There is lots of talk about "what size body should my viola have?" but I have not been able to find any information about "what should the stop length (length from nut to bridge) of my viola be?" Among instruments of the same body length, the vibrating length of the string can vary by as much as a cm or more. A 16.5 inch viola could have a shorter stop length than a 16 inch. How can one know what their ideal string length would be? I am an intermediate player playing a 16 in viola with a stop length of 373 mm. Generally all is ok except the stretch between a low second finger and the fourth finger. I kind of have to do a "mini-shift" (just a few mm.) to hold on to my intonation. For example on the "D" string it would be F to A. My teacher says I should get a 15.5 or 15 inch instrument. I can fully cup my hand around the scroll of a 15.5 inch instrument, mostly around the 16. Arm measurement charts are all over the place telling me to play everything from a 16.5 to a 15.5 size viola. Right now I don't have any pain issues (at least not any that I didn't have on violin). My hand span is about 8 inches.
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