What size is my violin

Violin size: how to choose the size of the violin

Violins come in different sizes. We give you the perspective.

You probably noticed while looking for a violin that next to the name of the violin there is an indication such as 4/4, 3/4, 1/2 and so on. That's the size of the violin. What is it all about?

When you have found a suitable violin, the next step is to select the right violin size. The choice of the size of a violin arises above all for children and adolescents whose arms are not yet long enough to play on a "big" violin. Adults and teenagers will usually play a full violin (4/4).

The size of the violin does not depend on ability or level of learning, but on body size. To be precise: by arm's length. Let's take a look at the relationship between arm length and violin size and how to measure arm length correctly.

Determine the right violin size

In order to determine the right size for your or your child's violin, the arm is stretched out. The arm length is measured using a tape measure. We measure the distance from the shoulder joint to the metatarsophalangeal joint of the middle finger (which is roughly the middle of the palm). In the following infographic you can see exactly how this works.

Once you have determined the size, in the next step you can easily find the right violin size from the size chart in the infographic. Incidentally, the fraction is not related to the actual size of the violin. A 1/2 violin is not about half the size of a 4/4 violin, the differences are much more subtle.

If you are just starting out with the violin, it is particularly advisable to have an experienced teacher by your side. Take a look at our online violin lessons and immerse yourself in the world of the violin with us. If you want to learn more about the subject of violin, I recommend reading our Ultimate Guide.

The information in the size table is intended as a guide and is intended to provide an initial overview. Reality can look very different from person to person. So it is possible that a person has the right arm length for a 4/4 violin, but the palm of the hand is too small to grasp the large pitch. Instead of tormenting yourself, you can simply grab the next smaller one, e.g. the 7/8 violin.

Before buying a violin, you should always test it for personal suitability.

Length of the arch

Once you have chosen the right size for the violin, you also have to decide on the length of the bow. As a rule, the length of the bow should match the size of the violin. There are also corresponding bow lengths for the different violin sizes.

Sometimes I hear the question of whether you can play with a larger bow. Then you would only have to buy a larger violin later and you already have the bow. While it may be the more economical option, it has its drawbacks.

If the bow is too long, you won't get it all the way to the tip. If this is the case, two consequences can result. Either you try to compensate for the missing length with a wrong movement of the shoulder joint or you get used to never pulling the bow to the end. In the first case, damage to health and poor sound can result. And in the second case you don't have a defined end of the arch. As a result, the quality of the sound also fluctuates, as the bow is always drawn differently.

And finally, a larger bow weighs more than necessary. So you not only fight with a bow that is already too long, but also with a greater weight.

An exception is when the arm lengths differ significantly. Then it can make sense to use a bow that is different from the size of the violin.

The length of the bow should match the size of the violin.

If you want to learn even more about violin, I recommend our Ultimate Guide.

Daria is a professional musician and has been teaching both beginners and advanced players for 14 years. Daria's in-depth expertise has enabled her to develop her own methodologies. She attaches great importance to cultivating creativity. She makes her concentrated knowledge available to you on the blog and in the learning center.
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