violin Sizes

Everything You Need to Know About Violin Sizes : Beginner Guide

Introduction  :

Violins come as either “full size” or fractional size. The reason for this is so that both adults and juniors can play only on the size that they’re comfortable with and that compliments their body physique. There are a total of 9 different Violin sizes.

Violins come as either “full size” or fractional size. The reason for this is so that both adults and juniors can play only on the size that they’re comfortable with and that compliments their body physique. There are a total of 9 different Violin sizes.

Generally, children from 11 years old, and adults use a standard “full-sized” violin. This size is also called a 4/4 size. Children on the other hand use fractional violins depending on their size and age. These sizes include ¾, ½, ¼, 1/8, 7/8, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32. The bow used on each size will also vary to tally with the size of the instrument. A 1/32 violin for instance will have a 1/32 violin bow.

Violin Sizes Guide :

  • Violin Size 4/4

This is also called the full-size violin and is designed for tall teenagers and/or adults. The rule of thumb is that adults and students at least 5 feet tall should be able to comfortably play a 4/4 full size violin.  They are 23-23.5 inches long and so fit arm length of 23 inches and larger.  However, adults or teenagers 5 feet tall but with very small arms or hands are better off playing the smaller sized violin.

  • Violin Size 7/8

This size is perfect for small bodied adults, teens, and generally people with hands that are smaller than average. The full length of the 7/8 size violin is 22.5 inches and would fits length of 22 inches.  This is one of the rarest violins to find since it’s hardly played, but if you want is so badly you will do whatever it takes to get it.

  • Violin Size ¾

This size is the one most recommended for 9-12 year olds. It’s perfect for 21.5 – 22 inch arm lengths. It measures 21 inches in length.

  • Violin Size 1/2

The ½ size violin is ideal for ages 7-9. Its total length is 20.5 inches and would fit people with 20 inches arm length.

  • Violin Size 1/4

This size is about 2 inches shorter than the ½ size violin. It measures 18.5 – 19 inches and is ideal for arms that are 18 – 18.5 inches long.

  • Violin Size 1/8

This size is about an inch shorter than the ¼ size and is mainly played by the 4-6 age groups. Its total length is 17 inches and fits up to 16.5 arm’s length.

  • Violin Size 1/10

Measuring 16 inches in length, this size is about just one inch longer than our next size, the 1/16th. It fits 15 inches arm’s length and is mostly played by 4-5 year olds.

  • Violin Size 1/16

This fiddle size is the second smallest size. Most violin student beginners’ are started with this size instead of the smallest 1/32 size. It measures 14.5 inches long and is ideal for arm lengths of 14 inches. This violin size is mostly played by students aged 3 – 5 years.

  • 1/32 Size Violin

This is the baby of all violins in the fiddle family. Most violins of this size are made of cardboards since they are designed for comfortable play by 1-3 year olds. It is a beginner size for introducing the child to a real violin. The total length of this size is 13.5 inches and is perfect for arms 14 inches long.

How do you tell the Right Violin Size for You?

Getting the size of violin that’s perfect for you should not be guesswork. It’s pretty simple, have your arms measured from your neck down to your wrist by your violin teacher or at the shop you’re buying or renting your fiddle.

A right fit is one in which your wrist can curve and wrap round the scroll when the total violin length plus the neck is put into account. If you or your child is between sizes, opt for the smaller size instead of the bigger one, and then upgrade later.

To tell if the violin size is too big, try bending your left arm in playing position. If you can’t comfortably bend it when your fingers are resting on the fingerboard next to the scroll then you need a smaller size. It’s recommended that you measure your child or students each year to account for growth spurt, before they reach the age of playing the full size.

Tips for Shopping for a Violin

Shopping for a violin as a beginner violinist is very challenging. It is best that you seek help from your teacher/trainer or an expert violinist. Having said that, there are important considerations to make before buying your violin.

  • Consider your budget – you can buy a violin from as low as $500 depending on the quality you’re looking for. It’s wiser to buy your first inexpensive violin online rather than from a store.
  • Test before paying – It can be hard to test a violin bought online before paying for it, but you can do that as soon as you receive it. You will mostly have to buy the violin bows and case separately. If you’re buying from a musical store, set up your violin and try it out.
  • New Violin Vs. Old Violin – Old violins have some type of limited edition quality and so are costlier. Also old wood tends to sound better. So you will get a new violin at a cheaper price especially if the luthier (maker) has not passed away.
  • Consider the size – It’s mostly not a good decision to buy a violin that’s less than a 4/4 (full size). This is because as you grow you will need a bigger size which becomes costly in the long run

How do I Tell When to upgrade the Violin Size?

All kids are unique. All players are unique. People grow differently and have different growth spurts. Individuals also have different learning propensity. To know if your child/student has outgrown the current size:

  • Check if they have a very large bend in left elbow when playing
  • Their intonation has gotten weirdly skewed
  • There’s an odd angle of the bow arm causing the bow to hug the fingerboard.


The violin is a royal orchestral musical instrument that you as an adult beginner, or your child will really get true satisfaction from learning to play. Like in learning all other instruments, you need to be patient, dedicated and thirsty to learn new things about the violin each day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *