You are currently viewing How to Measure a Student for an Upright Bass

It is important to properly fit students for the right size instrument.  Basses come in several different common sizes: 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8.  3/4 is the largest readily available standard student size and 1/8 is the smallest.

To get a general idea of what size bass a student needs we can use the student’s age. Of course, some students need larger or smaller instruments based on their individual size. We will get a more accurate determination of the student’s size in the steps below.


Student’s Age  Approximate Bass Size
7 to 9 years old 1/8
9 to 12 years old 1/4
11 to 14 years old and small adult 1/2
13 to 16+ and average adult 3/4


how to measure a student for an upright bass

  1. Measure the student’s finger span:
  • Have the student spread the fingers of the left hand as far apart as possible.
  • Measure the distance in inches from the tip of the pointer finger to the tip of the pinky finger (see picture)._______inches






  1. Measure the student’s height:
  • Have the student stand with good posture (as straight as possible).
  • Measure the student’s height in feet and inches from the floor to the top of their head._______ ft. _______ in.
  1. Compare the two measurements you took above against the recommended bass size in the table below.
Finger Span Height Bass Size
Less than 3 3/4” 4’ 5” to 4’ 8” 1/8
4” to 4 3/4” 4’ 8” to 5’ 1/4
5” to 5 3/4” 5’ to 5’ 4” 1/2
6”+ 5’ 5”+ 3/4


  • If both measurements point to the same size, then you have a pretty accurate bass size.
  • If the student is between two sizes, we recommend going with the smaller size bass.


Click on this link for a PDF version of “How to Measure a Student for a Bass”