Which instrument size do I choose?
In order to be able to play an instrument correctly and comfortably, it is essential that you choose the violin, viola or cello in the right size. We always advise to measure arm or body lengths precisely before making a decision. The age of a musician below is not really relevant; always use the measurements as primary guideline.
|35 - 43 cm||1/16|
|43 - 45 cm||1/8|
|45 - 50 cm||1/4|
|50 - 56 cm||1/2|
|56 - 60 cm||3/4|
*arm length measured from armpit to the top of the middle finger
For teenagers and adults there exists also 7/8 sized violins. These are sometimes chosen by adolescents or adults with small hands, but is not a standard size.
Violas don't have specified sizes as violins and cellos do. Instead, the instrument size is usually indicated in inches (or centimeters).
Violas don't have standardized sizes. The most used size for a full viola, is one with a 16" body. This size is the best compromise between playability and full, deep sound. Some adults however use 15" violas, as they are easier to play. These instruments lose a little bit in sound depth because of their smaller size, but might be preferable for smaller people, or violinists who don't like the large gap between a 14" violin and a viola.
|Arm length*||Body size||Instrument size|
|43 - 47cm||11"||1/8|
|47 - 53 cm||12"||1/4|
|53 - 56 cm||13"||1/2|
|56 - 60cm||14"||3/4|
|60 - 64 cm||15"||4/4 - 7/8|
|64 - 68 cm||16"||4/4|
*arm length measured from collarbone to middle of the palm.
|Body length*||Span width fingers**|
|< 90cm||< 7cm|
|90 - 105 cm||7 - 8 cm|
|105 - 120 cm||8 - 10 cm|
|120 - 135 cm||10 - 13 cm|
|135 - 150 cm||13 - 15 cm|
|150+ cm||15+ cm|
*body length measure from head to heel
**span width is the maximum distance between the top of the forefinger and the top of the pink (spread fingers as far as possible while measuring)
For teenagers and adults there exist also 7/8 sized cellos. These are sometimes choosen by adolescents or adults with small hands, but are not a standard size.
My measurements are on the border of two sizes! Which size do I take?
Nothing is more annoying than playing on an instrument that is too big. The instrument will be too heavy, notes will be difficult to reach, and so on. When in doubt, always take the smaller size, or listen to the advice of your teacher.