Violin Sizes 

 March 3, 2021

By  Zen Chung

A violin is a musical instrument which can play small and high pitched music. It is made of wood and uses metal strings. A violin has four perfect tuned strings. It is played by drawing a bow across its strings; it can also be played through plucking using the fingers and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow. It is one of the outstanding instruments both in ensembles or orchestra and as a solo performance.  A violin’s bow consists of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog at opposite ends. A little trivia, did you know that a bow hair traditionally comes from the tail of a grey male horse. Some affordable violin uses synthetic fiber rather than horsehair.

A violin has a variety of size. It is made in different sizes because they are played by people of all ages. Anybody can play the violin, as long as he has the skill and the love for music. Since a violin can be played by a person of any age, from an interested child to a senior who has the passion, the size you will be using depends on your age and body size. The best size will be the one that gives you much comfort and can make you play perfectly.

There are 8 main sizes of a violin. When we say violin size, it refers to the length of the body of the violin; this does not include the neck and the scroll.

Adults use a full-size violin, but it still depends on the physical body size of a person. As long as it will give you the best comfort, and proper holding position, it will be the best size for you. One thing important is that you will be able to grip the top of the fingerboard with your hand while you can still be able to bend your arm easily at the elbow.

Measuring the perfect size of a violin for you comes in two ways. First, you just have to stand up straight and hold out your arm with palm facing upwards. You just have to measure the length from the neck to your wrist. Do the measurement from the left side of the body. Secondly, you can measure from the neck until the middle of the palm. It is much better to choose the bigger size next to your actual size.

Here is a table showing the average length of a violin using the neck to palm way of measuring the size.

Violin Size Neck to Palm Measurement
1/16 33.25 cm or less, 13 inches
1/10 36 cm , 14-1/4 inches
1/8 38.5 cm, 15-1/4 inches
¼ 44 cm, 17-1/4 inches
½ 48.25 cm , 18-3/4 inches
¾ 52 cm , 20-1/2 inches
4/4 56 cm, 22-1/4 inches

An undersized or oversized violin can develop pain in the back and neck if not properly chosen. An oversized violin for a child will be too heavy for a child to carry. Playing a heavy violin will make their hands tired and would lead to a pain in the neck down to their back.

A half-sized violin is neither too big or too mall. It is the middle size available with the average length of 20.5 inches.

A full sized violin is 23.4 inches and is also called the 4/4 violin. The sizes and lengths of violins changes depending on the brand. And also, there are violins which are made exclusively for men and some for women.

Sizes of a Violin

  • 1)    Size 1/16. This is the smallest size available in the market. This is best suitable for kids’ ages 3 to 5 years old.
  • 2)    Size 1/10. A little bit bigger of 1 to 2 inches compared to size 1/16. Best for 4 to 5-year-old kids.
  • 3)    Size 1/8. This instrument size measures 17 inches and should be paired with a 19.25-inch bow. The size is appropriate for 6-year olds.
  • 4)    Size ¼.  Perfect for beginners aging 5 to 7 years old. This size has a length of 19 inches.
  • 5)    Size ½.  The half-sized violin suitable for players with 20-inch measurement. It can give good transitions from small to big models.
  • 6)    Size ¾. The length of this violin is around 21 inches. This is best paired with a 27-inch bow. It is suitable for players measuring 21.5 – 22 inches.
  • 7)    Size 7/8. This unit measures approximately 22.5 inches. This is perfect for people with small hands or young adults.
  • 8)    Size 4/4. This violin is the standard size of a full-size violin. Anyone who can play it comfortably and can reach the perfect tunes with the correct notes will be the perfect match of this instrument.

One of the problems that you may encounter in purchasing or need to reconsider in buying a violin is when your child is growing quickly. As a parent, you only want the best possible value out of the purchases you make. So if this is the case, it is best that you rent for a violin for a period of time. This is a more affordable and wiser way instead of buying several violins in succession.

Another idea to save is to skip sizes. Some children do not necessarily go through all those 8 sizes. At some age where your child can play those fourth finger notes in tune, then it will be fine to go to the next size.

It is fulfilling when you witness your child making a mark and big progress on his violin lessons. So at a given time that your child has a mastery of the instrument, and have the willingness to take it seriously, it is best to purchase a high quality through a bit affordable instrument.

When buying a violin, it is the best buy if you purchase by set, which is with the inclusions of a bow and its violin case together. You can save more.

Zen Chung

I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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