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Cello Size by Age Range

If your child has expressed an interest in learning to play the cello, you’ve probably already been confronted with the issue of size. Even the smallest cellos are large instruments and they are not one size fits all. Different cellos are more appropriate for different sized people, so you’ll need to take your child’s measurements into account when choosing the right instrument.

Woman kneels to instruct young girl who is playing a small cello

If you have not started shopping around for instruments yet, you may be wondering: how big is a cello? There are about six different cello sizes measured according to the length of the back. The largest cello intended for adults over five feet is a full-sized cello (4/4) with at least a 30 inch back. The smallest is an eight sized cello (1/8) designed for children. Most cellos for students range between 1/8 and 1/2, though your child’s size dictates which cello is best for them.

How Old Is the Student?

Most young cello students start off with a small instrument that is proportionate to their measurements. When playing a cello, it is important that the instrument is properly positioned in relation to your body. This makes the cello’s size crucial to the physical health of the player and their enjoyment of the instrument.

While some determine cello size using age ranges, height is the most accurate way to determine the right cello size. Below is a chart that lists cello sizes along with the corresponding height range.

Front view of a cello

Cello Sizing

Height Range Cello Size
48" to 50" 1/8
51" to 54" 1/4
55" to 58" 1/2
59" to 62" 3/4
63" and up 4/4
*Please Note: All sizes are for German instruments.

Let Your Cello Grow With Your Child

The size of the cello is dependent on the size of your child, so they will need a new instrument as they grow out of their old one. If your child pursues cello instruction throughout their adolescence, this may be every two years or so but will depend on how fast your child grows. When weighing whether to purchase an instrument, such as buying a 4/4 cello , make sure the instrument you purchase matches the size of the player.

If buying a new cello every few years isn’t part of your financial plan, or you worry that your child may tire of cello lessons altogether, there are a variety of cello rental options available. Music is an incredible way to help your children learn discipline and develop a creative skill that will serve them as they continue to grow and mature. Renting an instrument is a great way to make sure their instrument is able to grow along with them.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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Whether searching for a job, learning about the "Mozart Effect," looking for a summer music camp, or choosing the right instrument string, you need look no further.

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Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

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Helpful "how to" videos and useful information about JSI and the products and services we offer.

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