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  1. For what it's worth, Yita Music is selling a 5 string viola with low F: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Five-strings-German-oil-A-Strad-model-Viola-16-F-C-G-D-A-Best-performance-/313360885602?hash=item48f5c3a762 They don't say what they are using for the F string, though.
  2. Hi folks, I bought a 16-1/2" unfinished "white" viola from a Chinese seller on eBay over a year ago. I bought it because I loved the look of the tight grained spruce top, the beautiful flamed maple on the back, and especially the fancy inlay. I have never tried any kind of project like this before, but after receiving it I realized that I had gotten something that was going to be more work than I bargained for. The fingerboard had a big hump in the middle of it. I double checked that it wasn't just warped, but no, the bottom was flat and the just the top had a big convex hump in it. I put it in the closet and decided to buy a much cheaper white violin to practice on and learn from before risking my luck on this nicer project. So now, over a year later, I took it out to see about fixing the hump and I noticed something I had not seen before: the fingerboard also has a long crack in it. I hoped that it was just cosmetic and I started aggressively sanding down the hump. But the crack is still there even after removing almost 1.5mm of thickness. I had saved the eBay listing photos when I bought it, and I now see that they cleverly avoided any view of this section of the fingerboard. I bet "Master Song and his 2 right hand apprentices" knew all about the hump and the crack in it - and that is how it ended up as a DIY "white" viola on eBay rather than a finished instrument... Is there a way to fix it? Fill it with CA glue? Would I be better off to remove it and put a better quality piece on? I emailed the seller asking if it was just "tack glued" and he replied, "No, it be well glued." So that solution won't be easy. Maybe I should just ignore it?
  3. I'm an adult violin student who has been playing for about 2 years now. I switched the D'addario Prelude strings that came with my violin out for a set of Kaplan Vivos recently (without telling my teacher about it). When I went to my next lesson and began to play on the new Kaplan Vivo strings, the surprised look on my teacher's face made me laugh! These strings are very loud! Not harsh or shrill (or anything else you might typically think of when you think of loud strings), but they have a big and bold sound! I can't compare them with other high end strings, but I can say that they are much richer in tone than the Preludes I had on before and they compare favorably to the Dominants on my teacher's violin - but with more projection. I have had them on for 4 months now and they still sound amazing.
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