Choosing the Right Violin Size
To be clear: adults use full size violins. “Full Size” is frequently also written as “4/4.” If you are looking for an adult violin, read our article on Buying A Beginner Violin. If you are looking for a kids violin, read on.
One note about violins that are less than full size: it is usually better to rent them than buy them. The same craftsmanship does not go into kids violins (different type of wood, machine-made rather than handmade, etc.), and the quality tends not to be very high. Also, children outgrow each size very quickly, so it can be expensive to buy a series of violins. Renting typically costs $10-$30 per month and includes the violin, a bow, a case, and rosin.
Where to Get Kids Violins
Here is how they will likely make the determination:
How to Determine the Right Violin Size
- Hold the violin – Put the base of the violin between your neck and left shoulder as if you are about to play
- Point your left arm straight out
- Curl your fingers around the rounded top of the violin (called the “Scroll”)
- Just Right – If your fingers can get all the way around so that your fingertips touch the front of the Scroll Box (the part right under the Scroll), then the violin size is probably about right.
- Too Big – If your fingertips can’t quite reach the Scroll Box, the violin may be too big and you should try the next smallest size.
- Too Small – If you have to bend your left arm significantly in order to wrap your hand around the violin Scroll (i.e. your arm is much longer than the violin), then the violin is likely too small. Try the next larger size.
More General Guidelines, From Largest to Smallest Violin Size
|Violin Size||Arm Length
(base of neck to fingertip)
|4/4 (Full Size)||23.5+ in||12+|
|3/4 (Three Quarters)||22 – 23.5 in||10-11|
|1/2 (Half Size)||20.75 – 22 in||8-9|
|1/4 (Quarter Size)||19 – 20.75 in||6-7|
|1/8 (Eighth Size)||17.75 – 19 in||5-6|
|1/10 (Tenth Size)||16 – 17.75 in||3-5|
|1/16 (Sixteenth Size)||14.5 – 16 in||3-5|
- The Best Beginner Violin Sheet Music
- Fingerings - How to Read Sheet Music
- Open Strings - How to Read Sheet Music
- Learn to Read Sheet Music Fast