What Size Violin Should You Buy?

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What Size Violin Should You Buy?

The violin emerged in its present form in sixteenth century Italy, and it is a mainstay of European and British folk and classical music. The violin is a stringed instrument, usually tucked under the chin on the musician’s left side. The strings are manipulated with the left hand to produce notes, and the sound is produced by a bow held in the right hand.
Because of the importance of the extended left arm in playing the violin, it’s no wonder that smaller people require smaller instruments. Luckily, small violins sized for young music students are widely available. The earlier a child starts studying the violin, the more natural playing the instrument will become. With the Suzuki method in vogue, many children are beginning the study of the violin years before they start school. These tiny violinists require tiny violins.
The violin is the stringed instrument with the highest range. Stringed instruments that are played like violins, but are smaller than a standard violin are still called violins.

Why Do Violins Come in a Variety of Sizes?

Violins come in a variety of sizes because violinists come in a variety of sizes. The instruments need to be playable by the musicians, including young students and unusually small adults. Specifically, the size of the violin must correspond to the length of the player’s left arm.
It’s worth noting that violas, cellos, and string bases can also be purchased in smaller sizes for young people. The aim is to keep young players working with instruments that will fit their bodies the same way that the standard sized stringed instrument will when they become adults. That way, they can learn to play with the correct hand position and posture, and the ergonomics of the instrument will be correct, so they won’t be injured by hours of practice.

Violin Sizes, Arm Lengths, and Approximate Ages

The table below gives the standard violin sizes and how they relate to the length of the musician’s left arm and their approximate age.

Violin Size

Arm Length

Age

4/4 (standard size)

more than 23 in or 58 cm

11 to adult

7/8

22 to 23 in or 56 to 58 cm; small hands

small teen or adult

3/4

20 to 22 in or 50.8 to 56 cm

9 to 12

1/2

18.5 to 20 in or 47 to 50.8 cm

7 to 9

1/4

17 to 18.5 in or 43 to 47 cm

5 to 7

1/8

15 to 17 in or 38 to 43 cm

4 to 6

1/10

14 to 15 in or 35.5 to 38 cm

4 to 5

1/16

14 in or 35.5 cm

3 to 5

1/32

less than 14 in or 35.5 cm

1 to 3

Violin Sizes and Dimensions

If you’re looking for a small violin and the dimensions of the instrument are given instead of the size designation, then here’s what to look for.

Violin Size

Violin Length

4/4 (standard size)

23 to 23.5 in or 60 cm

7/8

22.5 in or 57.2 cm

3/4

21 in or 53.3 cm

1/2

20.5 in or 52 cm

1/4

18.5 to 19 in or 48.25 cm

1/8

17 in or 43 cm

1/10

16 in or 40.6 cm

1/16

14.5 in or 36.8 cm

1/32

13 to 13.5 in or 32 cm

Violin Sizes and Bow Sizes

These are the correct bows to choose with each student violin size by length.

Violin Size

Bow Length

4/4 (standard size)

29.5 in or 75 cm

7/8

29.5 in or 75 cm (standard)

3/4

27 in or 68.6 cm

1/2

24.5 in or 62.2 cm

1/4

22.5 in or 57.15 cm

1/8

19.25 in or 48.9 cm

1/10

17.75 in or 45 cm

1/16

16.75 in or 42.5 cm

1/32

15 in or 38 cm

Used Children’s Violins

When choosing a violin for a young musician, used instruments can be both high quality and a good value. A growing child can go through many different sized violins, and used violins in good condition are available in a variety of sizes. Unlike wind instruments, which will wear out eventually, well made stringed instruments will only improve over time. Buyers seeking small violins who are looking for instruments with the highest quality would be wise to consider a used instrument. Buyers seeking the best value will want to consider buying a used violin, too.

Try the Instrument First

If the child has been studying music and the instrument will not be their first, then it is best if they are given the opportunity to play the violin before it is purchased. It is even better if the child’s violin teacher can participate in the process as well. Always ask for the teacher’s advice before shopping for a new, larger violin for a young student.

New Children’s Violins

Of course, a new instrument offers easy selection and more dependable quality. Buyers who are unable to test out a used instrument before purchase may prefer to buy something new. Be sure to look at the reviews on eBay before choosing a new children’s violin. When buying new, the quality and dependability of the brand are the most important considerations.

Finding Violin Sizes on eBay

eBay is a fantastic place to find a new or used violin for a young musician. Violins of all sizes are available both new and used. To find a small student violin, start in the Musical Instruments category under Sports and Leisure. Go to the Stringed Instruments category, and check the box next to Violin. Then, select the size category, which is second to the top on the left side of the screen. Check the correct size; for example, 3/4 size or 1/2 size. To access some of the less common sizes, use the Choose more button.
The left side of the screen provides other useful options as well. Most people seeking a violin for a young student will probably want to look at the options for used instruments in their area. In order to access that list, choose the desired size, choose ’used’, and scroll down to the bottom of the options in the left column. There, it is possible to limit the search by proximity to a particular postcode under distance or to confine the search to the U.K. under location.

In Conclusion

A student sized violin for a young musician can be chosen based on arm length. The size of the student’s hands can also play a part in determining which violin size is best. However, the real test of the instrument is in whether or not the young musician is able to play it comfortably and with the correct posture and hand position. That’s why it is always best to ask the violin teacher’s advice and to allow the student to try the instrument before purchase. If possible, the teacher should be present to offer feedback.
The many sizes that student violins are available in make it easy for a young musician to learn the correct use of the instrument and to develop good sound quality and technique. Since children use small violins then move on to larger ones as they grow, it is usually easy to find high-quality used student violins. However, if it’s necessary to buy the instrument sight unseen, then a new model may be a better choice.
Learning a musical instrument like the violin can provide a child with a lifetime of joy, relaxation and camaraderie. It can help them to develop their mind and teach them both personal confidence and teamwork. Choosing the right sized violin is just one step along the way.

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