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Violins

Violins are four-stringed musical instruments played with either a bow or finger plucking. They have the highest pitch and are the smallest members of the string family. These instruments are used heavily in Western classical music, folk music, country, bluegrass, and jazz.

What are violins made of?

Spruce and maple are the primary types of wood used to make these instruments. Spruce is used for the front because it is lightweight and flexible. The sides, back, and neck are usually constructed of maple. Other woods used in constructing different parts include rosewood, mahogany, ebony, and boxwood. The character and type of wood used are important determinants in tone and sound quality.

How many different sizes of violins are there?

They are made in eight different sizes so that different-sized players can play comfortably, no matter the brand. Each size corresponds to the length of the body of the instrument. The smallest size is 1/16 (9 inches). They are then numbered 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, and 4/4 or full size (14 inches). Most adults and children aged 10 and above are able to hold a full-sized one. The length of your arm and how comfortable it is to hold will determine the appropriate size.

What categories of violins are there?You may see classifications listed as student, intermediate, and professional or master. These classifications can serve as general guidelines to help narrow down what instrument to choose.
  • Student violin: These beginner violins will contain less carved handwork and finishing. They usually have plastic tuning pegs and chinrests. They are recommended for beginners newly exploring the string family.
  • Intermediate: These are handcrafted to be more responsive to the nuanced musicality and technical playing of a more advanced violinist.
  • Professional/Master: These are handcrafted and assembled by master luthiers and constructed from slow-dried wood. They are finished with high-quality fixings such as ebony fingerboards and a rich oil varnish finish. They are appropriate for professional musicians.
How do you care for and maintain a violin?
  • Clean gently with a soft, lint-free cloth each time after you play it. This helps to remove dust, oil, sweat, and rosin build-up.
  • Only occasionally when necessary, use a commercial polish made specifically for the instrument.
  • Store your violin and bow in a padded case when not in use, even temporarily. Always ensure that you have securely zipped and latched the case before transporting it.
  • Depending on how often the instrument is used, change your strings every six to 12 months.
  • If you live in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier as too much dryness can cause cracking.