What Size of Violin Do I Need?
Finding the right size of violin is an essential part of learning to play the violin properly.
Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. What matters most is not the child’s height or age, but the length of his or her arms. If you’re renting a violin, make sure the company allows you to trade up as your student grows. Teton Music is just one of those companies who happily trades in your student’s smaller violin for a larger one.
Our violin measuring size chart (shown below) lets you estimate the violin size by the length of your student's arm. To accurately determine which size is correct for the player, run a measuring tape from the left side of the player’s neck to the palm of their outstretched left arm and a second time from the neck to the wrist. (The arm must not be bent at the elbow and should be at a right angle to the body. The palm faces up to the ceiling.)
Another easy way to check the proper sizing of an instrument is for the student to rest the violin on their left shoulder, put their chin on the chin rest, and cup the scroll of the violin with their left hand. If they can wrap their fingers around the scroll without discomfort or over-stretching, then the instrument is not too large. If their palm extends well beyond the scroll, try the next size up. Remember the largest a violin goes is to is 4/4, which is a 14″ body, so if you have a student over 5-feet tall and their palm extends far beyond the scroll, that's okay. It means he or she is a 4/4 or full size violin.
Violin Measuring Chart
Note: These sizes are tentative and approximate. For best results, you should be measured in person and sized with an actual violin.
Frequently Asked Questions about Violin Sizing
Q: Can't I just buy or rent a larger size now and allow my student to grow into the instrument?
A: Although you might be inclined to buy a larger violin for your student to avoid having to trade up, you’ll actually do a disservice to the student (and you’ll frustrate their teacher). An instrument that is too large quickly becomes a challenge to play.
Q: My student is left handed. Does that matter which violin he or she rents?
A: Violists hold and play the violin the same way regardless if they are right or left handed.
Q: I'm nervous about choosing the right violin size online. Is there another way?
A: Yes! We are happy to Zoom or Facetime you and walk you and your player through the process, or you can stop by one of our retail stores and an associate will be happy to help you.
Q: What if I get the wrong size violin that my child needs or if he or she grows out of the instrument?
A: We'll be happy to exchange the violin for the correct size. Whenever a child outgrows a size, we will switch you with the next size up for no charge.
Q: Is there a difference in violins that an adult beginner would rent compared to a child beginner?
A: Besides the size of the instrument, most of our renters choose our standard student-level violin rentals. Sometimes adults will want to start with an upgraded instrument and adjust the monthly rental payment to reflect the different price.