When you or your child pick up an instrument, everything that you do at starting phase is crucial. Buying the right tool is one of those things. When it comes to a violin, the variables are even more subtle.

Choosing the Right Violin Size

The odds of picking up a violin that doesn’t align with your needs are very high. But with the correct facts at your disposal, you can make the perfect decision.

Different Violin Sizes

Violins are available in different shapes and sizes. There are some set standards when it comes to the suitability of the instrument. When you are buying a violin, you need to align with those standards. There is always a perfect violin available for every age-group and arm length.

The following table represents different sizes of violins available in the market and their respective suitability to player’s arm length and age.

Violin Size Measurement (Inches) Measurement (Centimeters) Player’s Age (Years) Arm Length (Inches)
4/4 23 58.5 >11 >=23
3/4 22 56 >9 22
1/2 20 51 >7 20
1/4 18.5 47 >5 18.5
1/8 16 42 >4 16
1/10 15 38 >4 15
1/16 14 35.5 >3 14
1/32 13.5 34.29 >1 <14

Measuring and Finding Your Size

If you have a simple look at violins of sizes 1/4 and 1/2, you won’t see any substantial difference; because the difference is just four centimeters. But it makes a whole lot of difference for a player.

The extra four centimeters means a player needs to stretch his/her arm to cover that distance. Unconformable instruments affect learning. That explains how important it is to get the size right.

Now moving on to the solution, which is measuring and finding a good violin fit. There are multiple ways of measurement. The most popular measurement methods are the following.

1. Neck to Wrist Measurement Method

It is a very efficient method to determine the violin’s size that will be most comfortable in your arms. To size your violin, you need to fully extend your arm by keeping it perpendicular to your body. Keep the arm straight and tight, and ask someone to measure the length of your neck to the wrist. For measurement, you can use an inch-tape or a tape with centimeter markings.

Neck to Wrist Measurement Method for finding perfect violin size

2. Neck to Palm Measurement Method

The method comes in very handy to calculate the largest size a player can use. Using this method is the same as the “neck to the wrist measurement method.”

All you need to do extra is ask the person measuring to extend the inch-tape to your palm. Note down the result in the correct figures. It’s a very significant value.

Neck to Palm Measurement Method

Especially if you have to buy a violin for your kid, think that the kid might need a larger violin in a couple of years. At the same time, if you want your kid to use the instrument right away. The value is the threshold; you can’t go beyond that.

Things to Avoid When Looking for Your Size

Once you have the clarity about the size you want to go with, you are halfway in your journey to pick up the right instrument. The remainder of your journey will involve decision-making, avoiding the mistakes people make, even after getting the size right.

We are highlighting those often missed points here so that you can avoid those potential mistakes.

1. Absolutes Change With Brands

Though numeric values should be the same everywhere, absolutes are absolutes. But we don’t even live in a perfect world. Do we? The length of 1/10 violin from brand A may not equate to the 1/10 violin of brand B.

The lesson we learn here is that you need to crosscheck the violin you received. Make sure the size is the same. Thus, measure in centimeters for exact evaluation. If it does not align with your target size, immediately speak to your seller.

2. One Size May Not Always Fit All

There is another very subtle variable that you can’t afford to overlook. A person with a particular arm length would indeed require a standard-sized violin. But there are exceptions too.

The exception comes into play when your palm size is too small. Even with the “neck to palm method,” we only measure till the middle of the palm.

Suppose you have got the measurement right, still not feeling comfortable with your instrument. Then, it will help if you consider taking a little smaller size.

Conclusion

As discussed in this piece, every age group requires a uniquely sized violin. If you have a growing child at home, it might become a costly affair to get a new violin set every year. Also, you will need to purchase accessories like the case and bow separately.

If your child is growing fast, it’s always a good idea to rent a violin until he/she needs a regular size like 3/4 or 4/4.