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In searching for the best entry-level violin, one of the top brands to consider is Cecilio. The Cecilio CVN series is an excellent example of quality-built budget violins. This Cecilio CVN 300 review and guide details what I think is one of the best violins for beginners.
My bottom line up front: The Cecilio CVN 300 is a quality budget violin perfect for your first years of playing and up to becoming an intermediate player. It’s the best middle-of-the-line option in the series and a massive improvement to the CVN 100 and 200.
The first violin I would recommend from Cecilio for a beginner violinist is, without a doubt, the CVN 300. Cecilio thought out well to tick all the boxes that a beginner needs in a violin. For its price range, the playability and crafting quality are some of the best in the market.
However, as with all budget violins, the CVN 300 has its own limitation detailed in the article.
Cecilio CVN 300 Key Features
- Available in all sizes from 4/4 to 1/32
- The body is made of Aged maple back and Aged
- Ebony Fingerboard, Pegs, Tailpiece, and Chinrest
- Inlaid purfling and antique varnish finish
- 4 nickel-plated fine tuners
- Stringed with D’Addario Prelude String
- Comes with all the necessary beginner accessories
Cecilio CVN 300 Pros
- Comes in all sizes, making it suitable for adults and children up to 3 years old
- The Ebony elements give it extra points and are rare in violins of this price range
- The fine tuners work well and are removable for intermediate players that only want to keep one or none at all
- Strings are good enough to bring a decent tone and good playability out of the violin
- Looks like a quality violin with the inlaid purfling and a good enough antique varnish finish
- It’s a solid build that will outlast your beginner years
- The price and quality balance makes it ideal for an entry-level violin
Cecilio CVN 300 Cons
- As most violins of this price range, there is not much tone, and overall it’s bright and somehow tiny
- Tuning is not that stable, and occasional daily tuning might be needed
- Tonewoods are not of the best quality, and they can shrink due to humidity and heat
The Cecilio CVN 300 Build Quality and Hardware
The Cecilio CVN 300 is a well-crafted violin that can last for years without causing major issues. It’s built with decent tonewood and hardware that make the violin highly playable but don’t show much on the tone.
By looking at it from a violinist’s perspective, you can tell that this is decently made and just a notch up from most other student violins. The ebony elements such as the fingerboard, pegs, tailpiece, and chinrest, along with the well-designed bridge and fine tuners, are the highlight of it.
Compared to maple fingerboards, ebony is darker, with less visible wood grain and more study and warm sounding. Although the tonewoods are “wet, “ meaning not seasoned enough, the tonewoods are very good for their price.
Student violins have poorly designed bridges causing players to accidentally play other strings. The CVN 300, however, has a well-designed bridge with just the right curvature to avoid that. You don’t need to be an advanced player to notice the bridge design difference and tell the CVN 300 plays smoothly.
Tuning stability is decent, not the best, but tuning it daily is worth it, considering all the positive sides. If you want to improve that, consider changing the tuning pegs. The fine tuners also work well, and the best part is that you can remove them, as many intermediate or advanced players would.
The Cecilio CVN build quality and hardware are just between a standard student violin and an intermediate one making it sturdy and easy to play. I would definitely recommend buying it if you want a violin that lasts more than a few years.
The Cecilio CVN 300 Tone
Beginner violins are not known to lack the rich, full-tone, more expensive models have. Generally, they sound tiny as the tonewoods and their seasoning are not the best.
The Cecilio CVN 300 fits this description well, although it gets good points for having a clear, smooth tone and not starchy or extremely bright. A good way a musician would describe this violin’s tone is that it has “no flavor.”
As long as you are not using the CVN 300 professionally,l it will sound decent enough for everything else. A big plus is that the tone has no scratch, the only tonal quality you should look for in beginner violins.
What Comes Included with the Cecilio CVN 300
A significant advantage of purchasing any of the Cecilio CVN series models is the extra accessories they come with. Consider your investment in the CVN 300 as buying an entire entry-level kit with the replacement parts and maintenance accessories needed to last at least the first 6 months of playing.
Extra Set of Strings
The D’addario prelude strings the violin comes with are decent-quality ones. Although snapping one while you’re not familiar with the proper technique is pretty common. The extra pair will come in handy.
The bow is made out of Brazilwood and natural horse hairs. The quality of the wood and hair is low, and the bow is not well-balanced.
My suggestion would be to upgrade the bow to a better one when you need to change. So objectively speaking, having an extra bow of the original one will only come in handy if you don’t plan to change it or after the original one is worn out.
Not the best electronic tuner, but it comes with a set of batteries and does its job nicely. Depending on the model that comes with your violin, some tuners have a metronome option.
Beginners use Rosin to create friction and better grip the bow until they develop their technique. Usually, rosin lasts a long time, and having some with the violins is very handy.
Whether your teacher advises you to use this book or not, it can be helpful.
Adjustable Shoulder Rest
There are many benefits to a good shoulder rest. It helps avoid compressing the neck and makes the violins rest more comfortably.
The main struggle with beginners in every instrument is the first weeks or months. You have to get used physically to holding the instrument the right way. A shoulder rest, however, is not limited to beginners, as many pro players use them,
The shoulder rest can also help with the left-hand technique if you get used to playing with it.
Overall I would recommend using it first and then decide for yourself once you enter the intermediate stage if you want to keep using it. Having one included in the price is a nice perk from Cecilio.
Lightweight Hard Case
All the extra accessories come fitted in a hard case. Of all the above, probably the hard case is the most necessary as it’s a must for the violin to lesson or store it safely.
All the above elements will come in handy and are a big plus for buying the Cecilio CVN 300. However, none of them are good quality or even average. If you have extra money to spend, I recommend upgrading some of them.
What Type of Violins Should a Beginner Buy?
A beginner violinist should always choose a violin that is easy to play and suits the body length well.
When choosing a violin for yourself or your child, the first thing to do is to look for a balance of build quality and sound design. For example, a good bridge curvature is essential to make playing smooth.
The same applies to tuners. Misplaced tuning pegs and badly drilled fine tuners can cause the violin to detune frequently and stop you from practicing that often.
It’s essential to make playing the violin enjoyable and easy. A violin of such a low quality you have to fight to play can become bothersome and might need fast replacing.
Regarding the budget, you can find decent beginner violin from around the 100$ price range and excellent ones around the 150$-180$ range.
Is the Cecilio CVN 300 a Good Beginner Violin?
The Cecilio is one of the best beginner violins for adults and children you can buy at an affordable price.
If you are in between other violin models around the 100$ price, I would highly recommend adding some extra money and buying the CVN 300. The quality of the parts might not be the finners, but the crafting is good, and the playing is smooth. Compared to most entry-level violins of the same price range, CVN 300 can be a good violin for mid-range players.
How Do Other Violins Compare
Cecilio CVN 200 vs Cecilio CVN 300
Just below in the series and for around 30$ less, you can buy the Cecilio CVN 200.
The CVN 200 is similar to the 300 in crafting quality, tone, and overall playability. Both come with many useful accessories. However, the CVN 300 has better tonewoods, finish, hardware, and plays more smoothly. The ebony parts on it are enough to understand the difference in the quality.
If the CVN 200 is a good beginner violin for a few years, the CVN 300 will outlive it and stay with you until your first intermediate years.
I would recommend buying the CVN 300 as it’s overall better. However, purchasing the CVN 200 won’t make much difference for complete beginners, and you will save some money.
Mendini MV 400 vs Cecilio CVN 300
Mendini is the Cecilio branch of student violins and offers quality budget violins such as the Mendini MV 400.
You will get a similarly built violin for just around the same price range but different in how it looks, plays, and feels in your hand. They both come with similar extra accessories, and the parts and quality are good for the price.
The CVN, though, has some better hardware on it. I would personally suggest choosing the CVN 300 as the D”Addario Prelude strings, and fine tuners are better. The CVN also weighs less.
Overall if you are in between both violins, I would suggest the CVN 300 for just some minor reasons. If you have only available the MV 400, you can go for it as the difference between the two is not that significant.
Cecilio CVN 300 vs Cecilion CVN 500
The Cecilio CVN 500 is better than the Cecilio CVN 300 aimed at more experienced players.
As a better-built instrument, the main reason I would suggest the CVN 500 is the tone. If you are looking for a violin to last both your beginners and most of your intermediate year,s the CVN 500 is a perfect choice. It looks, plays, and feels much more expensive than the CVN 300.
Obviously, the higher range in the series, the more expensive the instrument. Considering that the CVN 500 is around 30 to 50$ more costly than the CVN 300, it’s definitely worth it if you have the budget.
Answer: Violin size for children depends on age and body size measurements. To be sure of the violin size you need for your child, it’s the best your instructor advises you.
Answer: I would suggest extending your budget as much as possible, considering 2 factors. The first is that the better quality violin will last longer and even as long as you play. The second aspect is the total cost of lessons and other things you would need to become good enough to bring out the tone of an expensive violin.
If you have taken these into consideration and still decide to go after an expensive violin, you should go for it!
Answer: Not necessarily; it depends on what range bass you are looking for.
Mendini is the cheaper alternative to Cecilio and part of the Cecilio brand. Both violin brands share many similar elements. However, if you are looking for premium models, you won’t find any in the Mendini series.
Answer: A good bow can make a lot of difference in your playing experience and tone sound. A well-balanced bow with quality horse hair will make laying smoother.
The Final Note: the Cecilio CVN 300 Review
The CVN 300 is a quality violin perfect for beginners and players that have just entered the intermediate phase. If you are looking for a quality first violin or want to improve on your cheap student violin, I would highly suggest buying this model.
Like most entry-level violins, it has its flaws, the main one being the lack of a good and rich tone. However, the Cecilio CVN 300 is one of the most well-built and smooth playing violins for its price. It comes with helpful accessories for a very affordable price,
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