Can You Play The Violin With Big Hands? (Pros and Cons)

For such a small instrument, the violin has had an astounding impact on the musical landscape of the world. Playing the instrument for the first time is a daunting task, especially if you feel like you’re not small or nimble enough to handle it. 

But are thick fingers really a death sentence to your violin career? Or can a person with big hands play the violin just as well as anyone else? We’ve consulted the experts to find the answers.


People with large hands can absolutely play the violin! Practice and dexterity are far more important when it comes to being a successful violinist. As a matter of fact, playing the violin with big hands can be an advantage by making it easier, for example, to reach larger intervals.

Can you be too big to play the Violin? 

In all but the most extreme cases, you cannot be too big to play the violin. Having a larger body or bigger hands will certainly have an effect on how you approach the instrument, but almost anyone of any size can learn to play the violin as long as they are willing to put in the work.

People of larger stature may think that thick fingers or big hands can inhibit their ability to learn the violin. The fact of the matter, however, is that virtually any issue you may have on the violin can be solved with enough diligent practice.

Does hand size limit Violin Playing ability?

Simply put, the size of your hands doesn’t affect your violin playing ability. People – and their hands – come in all shapes and sizes. Taking a look at some famous violinists makes it easy to see that hand size does not limit violin playing ability. 

Itzhak Perlman is one of the most famous violinists performing today. His large hands and thick, strong fingers have certainly not slowed him down! Meanwhile, Hilary Hahn is a virtuoso on the other end of the spectrum. She’s barely five feet tall and has a much smaller build, but again, her size does not seem to factor into her ability to perform flawlessly. 

Itzhak Perlman Playing a Standard Sized Violin

Both of these artists play normal-sized violins, which should assuage any fears you have that you are too small or too large to play the instrument.

Are there certain types of music or notes people with big hands will struggle with?

If you have thick fingertips, you may find it difficult to play certain intervals in tune or properly execute faster passages. Here’s the thing though: learning how to play the violin with great tuning and nimble fingering is a hurdle for beginning violinists of all sizes. 

The dexterity you’ll develop through days, months, and years of practice will be infinitely more important than the size of your hands or the thickness of your fingers when it comes to playing difficult music on the violin.

Are there any benefits to having big hands for playing the Violin? 

While it can make certain aspects of the violin more challenging, playing the violin with big hands also comes with its share of advantages. Certain violin fingering techniques are actually much, much easier with big hands. 

Fingered octaves and tenths, for example, can be difficult for people with smaller hands. With larger hands, these musical devices can be accomplished with less tension and more accuracy.

Tips for playing the Violin with big hands?

There are no shortcuts to playing the violin. In that sense, playing the violin with big hands is no different from learning to play it with small hands. No matter your shape or size, diligent, thoughtful practice is the only path to becoming a skilled violinist.

Having said that, there are certain simple techniques that are worth trying if you feel the violin is too small for you to play comfortably. Sometimes the solution is merely a matter of angling the instrument a certain way or adjusting the tilt of your elbow. 

If you have the means and are serious about improving your ability to play the violin, getting violin lessons is the safest way to ensure you don’t build bad habits.

Is the Violin a good instrument for people with big hands?  

If you ask me, the violin is a good instrument regardless of your size! Most instruments have advantages and disadvantages, so having big hands should not deter you from following your passions.

As we’ve already discussed, thick fingers may present some challenges to learning the violin, but there are also many advantages to playing the violin with big hands. Ultimately, the best instrument is the one you want to play. If you find yourself drawn to the violin, then the size of your hands shouldn’t deter you from trying it out!

What other instruments are good for people with big hands? 

If your heart isn’t set on the violin, there are many instruments that are good for people with big hands. The viola is a great option for people of larger stature because it’s similar to the violin, but just a little bigger. Though perhaps not as famous as its smaller sibling, the viola has a robust repertoire and can be an incredibly rewarding instrument to play  

The viola is unique and beautiful and is a perfect instrument for people with big hands, but it’s certainly not the only alternative! If you find yourself to be more comfortable with larger instruments, the next step up from the viola is the cello. And contrabasses are larger still! String instruments come in all sizes, so there’s bound to be one that fits you perfectly.

If you venture beyond the string family, you’ll find countless instruments easy to play with big hands. Having a wide hand span is an enviable trait for pianists, making the piano a great instrument for people with long fingers. Many wind instruments – such as the trumpet, the trombone, and the saxophone – are also easy to play with large hands.

Final Thoughts

The size and shape of your body is going to be a factor in how you approach playing any instrument. While there are certainly challenges to playing the violin with big hands, there are equally as many advantages. At the end of the day, learning how to play the violin well isn’t about the size of your hands, it’s about your dedication as a student.