What Is The Right Size Violin?

Perfect Violin Size on Chair

When you go to music store to get a violin for the first time, you just trust that the sales person knows what is the right size violin to buy. I mean that is their job, right? Well you just never know and much like getting the wrong sized shoe can have long term consequences, getting the proper sizing on your violin is critical. Here's a few tricks on how to size the perfect violin for you and why it is important.

Why is selecting the right size violin important?

Selecting the a violin that fits you properly can a key factor in your health, endurance and overall tone of your playing. Having an instrument that is too small can become cumbersome when needing to transition between keys. While a violin that is too large can cause you extra fatigue or muscle strain and permanently damage parts of your body that are needed to play. One of the worst things that can happen to a musician is to fall in love with playing only to be cut short your ability to play due to injury. You want your body to feel loose and comfortable while playing, free from any extra strain on your body. Plus when you feel good the quality of your playing is that much better!

How many different sizes of Violins are there? 

Violins come in ten different sizes. (1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/10,1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 4/4 )

The second smallest and the most commonly used of the smaller sizes is 1/16th pronounced like ” one sixteenth”. The 1/16th instrument is just 14 1/2 inches in length. While the largest and most common violin instrument size for adults is 4/4 pronounced “four four”. Also known as a full size violin. From end button to scroll ( Botton to top) this instrument is 23 1/2 inches long.

How do I size myself for a correct size violin?

The method that I recommend using to size yourself or your child for an instrument is while the instrument is in playing position to make sure your hand covers the scroll completely.

Explanation: Put the violin on your left shoulder as if you were about to play. Next taking your left arm with the palm of your hand toward the ceiling and bring your hand up and around the top of the spirally top on the Violin, this is called the Scroll. (Be sure that you are using the same hand as the side that your violin is on.) If your hand covers the scroll all the way this violin will be a correct size.

Below is a sizing chart. While these can be useful and sometimes accurate, I recommend that my younger students get sized for an instrument in person before purchasing a specific size instrument. If you need a little extra help seeing how to measure your child's arm length here's a good youtube video.

Violin Sizing Guide

Arm Length


Violin Size

Over 23 5/8″

9 – Adult


22 1/4″ – 23 5/8″

9 – 11 years


20 3/8″ – 22 1/4″

6 – 10 years


18 1/2 – 20 3/8″

4 – 7 years


16 7/8″ – 18 1/2″

3 – 5 years


15 3/8″ – 16 7/8″

3 – 5 years


14″ – 15 3/8″

3 – 5 years


Less than 14″

2 – 3 years


What Else to Consider About Sizing a Violin

If you're young violiner (as my husband calls it =D) you need to consider that you will probably grow physically as learn to play your violin. As your body grows so will your need for a larger instrument. As you now know there is not a one size fits all with the size of your violin. You may want to consider renting instead of purchasing a violin until your body has fully matured. Though that is obviously not a requirement. If you are somewhere in between violin sizes it's always best to go up a size. You can always grow into a bigger violin. Unfortunately you can't grow smaller.

I hope this has helped! Feel free to check out some of my other blog posts below or see my free trial lesson page to get started.