Choosing the Right Size

CHOOSING A SIZE

Ever played an instrument and had trouble? Sometimes people think they are just not musically talented enough because they fumble to hit the right notes. They go and hire a private instructor but only to find out that the instrument they purchased was the wrong size.

The size of an instrument can make a significant difference in how well you can play the instrument. A size too small can cause you to hit multiple notes and an instrument too large can make playing the instrument painful or very difficult to hit the right notes. Here is a quick guide to help beginners to find the right size. Keep in mind though, every person is a little different so this guide may not be accurate. Always make sure you can feel comfortable in the proper posture to know if it's right for you!


VIOLIN

Violin comes in 8 different sizes: 4/4 (full size), 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32. The 4/4 size being the biggest and 1/32 size being the smallest. All adults, regardless of their size, use the 4/4 Violins.

There are two approaches to determine which size to order:

  1. Neck to Mid-Palm Approach: Length between your neck and the middle of your left-hand palm (when your arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a Violin). This approach would be your biggest size you should use.

  2. Neck to Wrist Approach: Length between your neck and your left wrist (when you arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a Violin). This approach would be the size that is more comfortable for students to hold.

If you have a teacher, you should ask for your teacher's recommendation. If you don't have a teacher, we would recommend using the neck/wrist approach for students not using full size. For students who are deciding whether to use 3/4 or 4/4 size, use the neck to wrist approach because it is always better that student feel comfortable holding and playing the Violin.

Find your length using the your preferred approach and use that to determine the size of Violin to get.

Violin Sizes by Arm Length or Age

4/4 (Full Size)

23"

12 year and older

3/4

22"

10-11

1/2

20"

8-9

1/4

18 1/2"

6-7

1/8

16 1/2"

5-6

1/10

15"

4-5

1/16

14"

3

1/32 13"
2 and below


VIOLA

Viola comes in 8 different sizes: 4/4 (full size), 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32. The 4/4 size being the biggest and 1/32 size being the smallest. All adults, regardless of their size, use the 4/4 Violas.

There are two approaches to determine which size to order:

  1. Neck to Mid-Palm Approach: Length between your neck and the middle of your left-hand palm (when your arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a Viola). This approach would be your biggest size you should use.

  2. Neck to Wrist Approach: Length between your neck and your left wrist (when you arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a Viola). This approach would be the size that is more comfortable for students to hold.

If you have a teacher, you should ask for your teacher's recommendation. If you don't have a teacher, we would recommend using the neck/wrist approach for students not using full size. For students who are deciding whether to use 3/4 or 4/4 size, use the neck to wrist approach because it is always better that student feel comfortable holding and playing the Viola.

Find your length using the your preferred approach and use that to determine the size of Viola to get.

Viola Size

Arm Length (in inches)

16"

26"

15"

24 1/2"

14"

23"

13"

21 1/2"

12"

20"


CELLO

Cello Size

Your Height

Age

4/4

5 feet and above

15 and above

3/4

4 1/2 to 5 feet
11 to 15

1/2

4 to 4 1/2 feet

7 to 11

1/4

below 4 feet

5 to 7

1/8

below 4 feet

4-5

Cello Sizing Tips: Seat the child (or yourself) so that the knees are bent at a ninety degree angle. The instrument should rest such that the upper rim of the Cello body rests on the sternum (breast bone), and the left knee contacts the curve below the lower bout corner. The C string (the lowest string) peg should be near the left ear, with the neck a few inches away from the shoulder, and the left hand able to reach both ends of the fingerboard with ease.

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