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Dorset Music Service Instruments

Information on the hire and purchase of musical instruments in Dorset.

Connecting students to the resources they need

If you are looking for an instrument, see our large stock of instruments for hire, offering both choice and availability. Our specialist technician Dave Gassmann cares for our instruments to ensure their quality. Most instruments are in stock and are available for collection. Collects are arranged by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from our store in Blandford.

Hire solutions


Instruments are hired out on an annual basis from the month of hire. Please note that refunds are not applicable where an instrument is returned prior to the end of the hire period.

To hire an instrument:

  1. Complete an Instrument Hire Request Form.
  2. We will contact you to confirm availability and arrange an appointment for the instrument to be collected (this will usually be on a Tuesday or Wednesday).
  3. Collect your instrument from the Music Service offices in Blandford.

Cost of hiring an instrument

Further information on the availability and cost of instrument hire can be found on our instrument hire cost page.

Instruments for Sale

We are currently selling good quality violins and cellos, details below:

InstrumentSizes AvailablePrice
Stentor ViolinFull size only£58 (excluding VAT)
CellosHalf size only£206 (excluding VAT)

For further information on purchasing an instrument please email or telephone us, details below.

Instrument sizing

This section is intended to give you a rough idea of the size of instrument your child will require. Please note that this is a rough guide only.

Sizing violins and violas

How to measure: with your child's arm fully extended and parallel to the floor, measure in centimetres from the neck to the middle of the palm.

Size of instrumentArm measurementAverage age of child
1/4 violin47 to 51cm6 to 7
1/2 violin52 to 56cm7 to 8
3/4 violin57 to 60cm9 to 11
4/4 violinmore than 60cm11 to 13 and over
14" viola59 to 63cm 

Sizing cellos and double basses

The chart below shows approximate sizing by age.

Size of InstrumentAge of Child
1/4 cello6 to 8
1/2 cello8 to 10
3/4 cello10 to 12
1/4 double bass7 to 9
1/2 double bass9 to 13

Sizing guitars

The chart below shows approximate sizing by height and age.

Guitar sizeHeight of childAge of child
1/4 guitar3'3" to 3'9"4 to 6
1/2 guitar3'10" to 4'5"5 to 8
3/4 guitar4'6" to 4'11"8 to 11
Full size guitar5' and over11 and over

Flute types

Smaller, beginner flute players, usually up to the the age of around 9 to 10, can sometimes benefit from a curved head joint. This reduces the stretch that little arms have to make!

Buying instruments

Dorset Music Service is unable to recommend any specific retailers of musical instruments. However, our team of experienced and qualified staff are always happy to offer advice and guidance on the correct, most suitable instrument for you to buy. 

If you have a child currently being taught through the service then please do not hesitate to contact us if you need specific guidance on buying an instrument for them.

Assisted instrument purchase scheme

This is a scheme where a school can buy an instrument on your behalf and save you the cost of the VAT. Specific conditions have to be met so please contact your child's school for details. 

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