How to Measure Your Instrument for Finger Guide

How to Measure Your Instrument for Finger Guide


When you’re learning to master your stringed instrument, turn to a finger guide. What is a Finger Guide? A finger guide is a small vinyl sticker that is placed under the strings on your violin, viola, guitar, or cello that helps you master your knowledge of the strings on your instrument. 

A finger guide is an alternative to finger tapes — which, time and time again have proven to be a less than ideal teaching tool. And while you can find finger tapes at most music stores, these finger guides are one-of-a-kind. I developed these guides as a teacher and watched as students learned faster and more effectively. 

Because there are different sizes of every instrument available, we offer different sizes of finger guides. Picking the correct size of finger guide for your instrument is important because a guide that’s the wrong size will not give you the correct finger information for your instrument.

Instrument Size

When you’re trying to figure out what size your instrument is, determine if your instrument has frets or not. Some instruments, like guitars, you will be able to measure using their frets, but some instruments, like violins, are fretless and will require that you measure differently. 

You don’t need to do much measuring for your fretted stringed instruments because my finger guides for frets come by the fret. You can buy frets 1-12 or 1-24. These guides are small enough that they work with virtually every size of stringed, fretted instrument — but the guides are also big enough and bright enough that you can see the letters and numbers on the guides. 

To determine the size that you’ll need for your violin, viola, or cello, you’ll need to measure the body of the instrument. Violins, Violas, and Cellos are all fretless. A modern, full-size violin is 4/4 and has a 14-inch body. The modern, full-size viola (4/4) has a 17-inch body, and a 4/4 cello has a body of 29 ¾ inches. Knowing the standard, full-size measurements can help you determine if your instrument is full-size or smaller. The inch difference between a full size and a ¾ size is very small, so make sure to closely follow the size guide for help. 

Professional Help

Having trouble measuring your stringed instrument for a finger guide, don't worry. All is not lost. If a student can't bring their instrument to me for help measuring, I often tell them to go to a local music store. Local music stores will have the tools and knowledge that you need to get your stringed instrument measured correctly. Especially if you have an older, heirloom instrument it's very important that you measure it because it may not be standard size. Most music stores will measure your instruments for free, and then you can take that measurement and order the correct size of finger guide. 

Guides for Instruments of Unusual Sizes

In some cases, I’ve seen students and clients using older instruments that don’t fit into standard sizing. If you’ve got an instrument that doesn’t fit standard sizing, you can hack the guides. You can trim the top or cut it into strips to adjust the pitches. If you ever have any questions about sizing in general, or need help hacking your guide, don’t hesitate to reach out on our contact page. We do our best to help you get your guide on correctly and hack it if your instrument needs a special size. 

If we can’t get a guide on your instrument that works perfectly, it’s a money-back guarantee from us. 

1 comment

  • Great Information. I am learning to play a Fender Squire Classic 50s Vibe Stratocaster and this looks good to give it a try!

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