Violin come in different sizes.
Usually adult violinists use a so called “full size”, also referred to as “4/4″. That’s the standard violin.
The fact is that when you start playing the violin you’re usually a kid. So you need a smaller violin. So smaller violins are very common, because it’s very common to be a kid when you start playing.
Normally kids who are younger than 12 years old use a violin that is smaller than 4/4.
There are many smaller sizes, such as 3/4, 1/2, 1/8, and 1/16.
Usually 1/16 violins work for kids who are 3-4 years old. Sometimes 5. Then a kid switches to a 1/8 violin. Later on, when they grow they move again to the 1/4, then at some point to the 1/2, then to the 3/4, and finally to the full size 4/4.
Mind you there are even smaller sizes: 1/32 and even 1/64. They are very rare, as usually 1/16 is small enough for even smaller kids. But nonetheless, for very small kids, it may be needed to use an even smaller size than 1/16.
How do you find out which size is for you, or for your kid?
First thing, you just stand with your violin in position, on your shoulder, and straighten your left arm beyond the scroll. If you can wrap the violin scroll with the palm of your hand, then, great, the violin is good enough, size-wise. If you cannot reach wrapping the scroll, then the violin is too big.
Also, try playing the violin with your bow, all the way down to the bow tip. If you need your right arm fully extended, when playing with the bow tip, then it means the violin is too big. If the arm is slightly bent, at bow tip, then it means the violin is not too big, and it’s good to go.
There you go. That’ s how to pick up a violin size.
Small violins and fine craft
Small violins are supposed to be sturdy, and to be used for starting up. So, it’s extremely uncommon to find violins that are finely made, in sizes below 1/2. Even 1/2 and 3/4 finely made violins are a bit rare. There is no market for them, as almost nobody will want to spend serious money on a finely made violin for a kid who is starting up. It’s just not needed.
That said, it’s a good idea to try and get a decent quality violin, even though it’s small. Low quality small violins often have a hard time maintaining their tuning, and they sometimes make it difficult to play a single string, without picking other strings with the bow. So, you want to make sure the quality of the violin is good enough, otherwise your kid will get frustrated, and will want to quit.
Suzuki makes a great small size violins, like the Suzuki Nagoya 220 model 220 – 1/4. Great quality, and an affordable price.
It’s also available on Amazon. Click here to buy one.