Cello Size?


Emillie said: Sep 28, 2009
Emillie BlairViolin, Viola
8 posts

I am 5′ 2″ and have been playing on a full size cello for a year and a half. It seems a bit big for my hands. (Extensions are impossible and are therefore shifts. And to my hands, the normal position seems to be an extension.) :) Would a 7/8 size be better for me?


Karra said: Sep 29, 2009
51 posts

Cello sizing has less to do with your height than it does with the size and flexibility of your hands. I would have to see your hands and how you use them on the instrument to be able to give you a good answer to your question. You might be right, but it could also be possible that you just might need to change the angle of your hand to the strings.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Barb said: Sep 30, 2009
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

Hello eviolinist,

I am 5′3″ and have been playing a full sized cello since I was 12—when my teacher thought it was better to play one a bit too big than have me later adapt to a new size! Only I grew very little since then, and developed a few bad habits because of that!

Yes, it really is mostly about hand size, but typically people who are 5′ 2″ or 5′ 3″ do not have large hands or long fingers. I had a student start with me who is 5′4″ and has smaller hands than me.

Extensions always have been a problem for me, as well as some double stops and chords. I also get more tension in my hands than I ought to because of reaching for notes, and have some trouble with continuing vibrato when changing notes sometimes because of that. I have not had the chance to try a 7/8 yet, but had a 3/4 in my home for a while. It was much more comfortable to play (but the quality of sound wasn’t as good as mine).

I would suggest you try a 7/8, or even a higher quality 3/4 if you can. Your cello teacher should be able to help you determine the best size, or if angling your hand differently will help.

Some day I may justify a new cello, but in the mean time I have had my bridge moved slightly north (don’t do this without having someone to adjust your soundpost), and when it becomes necessary to change my nut I will look at the T-nut, which would further reduce my string length a bit from the top end of the string. Because of the shape of my hand (4th finger set back), angling more than I do doesn’t work.

Best Wishes!

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Emillie said: Oct 6, 2009
Emillie BlairViolin, Viola
8 posts

Thank you for helping!

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