Building a Viola in The Pegbox Posted October 17 · Report reply On 10/15/2020 at 11:10 PM, MANFIO said: What I can say you is trying to avoid the main problems associated with violas: a "dead" C string, wolves, slow response, a too narrow dynamic range (you change your bowing and almost nothing happens in terms of sound volume and color) lack of clarity (notes will mix during quick passages). Make a viola with none of these problems and that is easy to play. With violas we see a new taste in instruments that are more than just orchestra background noise. The viola suffers from an unfortunate geometry. Unlike the cello the body is too small and the fingerboard too short. If you play on the higher A string it sounds forced, and on the C it is often nasal. It is unlikely that the viola will ever reach the grandeur of the cello, it just has unfortunate dimensions.. Many makers tried to improve the viola. If you go to the instrument museum in Brussels you can see lots of Vuillaume's attempts of a mix between viola and cello. None of them survived. Nowadays modern makers have improved the viola a lot. This started with Tertis who had himself made violas with an increased air space by using 17''+ bodies - very damaging for the player, but with a significant improvement in sound. Many of those were made by Arthur Richardson. Some of them sound really nice. Other makers tried weird shapes, some with excellent sound, for example Hitzoki Izuka. There is a lot of trial and error research that went into these instruments. Now some makers can build violas of around 16'' with a marvellous sound. 16'' is manageable for most players. Manifio in this forum is such an expert. His violas sound excellent in YouTube sound samples. There are other makers who have also been very successful. I have tried many, one of favourites is a viola by UK maker Piper who tried many viola shapes. Makers need to make lots of instruments until they found their ideal sound. If the viola gets more recognition the taste of sound for this instrument may evolve, maybe differently than we expect.