Searching for the best violin accessories for your violin practice? Whether you are just about to purchase your violin, or you have been playing for a while, these accessories are must-haves for any violin player.
In this article, I am sharing the top 5 accessories that you should absolutely buy when starting to play the violin. Also, I will go over some optional accessories for those who have a little more to spend to get all the extra accessories professional violinists use on a daily basis.
Keep scrolling for 5 top violin accessories to buy in 2021. You’ll see a quick summary below, where you can click through each product, or scroll further down to read my purchase advice for all products mentioned on this list.
My Top 5 Must-Have Violin Accessories
These are the 5 violin accessories that I would directly buy if I were to start playing the violin from scratch again. All of these accessories are more than nice-to-haves – each one of the accessories is absolutely essential for any violin player!
Let’s dive into more detail below!
1. Violin Rosin: Pirastro Gold
Without rosin, a violin bow sounds horrible. Even worse, if you have a new bow, it does not make any sound without rosin!
Rosin comes in many shapes and sizes and I even wrote a full post about rosin a while ago.
With the right rosin, your bow and strings have ideal friction – so that you can make a beautiful tone.
Normally, any rosin that costs about 6 dollars or more will be good enough to do the trick. One of my favorite rosins to use is Pirastro Gold.
If you want to learn more about rosin, how to rosin a bow and which are the types of rosin available, check out this blog post.
2. Duster Cloth: Simple Duster Cloth
Even though this item doesn’t look fancy, it still made my top 5 list as I am using it almost every day.
You can find a good duster cloth in almost any supermarket or drugstore around the world. The cloth is used to wipe off the violin of excess rosin after playing.
This is important as it will make sure your beautiful instrument remains in great condition. If you are wondering how to care for your violin, I also wrote a full article on violin care. Be sure to read it before you get started playing!
3. Shoulder Rest: Wolf Forte Secundo or others
A shoulder rest offers support to help your violin stay up comfortably on your shoulder.
As I shared in my ultimate guide to the violin shoulder rests, a shoulder rest is not absolutely necessary. Some players choose to play without it. However, the majority of my students find playing with a shoulder rest to be more comfortable.
There are two types of shoulder rests that are used by most violin players: flexible metal shoulder rests (that have a bendable, customizable frame) and pre-shaped pad rests. The pre-shaped pad rests are made of plastic and padding and tend to feel softer. The bendable metal shoulder rests are more customizable.
There are also different heights of shoulder rests – for instance, people with a shorter neck might like the Fiddlerman shoulder rest, while those with a long neck might enjoy the Bon Musica more.
If you have a chance, I highly recommend going to a local violin or music store and asking if you can try out shoulder rests. In the end, the shoulder rest that feels best for you is a very personal choice and trying out different shoulder rests will really help you select the right one from the start.
I also recommend checking out the detailed article with my top shoulder rest recommendations. For this article, I asked all my fellow violinists I know, and readers of my blog, to let me know which shoulder rest they use, why they like it, and what they do not like.
Based on my research, I created an extensive guide with all the pro’s and con’s of each popular shoulder rest.
In case you still have doubts after reading my article with recommendations, the Wolf Forte Secundo works for many of my students and is highly customizable.
4. Violin Case: Gewa Violin Case Maestro BK/BD
A violin case is essential to both protect your violin at home, as well as to take your violin with you on trips.
As soon as you start practicing, you will quickly notice that you can’t bear to spend a few days away from your new instrument friend anymore! When having a violin case, you will never have to leave your new violin at home during a holiday.
Next to taking your violin on trips, you will also need something to transport your violin in if you take your instrument to violin lessons, jam sessions, orchestra rehearsal, and all other music-related activities.
Moreover, a violin case is an excellent way to protect your violin in your house too. After you practice, you can put the violin back in the case to protect it from too high or too low humidity, warm and cold weather, dogs, kids… You name it!
My preferred case is the Gewa Violin Case. It is affordable for a high-quality case that protects the violin from the elements and stands the test of time.
I have owned the older violin-shaped variant of this GEWA violin case for 15 years now. The design has barely changed. When I bought it (and it still is today), the violin-shaped case was a more budget-friendly option. I did not consider that I would want to bring sheet music in my case at the time I got it. If I had the budget and was buying a case again I would go for a rectangle-shaped case. Being able to transport sheet music in your case is really practical!
By the way, the case has gone through a lot with me: I took it on backpacking trips where I hitchhiked through Europe, cycled with it on my back through the rain all the time, and took the case to many holidays and violin camps. I sat on the side of this case hundreds of times waiting for busses and trains (don’t try this at home!).
The only things that broke were the front zipper handle (I replaced it with a paperclip) and the zipper on the back (it does not close all the way anymore). The last problem happened because I tried to stuff too much in my case…
I am very glad that the clips on the back did not break. I think the reason for this is that they are made out of metal, whereas the clips for many other violin cases are made out of plastic.
I think that for its price, this is a great case and might have the quality of some of the high-end cases on the market.
If you want a more affordable case, I also recommend checking out second-hand violin cases. If you are patient, you will be able to find some good affordable cases this way. You can keep your violin for a while until you find a good case.
I would not recommend getting a very cheap case. I tried it once and will not do it ever again! The cheap violin case broke within one year (the glue of the fabric let go and the case was not rainproof enough). In the end, buying a more expensive case is going to save you a lot of money and your precious violin.
5. Music Stand: K&M 10065 Music Stand Black
A music stand is another very important violin accessory that I recommend everyone to buy!
If you are on a very strict budget, you can start by placing sheet music on your laptop screen or taping it to the wall. However, a music stand is definitely very practical. I have been using a K&M music stand since childhood and have never had any issues with it, I am still using it on a daily basis.
I recommend you get a durable music stand with metal parts, especially the screws – it will be a more durable and budget-friendly option in the long run. If you get a cheaper stand, they often use plastic parts to hold up the poles, and after a few years of use, they can break.
The music stand that I am using (and any similar music stand) is foldable. This is very useful if you live in a small apartment and want to store your music stand after practice, or if you want to take your music stand with you to rehearsals.
The music stand that I am recommending is a little thin. That means that you can not place too much sheet music at the same time on the stand. To me, that has never been an issue, as I prefer printing only the sheet music I have currently in use and normally only use one binder with sheet music.
If you plan to put lots of books on the music stand at the same time, an orchestra stand (like this one) will be a better fit for you. They are a little more expensive and harder to store because they are bigger. The advantage is that they are much more stable than the thin ones.
Other Very Useful Accessories
Even though a mute is not strictly essential, I almost wanted to include it in my top 5 list.
If I could give my younger self one piece of advice when it comes to violin accessories, I would tell myself to purchase a violin mute earlier. I did not use a mute during my practice for the first 10 years and was always worried about disturbing my family, housemates, and neighbors. The reason for that is that I simply wasn’t aware that mutes exist!
Now I have a few mutes and I use them on a weekly basis. It really does help me practice more! Also, it allows me to practice in the evening despite having direct neighbors with young children.
Fine tuners: Wittner
If you do not have fine tuners on your violin yet, I highly recommend you to get them.
Tuning the violin with fine tuners is the easiest way to tune a violin, plus they are very budget-friendly!
If you don’t know what fine tuners are, make sure to get them anyway and while waiting for your order, read my article “How to Tune a Violin for Beginners“.
You will thank me later for the hours of time I saved you on tuning your instrument. 🙂
Sheet Music Binder: Rolf Handschuch Music Folder Classic Red
As you will progress on your violin journey, you will find that more and more sheet music is piling up around your music stand. That is where a sheet music binder comes in!
I got this sheet music binder as a goodbye gift from my students at Violin Villa (violin camps for adult beginners) and have been using it ever since! I think this binder is so pretty. 😍 It always makes me happy to start practicing.
However, it really doesn’t matter at all which binder you are using. If you still have an old binder lying around the house, that could be a great and sustainable option. As long as it can hold your sheet music, you will be fine!
Strings are normally included with the violin you buy. However, especially if you buy a cheap starter violin, the strings that are included on the violin are normally of low quality. That is why I highly recommend upgrading your cheap violin with better strings.
I myself am using Dominant strings as I both like the sound and the durability of these strings.
If you are interested in upgrading your cheap violin, you might also enjoy my article “How to Make Your Cheap Violin Sound Better” – in which I share all my tips for upgrading your inexpensive instrument.
A chinrest is almost always included with the violin if you buy a new instrument. However, some players find the chinrest that is included with their instrument is uncomfortable and opt to get another chinrest.
Please note that when you start playing, it will always feel uncomfortable, no matter how nice your chinrest or shoulder rest is. Your body will need a while to adjust to the unnatural position. However, if problems with your posture and chinrest persist, you might want to look into changing your chinrest and seeing if that makes you feel more comfortable.
There are many different chinrests – high chinrests, low chinrests, chinrest with a bend, chinrests in the middle of the instrument, you name it. You can read more of my advice on violin chinrests in this article.
Which Violin Accessories NOT to Buy
There are also a few violin accessories that many violin teachers tell you to buy that you don’t need!
These accessories used to be essential when I started playing many years ago, but nowadays much of their uses can be replaced by the internet and/or a smartphone.
You can save this money for taking violin lessons instead!
I don’t recommend you buy a metronome (at least, in most cases).
You can download great metronome apps on your phone and I even created an easy metronome web app on this website (which does not take any space on your phone or computer).
I still have a Korg metronome lying around, but don’t use it anymore. Online and app metronomes are just as good and maybe even more practical than a physical device.
Just like with a metronome, a tuner is not an essential accessory in this day and age.
You can easily use a tuning app or use my free online violin tuner instead.
I have a tuner myself, but never find myself using it anymore, as I always have a phone or computer close to me when I practice.
Physical Violin Books
Oops, I think some of my readers are not going to like this – we violinists tend to have our hearts melt if we arrive in the violin books section of music stores.
That is why I want to warn you in advance to not buy too many violin books!
You can only work with one song or piece of sheet music at a time. One book often has 20 of them already. It will take most hobby players almost a year to get through that many pieces.
You can learn the violin without buying any books at all. Nowadays there is so much free violin sheet music available on the internet.
If you are unsure what book to start with, try out my Ultimate Songbook for Beginners. My bestseller sheet music e-book sells for about 10 dollars on Amazon, but I have been giving it away for free to the readers of my website in the past year. The book features a range of easy beginner songs and is perfect for starting violinists.
The Ultimate Songbook for Beginner Violinists by Julia Termeer
I also have a free violin lesson library full of tutorials, many of which have free sheet music included.
If you LOVE books, I personally recommend buying at most one or two books and sticking with those until you can play most of the songs. If you are a book-a-holic (does this exist?!), you can find peace in the fact that you can always ask for books as Christmas and birthday gifts or when treating yourself when you reach special practice milestones.
I personally didn’t buy any physical copies of violin books for many years, both for environmental and practical reasons. I do still like to purchase digital violin books every once in a while. E-books are very easy to organize on your computer, will not take up any space in your room – and you can bring thousands of pieces of sheet music with you on a tablet or computer.
If I want to get a new book, I normally search for a PDF copy of the book I want to purchase. I only print the piece that I am currently actively practicing. This saves a lot of paper (and trees), plus I notice that it makes me feel more focused in my practice sessions.
If you have only one song printed, it is easier to not get distracted and learn the piece more efficiently. It often makes me feel a lot better to learn a few pieces well, as opposed to learning thousands of pieces poorly.
I find digital sheet music to be extremely practical and will probably never go back! Since I started doing this, I have also met many other music teachers that are following the same approach.
Violin Accessories Quick FAQ
What accessories do you need for a violin?
The 5 essential violin accessories are: rosin, a duster cloth, a shoulder rest, a violin case, and a music stand. Rosin is important as without it, the bow does not make a sound. A duster cloth is needed to remove the rosin from the violin. A shoulder rest keeps the violin on your shoulder. A violin case keeps your violin protected if you take it somewhere. A music stand holds your pieces of sheet music in position during your practice sessions.
Does a violin mute work?
Many beginning players are wondering if a violin mute works. The answer is yes!
Violin mutes are extremely effective at reducing the sound coming from the violin. The strongest mutes are made out of pure metal, next to that there are rubber mutes with metal inside (a little less strong, but still work very well). The mutes that work least good are made only out of rubber. Another budget-friendly option is using laundry pegs on the side of your violin instead – it works extremely well!