How many strings are on a violin?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

4-string-violinThe violin is probably the most popular musical instrument today. It has been used as a showpiece by many people ever since it was first invented many centuries ago. Some of the violin's strings have also been adapted to other instruments, such as viola and cello.

The viola is a bit longer than a violin but smaller in width. Its average body length is about 160 cm which includes its neck and bow. It was originally developed as an alto member of the violin family because its higher pitch would help fill out sounds during concerts or performances with orchestra accompaniment.


Types of violins according to the number of strings

There are different types of violins. For example, the four-stringed violin, five-stringed violin, six-stringed violin, etc.

Classic violin with 4 strings

The four-stringed violin is the most commonly used type of violin. It has a G-D-A-E tuning. The altitude of its soundbox is about 31 cm and its width is about 73cm. Its total length is 130 cm, including the bow.

The outside body shell of the violin consists of many thin wood layers glued together in a special way known as 'biscuit' gluing called so because its hard texture resembles biscuits. This makes the surface more durable to knocks and scratches while also keeping its weight down. Nowadays alternative materials are also used to give the surface a more unique look.

Viola with 4 strings has been around for over 200 years! If you've ever wondered why sometimes in orchestras they'll be an additional player who doesn't play any solos or lead parts but instead adds to the harmony - that's because of the 4-stringed violas.

The person playing this instrument sits next to another player (probable violin) but you don't hear the sound very often because it's below the other instruments and can't be heard well unless it's playing high notes. It comes in three types: alto (tenor), mezzo, and soprano.

The key is written G, D, A, and E so the high C string of a violin becomes the low C string of this instrument. A viola with 4 strings is tuned to CGDAE like the 5-stringed cello but one octave lower than that instrument. The body of a viola with four strings is 44 cm long (about 17 in).

The average size for an adult player is about 61cm (24in) tall while the maximum height allowed by most orchestras is 63cm (25in).

Violin with 5 strings

The five-stringed violin is rarely used, but it adds variety to the sound of music. It has an A-D-G-B-E tuning, with its body shell made out of one large piece of wood in most cases. Since there isn't much space for creating resonating cavities within the violin's body, this makes its sound weaker than that of the four-string violins.

The average length of these violins is about 121 cm which includes the bow. However, some very rare five-string violins have been found to be up to 135 cm long including their bows.

The 5 stringed violins were popularized by people like Paganini, who was known to use them in his concerts. He also invented the violin bow which is widely used today.

It's actually a 5-stringed viola called an alto or tenor viola. The soundbox of these instruments is made much larger than the 4-stringed versions in order to produce more volume and loudness (which helps in orchestras). This enlargement makes them stand out among other varieties, but one problem with this expansion is that they tend to be heavier too!  

This extra weight can tire your wrist very quickly after long periods of playing. But once you get used to it, the bigger sound is worth it. The average size is about 61cm (24 in), but professional players can be up to 64cm (25in) tall.

Violin with 6 strings

One of the main reasons for producing a violin or viola with 6 strings was that it could produce more tones than a 4-stringed violin using an extended tuning. This extended tuning uses the C string on a 5-stringed violin and adds another D, A, and E string instead.

These new strings duplicate some of the notes produced by the G, D, and A strings so it's possible to play most pieces without having to change instruments. It is tuned G-D-A-E-C-F where F is one octave above C. The body length of these violins was about 124 cm (49 in) and the average height of players was around 63-65cm (25-26in).

In orchestra, they make a good alternative to the 5 stringed violas because of their extreme length and deep sound (especially when compared with the violin). It is also tuned similarly except for the E string, which has a higher pitch than that of strings of other instruments. It's basically like having an extra violin.

Some of the most prominent musicians that used this violin are Paganini, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Violin with 7 strings

There's even a violin with seven strings! But it's not common because you need to know how to play it very well before attempting anything like this. The instrument was so big that only one person is able to hold it upright - no standing or sitting allowed.  This is why it wasn't used much in concerts; unless the piece itself required such an arrangement of instruments.  

The tuning also makes using different types of violins for concerts nearly impossible (because each has its own unique tuning). This is probably why there aren't any more than 5-strings or 6-strings on the market today!

It was first produced in the 1630s and its history is mainly that of an orchestral instrument. Its body length ranges from 152 to 160 cm (60-63 inches) long, which makes it difficult for many players to hold.  The widest part of the violin also protrudes far enough for two hands to hold it.

The average height of people who played this violin has been recorded at 65cm (25in), but some have even grown up to 70cm (27.5in)!

The 7-stringed violin was very rarely used in orchestras but it had 3 common tunings. One tuning was C G D A E B F where F is one octave above C - just like on a 6-stringed violin! Another tuning for this instrument was ADGCEA while the third one was CGDAEB - all these have their respective positions or places.

Today, this type is mostly used as a showpiece accessory because of its size and difficulty in playing popular music with it alone - not to mention that it can be damaged easily because of its larger soundbox!

Amount of strings in electric violins

Electric violins usually have the same number of strings as conventional 4-stringed ones. The only difference is that they use electronic impulses to produce sound, which requires more equipment than just a simple violin.

They are very popular today for their wider range of options in music and because it can be used with electric guitar to form many interesting sounds. This instrument has also been used very well by famous musicians like Lindsey Stirling, Edgar Cruz, and Chris Impellitteri (if you don't know who these artists are, check them out - they're pretty amazing).

There are even solid body electric violins available! These types can be heard on songs like May It Be (where Lord Of The Rings was featured) where the melody goes "May it be an evening star, I see you." The sound produced is very light though!

The number of strings in electric violins is all similar. These are the most common types: 4-stringed violin - the same as the ordinary one 1 5/6-stringed 7-stringed violin

The number of strings may vary but not by much. It's just that some instruments have different string materials which enable them to produce certain sounds better than others.  This means that if you need something with a particular pitch, don't just buy any random instrument.

How do strings influence a violin sound?

The violin string sound is influenced greatly by the instrument's shape and thickness. Thicker instruments can produce louder sounds than thinner ones, but this difference in volume depends on the shape of the instrument (such as smaller violins producing softer sounds).

So basically, thicker instruments have larger soundboxes which allow more air to come into them when being played. More air means that more vibrations are created during both playing and listening because large shapes vibrate much louder than small ones.  

Thicker instruments also have larger tops that usually create better tone quality overall compared with thin ones. This is because the top will vibrate less when being due to the increase in surface area.

On the other hand, thinner instruments have smaller soundboxes which makes them quieter than thicker ones. This is why concert halls are usually larger - to accommodate all sounds so it won't be too loud or too quiet!  But even though these thinner instruments are much smaller and lighter, they can produce better tone quality because of the way it's built (for example, violinists play with their chin up close to the tailpiece).

The pressure made by pressing against this part allows more vibrations to come out during playing compared with the thinnest where players will make use of their shoulder instead.

Adding more strings to an instrument will make it louder and with a higher pitch. The reason for this is that there are more vibrations going on with the extra strings! These vibrations also travel faster up to a point where they can't be heard by human ears, but that doesn't mean that adding more of them won't affect the sound quality. It does - especially if those instruments with lots of strings need tuning often.

In fact, some modern orchestras now use electric violins which have been installed with pickups or microphones throughout their bodies instead of eating away at their own sound with what most people call 'cheap amplification.' In other words, these electronics help record the sounds better without losing their natural sweet tone.

They're also great for recording different sounds more than once.


Which one is more popular?

 The 4-stringed violin is the most common out of all of them because it doesn't require the same amount of skill that the 7-string one does.  And if you want to make some extra money on the side, why not try playing viola (even if you're a beginner)? You can usually still find work for orchestras or bands with this instrument!

Which type is better for a beginner?

 The 4-stringed violin is easier to learn for beginners because it has fewer strings - although this doesn't mean that you can't become good with the 7-stringed one!  It all depends on your level of commitment and skill in playing.

But before buying any, make sure you find out which type is most popular with the band or orchestra that you wish to join. Making connections early on is very important when trying to break into the industry; whether you're using an instrument with 4 or 7 strings! You'll get better opportunities if they like what they see (and hear) from you.

Which type is better for a professional musician?

Generally, the 7-stringed violin is better for professional players because it's easier to play in any position!  The lack of strings also means that you have fewer chances of missing a note.

Besides, you can sing while playing this instrument (if your voice permits it!). It may be hard to believe but Paganini was able to do so with his 6-stringed violin! He was so good at singing and playing simultaneously that he could perform pieces written by himself! Today, many are still trying to emulate what he did.

The 7-stringed violin has only one advantage over instruments with more strings: it has fewer parts compared to 3 or 4 string violins. Fewer strings mean lesser problems - unless you have to replace the strings!


The number of violin strings will not affect the sound quality. It depends on how well it's built because there are violins that have more strings but still sound bad! Whether you're a student or a professional violinist, ask yourself what your goals are before getting one with 7 strings! If you wish to be in tune with popular music, use an electric violin instead of using up all the extra energy trying to change the way you play for this type.