Because violin sizes vary, it’s all too easy to pick up the wrong size, leading to poor play and physical strain. The following guide should give you an idea of the dimensions of most violins and what measuring system is used.
Typical Violin Dimensions
The measurements are in inches. 1 inch is equal to 25.4 millimeters.
A size 4/4 has a body length of 14 inches with a maximum width of 7.5 inches. The total length is 23.5 inches. A size 7/8 has a body of 13.5 inches with a max width of 7.25. The total measurements are 22.5 inches. For a ¾, the body is 13 and the maximum width is 7. The total is 21 inches.
For ½ violin size, the body length is 12.5 and the width is 6.75. The total is 20.5. For a size of ¼, the body length is 11.5 and the max width is 6, bringing the total length to 18.75.
A size of 1/8 means the body length is 10.25 inches with a width of 5.5. The total is 17.25. If the size is 1/10, the body is 9.25 and the maximum width is 5. This would mean the total length is 16 inches. For a 1/16 size, the body length is 8.25 with a width of 4.45. This brings the total length to 14.5.
Violin Size by Arm Length
There are eight sizes to choose from. Adults all use 4/4 or the full size. They are also ideal for people with an arm length of 23 inches. For 22 inch arm lengths, the ¾ size is suitable. For 20 inch arm lengths, the ½ size is suitable; for 18 1/2 the right size is ¼; for 16 1/2, the size is 1/8; for arm lengths of 15 inches, size 1/10 is appropriate.
For 14” arm lengths, size 1/16 is ideal. Another size is 7/8. This is sometimes used by women who need the full size but their hands are a bit too small.
To determine the right size, get the distance from your neck to the center of your left palm. Others however, like to get the measurement from the neck to the wrist. As a rule, the neck to palm measurement is used by people with bigger physical frames.
Violin Size by Age
For individuals 12 years old and older, the 4/4 or full size is recommended by most violin teachers. For children between 10 to 11 years old, size ¾ is ideal. For ages 7 to 8, size ½ is ideal.
Those who are between 6 and 7 years old should get size ¼; for 5 to 6 the size needs to be 1/8. For kids 4 to 5, size 1/10 is the norm while size 1/16 is used for three year olds.
Picking a violin by age is usually the least reliable method. It is much better to use the arm length size guide.
Now that you know how to pick the right violin size, you can focus on learning how to play.