Fiddleheads Violin Studio Top Image featuring a photo of Rhiannon, Owner Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! Spring Break/March Shipping Delays: Click Here Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!

Home/Index Page SITE: Home

Contact Us

Awards Earned


To Shop SHOP: About Us

Violins, New & Used


Shoulder Rests

All Other Items

View Shopping Cart

Buy Now

Ordering Help

Location & Shipping

Violin Sizing Chart

Instrument Trials

Shop Policies

Customer Testimonials


School Home SCHOOL: Home


Calendar & Schedule


Article Archives

Technique FAQ



Violin and Viola Sizing & Instrument Sizes Charts!

Compliments of Award-winning and Eco-Responsible



You may like answers to these questions:

- What's the difference between violin and fiddle?

- "Stradivarius." Real? Fake?

- How do I motivate a student to practice?

Technique FAQs


About Fiddleheads - Shop Home - Browse Violins for Sale


"What size violin should I buy?"

"Can my ten-year-old play a full size (4/4) violin?"

"How do I size my child for a violin?"

"Does a small adult play a full size violin or a 7/8?"

"What size bow should I use with my viola?"


Professional violin and viola teacher Rhiannon Nachbaur of Fiddleheads Violin Studio has compiled the following charts to assist violinists, violists and fiddlers in selecting the correct sized instrument for themselves or their children.

Please refer to the information below the chart and instructions for further expert advice. Thank you for visiting and please contact us if you require any assistance ordering the right size violin from us.

We hope our superb service earns your business.


- Customer Testimonials from around the globe

- Visit In-Home Trials Information for trying out violins

- Policies & Info

- NEW! Make your own Cardboard Violin for playtime!


Fiddleheads Violin Studio Free Violin Sizing & Violin Sizes Chart

* Approximate sizing and measurements. Exact size/dimensions will vary from maker to maker. Note that 1 inch = 2.54 cm
We carry violins available in all sizes, even 7/8! FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS: CLICK HERE

5. Bow Length*

By Request: Which violins are available in this size?

11 years to Adult

23" and larger

4/4 or Full size

14" AND 23"-23.5"


We stock nearly all violins from many makers in this size, even left-handed violins

58cm and larger

35.5cm AND 60cm


Small Teen / Adult

22" and small hands

7/8 size

approx 13.5" AND 22.5"

use 4/4

VN-100 and VN-102

56cm and small hands

approx 34.3cm AND 57.2cm


9-12 years

21.5" - 22"

3/4 size

13" AND 21"


VN-100 and VN-102

54.6cm - 56cm

33cm AND 53.3cm


7-9 years


1/2 size

12.5" AND 20.5"


VN-100 and VN-102


31.75cm AND 52cm


5-7 year

18" - 18.5"

1/4 size

11" AND 18.5"-19"


VN-100 and VN-102

45.7cm - 47cm

28cm AND 48.25cm

57.15 cm

4-6 years


1/8 size

10" AND 17"


VN-100 and VN-102


25cm AND 43 cm


4-5 years


1/10 size

9" AND 16"


Consider a 1/8 size


22.9cm AND 40.6cm


3-5 years


1/16 size

8" AND 14.5"




20.3cm AND 36.8cm


1-3 years - We recommend a cardboard violin at this age: CLICK HERE

Under 14"

1/32 size

7.5" AND 13"-13.5""


Consider a 1/16 size

Under 35.5cm

19cm AND 32cm




VIOLA Sizing Chart

* Approximate sizing and measurements. Exact size/dimensions will vary from maker to maker. Note that 1 inch = 2.54 cm

5. Bow Length*

Large Adult

26" and larger

16" to 16.5" Viola

16" or 16.5"

29.25" [full viola]


40.6cm or 42cm


Average Adult

25" - 25.25"

15.5" Viola


29.25" [full viola]

63.5cm - 64cm



Small Adult, Child 10-12 years


15" Viola


29.25" [full viola]




9-12 years


14" Viola
(4/4 Violin)


29.25" [full viola]




7-9 years


13" Viola
(3/4 Violin)


27" [3/4 violin]

54.6cm - 55.9cm



6-7 years


12" Viola
(1/2 Violin)


24.5" (1/2 violin)





Further Instructions

Student playing violin with a pink/purple bow1. Age of Player

Some children are exceptions to the rule, but this chart provides a general age range for these instruments.

As a teacher I have worked with 10-year-olds who played full size violins. The most important thing in deciding the correct size is that the student can comfortably play the instrument in tune. Fourth finger, or pinky, reach and intonation (can it be played in tune?) may be the deciding factor.

Rory, the lovely Fiddleheads student pictured at the left at age 12, played a full size starting on her 10th birthday! It looked a bit big, but she could play it in tune and truly appreciated the bigger sound the full size produced. She grew into it over the summer and her parents were glad they didn't buy a 3/4 or else she would have outgrown it in a few months. A

All adults use a full size violin, with the exception of very small adults and some teens who are more the size of a child. These players will sometimes play a 3/4, though they will get a better sound from a 7/8 size violin.

The advantage to a 7/8 is a big sound with a smaller scale for playability. 7/8 size violins are more difficult to locate used, however most of our new violins are available in 7/8 size [such as our VN-100 and VN-102 violins] and we can also have a violin custom made for you. Contact us for more info


2. Player's Arm Length

To accurately discern which size is correct for the player, run a measuring tape from the left side of the player's neck to palm of their outstretched left arm and second time from the neck to the wrist. (The arm must not be bent at the elbow and is at a right angle to the body. Palm faces up at the ceiling)

Violists: measure from neck to palm at the base of the fingers, not the wrist. Violas are sized large.

Check the measurements on the violin chart above:

PALM: The neck to palm measurement indicates the largest size that would be appropriate. Only go larger than this size if the child is growing rather quickly and if you are certain the teacher will not object to the large violin.

WRIST: The neck to wrist measurement provides a comfortable size. Suzuki teachers in particular are trained to teach players on a violin fitting this way (not too large).

As stated in point 1, the most important thing in playing a large-ish instrument is that the player can comfortably play in tune. (again, 4th finger intonation may be the deciding factor).

Please note that even left-handed players play a regular, right-handed violin. Lefties need not worry they can't play the violin! I have taught many lefties and they play the same as everyone else.

Even simpler

If you have the violin you are trying to size with the young student you can simply check it against the player's arm. Have the student hold the violin up on the left shoulder (see photos, coming soon) and extending out 45 degrees from their side (not in the front, not to the side.)

Next, ask the player to reach from under the violin to the scroll (curly end) of the violin with their outstretched left hand, curving the fingers around the scroll from below. If the left elbow is slightly bent and comfortable the violin is the proper size. If the elbow is straight and/or the player cannot reach the scroll the instrument is too large.

Finally, if the elbow is bent at a smaller than 90 degree angle and appears very easy to reach the violin may be too small.

For more help on purchasing the correct size from our shop please take your measurements and contact us prior to your order from us.


3. Violin or Viola Size

  Difference between larger Viola and Violin beside it.

Shown Rhiannon's 15" Zhu VA-909 Viola (Left) and 4/4 Zhu VN-909 Violin (Right).

The Viola is a Tertis model and the Violin is a Guarneri model.

Fiddleheads sells these fine instruments from the VSA award-winning maker. Click Here

Violins are either "full size" or "fractional. Adults, teens and children age 10-12 play full size. Children play 3/4 and smaller violins depending on their size. The bow used matches the size of the instrument. For example, a 3/4 violin is paired with a 3/4 size violin bow.

*Note that Violas are not sized like violins in fractions, rather they are measured by the length of their bodies in inches. For example, a typical sized viola for a student age 12 has a body 15.5" in length and the same sizing rules do not apply as violas are expected to fit a bit big, but not so big as to tire the player. I tend to recommend violas on the smaller side. Selecting a viola with a big tone is better than a too-large viola for the player.


4. Violin Measurements (Length- Body/Total)

These measurements vary from maker to maker by as much as 3/4". If you are unsure which sized instrument you have, carefully take two measurements with a tape or string. Violas only require one measurement; the body (measurement #2).

1. Measure first the violin the length of the violin from the top of the scroll to the bottom (excluding the end pin at the bottom).

2. Next measure the body from the "shoulders" of the violin to the bottom. Do not include the jutting-out section at the base of the violin's neck in your measurements.

*Note that the width of the violin (measuring the upper or lower "bout") varies widely from maker to maker or style to style. Instruments made in the style of Guarneri tend to have wider lower bouts than Strad models, and thus a bigger volume and depth of tone.


Oversized Violins: Some Suggestions

So your child is growing like a weed and is too big for the 1/4 violin you purchased last year. Should you buy a 1/2 size violin, which would fit now but may be too small in 6 months? Or should you skip to a 3/4 and let him grow into it?

As a teacher I encounter this dilemma frequently and make the decision to skip a size on a case by case basis.

Choosing to use a larger violin can be a wise choice if the student is growing rapidly and if you are paying a bit more to have a better quality, larger violin rather than buying an intermediate violin and replacing it soon after. Rather than buying two cheaper violins one after another, the larger violin would be used longer, thus it would make sense to invest a bit more money into it.

In my time teaching I have had many students skip a size and only once was it not a wise choice. The 10-year-old girl's family had a good line on a nice 3/4 violin, but it was an inch or so too large. Taking her age into consideration, as well as the quality of the instrument in question, we thought it best for her to take the jump. Strangely though the small, young girl did not grow at all for three years!

Now, at 15 years old, the violin fits her perfectly, though most people at this age are in a 4/4. She was just destined to be petite. We realise the jump was not appropriate for her; but how do you know the child will stop growing?

Thankfully the girl's mother and I laugh at the situation now and all worry is gone: She plays wonderfullly. If anything, the student really learned to stretch for her 4th finger notes and has excellent intonation!

The important thing here is that the student is able to or very close to playing the 4th finger. If they can reach this fingering the violin will be usable.

For children skipping a size and playing a slightly large violin you should carefully consider playing a lighter weight violin over a heavy one. Heavier or bulkier violins can be harder to hold up, overextended for long periods of time causing the student to not want to practice for long. A student who has quit never saves the parents money on the violin purchase!

Another suggestion here is to use a shoulder rest to aid in holding a violin which is too large and needs more support.

5. Bows

  Difference between larger Viola and Violin beside it.

**Viola bows are only available in "full" size. Violists seeking fractional sized bows simply use a violin bow. For example, a 14" viola player would use a 4/4 violin bow, a 13" viola player would use a 3/4 size violin bow.

"Full" viola bows are the same length as a 4/4 violin bow. The way to determine the difference is that a viola bow's frog is rounded on the corner. A violin bow has a square corner on the frog.



Thanks for explaining the difference with violin sizes; Thanks for enlightening me; sounds like you do a wonderful service and helping violin players; am glad you do this.

- Bev, Kelowna, BC


The pretty owner of Fiddleheads, Rhiannon Schmitt, shown after a performanceContact Us

Please feel free to contact Fiddleheads Violin Studio with any questions you may have regarding sizing in order to purchase any of our instruments for sale.

We hope we can earn your business with our exceptional service and expertise and add your testimonial to our growing list.


Back to Instruments

Site Home

Thank you for Shopping at Fiddleheads.Buy Now

Think of shopping at Fiddleheads as walking into a local violin shop. Owner and Symphony Violinist Rhiannon Nachbaur is happy to take the time to personally invoice you to combine shipping for multiple items on the site and not listed.

And, yes, Fiddleheads ships anywhere; Just email to get award-winning, personal help or click HERE for ordering help. PayPal.Me is a fast, easy and more secure way for customers to send us payments. Here is our direct link:

Violins, bows and cases are shipped Canada Post Expedited service (arrives via USPS in the USA) and takes about 2-6 days on average. Shoulder rests ship via Xpresspost within Canda (1-4 days) or Airmail to USA (2-6 days).

Copyright © 2004-2017 RHIANNON NACHBAUR; All rights reserved. is the Planet's First and Only "Green" Violin Shop Operated by a Symphony Violinist: "Fiddle with a Conscience" Main Page Like and Follow Fiddleheads Violin Studio on Facebook View Shopping Cart: Pay with Credit Card or Paypal Account Fiddleheads is a Canadian Business that serves customers around the world Fiddleheads is an eco-friendly business Fiddleheads is an Award-Winning Business run by an Award-Winning Musician and Young Entrepreneur Serving Elated Customers Worldwide: Click here for Testimonials Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!