The Best Viola Brands for Every Musician

Looking for the best viola brands on the market? You’ve come to the right place! This blog post will discuss some of our favorite brands and why they are worth your consideration. There is a viola out there for everyone, no matter what level of musician you are. Keep reading to learn more!

It is important to get a well-known brand for high-quality workmanship when buying a viola. This means that the instrument will look and sound good. The list below is based on quality and affordability, so you can find a viola brand that fits your budget while still being high-value.

Variety of Viola Brands

Cecilio

Cecilio is a well-known brand of student violas. They make high-quality instruments that are much cheaper than other big-name brands. ALL of their instruments, even the less expensive ones, are handmade.

Cecilio violas are traditionally made of hand-carved wood. The tops are spruce, the sides and backs are made of flamed maple, and the inlaid purfling is a nice touch. The chin rests are usually made of boxwood, a high-quality wood.

The main downside of Cecilio violas is that their fingerboards are made of maple instead of ebony. Ebony fingerboards are more sturdy than maple because they are hardwood. This means that they can resist being repeatedly tapped by their fingertips. Of course, removing the ebony fingerboards will result in a more affordable viola. Even so, you may find yourself having to have your viola repaired more frequently.

Very nice viola outfits. With a high-quality brazilwood bow and Mongolian horsehair, most Cecilio outfits come standard. Boxwood pegs, chin rest, and tailpiece are also included (with four fine tuners).

D Z Strad

DZ Strad violas are some of the best mid-priced violas. People who have bought them say the sound quality is great. We decided to try one out, and we loved it! The Model 400 is a great instrument for intermediate students.

There is a workshop in New York and one in Minnesota. You may get everything you need from this company. To make the violas, Italian tonewoods that have been naturally dried outside in a protected, ventilated location for 20 years are used. Traditional European drying methods ensure that the wood does not open up or expand throughout the drying process and thus ensures the wood’s structural soundness. The outfit includes a viola, a viola case, and two bows. One of the bows is made with carbon fiber, and the other is made with Pernambuco wood. This is a great deal for anyone seeking to spend between $1000-$1300 on a high-quality viola, depending on its size.

Eastman Strings

Eastman Strings makes both student model violas and more advanced violins and violas sound great. That’s why we recommend them for more advanced players. In fact, Strings Magazine often recommends Eastman VA305 violas for advanced players because of their great playability and tone.

The violas are handcrafted from a single piece of flamed maple wood for the back and boxwood-and-ebony fittings for the fittings. Most viola outfits come with a base Despiau bridge, modified aftermarket, and a Wittner tailpiece with built-in fine tuners.

Stentor

Stentor violas are a good value because they are high quality but still affordable. Many parents rely on this brand to get their children to an intermediate level on the viola.

Stentor is a company based in the United Kingdom. They make instruments in Chinese workshops, but they check the quality of each instrument before it’s delivered to your home or store.

Stentor has violas for sale for every skill level, from people who have never played the viola before to people who have some experience. They come in multiple sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your student. No matter what size your student is, they will find an outfit that is just the right size for them.

Like other instruments, Stentor violas are made from traditional materials like solid tonewoods. This includes an ebony fingerboard (instead of the Cecilio above), pegs and fittings with maple sides and back, and a spruce top. Additionally, Stentor violas have inlaid purfling to help protect the softer spruce wood top from splitting.

Cremona

Cremona violas are a good choice for a beginner outfit. They are made of select-tone woods, like hand-carved maple, spruce, and ebony. They sound good by themselves but can be improved with small adjustments.

To improve the tone of your Cremona viola, consider upgrading from the stock Prelude strings to a better brand.

Cremona violas are built to national standards in their workshop in California. This means that they are playable when you get them and that they will be easy to integrate into your child’s school orchestra or ensemble. Cremona violas are popular with students and teachers because they meet the high standards set by the Music Educators National Conference.

You will get a high-quality J. LaSalle Brazilwood bow, a popular TL-33 case, Prelude strings by D’Addario, A. Breton VP-61 alloy tailpiece. With 4 built-in tuners for easy tuning, Kaufman chinrest, and rosin when you buy this outfit.

Primavera

Primavera violas are a good choice for intermediate players. They are more expensive than some beginner violas. Still, they are made from high-quality materials, including hand-carved maple and spruce. The fittings, such as the fingerboard and pegs, are also made from carved ebony. The outfit comes with a strong composite bow with an ebony frog and Mongolian horsehair.

Primavera has taken a few choices to conserve money while still providing a better musical experience. For example, an alloy tailpiece with four fine tuners is used instead of a wood tailpiece. They also use a Styrofoam-shaped case instead of a standard “pillowy” case. While it’s not as high quality, this case still protects your viola from the elements and drops.

There are many different sizes of Primavera beginner viola outfits, so you can find the perfect fit for you or your child. Most outfits also come with a hardwood bow.

Merano

The Merano violas are a good option for beginners. They are affordable, and many of them are just over $100. They may not be as good as some of the other brands on this list, but they will meet the needs of a beginner.

Cecilio listed above makes viola fingerboards out of hardwood instead of ebony. This means that you will have to upgrade to a better model or have the fingerboard repaired frequently.

If you can’t afford a better quality model right now, the Merano viola is a good starting instrument.

The Merano viola outfit on Amazon includes a lot of extras, such as an extra set of strings, an extra bridge, a shoulder rest, rosin, a case, a music stand, and an electronic tuner. Buying this outfit is a great way to be up and playing in no time.

Viola Brands Reviews

When buying a viola, you want to make sure that you buy the right one. You will want a brand of viola known for high-quality workmanship and superior sound quality. We evaluated several violas on the market and found the following brands to be the best: they are affordable, require few upgrades, have high-quality materials, and pay attention to detail.

Before purchasing a viola, there are a few things to consider. First, the following violas are mainly sold online, but you can also go to a music shop to try them out. Second, Amazon offers a return policy if the viola is damaged during shipping. This gives you some peace of mind when making your purchase.

What Is A Viola?


The viola is a type of bigger violin and has a lower sound.

The viola is an important instrument in the classical music world. It usually plays a supporting role in an orchestra or string quartet. Still, more recently, it has also been used as a solo instrument.

Types Of Violas


The viola can be of different sizes because different people can play it. In the past, there were smaller and bigger violas and older and newer violas.

Today, violas come in different sizes. But the most common size is the one that is similar to the standard violin. Many different types of violas are available on the market today.

Acoustic Viola


The most prevalent form of the viola is the acoustic or classical viola. It was created in the late 18th century and has grown since then. Unlike the violin, which remained the same size throughout its life, the viola grew in size over time.

The acoustic viola is lower in pitch than the violin. This is because it has four strings, tuned to A-D-G-C, a fifth lower than the violin, which has four strings tuned to E-A-D-G. The viola’s range is wider than the violin’s, making it a more adaptable accompaniment instrument.

Electric Viola


Just like electric violins, there are electric violas too. This electrical instrument generates a sound enhanced using speakers or hushed with headphones.

Electric violas are more durable than acoustic violas because they don’t require wood to make music. They can be used in all types of music, and they’re great for recording too.

Violas For Children (Otherwise Known As Violins)


Violas usually don’t come in very small sizes. This is because viola strings can be strung on all sizes of violins so that children can learn to play the viola.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Viola

When it comes to choosing a viola, there are many things to consider. Some elements stand out more than others. You must, for example, select whether you want to play the violin or the viola. In addition, the viola’s size and shape must be taken into account.

Before buying any new instrument, you should consider a few things.

Level Of Experience


When buying an instrument, it is important to think about your current experience level and your future goals. This will help you find the right viola for you.

Here’s some information on the distinctions between amateur, intermediate, and professional violas:

Beginner Violas


A beginner viola is a good choice for someone just starting to learn to play the instrument. It should be easy to play without costing too much if you decide not to continue playing.

Many children play the violin but later switch to the viola. Violas are fractional-sized violins that have strings for playing the viola.

Intermediate Violas


An intermediate viola will be less expensive than a more advanced one, but it should still be of good quality. For a serious student about learning the violin, an intermediate viola is a wise investment that can last for many years.

Before spending money on an intermediate viola, make sure it is handcrafted or set up by a luthier. The wood should be spruce and maple, with ebony fittings.

Professional Violas


Professional violas are more expensive, but you can tell that they are worth the price. They sound different than other violas, and musicians will appreciate that difference.

Some professional violas can cost millions of dollars, but many villas are much more affordable.

Size


The size of violas can vary. You might have a preference for the size of the viola (based on your arm length), and there are different shapes, widths, and lengths to choose from. 12′′, 13′′, 14′′, 15′′, 15.5′′, 16′′, and 16.5′′ are the most popular.

The smallest viola sizes are just a little smaller than full-size violins. If you are a younger beginner, you can start out on a fractional-size violin that is already set up for violas with the correct strings.

When deciding on the size of the viola to purchase, there are a few factors to consider. The main factors are arm’s length and hand size/finger length. If you’re not sure, it’s better to start small. This is because injuries can be common for players who choose a too big instrument.

The Overall Tone & Sound


The viola has a unique sound. It isn’t as high-pitched as the violin, but it is not as deep as the cello. When choosing a viola, you might want to think about how big the instrument is. The sound of a larger instrument will be larger and louder. Although larger violas have more resonance, smaller violas can still sound fantastic.

Price


Generally, quality and price go together. The more you pay for something, the better it will be. If you’re not sure what your budget is, take a look at what the different price ranges include.

Budget Violas


A budget viola is an affordable option for someone who wants to try out the viola. It might not be the highest quality instrument, but it’s a good place to start if you’re new to playing the viola.

Midrange Violas


A midrange viola is a great choice for someone who wants to play the viola for a long time. It is also a good investment. I would recommend this type of viola for someone serious about playing the instrument.

Top-End Violas


Violas that cost a lot of money start at thousands of dollars and go up to millions. There are a lot of different violas out there, so if you find one you like with a sound you love, you’ll be set for life.

Best Viola Brands

1. Strobel

Strobel Strings is dedicated to providing you with high-quality instruments that will last for years.

There are four levels of violas: Student, Recital, Master, and Limited Edition. There are also different sizes of violas: quarter-size, half-size, and three-quarter-size violas.

If you’re looking to buy a viola, Strobel has great online information that can help you choose the right one for you. They also have a Viola Comparison Chart that can give you a good idea of what to look for.

2. Scherl & Roth

Heinrich Roth was a German, seventh-generation violin maker who moved to the United States in the 1920s. He teamed up with Max Scherl, and their company became a favorite for music educators across America.

Scherl & Roth is one of the best brands for violas for intermediate students. They have a great selection of beginner and intermediate violas.

3. Maple Leaf Strings

Maple Leaf Strings produces violins, violas, and cellos for beginner and intermediate students.

They’ve teamed up with several expert luthiers to create a line of professional violas that are entirely handcrafted.

4. Ren Wei Shi

Ren Wei Shi is a violin builder who studied 20 years ago at the Chicago School of Violin Making. He makes high-quality violins and violas.

Ren Wei Shi violas are some of the best for professional musicians. They offer a beautiful tone and quality that is unmatched.

5. NS Design

NS Design is a company that produces electric string instruments. They make violins, guitars, and other instruments.

They make some of the best electric violas in the world. Their instruments are made with high-quality materials and cutting-edge technology.

Viola Craftsmanship

There are a variety of materials that violas can be made from. Some common materials are wood, plastic, and metal. The finish on the viola can also vary. It might be painted, stained, or have a clear coat.

Wood


The viola requires a hard, sturdy, and dense wood. Violas are fashioned of a variety of woods, but the most common are:

  • Maple (for the back and sides).
  • Spruce (for the top).
  • Ebony (for the fingerboard and other fittings).

Finish


The varnish on a viola is important for protecting the wood and helping the sound come out better. It also makes the viola look nicer. Why not choose a viola that has a beautiful varnish? Many different types of varnish have been tried by viola and violin makers, including linseed and walnut oil varnishes.

Color


Violas typically have a natural wood color. You can varnish it with different oils to get different tones. For example, you can choose a darker viola with yellowish or reddish tones. Electric violas are also in more diverse and exciting colors, like bright pink or solid black.

The Bow


Viola bows are slightly heavier than violin bows. A decent bow is necessary for extracting sound from the instrument. The weight and balance of the bow determine how good the sound will be. Even though a viola bow is heavier than a violin bow, you should still be able to locate one that is comfortable in your hand when playing the instrument.

Buying Violas New Vs. Used


An argument might be made for or against purchasing a brand-new viola. Viola purchases are always thrilling and rewarding, and if you take care of them, they may last a long time. New instruments only get better with age.

A used viola is a great investment because the wood is more mature, and the sound is already settled. Just be careful of any cracks in the wood or worn-out fingerboards.

What’s In A Viola Box?


Each viola brand includes different things in its outfit packages. It’s crucial to read the description before purchasing so you know exactly what you’re getting. Usually, these are some of the things you can expect in your viola box:

Viola


When you open your viola case, you will see the viola first.

Violin Bow


The bow is a very important item that comes with your viola. It is a wooden stick with a horsehair at the ends.

Rosin


You will need rosin for your bow to make the best sound from the viola. Not all bows come with rosin, so you might have to buy them separately.

Viola Strings


There are always strings included with your viola. Different brands of strings can change the sound of your viola, so you might want to try out different ones if you’re not happy with the ones that came in the box. It’s not too hard to change the strings on a viola.

Viola Carry Case


There are a lot of different types of cases that violas can come. They can come in soft, hard, or special lightweight cases.

Viola Tuner


A tuner is not usually included in a viola outfit. Still, some viola outfits (like the ones from Mendini) come with one. Beginners who are learning to tune by ear will benefit from tuners.

Viola Bridge


A bridge will come with your viola, but it might not be set up. If it isn’t set up, you might need to find a professional to do it for you.

Shoulder Rest


Because violas are larger and heavier than violins, you’ll need a shoulder rest to support them. Some villas come with a shoulder rest, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to buy one separately.

String Cloth


A string cloth is a piece of cloth that you use to wipe dust and excess rosin off your viola.

Certificate Of Authenticity


This certificate is likely with your viola. The certificate means that a professional luthier has checked it. Keep the certificate in case you want to sell your viola in the future.

Extras


Most violas that I list come with a lot of accessories. But it’s important to check to see if there are any extras you might need.

Check out the following items that aren’t always included in a viola ensemble:

  • Extra strings
  • Shoulder rest
  • Rosin
  • Mute

Viola Parts

The following are the most important components of the viola to learn:

Body


The body of an electric viola is usually made out of solid wood. This helps to produce the resonance of the instrument.

Neck


The neck is the viola part that connects the body and the scroll.

Scroll


The uppermost part of the viola is called the scroll. The scroll is where the tuning pegs are held.

Tuning Pegs


There are four wooden pegs, one for each string. Tightening a peg makes the pitch of a string higher, while loosening a peg makes the pitch lower.

Fine Tuners


Fine tuners allow you to tune your viola in smaller increments than the pegs do. Unlike violins which only have one fine tuner for the highest string, many professional violas have a fine tuner for each string.

Chinrest


The chinrest helps keep your chin in place and stops it from hitting the wood or varnish and making a noise.

F-Holes


The f-holes are the openings in the viola that the sound comes out of. They are in the shape of a decorative “f.” This is why they are called f-holes.

Fingerboard


The fingerboard is the surface where you press down on the strings. It is usually made of hardwood, such as ebony.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Viola Brands

Are Yamaha Violas Good?

There are two types of Yamaha violas, the VA5S, and the VA7SG. Both of these violas are excellent instruments that have been handcrafted with great care from high-quality wood.

What Is a Decent Viola?

Cremona violas are an excellent choice if you’re on a budget but yet want high-quality sound. They are made from select-tone woods, such as hand-carved maple, spruce, and ebony. While they sound good on their own, they can be improved with small adjustments.

What Is the Most Expensive Viola?

In 2014, Sotheby’s attempted to sell a viola known as the “Macdonald” Stradivarius. The viola is one of the rarest instruments globally and was expected to sell for $45 million. However, the auction generated a lot of controversies and was ultimately unsuccessful.

Is Viola Easier to Play Than Violin?

Most people think that playing the viola is harder than playing the violin. The viola is bigger, so it is harder to make a good sound. But when you play the viola, the sound that comes out is beautiful and rich.

Is Cecilio a Good Viola Brand?

Cecilio is a well-known brand of violas for students. They produce quality instruments that are much less expensive than other big-name brands. All of their instruments are handmade, even the less expensive ones.

Is the Violin or Viola Better?

The viola is a bigger instrument than the violin, and it can play lower notes. But the violin can play higher notes than the viola. If you want to play the melody or become a concertmaster someday, then the violin might be a better choice for you.

What Is the Difference Between Violin and Viola?

The most obvious difference between violas and violins is their size. Violas are bigger than violins, with an average body length of 15.5 to 16.5 inches for adults. In comparison, violins are 13 to 14 inches long on average.

How Much Does a Full-Size Viola Cost?

For a fully carved viola with a good bow and a protective case, look for prices starting at around $400-$500.

Are Eastman Violas Good?

Eastman Strings is known for making high-quality violins and violas. Many experts recommend their products for advanced players because of their great sound and playability.

Who Made the Viola Famous?

Two primary luthiers produced the first violas like our modern versions: Gaspare da Salo of the Brescia region and Andrea Amati of the Cremona region. These men were born in the first half of the 16th century and brought great fame to their home cities with their innovations.

What Is a Good Intermediate Viola?

The Model 400 is an excellent viola instrument for intermediate students. The company has workshops in New York and Minnesota and offers a complete range of services for the string community.

How Much Does a Beginner Viola Cost?

These violas are the cheapest you will find at music stores. They are entry-level or beginner’s instruments that are typically factory-made in China.

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