Determining the Correct Instrument Size

Instrument Sizing

What size instrument will we need? We at Lashof Violins strongly encourage having the student sized by a teacher or at a local violin shop where an experienced eye can offer the best recommendation. (Instrument sizing is a complimentary service offered by Lashof Violins.) If neither option is a possibility, you can measure the student using an ordinary yardstick and use the following measurements as an approximate guide:

To Use the Following Guide: Place the yard stick under the student's chin, against the left side of the neck with the left arm extended but not stretched.  Measure to the middle of the palm to determine the approximate correct size. (Measurements are courtesy of Knilling stringed instruments)






23 5/8"


27 1/4"


22 1/4"


26 3/8"


20 3/8"


25 5/8"


18 1/2"


24 7/8"


16 7/8"


23 5/8"


15 3/8"


22 1/4"


14 1/4"


20 3/8"

How to Determine the Correct Size if You Have a Selection of Instruments to Try: Support the instrument under the chin on the left shoulder in playing position. The instrument is of the proper size if the palm and fingers of the left hand can comfortably cup the scroll with the elbow having a slight bend. These are only general guidelines that most teachers use.  Many teachers generally feel that "smaller is better" if in doubt.

Cello Sizing:Using the table above, use the violin sizing measurements as a rough estimate for determining what size cello is suitable. If there are cellos available to try, have the student sit in a chair, with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend the endpin of the cello and rest the cello on the student so the body of the instrument rests on the sternum of the player and the C peg is at the player's left ear. With the proper positioning and correct size instrument, the student should be able to easily reach the entire length of the fingerboard with their left hand. A correctly sized cellist should also be able to extend the bow fully to the tip without compromising a 90 degree angle when bowing between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge.