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Are Violin and Viola Neck Widths Standard Size?
I noticed my new cello neck is a tad narrower than my other cellos and am curious about violins and violas.
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March 18, 2019 - 4:25 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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I bought a new cello. It was not the Rudoulf Doetsch that would be the big sister to my Doetsch violin and viola. I actually did not like the Doetsch cello. That was very odd.

What I found that I loved was the Jean Pierre Lupot. I loved it. I tried it one day, the day I tried the Doetsch and others. I went in to drop off, Ada, my $50 bargain cello. I had geared pegs installed on her. While there, I played cellos. 

I fell out of love with the Doetsch. I fell in love with Jean Pierre Lupot. I bought the Lupot Saturday and brought her home. Her name is, Evie. 

I was playing Evie Saturday and Sunday. It just feels so nice in my left hand. I couldn’t figure out why it felt different than my other cellos. I looked at Evie and then Ada, on the stand right next to her. It looked like the neck of Evie is narrower. Then I looked at Belle (the one I am giving my niece). Evie looked narrower than Belle, too. There was not as much wood on the edges beyond first and fourth strings. Hmm. I got out a measuring tape. Yep, Evie has a very slightly narrower neck.

I think that slightly narrower neck is why she feels better in my left hand. It is only a slight difference, but I noticed it the first time I played her, when we dropped Ada off. Then I noticed it when I played her Saturday, when I picked Ada up. I played cellos that were more money, and none of them felt as comfortable as the Lupot. The Jay Haide was about a grand more, so was not going to happen anyway, but as nice as that sounded, even with my playing, it was not as comfortable in my hand and not as easy for me to play. 

I know a classical guitar has a wider neck than a folk or electric guitar. I did not know cellos of the same size (4/4) had different widths of necks. Does a violin or viola come in different neck widths? I was very surprised. I figured a 3/4 cello would be narrower, but I figured all 4/4 cellos were a standard size. That got me curious about violins and violas. Are their necks a standard width, or can they vary slightly?

The Bumblebee Flies!

Sacramento, California

March 18, 2019 - 7:00 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
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They vary, and they seem to vary much more than "slightly"... I saw it mentioned on another forum that the average 4/4 violin neck width has increased over time, though the necks of new violins seem to vary greatly at any particular time too.

My 1950s German workshop violin has one of the widest violin necks I've seen, almost as wide as the neck on my viola.

March 18, 2019 - 7:14 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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That’s interesting. When I measured my cello, it was almost 1/4”. It probably affects the curve of the backside, plus, with the end strings closer to the edge of the neck, maybe that is why it is so comfortable to me and easier for me to play. I didn’t know it was narrower when I bought it, noticed when I got home. Not complaining, I like it.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Brora, North-east Scotland
March 19, 2019 - 3:24 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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Interesting....   I only have violins ( 5 of them ) but (and no I haven't measured them) - but - of the 5, one happens to be a 3/4 size fiddle about 100 years old - a "mass produced replica thing" - I got off e-bay (initially purchased for taking apart and practicing some luthiery - but - with a little bit of TLC she was actually really playable, with her own quite unique voice - anyway I digress)  - however - it is quite clear to me that on that 3/4 mass produced, virtually worthless to anyone but myself - the neck is ( appears/feels/probably-is to me to be ) both thinner and narrower...  The "narrower" may just come down to a few mm difference between string separation on the nut, but I do notice that fingering needs to be that "little bit more precise" to avoid accidentally damping an adjacent string...

I kind of suspect that @AndrewH has said it really - they're gonna vary - unless it is constructed to some (probably non existent special-measurement-formula - OK - I know there are "specifications" - all I mean is - they are not always followed....)

That probably doesn't help the OP question @Mouse - just my observations as a player! :)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

March 19, 2019 - 6:11 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3621
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The violin shop I purchase my cello from called me today on a different matter. While I had cello guy on the phone, I asked him. He said that periodically they get one in with slightly narrower necks because of requests from a few customers. This is one of them.   Does not affect the sound, but it is easier for me to do the C string and the A strings. That explains the different, more comfortable feel in my hand. It was an interesting conversation. We talked about other cello stuff. It is a very customer friendly violin shop. Glad I expanded my driveable options in my search for an in person violin shop. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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