Measuring Your Child for a Violin

There is no standard system of measurement for student violins. The appropriate size will depend not just on arm length, but also on finger length and thickness, the instrument's setup, and other factors. A violin that is too large will require the player to stretch their fingers and arm further than is comfortable or healthy. An instrument that is too small will prevent the player from placing their fingers on just one string at a time, without touching the others (leading to bad playing habits). Different teachers have different opinions, and every child is different. So, we always recommend going with your teacher's recommendation. But, when in doubt, it is better to go with a smaller size than to push to a larger one before the child is ready.

Numerous methods exist for estimating what size will be most comfortable for a player. Here's how we do it . . .

Ask the player to stand up straight and extend their left arm out, up, and to the left - just like they would when playing. But, unlike when they are playing, ask them to straighten the arm, with the elbow locked, and to turn their palm upwards. Now, measure the distance from the players neck to the middle of their open palm. Use the reference chart, below, to estimate the correct size. Note: Some teachers are more conservative about sizing, and prefer to keep toward a slightly smaller instrument. Those teachers may prefer to take their measurements from the players neck to their wrist. Remember, that this measurement is only a starting point. The teacher should check the instrument to verify that it fits comfortably and request a different size, if needed.

Arm Length Violin Size Average Age
> 23" 4/4 12 Years and Up
22" - 23" 3/4 10 - 11 Years
20.5" - 22" 1/2 8 - 9 Years
18.5" - 20.5" 1/4 6 - 7 Years
17.5" - 18.5" 1/8 5 - 6 Years
< 17.5" 1/16 5 Years and Under

Note: 1/10 size violins are available, upon request. However, please note that a 1/10 size violin is only marginally larger than a 1/16 (approx. 7 mm, body length).