String Instrument Sizing

Please click the movie viewer and read below

to determine the correct size instrument for your student

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With the student’s left arm fully extended and palm up, place a yardstick under the chin touching the neck – note the measurement at the center of the palm.

 

Measurement           Inst Size

Less than 14 1/4″       1/32 size
14 1/2″ to 15 1/2″      1/16 size
15 3/4″ to 16 1/2″      1/10 size
16 3/4″ to 18 1/2″      1/8 size
18 3/4″ to 20”             1/4 size (11″ viola)
20 1/4″ to 21 1/2″      1/2 size (12” viola)
21 3/4″ to 23”             3/4 size (13” viola)
23 1/4″ and over        4/4 size (14” viola)
24 7/8″ – 25 5/8″        15″ viola
25 7/8″ – 26 3/8″        15 1/2″ viola
26 3/8″ – 27 1/8″        16″ viola
Over 27 1/4″              16″ or larger
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Cello and bass by height           

measuring heightheight              cello size      bass size

 

Under 3’6″        1/8 size
3’6″ – 4′              1/4 size          1/8 size
4′ – 4’6″              1/2 size          1/4 size
4’6″ -5′               3/4 size         1/2 size
5′ and up           full size         3/4 size

For cello, consideration should also be given to the student’s hand size. Generally, a cellist who can comfortably extend 6” or more between the tips of the index and pinkie fingers should be able to play on a 4/4 instrument.

For each inch less in playing span between the two outer fingertips, a smaller fraction should be assigned.

So a 5” span generally means a 3/4 sized instrument and a 4” span a 1/2 sized one. The arm length is also a consideration though, as students with long fingers but shorter arms may not be able to place the bow in a good sounding place on a larger instrument’s string.

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