How to Measure Your Violin to Determine the Size

Introduction – What Size is My Violin?

Knowing the size of your Violin is essential so that when you’re shopping for Violin Strings, Shoulder Rests and Cases, etc., you know what sizes of accessories to buy.

This guide will help you find or identify the size of your Violin by sharing the various techniques we use in the trade for measuring your violin’s size, including scale length and back length. These are the two most reliable methods to determine violin size accurately.

What and Where to Measure

Here is a diagram of a Violin labelled with the measurements used and where to measure to determine the Violin’s size.

Diagram of how to measure a Violin to determine its size
© Bass Bags

Table Of Violin Measurements by Size

Violin SizeScale LengthLength of Back
4/4330 mm355 mm
3/4310 mm335 mm
1/2285 mm310 mm
1/4260 mm280 mm
1/8235 mm255 mm
1/16215 mm230 mm

How to Measure Size by Scale Length

The scale length is the length of string that can vibrate between the top nut and the bridge. The top nut is the strip of ebony that the strings travel across between the pegbox and the fingerboard; it is detailed in the zoomed-in part of the above diagram.

To measure the scale length, use a tape measure or ruler to determine the distance from the underside of the top nut to the top of the bridge, as detailed in the diagram.

When using this measurement method, it is essential to check

  1. That the bridge is in the correct position on the imaginary line between the notches in the soundholes.
  2. That the bridge isn’t warped. The side of the bridge nearest the tailpiece should have a 90-degree angle with the Violin’s body.

How to Measure Size by Back Length

To measure your Violin’s back length, use a tape measure to measure the distance from the bottom of the back to the top of the back, as detailed in the diagram.

A common mistake is to include the heel of the neck, where the neck returns across the ribs of the Violin. You only want the measurement up to where the back meets the ribs.

Accuracy of Measurements

There is no absolute rule for the dimensions and sizing of Violins. When Violins were starting to be made, makers didn’t have an agreed global specification to work to. As a result, even with modern violins, there is some variance. If your measurements are not matching exactly with the table in this article, don’t worry; it’s not unusual; use the closest measurements to gauge your violin’s size.

In the trade, there are many size variants; for instance, you can have a big 4/4 size or a small full size.

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