So, you’re looking for a new violin but you’re not sure what size to go for?
Maybe you’re shopping for your kid’s first violin or maybe you’re a student looking for your first upgrade.
Either way, I can help you out.
Let’s find you your perfect violin size today!
How to Measure Your Violin Size
Getting the right-sized violin is imperative to successful learning. Playing the violin requires extremely accurate finger placement, so having the wrong size would make things very difficult for yourself.
The most accurate way to figure out your violin size is by measuring the length from the middle of your left palm (or your right palm if you’re buying a left-handed violin) to your neck. When measuring, you should hold your arm out in front of you.
Violinists hold their instruments at a 90-degree angle from their body so this will give you a more accurate measurement.
If you’re in-between sizes, I’d recommend choosing the smaller of the two. I know I’ve been blabbing on about finger positions, its because learning to play the violin is all about learning the correct position for each note.
If your violin is too big for you, you’ll have to over-stretch your fingers to play in tune. Overextending has a knock-on effect on everything else (your posture, your muscle-memory, etc). If you’re used to overextending you’ll struggle to play in tune when you upgrade!
So, let’s start on the right note (pardon the pun).
Violin Size Chart
|Arm Length||Violin Size|
|35.5cm (14 inches)||1/16|
|38cm (15 inches)||1/10|
|42cm (16 inches)||1/8|
|47cm (18.5 inches)||1/4|
|51cm (20 inches)||1/2|
|56cm (22 inches)||3/4|
|58.5cm (23 inches)||4/4|
If you’re an adult with very small hands, you might want to try a 7/8 size violin. They’re ½ inch smaller than full sized violins! Here’s a beautiful D Z Strad 7/8 size violin.
Ready to choose your first violin? These blog posts will help you find the perfect one for your experience level and budget:
Size Recommendations by Age
I know what you’re thinking… You can’t remember the last time you saw your tape measure, right? I get it, your kid wants to learn to play the violin now and you’d rather just figure it out now so they can get going.
Although it’s not as accurate, you can always just determine what size violin you (or your child) might need by age. If your kid towers over everyone in his class, the chances are they’re going to need a bigger size than what the average child their age would use.
So, bear in mind that using this method is way less accurate than measuring. Also, the younger your child, the less accurate it is to measure by age. Those growth spurts are so unpredictable!
If you do use this method, I’d recommend buying a violin with a money-back guarantee. That way, if the violin isn’t quite the right size, you can just send it back! Most of these Cremona Violins come with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
|12+ Years Old||4/4|
|10 – 11 Years Old||3/4|
|9 – 10 Years Old||1/2|
|7 – 8 Years Old||1/4|
|6 – 7 Years Old||1/8|
|5 – 6 Years Old||1/10|
|3 – 5 Years Old||1/16|
|Around 3 Years Old||1/32|
3 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Violin
If you’re humming and hawing over whether to upgrade your violin or not, here are some signs that it’s about time you did. FYI, you should be able to hold the scroll when your violin is in position! If you can’t, it’s probably too big!
- Your violin is hindering your performance. The first sign that it’s time to upgrade is if you feel as though your violin is stopping you from progressing. Parents – watch out! Kids love blaming their violins for their mistakes (at least I did, anyway) so wait until either their teacher notices or you do.
- Your first finger sounds sharp (for no apparent reason). If you usually have perfect intonation and, all of a sudden, your first finger (especially on the E string) sounds too sharp then your violin is probably getting too small for you.
- Your bow bounces on the strings. Intermediate violins have closer string spacing to make it easier for the violinist to play from string to string. A sign that you need to upgrade to an intermediate violin is when your bow bounces on a string after transitioning from another.
If you’ve experienced any of the above, it’s time to start looking for an intermediate violin. Check out the 6 Best Intermediate Violins (Across Multiple Budget Ranges)!
Violin Sizes: FAQ
Simply measure the distance from the middle of your left palm to your neck. Remember to stretch your arm out fully and hold it out at a 90-degree angle from your body! Skip to the violin size chart to see what size violin to buy.
A 4/4 (or full) size violin is around 14 inches (356mm) from the top bout to the bottom bout.
Full-size violins should fit kids 12-13 years old onward. However, measuring your arm is a more accurate way to choose your violin size.
3/4 size violins have a back length of around 13 inches (335mm).
The violin comes in 8 standard sizes. The size of a violin is measured by the length of its back, not including its neck and scroll.
Adults usually use 4/4 (full sized) violins. However, if you have very small hands you might want to try a 7/8 size. Skip to the “How to Measure” section in this article for more information.
Yes. Most people find the violin harder to learn because very high finger accuracy is needed for perfect intonation. However, most beginners will be able to play well within six months if they practice for one hour every day.
What size violin do I have?
|Violin Size||Length of Back (top to bottom bout)||Bow Length|
|4/4 Full Violin||356mm (around 14 inches)||750mm (29.5in)|
|7/8 Violin||343mm (around 13.5 inches)||750mm (29.5in)|
|3/4 Violin||335mm (around 13 inches)||686mm (27in)|
|1/2 Violin||310mm (around 12.2 inches)||622mm (24.5in)|
|1/4 Violin||280mm (around 11 inches)||571.5mm (22.5in)|
|1/8 Violin||255mm (around 10 inches)||489mm (19.25in)|
|1/10 Violin||230mm (around 9 inches)||489mm (17.75in)|
|1/16 Violin||208mm (around 8 inches)||425mm (16.75in)|
|1/32 Violin||190mm (around 7.5)||380mm (15in)|
Choosing the Right Size Violin Will Make You a Better Violinist
Choosing the right size violin will make you a better player in the long run!
The violin isn’t the easiest instrument to learn so you may as well make things easier for yourself. Don’t worry, you’re going to be great.
Now that you know exactly what size you need, it’s time to get learning. I’ve learned to play many instruments in my time and the violin is by far my favorite!
You’re gonna love it.
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Fiona is a musician and writer. When she’s not working, she’s either playing the ukulele or finding another instrument to add to her collection.