How to Measure a Violin Size

By Ashley Schaeffer
Smaller violins are often required for smaller individuals.

If you or someone you know is thinking about taking up the violin and there just happens to be an unused one hanging out in the back of a closet, it is important to determine what size the violin is to see if it is appropriate for the user. After determining the size of the violin, you can then determine if it's a good fit.

Measuring Violin Size

Determine the various key points of the violin so you know exactly what you're measuring. Locate the end pin, which is at the very bottom of the violin, and then find the scroll (which is actually shaped like a scroll) at the top of the violin.

Pull the tape measure out so that at least 24 inches are showing. Place the violin alongside the tape measure so that the end peg aligns exactly with the 0 point. Measure how many inches the entire length of the violin is, from end peg to the furtherest tip of the scroll. Record the measurement exactly, without rounding up or down.

Compare the total length of the violin to the following measurement and size correlates, which encompass the majority of violin sizes for most children and adults: If a violin is 23.5 inches long, it is considered full size, or 4/4. If it is 21 inches, it is 3/4 size. If it is 20.5 inches long, it is considered half size, or 1/2. If it is 19 inches, it is quarter size, or 1/4.

If your violin does not match up with any of the above measurements, check the following options. If a violin is 22.5 inches long, it is considered 7/8 size. This size is suited for petite adults who require a size larger than 3/4, but who need something slightly smaller than a full size. If a violin is shorter than 19 inches, it is usually intended for very young children, from ages 3 to 6 years of age. A 17-inch violin is considered 1/8 size, a 16-inch violin is 1/10 size and a 14.5-inch violin is 1/16 size.

Tip

Test the violin for ease of use and comfort. If you feel that the violin is not suited to your size and needs, you can refer to the resource listed below, which provides a chart showing the suggested violin size based on the user's arm length.

Warning

Always remember to be careful with the violin, as it is a delicate instrument that can easily be broken or sent wildly out of tune without proper care.

About the Author

Ashley Schaeffer has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in arts-and-entertainment, health and wellness topics. She has written extensively for "Buzzine Magazine," the culture and entertainment publication of Richard Elfman. Schaeffer holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in comparative literature and Spanish, both from UC Berkeley, and is pursuing a master's degree in counseling psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies.