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Sound Profiles
Functionality (Orchestral > Solo)
  • We asked: is the instrument better for ensemble playing or best for solo performance?
  • We took turns playing and listening to decide whether the instrument was more well-suited to blending with others, or if it is more likely to stand out.
  • Some instruments may sound sweet under your ear, but can get “lost” from an audience’s perspective.
    • These may work better for fitting into an ensemble.
    • The sound could be really attractive, but rather introverted.
    • When we play in larger groups it’s about the overall sound.
    • Individual instruments don’t need to stand out: have you ever listened to a choir where somebody’s voice cuts through and dominates unpleasantly?
  • Others might sound less pleasant under your ear, but the sound carries clearly to your listeners.
    • These can lend themselves best to solo performance or playing in a trio/quartet situation where you really need to be able to make yourself heard more distinctly.
    • We might say these are more extroverted.
General tone (Bass > Treble)
  • Bassy character or treble (ie, deeper or brighter tone)
  • Sometimes we say an instrument is “warmer” (more bass) or brighter (more treble).
  • It may be a violin that sounds almost “viola-ish” so we lean more towards “bass” on the scale.
  • A cello could be very bright and not as ‘boomy’ or big sounding on the lower strings, so we count it as more “treble” in character.
    • The standard Stradivari pattern gives the most characteristic violin/viola/cello family sound.
    • It’s quite bright and speaks out well as an instrument designed to dominate the room.
Depth of sound (Rich & Textured > Direct & Clear)
  • We asked if an instrument had more complex tones or if it was more outspoken and direct.
  • Some instruments will have a real richness in the overtones, giving a great sense of interest when we try them.
    • They probably will be slightly more introspective as well, but we can find this “depth” even in a solo instrument.
    • A good example of this is found in the Guarneri violin design, which offers a rich and intriguing character, yet we find lends itself well to solo performance.
    • The Stradivari pattern has a great blend of beautiful tone and brightness. It is brighter and clearer than the other popular designs.
Important notes regarding our sound profile
  • With every model we judged the instrument itself, not comparing it to any other instrument or price range.
  • Therefore, a $300 violin is assessed via our 3 categories based on its own voice and not compared with say, a $3000 violin.
  • It is our hope that our Sound Profile can help you find the type of voice you’re seeking, whether the instrument range is beginner, intermediate or beyond.
  • Our advice if you’re searching on our website is to filter by your preferred price range / performance level and select those instruments that suit the general character you desire.
  • This should reduce the wide number of options, helping narrow selection down to two or three instruments, making your trial process less complicated and less stressful!
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

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Sassmannshaus, Early Start on the Violin Book 2

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The third volume emphasizes duet playing in a great variety of keys and rhythms and musical styles. Different finger patterns and strokes are thoroughly practiced. The third volume emphasizes duet playing in a great variety of keys and rhythms and musical styles. Different finger patterns and strokes are thoroughly practiced. About Baerenreiter's Sassmannshaus Children playfully learn reliable violin technique at the earliest age. For more than three decades the Sassmannshaus Tradition has been the household name for excellence in beginner violin methods in German-speaking countries. More than half a million students have successfully learned to play the violin using this publication. This tried and tested German violin method is now available in English! The best-selling violin method that gave generations of European musicians their foundation is now available in English, with content and songs newly adapted for today's English speaking children. What makes this violin method so special? The child-friendly and age-appropriate text underlying the music enables children to perceive melodies as a whole and to understand their singable qualities. Songs and scales in different positions are easily explained and mastered within the first year. This is an important advantage over methods that confine children to the first position for many years. Note reading is emphazised from the first lesson - children are brought up to become proficient sight-readers and play in chamber music ensembles as early as possible. In contrast to other beginner violin methods, The Sassmannshaus Tradition progresses swiftly by introducing advanced violin techniques in rudimentary form, such as shifting and varied bow strokes. Ensemble playing is encouraged from the very beginning. The method is suitable for single instruction as well as for group and class lessons. The large print notes and text as well as many colorful illustrations are particularly child-friendly and very attractive to pre-school children and school children alike. The substantial volumes contain comprehensive material and carefully calibrated learning curves. They keep children curious and interested for many months and years. Contents: Preface The Half Step is Between the Second and Third Fingers Duettino Anton Diabelli Allegretto, From 25 Easy Duos for Violin, No. 1 Endre Szervansky Rigaudon Joseph Bodin de Boismortier From The Peasant Cantata Johann Sebastian Bach Allegro From England Andante Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni Ornaments The Half Step is Between the First and Second Fingers Minuet Esprit Philippe Chedeville Minuet From England, 1738 Moderato Bartolomeo Campagnoli Minuet Joseph Haydn Tempo giusto, from 25 Easy Duos for Violin, No. 6 Endre Szervansky Tempo rubato, from 25 Easy Duos for Violin, No. 24 Endre Szervansky Andanta, from 25 Easy Duos for Violin No. 2 Endre Szervansky Waltz Franz Schubert Presto Bertold Hummel Andante Bertold Hummel The Second Finger Changes Between Low and High Positions Rondeau Esprit Philippe Chedeville Contredanse Esprit Philippe Chedeville Tambourin Duet Book, 1740 Minuet Joseph Bodin de Boismortier Peasant Dance Joseph Bodin de Boismortier March Carl Philipp Emanauel Bach Cobbler's Dance Traditional, from the Taunus region Minuet On a plate in the Focke Museum, Bremen Minuet Joseph Haydn The Half Step is Between the Third and Fourth Fingers Andante Ignaz Joseph Pleyel French Christmas Carol Esprit Philippe Chedeville Minuet From 1736 English Collection Allegro Arcangelo Corelli Allegro From England Moderato The Third Finger Changes Between Low and High Positions Contredanse Esprit Philippe Chedeville Cantabile Johann Baptist Vanhal Musette Bertold Hummel Allegretto, from 25 Easy Duos for Violin, No. 5 Endre Szervansky Allegro ma non troppo, from 25 Easy Duos for Violin, No. 25 Endre Szervansky Spring Wilhel Friedemann Bach Aria Valentin Rathgeber The First Finger is Low Trumpet Minuet Anonymous Dance Esprit Philippe Chedeville Musette en Rondeau From a collection, c. 1740 Autumn Melody Bertold Hummel Dance Minuet George Frideric Handel The First Finger Changes Between Low and High Positions Minuet Christian Petzold Minuet Jacques Christophe Naudot Minuet From a Duet Book, c. 1740 Final Chorus from The Peasant Cantata Johann Sebastian Bach Minuet George Frideric Handel March Henry Purcell Gavotte George Frideric Handel The Whirlwind Jacques Aubert Minuet Joseph Haydn Minuet Joseph Haydn Burlesque after Leopold Mozart's Music Book [Untitled] Hubert Ries Larghetto Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Adagio Louis Spohr Finger Patterns, Old and New The Fourth Finger is in Low Position Allegretto From England Andante Allegretto Gavotte allemande Nicolas Chedeville [Untitled] Joseph Haydn The Fourth Finger Changes Between Low and High Positions German Dance Franz Schubert German Dance Joseph Haydn Minuet Joseph Haydn Polonaise Johann Adolf Hasse Minuet Esprit Philippe Chedeville Triplets Minuet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Minuet Georg Philipp Telemann [Untitled] Leopold Mozart March Carl Philipp Emanauel Bach Minuet Esprit Philippe Chedeville Andante, from Leopold Mozart's violin method Leopold Mozart Duets in Various Keys with Changing Finger Patterns Allegro after Evaristo Felice dall' Abaco Bourree George Frideric Handel Minuet Joseph Haydn Minuet Georg Philipp Telemann Allegro Georg Philipp Telemann Waltz Franz Schubert [Untitled] from Leopold Mozart's violin method Leopold Mozart [Untitled] from Hubert Ries' violin method Hubert Ries Comodo Hubert Ries Adagio Louis Spohr Allegro Louis Spohr Siciliano Bertold Hummel Minuet Joseph Haydn Theme with Variation Leopold Jansa Waltz Traditional, from Nassau Marcia Bertold Hummel Major and Minor Scales
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