SAY HELLO! 1300 739 293

String Instrument Sizing Guide
This guide is intended to give you a rough idea of the size of instrument your or your child will require. Please note that this is a rough guide only. For best results, you should consult with our string experts or your teacher before purchasing or renting.
One of the most important tasks we find ourselves undertaking at Simply for Strings is to size a student for their instrument. Whilst we always check sizing when you purchase an instrument, it is also important to talk to your teacher first about their thoughts on the appropriate size instrument. It is important to remember that we always err on the side of caution when it comes to instrument sizing. Unlike clothes, you cannot ‘grow into’ an instrument. If the instrument is too large then you will find yourself in severe pain when practising or performing. This often leads to a decrease in practice (and interest), which inevitably leads to the player choosing to forgo learning an instrument. Play pain-free and start with the right size violin, viola, cello or double bass from Simply for Strings.

Measuring Guide for Violin & Viola

Measure in centimeters from the neck to the middle of the palm.


Directions for Measuring: With the player’s arm fully extended and parallel to the floor, measure in centimetres from the neck to the middle of the palm.

1/16 35 - 38 CM 3 - 4 YRS
1/10 39 - 42 CM 4 - 5 YRS
1/8 43 - 46 CM 5 - 6 YRS
1/4 47 - 51 CM 6 -7 YRS
1/2 52 - 56 CM 7 - 8 YRS
3/4 57 - 60 CM 9 - 11 YRS
4/4 > 60 CM 11 - 13+ YRS

Directions for Measuring: With the player’s arm fully extended and parallel to the floor, measure in centimetres from the neck to the middle of the palm.

12" 53 - 55 CM
13" 55 - 59 CM
14" 59 - 63 CM
15" 63 - 65 CM
15" 1/2 65 - 67 CM
16" >67 CM

Directions for Measuring: Sizing cellos is slightly more complicated than sizing violins and violas. The student should be seated at the edge of a chair such that the knees are bent at a ninety-degree angle (feet flat on the floor). The upper edge (back of cello near where the neck joins the body) of the instrument should rest in the centre of the chest (on the sternum) and the C peg should be slightly behind the left ear. The knees should lightly grip the lower bouts ensuring that the corners do not dig into the side of legs. (Corners should be slightly above the inside of the knees). The student should be able to reach both ends of the fingerboard with ease. The chart below shows approximate sizing by age.

Note: 7/8 size cellos are available as well. This can be a useful transitional size or a more comfortable option for those players who prefer a slightly smaller instrument.

1/10 4 - 5 YRS
1/8 5 - 6 YRS
1/4 6 - 8 YRS
1/2 8 - 10 YRS
3/4 10 - 12 YRS
4/4 12 - 13+ YRS

Directions for Measuring: The 3/4 size double bass is the standard size for adults. 7/8 size basses and 4/4 sizes basses are made but they are less commonly used. As a rough guideline, when both the bass and the player are standing upright, the bridge should be approximately at the same height as the large knuckles of the student's right hand. The most important issue is that the instrument is comfortable and that the student can reach the higher registers of the fingerboard without difficulty.
The chart below shows approximate sizing by age.

1/16 3 - 4 YRS
1/10 4 - 5 YRS
1/8 5 - 7 YRS
1/4 7 - 9 YRS
1/2 9 - 13 YRS
3/4 13+ YRS

Load image into Gallery viewer, Shop Viola Bows at Australia's Best Prices In-Store and Online | Authorised Coda, Paesold Bow Stockist | Simply for Strings Load image into Gallery viewer, Shop Viola Bows at Australia's Best Prices In-Store and Online | Authorised Coda, Paesold Bow Stockist | Simply for Strings

Arcus S5 Viola Bow

Regular price
Sale price

  • The S5 offers great performance and sound in a price range where you normally find only mediocre bows. Their sound match wooden bows with at least twice its price. Their power and speed makes them very popular not only with classical players but also for jazz and folk.
  • Pure carbon fibre hollow stick
  • Mountings: Sterling Silver
  • Snakewood forg
  • Eye: Pearl
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Weight: 55 grams
  • Shape: Round and octagonal, depending on importer availability
  • Genuine, quality horsehair

About Arcus Viola Bows:

The 'S' series is extremely powerful, with an open and brilliant sound. These bows fit perfectly with large and dark sounding instruments. Their agility and power make them the perfect bow for solos, chamber music and the most demanding orchestral pieces. 

The cause of many problems with sound or playing often doesn't originate in the instrument or the player. Most violists only find this out when they play an Arcus bow for their first time. Suddnely the sound is open and full, the play powerful but elegant. Pianissimo passages in the orchestra sound really good. If you play in a quartet it is now easily possible to match the other instruments. 

The low weight, but especially the dramatically increased resiliency of the stick and its ability to jump naturally require some adjustments in technique, and some time to get used to. The begin with we recommend finding if you are the type of player who prefers the round Arcus bows or the octagonal ones. After some more playing the vast potential of these bows unfolds. This might take several days of playing, but do not be surprised that even months later you might still discover new possibilities with an Arcus bow!

Simply for Strings' team of professional players and teachers hand-select each bow to exacting criteria, including examining the hair, camber of the bow and the bow's ability and sound across different techniques.

About Arcus Bows:

Round or Octagonal

In contrast with the solid sticks of wooden bows, the round and octagonal shapes of Arcus sticks give them specific characteristics. The complex cross section of the octagonal sticks is a result of their round inside. This makes them play in a more agile and lively way. The round sticks have a very regular cross section, which gives them a very even and steady feel. Every player should try both versions to find the best match for their own style of playing.

Pure Carbon Shaft

Arcus have found a unique way to produce bow shafts that contain the absolute minimum of epoxy but the maximum amount of carbon fiber. This provides a pure carbon surface that is warm and soft to the touch and gives a perfectly secure grip. It is also scratch proof, and playing “col legno” does no harm to the stick.

Hollow Stick

Arcus bows are hollow with a thin wall (just like instruments), and so vibrate much more freely than any with a solid core. It is probably the most difficult way of making a bow, but it provides an unmatched clarity of sound, response and projection.

Handmade in Germany

All Arcus bows are entirely made in Germany, with all the love and skills developed with over more than a decade now. The engraving is made using a small computer controlled machine. Everything else is made completely by hand, from the lamination of the stick to the cutting of the wedges which fix the hairs in place.

Traditional Rehair

One thing Arcus bows have in common with historical bowmaking is the hair they use for their bows. Arcus haven’t found a material that is better suited to holding the rosin and grabbing the strings than natural horse hair. Arcus also use traditional wooden wedges to mount the hair, so that every repair shop can easily rehair an Arcus bow.

High End Carbon Fiber Composite

Arcus use carbon fiber materials that are made to exacting specifications. They come from a leading maker in Europe who provides similar qualities to the designers of space crafts, America Cup yachts, Formula One race cars and many others where quality is more important than price.

Long Life Bearings

On traditional bows the screw is only supported by the wood of the shaft, which will wear out with normal use. Arcus use bearings made from a special aluminum-silicon alloy for each bows. These are designed to last forever, and the screw will always turn smoothly and lightly.

Titanium Underslide

All silver and gold-mounted Arcus bows come with a titanium underslide. The combination of this, together with the carbon shaft, gives the most durable fit between frog and stick.

Snakewood Frogs

This wood makes a beautiful contrast with the silvery-grey shade of the shaft. It is also stronger than ebony and the ideal transmitter of vibrations between the shaft and the bowhair.

The Series and Classification

Arcus have designed specific lines of bows, like the S- and M-Series, for every type of instrument, violin, viola, cello and bass. They differ in their resiliency/ stiffness, in their weight, their tuning, feel and play. By choosing different types of fibers and changing their quantity and orientation, Arcus are able to modify the properties of the sticks. This is one of the unique advantages of composites over uniform materials like wood or metal.

After molding the sticks, Arcus first check that they do indeed meet the designated properties for weight, balance and resiliency. The next step is rather special: Arcus classify the bow sticks by assessing their sound quality. The differences between sticks made from the same material, by the same hands and in the same process are quite amazing, but can easily be confirmed by playing the finished bows in direct comparison. There are substantial variations in their response, their sound colors, overtones, sweetness and power.

Arcus basic class-3 bows will already outperform pretty much every other composite bow. The class-4 bows are a match for very high quality wood bows. The finest wood bows we have ever experienced in competition with an Arcus bow could sometimes equal a class-5, but rarely a class-6 bow. The 7- to 9-category bows pull a sound sweeter and more powerful than anything else ever put to a string.

Set Up
Customer Reviews