So, little Stevie came home today and told you that he wants to play the violin. Well, being the good Dad that you are, you jump online and start looking for violins. You find a great deal on the interwebs and make the purchase. It arrives and happy little Stevie trots off to school with his new procurement. But, to your dismay, Stevie comes home and tells you that the teacher said it was the wrong size.
Wrong size? Violins come in sizes? You were wondering what that “4/ 4” in the description meant. Guess little Stevie can’t play it on any terrain after all. Well, there goes a couple hundred bucks down the tubes.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, Dad. Few people know that violins are sized to the player playing it.
The best way to determine the size of violin you or your student will need is to visit your local music store and have a professional do the sizing. If you still insist on figuring it out yourself Dad, you can take a yard stick and measure the distance from the base of Stevie’s neck to the palm of his left hand. Below is a table that shows how that measurement correlates to the size you will need:
23 1/2” or longer = 4/4 size
22 ¼” = ¾ size
20 ½” = ½ size
18 ½ = ¼ size
17” = 1/8 size
Now, before you get all cocky and think these numbers work for all stringed orchestra instruments, please note that Viola’s and Cello’s are measured differently. But that’s a conversation for another day.