Violin Buyers Guide for Beginners
What size of violin do I need?
Violins come in different sizes, from as small as 1/32 size for pre school age to full size (4/4) for teenagers and adults.
There is no absolute rule for matching the size of violin required with the age of the child, however, the chart below will give you a general estimate as to what size of violin is required.
A more precise way of ensuring the correct size of violin is by using arm measurements.
You need to know the length between your neck and the middle of your left-hand palm Take the measurement when your arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like you are holding a violin.
|Arm Length (inches)||Violin Size|
|24||4/4 Full Size|
Do I need a shoulder rest?
A shoulder rest helps maintain a comfortable playing posture. It helps to keep your head and neck straight, your back straight and your left shoulder completely relaxed. The shoulder rest takes some of the weight of the violin and this in turn frees up the left hand to move up and down the fingerboard more freely, thus making playing easier. They come in all sizes 4/4 to 1/8. Our recommended shoulder rests are the Everest and Kun shoulder rests.
How do I tune my Violin?
The lowest sounding string on the left of the fingerboard as you look down towards the pegs is tuned to the note G below middle C. Next is D followed by A, and the thinnest, the highest sounding string is E. The interval between notes on a violin is a fifth and this can be heard if you sing the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle little star. The second twinkle being a fifth higher than the first.
It can be quite daunting tuning up using the main pegs at the top of the violin, there’s always the fear of snapping the strings. Having a violin with fine tuners on the tailpiece makes tuning easier in the beginning. Tuning using the main pegs is a real case of trial and error. Once mastered however, it is the best way to tune up. One recent addition to Hidersine violins are Wittner finetune pegs. Available on the Veracini, Venezia, Vivente and Piacenza violins. These pegs are a genuine revelation for players of all standards. The clever, German-engineering employed in Wittner’s Finetune pegs allows the player to turn the internally geared peg in a controlled way. You can make tiny, incremental increases or decreases in pitch – just like tuning a guitar.
Do I need a violin tuner?
To start off with yes, tuning up yourself before you start practising using an electronic tuner will improve your ear. The more you tune up the better your ear will become. Eventually you will be able to hear the open string notes. Your tuner will then just be needed to confirm and fine tune.
Our recommended tuners are the Snark range and the TGI tuners. Incredibly accurate, small enough to fit in your case and they clip on nicely to the top of your violin.
What’s the rosin for?
Rosin is applied to the bow, without it the bow would simply slide across the strings and make no sound. When applied to the bow, its glue like quality enables the bow to grip the strings and produce a sound. There are many different types and makes of rosin and many theories on which rosin is the best or goes with a particular string, certainly enough for another blog at some point. In the meantime here is a selection of our rosins.
Do I need a mute for my violin?
There are essentially 2 types of violin mute. An orchestral mute and a practice mute. The orchestral is mainly used for certain pieces that require a quieter sound. Our recommended orchestral mute is the Tourte mute.
The heavy practice mute is slightly different in that it really does noticeably quieten the sound and can be used if you are practising and need to minimise your sound. We recommend the 5 Pronged Rubber Violin Mute . Easy to fit and really mutes the sound. Ideal for practising.