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7/8 violin?


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I was performing last week, and my mother was watching.

I have a full size violin (but it's on the large side.) and I'm just under 4'10". In any case, she (mom) says that my bow is too long and my octaves look "grotesque". They are, however, in tune. My violin has an enormous sound that I absolutly love, and I get around on it fine. She wants me to... (um, what word am I looking for here? Downsize?) to a 7/8 violin. I think that that would compromize the sound. She says that there's a chance I could get around better and that I could find one that's got just as good a sound.

I do, however, have a few questions.

1. When you have a 7/8, do you have to have different strings? (I honestly can't remember when I had a 3/4.)

2. It took me FOREVER to learn 8ves on my present violin. I'm adjusted now, and I'm concerned that adjusting will take ages.

3. Will the sound be smaller?

4. Cases. Are different sized cases needed for this?

5. Bows- part of my mother's campaign was that my bow is too long. Will a 7/8 have a different size bow, or will I still have the same problem?



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Honestly, if you are comfortable on a 4/4 size violin and you like your instrument, stay with it.

I've been told, that in examinations, it's not really how you do it (technique) by what you sound like. If you can do octaves, even if you look funny or don't do them technically wrong, or whatverer, but it still works for you and no complications result out of this, then don't change a thing.

You only change your technique when you can't do something correctly or in-tune enough.

If you and your teacher are happy with your 8ve, then don't change the violin.

I know that with violas, a smaller instrument generally means a less "gutsy" sound and even if I play on somebody elses viola which is the same size as mine, I still have to adjust. Playing on a violin that I'm not used to - I play horribly, as with playing on smaller violas.

Yes - you will have to adjust a few things - but this is normal for everyone on new or unfamiliar instruments.

The only other reason for a change, would be if you experiance phisical pain. If a 4/4 size violin is too heavy or too uncomfortable to hold, go smaller. If it looks like you're going to develop RSI then change your instrument.

Also, yes, cases and bows would probably be a bit shorter.

Really, I don't see what such a small difference in size would do for you, but all you can do is go and try a few instruments, and see what's out there and If you like anything.

I don't know how old you are, but if there's a chance you'll grow, keep that in mind too!

good luck,


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Pick a good 7/8 and you'll be fine. There are certainly violinists out there with wonderful 7/8 violins (e.g. Midori)! I heard her play the Barber violin concerto at the Proms last summer, and I can tell you that she sounded terrific and had no problem projecting above the orchestra.

Bows- Use your current bow, unless you don't like it.

Time take to relearn 8ves- Not much! I remember moving from a 1/2 --> 3/4 --> 4/4, and your brain and body just adjust automatically.

Case- 7/8 is just a shade under 4/4, so I bet it'll work if you stick to your original case but fill the small gap with foam or the padding that you find in laptop cases.

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