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Violin Buyers Guide

Here at Reidy's Home of Music, we stock a wide variety of violins from the industry’s leading manufacturers. Whatever you are looking for - from a beginner’s violin through to handcrafted grade 8 and beyond instruments - you will find it here!

If you’re new to the game, or if you’re buying a stringed instrument for someone else then making the right choice can be a real minefield. So with this in mind we’ve produced this quick guide to help point you in the right direction


Violin guide for the beginner

Cut from wood the violin is made up of a body, neck, fingerboard, 4 pegs and 4 strings. The body's back and sides are cut from maple and the top is cut from spruce. The fingerboard and pegs are made from hardwoods such as rosewood and ebony. The strings are steel, gut or synthetic materials.

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 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.

How to choose the right size violin

Violins come in different sizes, from as small as 1/16 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.

Age: Violin Size:
12 and older 4/4 - full size
10-11 years 3/4
8-9 years 1/2
6-7 years 1/4
5-6 years 1/8
4-5 years 1/10
3 & younger 1/16

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 in 4/4 - full size
22 1/2 in 3/4
21 in 1/2
19 in 1/4
18 in 1/8
16 1/2 in 1/10
15 in 1/16

Beginner violins suitable for exam grades 1-3

Our entry level violins provide a good starting point and are ideally suited to younger musicians just starting out. All the violins come as complete outfits with strong lightweight case and wood bow. Recommended models include:

Intermediate violins suitable for exam grades 3-5

It is at this level where you start to see upgrades on the fingerboard and pegs where harder wearing ebony is used rather than rosewood. Recommended models include:

Full Outfit Inc Case, Bow, Rosin +Set Up

£ - More details »

Full Outfit Inc Case, Bow, Rosin +Set Up

£142.00 - More details »

Full Outfit Inc Case, Bow, Rosin +Set Up

£147.19 - More details »

Full Outfit Inc Case, Bow, Rosin +Set Up .

£203.00 - More details »

Intermediate/advanced violins suitable for exam grades 5-6

It is at this level that you start to see better quality figured maple and spruce tonewoods that have been seasoned for longer used for the back and sides of the violin. Strings are upgraded to synthetic core rather than steel core and better quality brazil wood bows are found on some of these models. Recommended models include:

Advanced Violins suitable for exam grades 7 & 8

At this level the violins really are superb instruments, highly figured selected maple and spruce tonewoods are used. The violins are handcrafted, hand varnished and fitted with professional quality strings with upgraded bridges and tailpieces. Recommended models include:

By Ian Fielding