Purchasing an Instrument
- Youth Sizes
For children, string instruments are available in smaller or fractional
sizes, to allow for students to acquire technique on an instrument that
suits the length of their arms and fingers. As a student grows, so should
the size of the instrument they study on.
For violins, sizes begin at the 1/32 size, and continue in increments
as follows: 1/16/ 1/8/ 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, and 4/4, or a full-size
violin. These sizes do not actually correspond to the true sizes
of the instruments.
For example, a 1/16 size is actually about half the size of a full
Small violas are available in 11, 12, 13, and 14 inch lengths.
Cellos are available in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full sizes. Basses
are available in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 7/8 sizes. The 3/4 bass
standard professional size. 4/4 basses are very rare.
If the instrument is too large, it can cause fatigue, tension,
and hinder progress.
To determine if the violin or viola is the correct size, ask
the child to reach under the instrument while holding the instrument
position. The teacher can assist the student with holding the
if the student is a beginner. If the student extends the palm
outward, the scroll should touch the base of the palm of the
hand. The student
should be able to reach both their middle fingers around the
scroll, while maintaining some bend in the elbow.
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