Know your cello sizes before you buy or rent one. The cello is not a small instrument, and one that's too big will make it difficult for you or your child to learn the proper finger positions. There are many different sizes to choose from, as well as two types of cello: European Standard and Suzuki Standard.
Getting the Right Cello Size
When sizing a cello, sit at the edge of a chair. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. While holding the cello, the upper rim should touch your sternum. Your left knee should contact the cello at the curve below the lower bout corner. The peg for the C string, which is the lowest, should be near your left ear and the cello's neck a few inches away from your shoulder. Your left hand should easily reach from the top to the bottom of the fingerboard. You should not have to bend over to reach the bottom of the fingerboard.
Quick Guide to Cello Sizes
The European Standard comes in seven sizes, from 4/4 (full size) to 1/10. A 4/4 cello's body is 30 inches in length and its total length is 48 inches. The 4/4 is 17.75 inches across. The Suzuki Standard 4/4 has the same measurements.
The European Standard's next size is 7/8. The Suzuki Standard does not have a cello in this size. The 7/8 cello has a body length of 28.50 inches, a total length of 46.5 inches and a width of 17 inches.
Both the European Standard and the Suzuki Standard have a 3/4 size, but the actual measurements are different. The European Standard's body length is 27.25 inches, with a total length of 45 inches and a width of 16 inches. The Suzuki Standard's 3/4 size has a body length of 26 inches, a total length of 42 inches and a width of 15 inches.
For the 1/2 size, the body length of the European Standard is 26 inches, while the Suzuki Standard is 23 inches. The total length for the European Standard 1/2 is 42 inches, while the Suzuki Standard is 38.5 inches. The width of the European Standard 1/2 is 15 inches, while the Suzuki measures in at 13.5 inches.
The 1/4 European Standard has a body length of 23 inches, a total length of 38.5 inches and a 13.5-inch width. The Suzuki's 1/4 body length is 20 inches, with a total length of 33.5 inches and a width of 11.75 inches. Along with the 1/8 size, the 1/4 is a good student cello for children who are learning to play.
The 1/8 is the smallest cello available in both standards, but there is a difference. European Standard measurements are a body length of 20 inches, a total length of 33.5 inches and a width of 11.75 inches. The Suzuki Standard 1/8 size is the same as the European Standard's 1/10 size. There is no 1/10 size for the Suzuki Standard.
The European Standard's 1/10 size has a body length of 17.75 inches, a total length of 29.5 inches and a width of 9.75 inches.
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