Getting the right size violin is important to ensure the comfort of the student playing the violin. If the a violin is too big, it can lead to strain and fatigue. The same can be said for if the violin is too small. Therefore, you need to take the right measurements to find a violin that will fit your student.
How do you measure the proper violin size?
You will need to measure the length between your neck and the middle of your left-hand palm or left wrist. To take the measurements, you will need to ensure your left hand is held upright and perpendicular to your body, with no bend in your elbow or wrist.
Most teachers prefer to use the neck to wrist measurement as that will be the size that is more comfortable for the student to hold. The neck to mid-palm measurement will be the largest size the student should use.
Violin size Arm length
1/16 35.5 cm or 14in
1/10 38 cm or 15in
1/8 42 cm or 16in
1/4 47cm or 18.5in
1/2 51cm or 20in
3/4 56in or 22in
4/4 58.5cm or 23in
How do I know if the size of the violin is correct?
You will know if the violin fits if you can reach the notes using your left hands comfortably when holding up the violin. You should be able to wrap your left hand comfortably around the scroll with your arm still able to bend a little bit.
Why is it important to choose the correct size?
Playing a violin of incorrect size will make your student’s arms tired and sore. It may even hurt your student’s neck or back and you may lose interest in playing the violin.
What size violin should an adult be using?
Most adults will require a full-sized 4/4 violin. But of course, it depends on the length of your arms and do you feel comfortable holding the violin. It should not feel too heavy and you should be able to grip the top of the fingerboard with your hand, while still bending your arm easily at the elbow. If an adult feels more comfortable using the 7/8 which is slightly smaller than a 4/4, then it is fine for them to play a violin of this size.
Do I need to match the size of the violin with the bow?
Yes, the violin, bow and case come in matching sizes and usually stores sell the violin together with the matching bow and case. To save you having to worry about the sizes, you should look to buy a complete outfit which usually includes a violin, bow, rosin and case.
There are 8 main sizes for the violin. The size refers to the length of the body of the violin, excluding the neck and scroll.
Violin sizes begin at 1/32 and go to 4/4 (full size).
The most common violin sizes are as follows: 1/32, 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 to 4/4 or full size.
1/32, generally used by very small children, is the smallest and 4/4 (full size) is the largest, generally used by adults.
You can learn more about how to measure which violin size is right for you here.