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What Size of Violin Do I Need?

With violins, as well as many other things in life, one size does not fit all. Finding the right size of violin will set your student up for success.

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 size chart (below) lets you estimate how a child’s arm length and age usually relate to each other. To provide greater orientation, we have also added information about the child’s height and the standard approximate parameters of instrument size. To accurately discern 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—congratulations! They will be learning to work within the parameters of that full-size violin.

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.

Note: These sizes are tentative and approximate. For best results, you should be measured in person and sized with the actual violin.


Up to 3 years 13.5 inches 1/32
3-4 years 14.5 inches 1/16
4-5 years 16 inches 1/10
5-6 years 17.25 inches 1/8
6-7 years 19 inches 1/4
8-9 years  20.75 inches 1/2
10-12 years 22 inches 3/4
12 years and up 23.5 inches 4/4 (full size)