Helpful Measurements and Guides

Bridge Placements - Standard Instrument Measurements - Sizing a Student

Proper Bridge Placement. Proper Bridge Placement is achieved through the following instructions: The "f" hole notches are only a basic guide and are not an exact placement guide. The proper bridge location is calculated using the MENSUR which is a ratio of neck length to bridge location. To determine the MENSUR of a violin/viola, first measure the distance from the nut to the edge of the violin next to the neck. Take this total (which is 13mm on most violins), divide by two (13 cm/2=6.5 cm), and multiply by three (6.5cm x 3= 19.5cm). The resulting measurement (from the edge by the neck, to the center of the bridge foot) is the proper location of the top of the front of the bridge (side closest to the fingerboard) for violin, thus a 2:3 ratio. For the Cello the ratio is 7:10 and the Bass is 3:4.

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Standard Instrument Measurements (in inches)

Instrument/Size

Body Length

String Spacing at Bridge

String Spacing at Nut

Violin 4/4

14

15/32

7/32

3/4

13 1/2

7/16

3/16

1/2

12 3/8

13/32

5/32

1/4

11

3/8

1/8

1/8

10 1/4

5/16

1/8

1/10

9 1/4

5/16

3/32

1/16

8 5/16

5/16

3/32

Viola Standard

16

17/32

1/4

Small

15 1/4

1/2

7/32

Cello 4/4

30

5/8

5/16

3/4

27

9/16

9/32

1/2

25 5/8

1/2

1/4

1/4

23

7/16

7/32

1/8

20

3/8

7/32

Double Bass 3/4

43 3/4

1

3/8

1/2

40 1/8

7/8

5/16

1/4

37 3/8

3/4

1/4

1/8

33 1/2

5/8

3/16

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Bridge Height- Between Strings & Fingerboard

Violin

E: 1/8"

G: 3/16"

Viola

A: 3/16"

C: 1/4"

Cello

A: 1/4"

C: 5/16"

Bass

G: 7/16"

E: 11/16"

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Sizing a New Student

Although we strongly recommend having the size checked by a teacher and/or a member of our staff, we realize it isn't always feasible to bring the student to our store for sizing.

Listed below are some measurement guidelines to give an approximate idea on what size violin or cello a student will need. To measure--with their palm facing upward, have the student fully extend their left arm to their side with a slight bend in their elbow. Place a yardstick or measuring tape at the base of the student's neck and measure to the center of their palm. Use the table below to determine which size the student will most likely need.

Arm Length

Approx. Age

Violin/Cello Size

14" to 15 3/8"

3-5 years

1/16

15 3/8" to 17"

3-5 years

1/10

17.1" to 17.5"

3-5 years

1/8

17.6" to 20"

4-7 years

1/4 (11" viola)

20" to 22"

6-10 years

1/2 (12" viola)

22" to 23.5"

9-11 years

3/4 (13" viola)

23.5" & Up

9-adult

4/4 (14" viola & up)

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