How to Choose A Cello Size?
'How to choose a right cello size for children to play?', 'What are the ways/methods to measure a cello size?', 'Which cello size to buy for my child in a cello shop?' are some of the cello questions that I am often approached by especially cello beginners.
Unlike musical instrument like acoustic or grand piano that comes in 'one size', strings instruments like violin and cello come in various sizes just like our shoes. :) If we wear a bigger shoe or smaller shoe than our feet, we will feel uncomfortable. This goes the same for cello size.
Cello sizes range from 1/10 cello size, 1/8 cello size, 1/4 cello size, 1/2 cello size, 3/4 cello size and 4/4 full sized cello. Thus knowing how to select the right cello size for the younger cello players is important.
Most adults will need a 4/4 full-sized cello. However, if the adult cello player has hard time playing a full-sized cello for example, some lady cello players, they may consider a 7/8 size cello.
There are several methods/ways to find out which cello size suit us. These cello size measurement methods are generally divided into 2 main categories:
1) Measuring a right cello size without using or having a cello.
2) Measuring a right cello size using a cello.
Below are some of the advises on the various methods/ways to choose a suitable cello size according to our age, height, arm length and finger span.
For easy references, I have summarized these methods into various cello sizing measuring charts:
How to Measure A Cello Size Without Using or Having A Cello?
** The above cello sizes and their related age, height, arm length and finger span reference charts, are just a general guide when choosing the right cello size to buy or play with. Try not to just based on one factor for example, only refer to the player's age or height, when choosing a cello size. If we only based on 1 factor to choose our cello size, the cello size may not be very accurate because all of us are different. Some of us may be young but very tall, some of us may have smaller finger span or longer arm length than other same age person.
Please remember to consider a few more factors before making the final decision on which cello size best suit you.
How to Use A Cello to Measure Which Cello Size to Buy in Cello Shops?
Miss Jin Loh has summarized the following guide, to teach cello players especially cello beginners, step by step on how to find out the correct cello size to buy/play in a cello shop.
1. Try to stand and adjust the cello endpin (the silver metal stick at the bottom of the cello, please refer to the cello names picture above) by pulling it out until the cello scroll reach about your nose level.
2. Stand with leg slightly apart (same as shoulder distance), hold the cello about 1 arm length in front of you.
3. Then sit up straight on a chair. Try to sit only the front part of the chair, taking/occupying about half of the chair space in front, not occupying the complete chair space on the chair... If you are sitting on a cello stool, you will probably need to sit and occupy more space on the cello stool..
4. Check if both of your knees are bent at about 90 degrees when you sit on the chair. In another words, is your hip and the knees same height, bending at 90 degrees? If a chair is too high or too low, it may result the cello size measurement to be less accurate. Try to put both feet flat on the floor. Try not to let your feet hide/'curl' at the back of the chair, the cello will be less stable this way.
5. Rest the cello fingerboard against your left shoulder. The cello's upper rim will rest on your sternum (breastbone). Try to make sure the cello scroll or fingerboard does not rest/touch your left shoulder. Your left shoulder should not be holding/carrying the weight of the cello. The cello 'C string' peg (please refer to the cello name picture above) is around your left ear.
6. The cello lower 'C bout' (please refer to the cello name picture above), will touch your left knee.
7. Finally, try reaching/sliding up and down all parts of the cello fingerboard with your left hand. Check if you are able to reach them easily on both side of the fingerboard.