Determining the right violin size can be tricky since children grow so quickly. Before questioning yourself: ‘What violin size do I need,’ you should know that there are two types of this instrument. It can be either a full-size violin for children age 10 to 12, teenagers, and adults or fractional for smaller kids.
Which size of the fractional violin your child needs will primarily depend on his or her arm length. Keep in mind that the bow always needs to match the violin size. That means a 1/2 size instrument requires a 1/2 size bow, for example. Let’s see.
Violin Sizes and Length
The measurement of each violin can vary by as much as 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) depending on the maker. Therefore, you should precisely measure your kid’s arms and the violin itself before purchasing the instrument of adequate size.
- Overall violin length – Measure violin length from the scroll top to the bottom. The length of the endpin at the violin bottom is not included in the calculation.
- Violin body length – Measure the body from the violin shoulders to the bottom. Exclude the jutting-out section at the violin’s neck base.
Violin Size Chart
|Overall length||Body length||Bow length||Age|
|13 to 13.5 inches|
(33 – 34.3 cm)
|1 to 3 years old||<14 inches|
|3 to 5 years old|
|4 to 5 years old||15 inches|
|4 to 6 years old|
|18.5 to 19 inches|
(47 – 48.3 cm)
|5 to 7 years old||18 to 18.5 inches|
(45.7 – 47 cm)
|7 to 9 years old|
|9 to 12 years old||21.5 to 22 inches|
(54.6 – 55.9 cm)
|7/8||22 to 22.5 inches|
(55.9 – 57 cm)
22 to 23 inches
(55.9 – 58.4 cm)
|23 to 23.5 inches|
(58.4 – 59.7 cm)
|11 years to adult|
With 1/32 size, it is the smallest violin available that fits the 1 to 3 old children. Believe it or not, some kids start playing the violin as soon as they turn one year old.
Before your child shows a genuine interest in playing, you should buy a cardboard violin. It will help your baby to get used to the position while playing.
You can purchase a small, 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) long, wooden violin after a while. This total length will suit the average arm length of fewer than 14 inches (35.6 cm).
Once your child turns three to five years old, it is time to move to the next, 1/16 size violin. If he or she starts playing at this age, you should pick out this size first. It measures 14.5 inches (36.8 cm) in total length and suits the child with 14 inches (35.6 cm) long arm.
The next level is the 1/10 violin size, which fits the four to a five years old child the best. The average arm length at that age is 15 inches (38 cm). Therefore, 16 inches (40.6 cm) long instrument is the right choice.
The 1/8 size violin is usually the best option for four to six years old students. With 17 inches (43.2 cm) in total length, it will suit the child with an arm length of 16.5 inches (41.9 cm).
Children ages five to seven often play on the 1/4 size violin, which measures 18.5 to 19 inches (47 – 48.3 cm) in length. It will fit students with an 18 to 18.5 inches (45.7 – 47 cm) long arm.
Once your kid turns seven to nine years old, he or she will need the violin that measures 20.5 inches (52 cm) in total length. This instrument is an excellent fit for students with 20 inches (50.8 cm) long arm.
This violin suits nine to twelve years old students. Since this instrument is 21 inches (53.3 cm) long, it is the best option for the child with 21.5 to 22 inches (54.6 – 55.9 cm) long arm.
That is the rarely used violin size, and it is not easy to find. It is approximately 22 to 22.5 inches (55.9 – 57 cm) long and fits teens and small adults with a delicate, 22 to 23 inches (55.9 – 58.4 cm) long arm.
It is a full-size, 23 to 23.5 inches (58.4 – 59.7 cm) long violin for tall teenagers and adults who have arms longer than 23 inches (58.4 cm). In general, players taller than 5 feet (1.5 m) can start playing this instrument.
The dilemma that bothers most parents is whether to buy the next violin size or can skip one because the child is growing fast.
In general, it is better to skip one size and purchase the instrument of better quality than waste money on the low-quality violin to follow the order. Since your kid will use a bigger one longer, it makes sense to invest in higher quality.
However, be careful since you know your kid best. The child may grow slower, which means that he or she needs to use the too big violin for an extended period. However, it is quite a rare situation, so you shouldn’t worry too much.
One more thing! Try to make the situation more comfortable for your kid and buy a lighter weight violin. That way, he or she won’t quit playing because being too tired during practicing. A shoulder rest will also help the player in holding the oversized instrument.