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Frequently Asked Questions

What size Violin shall I get?

Here is a general guide for violin sizes. Your arm length can be measured between the neck and the middle of your left-hand palm or wrist. The violin size determined by the neck-to-wrist measurement would be more comfortable for students to hold. The measurement shall be taken when your hand is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a violin. Consider choosing a larger size if the arm length is between two recommended sizes. Please consult your violin teacher if possible.

1/16: for children age 3 or under (arm length 14-15 inches, or 36-38cm)

1/10: for children age 4 to 5 (arm length 15 to 17 inches, or 38-43cm)

1/8: for children age 5 to 6 (arm length 17.1-17.5 inches, or 43-44cm)

1/4: for children age 6 to 7 (arm length 17.6 to 20 inches, or 45-51cm)

1/2: for children age 8 to 9 (arm length 20 to 22 inches, or 51-56cm)

3/4: for children 10-11 (arm length 22 to 23.5 inches, or 56-60cm)

4/4 (full size): for violinists age 9 and above with an arm length of 23.5 inches (60cm) and up.

How do you hold a violin and bow? And how do you use it?

You should put your violin on your left shoulder and hold it with your left hand. You would hold your bow with your right hand. Before using the bow, tighten it by twisting the metal knob to the right. Make sure itís not too tight. You would need plenty of rosin on the bow but donít put it on everyday or it will get too sticky. At the end of your lesson or practise session, loosen the bow. For the violin, the index finger is the 1st finger, the middle is the 2nd finger, the ring is the 3rd finger and the pinkie is the fourth finger. If you donít know how to tune it either wait until your teacher does it or tune it yourself if you have a tuned instrument. The left string is G, the next is D, the next is A and then on the right is E.

Why do I have to keep having my violin adjusted?

As each instrument leaves a workshop, it is adjusted to sound its best at that moment in time. However, a violin is made from many individual parts and several different types of wood. Wood, being a porous material, is sensitive to changes in atmosphere, temperature and especially humidity. As each part of the violin expands or contracts at a different rate, factors like the neck angle or the tightness of the soundpost are affected, which in turn will influence the quality of the sound.

Another cause for an instrument being 'out of adjustment' is the bridge being moved during daily use, either while the player is straightening it or through it being accidentally knocked. Even a small movement of the bridge can have a large impact on the sound and response of an instrument, so often a small adjustment is all that is needed to restore your violin to its former beauty of tone.

How do I know when my bow needs rehairing?

There are several signs which indicate it is time to have your bow hair replaced. A most obvious sign is that of missing hairs. Most commonly hairs break from the playing side edge. Continuing to play on a bow that has many hairs missing from one side can not only cause the bow to respond less effectively but can bring on or aggravate warping of the stick.

Should you find yourself using more rosin than usual and not getting enough grip on the strings, it is time to change the hair. As a rule of thumb, most players find they need a rehair at least once a year.

It is important to have your bow rehaired when the hair is too long or short. Hair length can change drastically with the change of seasons and humidity levels. It is important not to force a bow you are having trouble tightening or loosening; bring it to the shop before further damage occurs. Ignoring a bow in this condition can lead to damage of the inner working parts of the bow, specifically the eyelet, and may cause cracks in the butt of the bow.

I want to learn how to play violin, but I am left handed. Do you have to be right handed to play violin?

No, violinists all play with the violin in the left hand and the bow in the right. There are many left handed violinists, and they usually start out faster than right handers because they are more coordinated with their left hands.