Is Your Violin The Right Size?

A mother and daughter entered our shop with a violin case in hand. The mother smiled and said, “Our teacher told us she needs a new violin.”

Looking at the case in the girl’s hand, it was obvious the violin was too small. We opened the case and sized the girl.

She definitely needed a bigger violin.

Teachers are really good at letting students know if the instrument they are playing is too small for them. As the parents of four musical children, we know how important it is to have an instrument that feels good and inspires a student player to practice. 

Having an instrument that is too small or too big is not only uncomfortable but can cause injury to the musician. The wrong-sized instrument impedes your child’s ability to learn proper technique and to produce a good sound.

Every year (or after a good growth spurt) you should evaluate if your student player is using the correct size instrument. 

Understanding Sizing

String instruments come in various sizes to accommodate players of different ages and physical attributes.  Violins are no exception. 

Sizing should be confirmed when you rent or purchase the instrument you will be using. Different brands of instruments will fit differently in your child’s hands even though they are the same size. You always want to try out two or three different instruments to see if your child notices a difference. 

Below are the different sizes for violins including the estimated age your child might use them:

  • 1/32 
  • 1/16
  • 1/10
  • 1/8 – (Kindergarten)
  • 1/4 – (Grades 1 & 2)
  • 1/2 – (Grades 3 & 4)
  • 3/4 – (Grades 5 & 6)
  • 4/4 (Grades 7+ to adult. This is called a full-size violin)

Talk to a Professional

Have you heard of the “Yardstick Method?” This is often the first step an instructor will use to suggest an instrument size. A yardstick measures from under the chin where the chin would normally rest to the palm.

What are we looking for? 

  • Arm Length: This measurement helps determine the appropriate length of the violin and ensures that the child can comfortably reach the desired playing positions.
  • Finger Span and Hand Size: We look at the child’s hand structure and the distance between the fingertips to determine if the child requires a smaller or larger violin. Proper finger spacing is crucial for accurate intonation and technique development.
  • Shoulder and Neck Position when holding the violin: The chinrest and shoulder rest, if necessary, should provide adequate support and ensure a relaxed and natural posture.
  • Bow Arm Angle: The correct-sized violin allows the child’s arm to maintain a natural bend at the elbow, facilitating fluid bowing technique and minimizing strain or tension in the arm and shoulder. A well-fitted instrument promotes proper bowing mechanics and enhances sound production.
  • Sound Quality and Projection: We listen to your child play and evaluate the instrument’s response and tonal characteristics. 

Is it the Right Fit? Try This Quick Test.

If you want to check if your child’s instrument is the right size try this experiment with us:

Pick up the violin and hold it as you would if were going to play it. Try and cup the palm of your hand around the scroll. If you can barely reach the scroll, the violin is too big. If you can curl your hand around the scroll to the peg box with your arm straight, the instrument is the perfect fit.

Make sure and pay attention to what your arm looks like. If you are holding your violin in playing position with it correctly placed on your shoulder and your arm is touching your body, it’s time to get a bigger instrument.

Rent or Buy?

Day Violins’ motto is, “Big enough to serve and small enough to care.” As a family of musicians, we are passionate about supporting children through a successful musical journey and it shows in how we run our shop. When children are just starting it is usually better to rent an instrument. Not only will they be able to size up as they grow, but you will find that as they progress in skill level you may want to invest in higher quality instruments as well.

Day Violins offers local rentals or we can ship violins to customers around the continental United States!

Rental Credit Program at Day Violins

Rental credit offers a percentage of each month’s rental fees to be credited toward the purchase of an instrument when your child is ready to take that step. Our rental credit program is not a rent-to-own program. The instrument your child begins with is not the instrument your child will end up with. 

Click here to find more information on our Rental Credit Program



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17 Irving Pl, New York,
NY 10003

778 568 999

Welcome new parents!

Welcome new parents

Welcome to the wonderful world of string instruments! As a brand new parent, you probably have a lot of questions!  We want you to walk away from this experience knowing that you have the right instrument and accessories to help your student succeed.

Rest assured that Day Violins has the highest quality of customer service and a generous referral credit rental program for upgrading your instrument as your child grows and improves in their musical abilities.  

We are so excited to take this journey with you.  

With that in mind, we know that some of the most pressing questions for our beginning parents are:

Rest assured that Day Violins has the highest quality of customer service and a generous referral credit rental program for upgrading your instrument as your child grows and improves in their musical abilities.  

We are so excited to take this journey with you.