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Finding a student violin in the proper size - 4/4, 3/4, or 1/2?

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? Answer gives our violin size chart and the following tips about selecting the right dimensions for smaller instruments.

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 sized violins, our guaranteed return policy will protect you against miscalculating the violin 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 violin 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 adults > 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 purchasing 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 information and articles:

The violin wolf tone: Taming the wolf in a stringed instrument

The violin: practical tips on care and maintenance

Student violins: a few answers to frequently asked questions

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

The violin bow: practical tips on care and maintenance

Sell your violin to Corilon violins

The history of the violin bow

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Warm, matured, resonant sounds: Old violin from Saxony
  • Lovely old French violin by Laberte, Mirecourt
  • Contemporary Italian master violin by Nicola Vendrame, Venice
  • Antique violin. Adolf Sprenger, Stuttgart, 1915
  • SALE French cello bow - Joseph Alfred Lamy père (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
  • SALE Italian violin of the Pollastri-school: Bruno Piastri, 1993
  • French violin No. 15 by Pierre Claudot, Marseille
  • Old Markneukirchen violin by Wilhelm Herwig
  • German 3/4 violin. A fine small instrument
  • SALE Italian violin by Pierluigi Galetti, Cremona 1999
  • Antique French violin. Made in approximately 1880
  • NEW SOUND SAMPLE George Chanot jr., fine English violin, London
  • Brilliant toned Markneukirchen violin. 1940's
  • English violin by Jeffery J. Gilbert, 1906
  • Old Markneukirchen violin. Paul Rammig, 1938
  • Old violin. Made in Markneukirchen, 1940's
  • Antique Saxon violin after J. Stainer,  c.1920
  • Eugène Cuniot-Hury, French violin bow (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
  • Fine French cello by Collin-Mézin, 1923 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Fine violin bow by Carl Albert Nürnberger, c.1920 (certificate Klaus Grünke)
  • Master violin after Gaetano Chiocchi
  • Modern Italian violin by Loris Lanini, 1927
  • Charles Louis Bazin - French violin bow
  • Fine quality Markneukirchen violin bow. Knopf workshop, c.1880