About cello sizes

Cellos are made in many different sizes, with the 4/4 (full size), 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 sizes being the most common. Most adults play the 4/4 cello, though a 7/8 size does exist for adults who have a hard time playing the full sized instrument.

How to measure (using a cello)

If you have access to cellos of different sizes, it is recommended that you follow this process to determine which cello is right for you.

  1. Sit with your knees bent at 90 degree angles
  2. Hold the cello and check for the following:
    1. The upper rim of the cello should rest on the sternum (breast bone)
    2. The lower bout corner should be touching the left knee
    3. The neck of the cello should be a few inches away from the left shoulder
    4. The C string (thickest string) peg should be near the left ear

How to measure (without a cello)

You can achieve a very close approximation using three measurements.

  1. The height of the player
  2. The distance from the shoulder socket to the tip of the middle finger (left arm)
  3. The distance between the tip of the index finger and the tip of the pinky (left hand)

These measurements will provide a general guide. You may end up in two different ranges, depending on the method used. If in doubt, consult your teacher.

Cello measurement charts

The charts below show the comfortable ranges for each cello size, measured three different ways (see above).

Using age to determine size

If you do not have access to an instrument and measurements are not available, you can approximate the cello size by using a child’s age. This is not the most accurate system, as some children will be large or small for their age. This chart is intended to give you a general idea only.