What is the right size violin for you?

Measuring for the right size violin.

violin sizes

To choose the right size violin you must measure from the middle of the left palm to the neck. Stretch out the left arm and hand fully perpendicular to body (towards the side). If you are choosing a violin for a growing child and are undecided between two sizes, it is best to choose the bigger to avoid having to upgrade too quickly.

Unfortunately, instruments can vary slightly from these dimensions.

Arm length              Approximate age     Violin size
14″ – 15.4″ (356 – 391 mm)      3 – 5 years        1/16
15.5″ – 17″ (392 – 432 mm)      3 – 5 years        1/10
17.1″ – 17.5″ (434 – 445 mm)    3 – 5 years        1/8
17.6″ – 20″ (446 – 508 mm)     4 – 7 years        1/4
20.1″ – 22″ (509 – 559 mm)     6-10 years        1/2
22.1 – 23.5″ (560 – 597 mm)    9-11 years         3/4
23.6 and up  (598 mm up)      9 – elderly        4/4 = full

Violin sizes
size          body length          total length          width
4/4          14″(356 mm)       23.5″ (597 mm)    7.5″(191 mm)
7/8          13.5″ (343 mm)   22.5″(572 mm)    7.25″(184 mm)
3/4          13″(330 mm)       21.75″(552 mm)   7″(178 mm)
1/2          12.5″ (318 mm)    20.5″ (521 mm)   6.75″(172 mm)
1/4          11.5″ (292 mm)    18.75″(476 mm)  6″(152 mm)
1/8          10.25″(260 mm)  17.25″(438 mm)  5.5″(140 mm)
1/10         9.25″(235 mm)    16″(406 mm)       5″(127 mm)
1/16         8.25″(210 mm)    14.5″ (368 mm)   4.45″(113 mm)

Why do we love the violin? Let us count the ways! Here are just five of the many reasons to be passionate about this wonderful instrument.

Antonio Stradivari
The violin-making genius of Antonio Stradivari helped define the violin as we know it today.
1. The Violin Has a Rich History
Over the course of a few hundred years, the violin has undergone many changes to become the instrument we know today. It descended from the viol family of instruments along with the viola, cello, and (arguably) double bass. How extensive was its evolution? In the mid-1500s, the violin’s earliest ancestors had just three strings!

By the 19th century, thanks to the famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari, the violin’s unique shape, and proportions were established. Many of Stradivari’s violins are still played today and are regarded as some of the greatest instruments ever created.

2. Playing the Violin is a Full-Body Challenge
Playing any stringed instrument poses a great challenge to both body and brain. It forces the musician to develop acute fine-motor skills, dexterity in the fingers, a precise ear for pitch and intonation, and a free flow of information across both hemispheres of the brain. Along the way, students of the violin also establish advanced muscle memory, quick responses, strength, consistent accuracy, and mental as well as physical stamina. These attributes help them flourish in other activities as they learn how to apply these skills to other areas of life.

Many great minds have loved the violin
Many great minds in history, including Albert Einstein, had a deep love for the violin.
3. The Violin Has Been Loved by Some of the Greatest Minds in History
The brilliant physicist Albert Einstein had a deep love for music and the violin, even crediting his musical studies as the inspiration behind his greatest theory. Einstein said, “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.” Playing the violin teachers in all areas of life.

4. The Violin Touches Hearts
Because of the deeply emotional sounds the violin can produce, the instrument can be a door to the performer’s heart and passion. The positioning of the violin on the musician’s shoulder allows it to become part of the performer– violin and violinist become one. This gives a unique ability to express musically whatever feelings the violinist wants to produce. Played well, the violin is an instrument that touches hearts and speaks directly to its listeners.

5. The Violin is Portable
Lastly, portability is always helpful when playing an instrument. As long as temperature and humidity are kept reasonably stable, you can take your violin anywhere. Even on airlines, the violin fits safely in the overhead bin as a carry-on item, allowing the violinist to keep their precious companion always by their side. Unlike musicians who play large instruments, violinists never have to miss an opportunity to share the joy of music with others. As composer Robert Schumann once said, “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts– such is the duty of the artist.”