If you have successfully decided where to buy your viola, how much to spend and what to spend it on, you will then need to make sure that your instrument of choice is the right size for you.
If you weren’t already aware, violas come in a variety of sizes and in accordance with your age, size and so on, you will need to work out which one is the right fit for you.
Hidersine violas come in a range of sizes from 12 inches up to 16 inches all available at £194 in the Vivente line-up which comes with an Oblong Styrofoam Case with accessory compartment and music pocket,
Brazilwood, Half-mounted bow and Hidersine Rosin block.
The violas themselves have a Solid Spruce Table, Solid Maple back and ribs with graphic flame, Carved Maple Neck, Genuine Ebony fingerboard and pegs, Carbon Tailpiece, Steel Strings.
How is a viola measured?
Viola sizes are defined by measuring the reverse side length from the side of the button to the centre line at the base. Violas of between 16 and 16½ inches (40.6 to 42cm) are classed as large-sized and suitable for most adults. Hidersine viola sizes are available in the standard and most commonly played sizes. These common sizes are generally suitable for the following age ranges based on the average size of a person at this age.
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As with a violin, the main criteria of measuring viola size is how far you extend your left arm in order to play in first position.
Try this. Lift your hand so your fingertips touch your shoulder, and then slowly move your hand away from your body. When the upper arm moves past the vertical position the tension in your biceps starts to increase when the upper arm is around 45 degrees to the vertical. This is the position where you need to hold your arm to play the viola.
If you then twist your hand round and pretend you are playing a violin and then move your hand away and pretend to play a viola, as your arm extends further from your body you will also notice that it becomes more difficult to move your fingers. This is why viola size is so important.
Viola body and neck length
However, just using the back length does not tell you how far you are going to have to extend your left arm so bear in mind the combination of the body length and the neck length.
Unlike the violin, there is no standard length for viola necks meaning finding the right size can be a little tricky. A handy tip is to add the back length and neck length measurements together as this will tell you how far you will need to extend your left arm. Next, subtract the instrument string length from this figure to find out how much your right arm will be extended. The open string length will of course indicate how far apart your fingers will need to be.
Although these measurements will help you compare instruments and to understand why they feel different, to find out if is the viola that you should be playing, you really need to try it for size and see how it feels when you play it. One of our ever-helpful Hidersine dealers will be able to assist you to make the right choice.