Measuring a Violin - Correct Size

Measuring what size viola,  violin, or cello you need is straight forward. If you have not been advised on the size you need, then this short guide should help you out.

The actual size between the instruments isn’t much to look at, they only change by 1/2 an inch in the larger sizes and 1 inch in the smaller, but these small size differences can make a big difference to the player.

Playing on the wrong size instrument could force the player to have to stretch too far or have to ‘scrunch’ up. Either way, its going to make learning to play much harder!

If you are an adult learning to play then it is easy, for a child follow these simple measurements.

If you are still unsure after using this guide, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

Just under the next size up?

If you find your child is just under being the next size up, it is tempting to go for the large instrument.

Really, they should start with the smaller size and only move to the larger size when they are 100% ready. Playing an instrument even slightly to large may inhibit progress.

If the viola arrives, but the teacher suggests a different size please let us know and we’ll arrange the swap.

Hire a viola in our online store.

Viola SizeArm LengthAge (Guide Only)
12″ ViolaUp to 50.8cm or 20″6 to 7 Years Old
13″ ViolaUp to 55.9cm or 22″7 to 9 Years Old
14″ ViolaUp to 58cm or 23″9 to 12 Years Old
15″ ViolaUp to 62.2cm or 24.5″10 to 12 Years Old
15.5″ ViolaUp to 64cm or 25.25″Average Adult
16″ ViolaUp to 66cm or 22″Larger Adult
16.5″ ViolaUp to 66cm or 22″Larger Adult (preference)
Viola Sizing Guide

How To Measure

Have the player extend their left arm completely straight (but not overextended) with no bend in the elbow or wrists.

  • Measurement 1 (neck to wrist) This indicates the most appropriate and comfortable size for the player.
  • Measurement 2 (neck to palm) This indicates the largest size the player could use.

Other Methods Of Measuring

If you already have a viola you can easily measure and check the size.

If the viola is put in the playing position, then the viola scroll should sit in the middle of the palm of the left hand and the fingers be able to curl around the scroll.

Viola Size Guide
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