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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.
THIS IS A GENERAL GUIDE ONLY
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.

SIZING FOR VIOLINS

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.

SIZE OF VIOLIN MEASUREMENT (CM) AVERAGE AGE OF CHILD
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
SIZING FOR VIOLAS

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.

SIZE OF VIOLA MEASUREMENT (CM)
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
SIZING FOR CELLOS

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.

SIZE OF CELLO AGE OF CHILD
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
SIZING FOR DOUBLE BASSES

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.

SIZE OF BASS AGE OF CHILD
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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The Big Book of Christmas Songs for Cello

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An awesome collection of all the best Christmas songs, traditional and contemporary, including: All I Want for Christmas Is You • Angels We Have Heard on High • Auld Lang Syne • Away in a Manger • Blue Christmas • The Chipmunk Song • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) • Christmas Time Is Here • Do They Know It's Christmas? • Feliz Navidad • Frosty the Snow Man • Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer • I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm • Last Christmas • Let's Have an Old Fashioned Christmas • Mele Kalikimaka • Miss You Most at Christmas Time • The Most Wonderful Time of the Year • My Favorite Things • Nuttin' for Christmas • Pretty Paper • Santa Baby • Silent Night • Wonderful Christmastime • and more!

Contents:

  • A Caroling We Go 
  • A Child Is Born In Bethlehem 
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You 
  • All My Heart This Night Rejoices 
  • All Through The Night 
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory 
  • Angels We Have Heard On High 
  • As Long As There's Christmas 
  • As with Gladness Men of Old 
  • Auld Lang Syne  
  • Away In A Manger 
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside 
  • Because It's Christmas (For All The Children) 
  • Blue Christmas 
  • The Boar's Head Carol 
  • Brazilian Sleigh Bells 
  • Break Forth, O Beauteous, Heavenly Light 
  • Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella 
  • Carol of the Bells 
  • Carol Of The Birds 
  • Caroling, Caroling 
  • The Chipmunk Song 
  • Christ Was Born on Christmas Day 
  • C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S 
  • Christmas All Across the U.S.A. 
  • Christmas In Dixie 
  • Christmas Is 
  • Christmas Is A-Comin' (May God Bless You) 
  • Christmas Is All In The Heart 
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) 
  • Christmas Star 
  • Christmas Time Is Here 
  • The Christmas Waltz 
  • Cold December Nights 
  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus 
  • Coventry Carol 
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy 
  • Deck the Hall 
  • Ding Dong! Merrily On High! 
  • Do They Know It's Christmas? 
  • Do You Hear What I Hear 
  • Don't Save It All For Christmas Day 
  • Feliz Navidad 
  • The First Noel 
  • The Friendly Beasts 
  • From Heaven Above to Earth I Come 
  • Frosty the Snow Man 
  • Fum, Fum, Fum 
  • The Gift 
  • Go, Tell It on the Mountain 
  • God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen 
  • Going Home For Christmas 
  • Good Christian Men, Rejoice 
  • Good King Wenceslas 
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer 
  • Grandma's Killer Fruitcake 
  • The Greatest Gift Of All 
  • Greenwillow Christmas 
  • Grown-Up Christmas List 
  • Happy Christmas, Little Friend 
  • Happy Hanukkah, My Friend (The Hanukkah Song) 
  • Happy Holiday 
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) 
  • Hard Candy Christmas 
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing 
  • He 
  • He Is Born, The Holy Child (Il Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant) 
  • Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) 
  • Here We Come A-Wassailing 
  • The Holly and the Ivy 
  • A Holly Jolly Christmas 
  • (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays 
  • Hymne 
  • I Am So Glad On Christmas Eve 
  • I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day 
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 
  • I Saw Three Ships 
  • I Wonder as I Wander 
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas  
  • I'm Spending Christmas With You 
  • I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm 
  • In the bleak midwinter 
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear 
  • It Must Have Been The Mistletoe (Our First Christmas) 
  • It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas 
  • It's Christmas Time All Over The World 
  • It's Just Another New Year's Eve 
  • Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring 
  • Jesus Holy, Born So Lowly 
  • Jingle-Bell Rock 
  • Jingle Bells  
  • Jingle, Jingle, Jingle 
  • Jolly Old St. Nicholas 
  • Joy To The World 
  • Last Christmas 
  • The Last Month Of The Year (What Month Was Jesus Born In?) 
  • Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! 
  • Let's Have An Old Fashioned Christmas 
  • Little Saint Nick 
  • Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming 
  • (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag 
  • March Of The Three Kings 
  • A Marshmallow World 
  • Masters in this Hall 
  • Mele Kalikimaka 
  • Merry Christmas, Baby 
  • Merry Christmas, Darling 
  • The Merry Christmas Polka 
  • Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas 
  • A Merry, Merry Christmas To You 
  • Miss You Most At Christmas Time 
  • Mister Santa 
  • Mistletoe and Holly 
  • The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year 
  • My Favorite Things 
  • My Only Wish This Year 
  • The Night Before Christmas Song 
  • Nuttin' for Christmas 
  • O Christmas Tree 
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) 
  • O Come, Little Children 
  • O Come, O Come Immanuel 
  • O Holy Night 
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem 
  • O Sanctissima 
  • Of The Father's Love Begotten 
  • Old Toy Trains 
  • On Christmas Night 
  • Once In Royal David's City 
  • Pat-A-Pan (Willie, Take Your Little Drum) 
  • Please Come Home For Christmas 
  • Pretty Paper 
  • Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow 
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree 
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
  • Santa Baby 
  • Santa Claus Is Back In Town 
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town  
  • Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) 
  • Shake Me I Rattle (Squeeze Me I Cry) 
  • Shepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep 
  • Silent Night 
  • Silver And Gold 
  • Silver Bells 
  • Sing We Now of Christmas 
  • Snowfall 
  • Some Children See Him 
  • Some Things For Christmas (A Snake, Some Mice, Some Glue And A Hole Too) 
  • Somewhere In My Memory 
  • Special Gift 
  • The Star Carol 
  • Still, Still, Still 
  • Suzy Snowflake 
  • Tennessee Christmas 
  • That Christmas Feeling 
  • The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year 
  • This Christmas 
  • Toyland 
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas 
  • Up on the Housetop 
  • Watchman, Tell Us Of The Night 
  • We Need a Little Christmas 
  • We Three Kings Of Orient Are 
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas 
  • Wexford Carol 
  • What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? 
  • What Child Is This? 
  • When Christmas Morn Is Dawning 
  • When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter 
  • The White World Of Winter 
  • Who Would Imagine A King 
  • Wonderful Christmastime 
  • You Don't Have To Be Alone 
  • You're All I Want For Christmas 
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