How to Measure for a String Instrument

Use the guides on this page to help you choose the right size violin, viola, or cello.

If the child is between sizes we always recommend choosing the smaller size, because an instrument that is too large can be difficult/uncomfortable to play. You can always exchange for the larger size as the child grows while you are renting from Elefante Music.

Violin

Violins come in sizes ranging from 1/16 (smallest) to 4/4 (largest).
Have the student stand up tall and hold his/her left arm straight out to the side (perpendicular to his/her body) with the palm facing up. Measure from the neck to the center of the palm. Use the following measurements as a guide of which size the student will need:

MeasurementViolin Size
14-15.4”1/16
15.4-16.9”1/10
16.9-18.5”1/8
18.5-20.4”1/4
20.4-22.2”1/2
22.2-23.6”3/4
23.6+”4/4

Viola

Viola sizes (12″-16.5″) are based on the actual measurement, in inches, of the body of the viola.
Have the student stand up tall and hold his/her left arm straight out to the side (perpendicular to his/her body) with the palm facing up. Measure from the neck to the base of the fingers. Use the following measurements as a guide of which size the student will need:

MeasurementViola Size
Below 21.5″12″
21.5-23″13″
23-24.5″14″
24.5-26″15″
26″ & up16″

Cello

Since both body height and body proportions are helpful when sizing for a cello, it is best to have a cello present when measuring for size. However, if the cello isn’t available, use the following height guidelines for choosing size:

Student HeightCello Size
3.0′1/10
3′ – 3.5′1/8
3.5′ – 4′1/4
4′ – 4.5′1/2
4.5′ – 5′3/4
5′ +4/4