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Violin/Does The Colour Of the Violin Affect The Sound ?


Hi its me again. I just wanna know if I buy a violin that's blue in colour will it sound different from a normal brown violin ?
because my teacher say that coloured violin are not good.
If so why would people make coloured violins in the first place ?

Hi Divonia,

Thanks for your question.  Well, as with most questions about what does and does not affect sound quality in violins, there are varying opinions.  And, it's difficult to prove anything one way or the other, given the subjective nature of what we call sound quality.  So, I can really only give you my personal opinion.  Others may disagree.  With that said . . .

The quality of the sound of any instrument is affected by any change in the mass or stiffness of any of the parts.  So, yes, theoretically, anything that you put on the outside of the violin to color it will affect the tone quality.  

But, violins are 'colored' in the varnishing process.  It would be strange to varnish a violin with completely clear varnish.  The coloring additives in varnish are so small a part of the varnish itself that they would not have any appreciable affect on the tone.  And the application of the varnish is considered very carefully - the number of coats, the thickness of the coats, the initial sealing of the wood before the varnish, etc.  This is all considered and compensated for in the tuning of the plates.

There are those that argue that the type and quality of the varnish has a great role in the final quality of the instrument.  There are those that are still seeking a secret varnish recipe used by the Cremonese masters.  I'm not sure I buy that, personally, though I think the method of sealing the wood is important.  Still, I'm getting pretty far afield of your actual question.

To be more succinct . . .

If the colored violins that you refer to are colored in the varnishing process, then I don't think the coloring itself will have any negative affect on the tone quality.  I don't know of any quality violins made in unusual colors.  If I found one for sale, I would be suspicious.  Not because of the coloring itself, but because I'd be worried that the maker wasn't a serious maker and didn't know what they were doing.  

If the violins you speak of are painted, then I'm guessing that they sound terrible.  Layers of paint are not generally accounted for when constructing a violin.  There's no question of 'breathing' as some might say.  The wood breathes from the inside, not through the varnish.  But, paint, like varnish, would alter the resonance frequencies of the plates and restrict vibration.  Unless this were accounted for in the building process, it would negatively affect the tone.  And, varnish dries to a predictably hard stiffness, whereas paint would not.  It would be difficult to predict and compensate for the affect of the paint, when thinning the plates.  Who knows, if someone played around with it long enough, they might make it work.  But, you can't just slap some paint on a finished violin and expect it to sound good.

Again only my opinion.  Hope it helps!

Best Regards,
Jim Fisher


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James S. Fisher


Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.


I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins,


I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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