purfling on some cheap violins can be just painted and not inlaid at all. Apart from the materials, expensive violins have significantly better tuning pegs, fine tuners, neck, and bridge placement.
How other entry-level violins compare
Student quality violins around the 100$ mark generally share the same characteristics. However, there are differences between models depending on whether you spend slightly more or less.
For just some dollars less, you get the CVN 100, the first entry of the CVN series.
The lowest budget alternative of the CVN series is very similar to the CVN 200 in almost everything. The tonewoods, materials, strings, and accessories are all the same, along with the tiny bright tone.
However, I felt that the bridge was better designed and curved on the CVN 200. The fine tuners also work better. If you are on a very tight budget, buying the CVN 100 won’t make a difference for a beginner.
The CVN 300 is the violin I would recommend buying if you are willing to spend slightly more on a beginner violin.
The built quality is similar to the CVN 200, but some of the materials used are better. The antique varnish finish, ebony fingerboard, pegs, and chinrest are an improvement to the other 2 lower budget models. The design does not have any flaws, and it plays smoothly and cleanly.
Overall the CNV 300 is an excellent improvement to the CVN 200 and possibly a violin that could last you longer and up into becoming an intermediate player. If you are willing to spend around 30$ more, I would highly recommend you buy this one.
Another quality low-budget series of Cecilio is Mendini V300. The Mendini V300 is one of the cheapest beginner models of good quality you can buy.
This violin looks different from the CVN200 due to the satin finish, but the other main elements are essentially the same. The main difference that is felt when playing them both is that the CVN has noticeably better strings.
I would recommend the CVN 200 just for the strings that come with it. If, however, you like the looks of the Mendini better, a change of strings would make it just as suitable for a beginner as the Cecilio.
The Final Note: The Cecilio CVN 200 Review
The Cecilio CVN 200 is a great entry-level violin for beginner adults and children that features all you need from a Violin in your first years of playing.
As with all student violins around the 100$ range, you are not getting an instrument with a good tone and seasoned woods. The CVN 200 is surprisingly more sturdy than you would expect from an instrument this cheap. It ticks the three main boxes of a good violin- no scratch in the tone, decent design, and enough durability to last a few years without significant tuning issues.
I would highlight the excellent set of strings the violin comes with and the extra accessories. The extra bow and bridge will prove helpful after some months.
However, you could get a better entry-level violin you will use even after becoming an intermediate player.
Answer: The straight answer to the question is yes. The Cecilio CVN 200 is a great violin for children starting from 3 years old, with many small sizes available.
Answer: Cecilio is well known among violin players as a quality violin producer with great value models for beginners. What stands out for Cecilio is being able to produce budget warm-sounding violins for prices generally lower than other brands.
Answer: The violin comes with the following accessories.
• Cecilio chromatic tuner
• Lesson book,
• 2 bows
• Rosin cake,
• Adjustable shoulder rest
• One extra bridge.
• Lightweight hard case
Even though there are many, apart from the string set, the rest are not good quality and match the violin’s overall budget feel.
Answer: Cecilio violins, including the CVN series, are made in China. Every violin, however, is inspected and tested in Cecilio facilities before being shipped.
Answer: If you or your children have violin lessons, the tutor will help you choose the best size based on your body length.
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