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The Complete Guide to The Violin Sizes

Violin Sizes

The Violin Sizes

As a matter of fact, most people do not know that we have different violin sizes. But the truth is that violins are made in different sizes.

Basically, they are built in different sizes to suit the bodies or arms of different players. This aspect of the violin basically puts musical instrument ergonomics into consideration.

So, it is important to understand the different violin sizes and their appropriate measurements.

Selecting the right size of the violin for yourself, your friend, or your student is indeed a great and healthy violin journey.

So, in this article, we will talk about the different sizes of violins that we have on the market.

In the end, it will guide you towards getting the right size violin for yourself and others.

Why Do We Have Different Sizes of Violins?

Violins come in a range of sizes to fit different body types and playing styles.

This makes it easier for the player to play the violin with an arm length that fits their body. Playing the right-size violin is a healthy way of playing the instrument.

Again, playing on a violin that is suitable for our arm’s length provides the best experience. This practice makes playing the violin more comfortable.

The discomfort will surely happen if the violin is too small or too big for the player’s arm length.

The bigger violin size can lead the players’ bodies into unnatural positions. This can result in injuries.

Also, playing the smaller size of violin can limit the player’s performance when it comes to finger placements and bowing. Basically, the player would feel very cramped and resist.

Hence, using the right size violin can make a significant difference in a player’s comfort, ability to play, and sound quality.

What Are the Sizes of Violins?

Different Violin Sizes
Different Violin Sizes

The sizes of violins typically range from 1/32 to 4/4.

The smallest size is 1/32, and the largest size is 4/4, also known as the full-size violin.

The size of a violin is determined by the length of its body.

This is measured from the top of the neck to the bottom of the instrument (not including the endpin).

Basically, we have the option of selecting from nine distinct sizes of violins. The nine sizes are listed below.

  • 1/32 size
  • 1/16 size
  • 1/10 size
  • 1/8 size
  • 1/4 size
  • 1/2 size
  • 3/4 size
  • 7/8 size
  • 4/4 size

Primarily, each size has its own measurements. Also, each size is appropriate for different age ranges and body types.

It is important to choose the right size to ensure comfort, proper playing technique, and sound quality.

If a player uses a violin that is too small or too large, it can cause discomfort and hinder their ability to play to their full potential.

In addition to the standard sizes, there are also fractional sizes available.

Fractional sizes are in between the standard sizes and are designed to fit players who fall between age ranges.

For example, a 7-year-old player may be too big for a 1/4-size violin but too small for a 1/2-size.

In this case, a 3/8-size violin would be an appropriate choice.

Why The Fractional Violin Sizes?

Educational programmes that teach children how to play the violin often use fractional-size violins.

These violins are designed to fit the smaller body frames of young children who may struggle to hold and play a full-sized violin.

As the children grow, they can progress to the next-sized violin.

This allows them to continue playing with an instrument that fits their body and allows for proper technique.

The availability of different-sized violins ensures that children can continue to learn and improve their skills.

Most importantly, it allows them to learn without discomfort or frustration caused by an ill-fitting instrument.

This approach helps make the learning experience more enjoyable and effective for young musicians.

The “4/4” Violin Sizes

The 4/4 size violin is also known as the full-size violin and is the largest size available.

Full-size is typically played by adults or older children with larger body frames. These are the children who have outgrown the smaller sizes.

The length of the body of a 4/4-size violin is typically between 14 and 16 inches. In addition, the length of the neck for this size is 8 plus inches.

The length of the fingerboard can vary, but it is usually around 10-plus inches.

Violin Sizes Chart

A violin size chart is a useful tool to determine the appropriate size for a player.

The chart lists the different sizes of violins and the appropriate age range for each size.

The chart also includes the measurements for each of the major parts of the violin. This includes the length of the body, the length of the neck, and the length of the fingerboard.

The table below shows a typical example of a violin size chart.

Here is an example of a violin size chart:

SizeAge RangePlayer’s Arm Length (neck to mid-palm)Length of Body
1/321-3 years14 inches7.5 inches
1/163-5 years14 inches8 inches
1/104-5 years15 inches9 inches
1/84-6 years16.5 inches10 inches
1/45-7 years18 to 18.5 inches11 inches
1/27-9 years20 inches12.5 inches
3/49-12 years21.5 to 22 inches13 inches
7/8Small teen, lady, or adult22 inches13.5 inches
4/411 years to adults23 and 23+ inches14 inches
violin size chart

Violin Sizes by Age

As discussed earlier, violins come in various sizes to accommodate players of different ages.

Specifically, there are two sizes of violins intended for adults and seven sizes designed for children.

The standard size “4/4”, also referred to as the full size, is for adults. This is 23 inches long, with a width of 14 inches.

Some violin makers have made 7/8-sized instruments, slightly smaller than full-size.

These 7/8-sized instruments are ideal for adults with small statures.

These are petite players who may have difficulty with a full-sized instrument due to their small hands.

Similarly, there are seven sizes designed for children from ages 3 to 12. These are 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32.

The Suzuki Method of string education offers a 1/10-sized instrument. This is meant to be used for children who are older or bigger when they begin learning.

This instrument falls between the 1/16 and 1/8 sizes.

The violin size chart provides a general age range for these instruments. However, there are exceptions to the rule, especially with children.

For instance, a 10-year-old child with big stature can play full-size violins.

The most important factor in deciding the correct size is the player’s comfort in playing in tune.

The reach of the pinky and intonation are also crucial in making this decision.

Violin Length

The length of a violin is an important factor to consider when choosing the appropriate size.

We measured the violin’s length from the top of the scroll to the bottom of the tailpiece.

The length of the body is also an important measurement, as it determines the size of the soundbox, which affects the sound quality.

The length of the neck and fingerboard are also important measurements to consider.

Specifically, the length of the neck affects the distance between the player’s hand and the bow.

Also, the fingerboard’s length affects the player’s ability to reach certain notes.

How to Choose the Appropriate Violin Sizes

Image by prostooleh on Freepik

Every violin player needs to choose an appropriate violin size for comfort while playing.

Choosing the appropriate size of a violin depends on the player’s age, body type, and playing style.

Generally, it is based on the arm’s length of the player. The arm’s length contributes greatly to determining the best and most suitable violin size for the player.

While age is considered when selecting the appropriate violin size, it is important to note that children grow at varying rates.

So, when unsure, it is advisable to select a violin that fits the player’s size instead of considering their age.

If you are between two sizes, it is recommended that you choose the smaller size to avoid any potential injury.

Measuring The Player’s Arm

It is important to measure a player’s arm length to determine the right size.

There are two ways and three methods to determine the appropriate size of the violin for yourself or others.

The first two methods used direct measurement and charting, while the second method was experimental. It compared the violin’s size with the player’s arm.

Tape Measure Method

The first method involves using a tape measure to determine the length of your arm. This is done by measuring from the nape of your neck to the middle of your left palm.

To properly measure the arm’s length for violin size, the arm needs to be stretched out and held parallel to the ground.

Once you have done with the measurement, check the violin size chart to determine the most suitable violin size.

This technique is particularly useful for a beginner. especially those that do not have an instrument they can use to compare their arm’s length with.

Yamaha Fit Stick Method

Yamaha Violin Fit Stick
Yamaha Violin Fit Stick

Another method is to use the Yamaha Fit Stick, which is specially designed for this purpose.

This is also like the tape measure method but with calibrated measurement.

Yamaha has created a measuring tool called the “Fit Stick” to determine the right violin size.

The purpose is to help dealers and educators determine the right instrument size for players.

The Fit Stick is used to measure players without them holding an instrument.

This special stick is placed under the player’s chin, and the player extends their arm outward.

The Fit Stick then measures where the tips of the player’s fingers land.

Based on this measurement, the Fit Stick determines the best instrument size for the player.

The Fit Stick is a helpful device that simplifies the instrument sizing process.  It also ensures players get the right-sized instrument.

Violin Sample Method

The second method is very useful if you are in the violin shop and want to get the right fit for yourself or others.

Also, this method is suitable if you already possess an instrument and want to determine whether it is the right size for you.

This method is more effective and will help you determine if the violin is too large or too small for you.

Having the violin with you, assume the playing position by placing the violin on your shoulder. Then, extend your left arm straight out.

Having done that, observe where your arm meets the violin. The ideal position is for the tip of the violin scroll to rest on your wrist.

However, if the scroll is in your palm, you need to select a smaller size. On the other hand, if the scroll did not reach your wrist, you need to choose a larger size.

If you are uncertain about selecting the appropriate size, you can consult with professionals.

Usually, many music shops offer sizing services to people and their customers.

Hence, do not hesitate to ask for assistance.

Final Thought

Choosing the right size violin is an important decision for any player. This is essential for the beginner and the professional.

The appropriate size can make a significant difference in the player’s comfort, ability to play, and sound quality.

A violin size chart is a useful tool to determine the appropriate violin size based on age and measurements.

However, it is important to consider the length of the body, neck, and fingerboard when choosing a violin size.

With the right size violin, a player can reach their full potential and play with more freedom.

As a result, they will enjoy the beauty and versatility of this beloved string instrument.

This is all we have for you about violin size. However, if you have any questions for us, please reach out to us in the comment session.

At Phamox Music, we go all out for exactness and honesty. For this purpose, if by any means you found any possible glitch, be it factual, editorial, or something that we need to update, kindly contact us.

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