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What Size Viola Do I Need?

What Size Viola Do I Need?

Playing on the correct size viola is crucial to a players development and directly affects their ability to learn and have fun playing the viola.

This is why, at The Sydney String Centre, we always strive to find a size that the player feels most comfortable on. 

The best way to find the perfect size, is to come into our store and be measured against a real viola. However, if you're buying online or having a rental viola sent out to you, our sizing chart is the next best thing!

It is always a good idea to consult your teacher about sizing before coming in as they might have a preference on size.

If you are just starting out and can't come into the store to be sized, we would suggest renting first. This way you can swap the viola size at any time, if you or your teacher feel like the size you ordered isn't quite right.

Click to learn more about out rental program  |  Order a rental viola online

Determining your size using our viola sizing chart

The age of a player, and/or the player's arm length are great indicators for determining a suitable viola size.

Below are instructions on how to take the players arm measurement. Once you have the measurement you can match it to our sizing chart.

Please note that our sizing chart is just a guide, and that arm length isn't the only thing we take into account when sizing a viola. We also look at the players overall build, neck height and hand size.

While kids are still growing, it is not uncommon for parts of their body to grow at different rates, e.g a child might have really long arms and little neck height, or short arms and big hands. Because of this, arm measurement alone, may not translate to the most appropriate size.

Step 1: Taking the arm measurement

Have the player stand up straight with their left arm out to the side, palm facing up. 
Draw a dot in the middle of the players left palm.
Using a tape measure or measuring stick, measure the distance from the base of the player's neck to the dot in the center of their palm.


Step 2: Match up the measurement with the chart

It is important to note that measurements on other websites may not be the same as ours. This is because viola brands can differ in size. We have included the overall lengths of our Kreisler 110 violas as a reference for comparison. The Kreisler 110 is the first viola in our beginner range, and our most popular beginner rental viola.

What if I am between viola sizes?

If you are in between sizes we recommend going with the smaller size. In general, players feel more comfortable on a viola that is slightly too small than one that is too big.

Playing on a viola that is too big can cause neck and back problems to develop and can make it difficult to achieve proper technique.

Many of our customers who are in between sizes, start off by renting and choose to purchase when they are ready for the next size up. Our rental program allows you to use your first 3 months rent as a credit towards any new instrument.

Click to learn more about out rental program  |  Order a rental viola online

If you have any questions on sizing or using our sizing chart, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Our in-store sizing process 

In this video Carmel demonstrates how we size up players for the violin in-store. We use the exact same process when sizing up children for violas.

If you are a teacher at a school and have access to a variety of sizes, we recommend sizing your students using this method, as opposed to using the sizing chart.

1. Stance

Standing up straight with open shoulders, the player’s feet should be shoulder-width apart.

The player’s left arm should then be extended out straight to the side with palm facing up and their head turned to the left.

Once they are in this position, place the viola on the player’s shoulder under their chin. We recommend using a shoulder rest.

2. Checking Arm Length

Position the viola on the player’s shoulder under their chin. The scroll of the viola should reach the wrists and the player should also be able to comfortably wrap their fingers around the entire scroll.

When the player’s hand is in play position, the angle of their left elbow should be at a 90 degree angle. 

3. Hand Size

Lastly, check that the player’s fingers are long enough to do the stretches required. A simple scale on the lowest string, with the use of the fourth finger should be enough to confirm the size. If difficulties are had placing the fourth finger in the correct position, it may be best to use an instrument one size smaller.

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