Mendini mv500 Review: The Best Mendini Budget Violin

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Mendini, part of the prestigious Cecilio brand, is one of the top brands that offer quality affordable violins. This Mendini mv500 Review will analyze in detail what I think is one of the best beginner violins.

My bottom line up front: The Mendini mv500 is a well-made beginner violin suited to be a great first instrument. The classy finish and smooth playing experience are two highlights that make the mv500 ideal for your first years of playing the violin. 

For the price and quality, it’s a violin I would recommend buying,  although there are better violins for almost the same price.

A student’s violin is often bought with the premise of buying a new one a few years later. I would place the Mendini mv500 on my top 3 list of beginner violins that will outlast your beginner years. It’s well crafted and decent-sounding enough to satisfy the needs of any beginner. It has, however, its flaws and strong competition from other Cecilio violins like the CVN500.
If you are between purchasing a Cecilio, Mendini, or other budget violins around the same price tag, this article gives the necessary knowledge to make a good decision.

Mendini mv500 features

  • Available in different sizes, making it suitable for children and adults beginners
  • The body is made from a single piece hand-carved maple piece
  • The top is made from solid hand spruce
  • Flamed maple back and sides finishes with classy Varnish and inlaid purfling
  • The pegs, chinrest, tailpiece, and fingerboard are made out of ebony
  • Four detachable gold plated fine tuners with mother of pearl inlay
  • 2 Brazilian wood bows with natural horsehair
  • Chromatic tuner and extra accessories  included inside the hard case

Mendini mv500 pros

  • It’s well crafted enough to last your beginner years
  • Many helpful extra accessories come with the violin
  • It comes fully assembled with the bridge in the right place
  • Tuning is stable enough to be tuned once in a few days or even weeks
  • The classy finish makes it look closer to more expensive violins
  • There is minimal to no scratch in the sound
  • It plays smoothly, and the tone is well balanced and almost deep, rare for instruments of this price.

Mendini mv500 cons

  • It might have minor issues when it arrives, but nothing that a god setup will fix.
  • The strings are not that good and might need replacing to get the best tone out of the violin.
  • The two bows are not well balanced, and the quality of the extra accessories is not that good.
  • The bridge is a bit thick, although that doesn’t affect playability much apart from the tone slightly.

Is Mendini a good brand?

Mendini is the budget alternative to Cecilio focused on making quality, affordable orchestral instruments. This sub-branch of Cecilio’s is an excellent choice for beginners.
When evaluating Mendini violins, the target audience has to be considered. A beginner violin focuses on playability and not much on the instrument’s tone and durability over the years. Since the target is different for each brand, it’s only fair to compare Mendin and Cecilio over budget violins.

Mendini violin span from very cheap ones with MV200 to quality value ones with the MV500 and above. This brand is a good solution with a fair price and extra accessories with every violin from a beginner player’s perspective.

Considering that you are only buying a student violin for your student years, starting with a Mendini is something I recommend. 

The Mendini mv500 tone

What caught my attention and surprised me was the tone of the Mendini mv500. This budget violin has a decent tone. 

The violin does not have many tones. The cheap and not seasoned enough tonewoods don’t allow for a lot of depth. However, it’s a pleasant sound, more than enough for a beginner.

A deep tone is defined as a rich, warm sound that fills the room and is pleasant across every octave of the violin. The MV500 does not fit the rich tone category, but it’s comparable to an intermediate player’s violin. A good name to put to the tone is mellow.

The strings that come with the violin and the extra pair are not the best. To bring out the warmer tone and make playing smooth, I recommend buying a new pair of strings. 

Replacing the bridge with a thinner one, more common in medium-range CVN models, will also help to bring more tone out of the violin.

The Mendini mv500 build quality

The Mendini mv500 stands out compared to other cheaper Mendini violins or CVN series when first looking at it. The non-glossed finish and dark color make it look as if it’s made from antique woods. Unfortunately, the woods are not seasoned enough, as in most student violins. Ebony, Maple, and Spruce are used even in more expensive violins, but their quality and treatment are far superior to those used in the MV500. 

To make a violin, this cheap play smoothly comprising of tonewoods is normal, as rich-sounding tonewoods are not what a beginner looks for in his first violin. What separates beginner models from each other is mostly the hardware and the detail put in the build and finish, areas in which the MV500 does well.

The violin has no apparent flaws. After being produced in China, all Mendini violins are inspected before shipping. Some rare issues in individual models might include tuning pegs out of place or slightly angled bridges. Pushing them in place might fix the problem for months before needing serious repair.

Remember that even though it’s priced higher than a normal beginner violin and handcrafted from one piece of wood, it’s still a budget one. Minor flaws in the built that make it through inspection are not impossible.

What comes included with the Mendini mv500

All beginner Ceciliio made violins are thought out as beginners kits with everything you need for your first years of playing. The same can be said about Mendini violins which are intended for first starters or players on a tight budget.

The Mendini mv500 comes with the following accessory.

  • Two extra Brazilian wood and unbleached natural horsehair bows
  • 92D chromatic tuner with the built-in metronome
  • Extra set of standard Cecilio strings
  • Shoulder rest
  • Rosin cake
  • Hard case

The accessories are many, but their quality is not the best. If I had to choose one that is necessary and of decent quality, it would be the hard case.

The bows are of poor quality, and you can easily buy a better cheap tuner. Strings are not so great. I suggest getting a better pair like the D’addario prelude when you can. However, the rosin cake is a good accessory to have as it can be used for any bow and lasts a long time.
Overall the extra accessories are helpful, and it’s good to have them included in the price. It might be months or even a year into violin playing before you start to realize that you might need better ones.

Cecilio vs Mendini Violins

Cecilio is great because they produce affordable violins that rival their more expensive counterparts in tone and playability. The brand serves both beginners and professionals with violins that fit their needs.

For budget violins, I would give the upper hand to Mendini as I feel a good budget Mendini beats a budget Cecilio CVN up until a specific price point. If you aim to improve your existing student violin and buy an instrument with a tone, a medium-priced Cecilio is far better than any Mendini violin.

Both brands insist on playability for student violins, so I would not worry too much about what you are getting if the price is the same.

Mendini mv500 Alternatives

Mendini is the only good budget violin Brand. The Cecilio CVN series and Stentor also offer great violins around the same price range.

Mendini mv500 vs Cecilio CVN500

I will say straight away that I think the CVN500 is a better violin than the Mendini mv500 as far as built quality.
The tone of the 2 is equally decent, and the finish looks classier in the mv500. However, the CVN built is more detailed, and you will avoid any flaws in the design or build. The pegs and fine tuner seem to be mounted better.
Both violins play smoothly, but the CVN gets the upper hand probably due to the better set of strings with which it comes. Since the price for the 2 is almost the same, if you are in better these two violins, I would recommend the CVN500 as it’s built well enough to last up to your first intermediate years.

Mendini mv400 vs Mendini mv500

Straight down the line of the MV series is the Mendini mv400. A cheaper alternative to the mv500 that still plays well and shares a lot in common with the mv 500.
Strictly inbuilt quality, tone, and playability, the Mendini is better, but not that much that a total beginner would tell the difference. The MV500 looks better and plays better but is also more costly.
If you are on a tight budget and want a first violin that plays well, going for the MV400 is a good idea if you are ready to invest in a new violin after some years.

Mendini mv500 vs Stentor I 1400 Student Violin

Stentor is another great brand to look out for when searching for a quality budget violin. As with Cecilio, they do an excellent job of keeping costs in check and offering highly playable orchestral instruments. 

Both violins fall under the same range in terms of quality and price. The tone is not the best in both, but they play smoothly and sound pleasant once you get a hand with the technique. Both come with a kit of accessories, of which the bow on the Stentor might be slightly better balanced.
Considering that both are middle-range student models, I would suggest getting the one you find with the lowest price as the similarities are many.

Final thoughts on the Mendini MV500

The MV500 is one of Cecilio’s sub-brand Mendini’s best middle-of-the-line beginner violins.

It plays smoothly and sounds good enough to last all beginner years without needing to replace it. I would highlight the finish and smooth playability as the two main traits that give it value for the price. It suffers a bit on the tone, which is mellow at best, but for a beginner, more than enough.


Question: What violin should a beginner get?

Answer: A beginner should always aim for a good student violin model. Look for a balance between playability and price and not too much on good tonewoods or fancy finishes.
I would recommend spending as much as you can, considering that you might need to upgrade to a better violin in the next few years. 

Question: What is the difference between a student violin and a regular one?

Answer: A student violin is a budget instrument for beginners in their first years of playing. It will not have a higher-priced regular violin’s tone, quality, and reliability.

Question: Can an adult use a student violin?

Answer: Yes. The term student refers to beginner violinist, both adults, and children. However, it’s essential to find a suitable violin size for your or your child’s body measurements.

Question: When should I upgrade to an intermediate violin?

Answer: The average is three to four years of playing. The time depends highly on your progress as a violinist and what you aim for.  It’s always best to take the opinion of a violin instructor first.

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