A student, no matter their age, who has chosen to play an orchestral string instrument is embarking on a wonderful journey. Whether the student has selected the violin, viola, cello or double bass, the instrument they practice on, rehearse and perform with will have a great impact on how quickly they learn and whether they choose to stay with the instrument through to mastery.

Most children can start on strings (generally the violin or viola) between 6-8 years old. Because stringed instruments come in small sizes (e.g., ¼ or ½ sizes, or 12” or 13” instruments), a child's frame and hand size are not major issues as they might be with a larger or heavier instrument like a saxophone or trombone.

It’s worth reminding students and parents that learning to play a stringed instrument takes time, patience and commitment. Unlike with keyboards (another popular instrument for young students), where the student strikes a key and produces a note, string instrument require precise finger positioning and proper bowing before they can create a note.

In addition, orchestral string instruments can be expensive. Whether the student’s parent is looking for recommendations for which instrument to purchase, or you’re shopping for your school music program, budgetary concerns may come into play.

Affordable string instruments

Luckily, you can find plenty of great manufacturers that produce stringed instruments that will fit into any budget. If you’re looking for suggestions, we’ve got a great selection of affordable options for violins, violas, cellos and double basses.

String instrument outfits

As you browse our strings collection, you'll notice that some instruments are referred to as "outfits.” This is a great option for student musicians, because string outfits come with everything needed to begin an orchestral string journey, including a bow and a case. 

Orchestral strings on a budget


These violin outfits come in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 4/4 sizes, so they’re sure to fit any student’s frame. And the price can’t be beat, especially since they include a bow and a case!

Etude Student Series Violin Outfit

Bellafina Prelude Series Violin Outfit

Learn more about teaching violin fundamentals


These violas are great options for young musicians. The outfits come with a case and a bow and are offered in multiple sizes, so any strings student can find a match.

Bellafina Musicale Series Viola Outfit

Cremona SVA-130 Premier Novice Series Viola Outfit

Learn more about updating your orchestra curriculum


Cellos are larger instruments than violins and violas, but students as young as 6-7 years old can start on this beautiful orchestral string. Some great student models include:

Etude Student Series Cello Outfit

Stagg VNC-L Series Student Cello Outfit

Learn about starting a strings program

Double Basses

For younger music students, double basses may be prohibitively large. Most children can’t comfortably play the standard size of double basses until they are in middle school. But, if you’re looking for great student double bass options for slightly older students, try:

Etude BASS-ICS 2 String Bass Outfit

Engelhardt M3 1/4 Size Junior Double Bass

Check out our double bass buying guide

Need help shopping for affordable orchestral string instruments?

Our school music experts are standing by to help you choose the best string instrument available. We’ll be sure to understand your needs, student playing levels and budget to help you choose one that your students love. Call us at 800.346.4448 whenever you’re ready.