Orchestral Instrument Sizing

It is always best to have your orchestra instructor size your student for his/her instrument.  If this is not possible, you can estimate the size of the instrument that should work for your student by using the information below.

You will need a yardstick or tape measure.  Have the student stand and extend their left arm straight out from their left side with their palm facing up.  In other words, if the student is facing north, their left arm should be fully extended to the west.  

Hold one end of the yardstick against the left side of their neck and read the distance to the MIDDLE OF THE PALM.  If your measurement falls right on the line, go to the next larger size.


If the measured distance is:


less than 17"  =  1/10 size

more than 17" but less than 18.5" = 1/8 size

more than 18.5" but less than 20.25" = 1/4 size

more than 20.25" but less than 22.25" = 1/2 size

more than 22.25" but less than 23.5" = 3/4 size

more than 23.5" = 4/4 (full) size


more than 21.5" but less than 23.25" = 13" viola

more than 23.25" but less than 24.75" = 14" viola

more than 24.75" but less than 25.5" = 15" viola

more than 25.5" but less than 26.25" = 15.5" viola (considered Full Size)

more than 26.25" but less than 27.25" = 16" viola (considered Full Size)

more than 27.25" = 16.5" viola (considered Full Size)


There are no single measurements that will give an accurate sizing for cellos or basses.  If you cannot get the teacher's recommendation on the size, you will need to bring your student into the store to be sized.

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