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corilon violins

Finding a student violin in the proper size

A violin size chart and tips about selecting the dimensions for smaller violins and violas

What size should a student violin be so your child can play it easily? A size chart and tips about selecting the right dimensions for smaller instruments.

Corilon violins · Lilienstrasse 2 · D-81669 München
Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 · Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620 ·

New violin arrivals in our catalog

Finding the right violin size for students is always a customised process. What matters most is not the child's height or age, but the length of his or her arms. If you select one of our smaller violins, our guaranteed return policy will protect you against miscalculating the size you need. Of course, however, we hope that that the instrument you order will be the correct size and therefore can be played immediately. To help make sure this happens, we have given you a few tips about selecting the right student violin.

Our size chart lets you estimate how a child's arm length and age usually relate to each other. To provide greater orientation, we have also added information about the child's height and the standard approximate parameters of instrument size.


Arm length Approx. age* Approx height Violin** Viola** Bow***
340-430 mm 3-5 1,00-1,20 m 1/16 (230 mm) --- < 430 mm
420-445 mm 4-7 1,10-1,30 m 1/8 (255 mm) 1/4 (250-280 mm) 430-490 mm
445-510 mm 5-8 1,20-1,35 m 1/4 (280 mm) 1/2 (280-320 mm) 490-550 mm
500-570 mm 6-9 1,20-1,45 m 1/2 (320 mm) 1/2 (280-320 mm) 550-610 mm
560-600 mm 7-11 1,35-1,50 m 3/4 (335 mm) 3/4 (330-340 mm) 610-670 mm
> 600 mm > 9 > 1,50 m 4/4 (355 mm) 4/4 (380/400 mm) > 670 mm

* in years
** the length of the instrument body, which is also indicated in our catalogue
*** only the length of the stick, not including the screw


You can measure arm length most easily by having children extend their left arm straight ahead; measure the span between the beginning of the shoulder and the middle of the open palm.

Whereas it is common practice to buy slightly larger clothes for children to "grow into," the exact reverse is true when it comes to selecting a violin. A violin that is too small is much less challenging to play than one that is too large.

Once you have received the instrument, your child's teacher will certainly help you decide whether it is a good fit. Another useful rule of thumb is that children should be able to cup the scroll in their hand when they fully extend their arm. Another test is to have the child play a few notes in first position – assuming the child has already learned that – to see if the mensur (a measure of the overall string length) fits well in the hand. Beyond that, it goes without saying that they should be able to keep their arm in position comfortably and without strain.

Related articles:

How to select a violin, provenance, value and violin appraisal

Student violins: a few answers to frequently asked questions

The history of the violin bow

Ernst Heinrich Roth: a rediscovered master

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy - J.T.L.

Bow maker and entrepreneur H. R. Pfretzschner

Contemporary violin makers - the modern artisans

Chinese violin makers and violin makers from Taiwan

Mittenwald violin makers - contemporary masters

Ente Triennale Cremona and other international violin making competitions

About Beares, J&A Beare, and Charles Beare

Eric Blot, expert of Cremona and Italian violin making

Electric violins: a guide to technical standards

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Corilon violins · Lilienstrasse 2 · D-81669 Munich
Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 · Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620 ·

New arrivals in our catalogue:
  • Leo Aschauer, Mittenwald: excellent violin, 1963
  • Raffaello Bozzi, 1939: Italian violin (with a certificate from Cesare Magrini)
  • German violin patterned after Guarneri
  • French violin with a beautiful sound, approx. 1895
  • Master violin, late 18th century, Saxony
  • 1/4 - sized French J.T.L. violin, approx. 1900
  • 3/4 - outstanding Mittenwald 3/4 violin, circa 1870
  • Antique German violin after Stradivari
  • Good German-Czech viola, approx. 1900
  • 1/2 - approx. 100 years old, 1/2 violin from Klingenthal
  • Infinite strings violin, "bench copy"
  • 3/4 - exceptional, strong sounding French 3/4 violin
  • Strong, active violin bow, Germany c1950
  • Silver-mounted violin bow, Markneukirchen
  • Good Markneukirchen violin bow approx. 1950
  • Markneukirchen master violin by August Hermann Braun
  • Outstanding Italian viola, Carlo Giudicci 1945
  • English violin bow, silver mounted, stamped Richardson
  • Lightweight German violin bow, approx. 1940
  • H. Derazey, late 19th century French violin
  • Italian violin, Luigi Auciello, Milano 1924
  • German violin after Maggini
  • French violin from Mirecourt, approx. 1900
  • Petite Mittenwald 7/8 master violin, patterned after Jakob Stainer