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How to determine the right size of viola to buy?

Viola comes in 4 different sizes: 16", 15", 14", and 13".  16" size being the biggest and 13" size being the smallest. All adults, regardless of their size, use the 16" viola. There are 2 other less common sizes, 15-1/2" and 16-1/2".  15-1/2" size is for people who are in between 15" and 16" sizes while 16-1/2" size is for people who wants a little more sound volume out of their viola.

To measure what size viola best suits you, you need to know the length between your neck and the top of your left-hand palm when your left arm is fully extended and raised perpendicular to your body, just like holding a viola.  The top of your palm is where your palm connects with the fingers and not where the palm connects with the wrist.

If you have a teacher, you should ask for your teacher's recommendation when choosing the size.  If you don't have a teacher, we would recommend using the above method to determine size.

The following chart lists the length of each viola size.  Find your length using the above method and use the following chart to determine the size of viola to get.

Viola Size


(in inches)




24 1/2




21 1/2

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