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  1. I don't have anything in particular to update on other than Pirastro, Larsen and Thomastik did not respond to my e-mail asking if they do custom cello strings with a vibrating string length of 373 mm. I came across a company called Aquila which makes a lot of custom Baroque gut strings; I have just e-mailed them to find out if they can assist with my odd request, but steel or synthetic core would be preferable as I am not an advanced player. Did anyone else here have issues with the Super Sensitive Sensicore octave viola strings snapping? 26 March 2021 Larsen, Pirastro and Thomastik have replied saying they don't do custom strings. I am still waiting to hear back from Aquila. I know even if I use a ZMT tailpiece, the playing length (373 mm) on my viola remains the same, but what implication would it have if I put Larsen's Aurora 1/16 cello strings on it, which are designed to have a vibrating string length of 420 mm? 31 March 2021 Aquila replied that they won't do non-gut custom strings. I guess I've run into a dead end with custom strings. I was mucking around at two luthier shops recently and discovered that I can actually play a 1/10 cello in viola position; it also had a vibrating string length of 420 mm. Alternatively, how many people here played violin or viola and then later decided to buy and learn cello too?
  2. Hi everyone, Topics about octave violas have appeared on this forum in the past, such as Viola to Chin Cello and "Octave Violin" & "Octave Viola"; however what is now available on the market appears to have changed. I have a Yamaha SVV-200K with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, which the Electric Violin Shop modified for me to be able to play on the Super Sensitive Sensicore Octave Viola strings and tuned exactly like a cello. Initially these strings were fine; however within months, they would repetively snap by themselves inside the case (either at the ball end or the peg end) unless I loosened them a few tones down during storage. I did subsequently have the octave viola examined by two different local luthiers here; the second who further smoothed out the grooves in case the strings were being pinched and resulting in breakage. Although Super Sensitive kindly sent me free replacements, they did snap and I currently have one full spare set and a spare C and D string. I had a look for alternatives online. D'Addario only makes octave violin strings. From memory I found these 1/10 cello strings online, but quite frankly they are rubbish to play on and the vibrating string length is too long for my octave viola. These 1/16 cello strings were even longer than the 1/10 cello strings; hence I didn't even try them on. Any tiny adjustments either via the pegs or fine tuners results in an unusually large change in the pitch of the string. Without any viable options left, my octave viola was left sitting in the case unplayed for several years. Recently having started practising regularly on my acoustic viola, I curiously decided to check out the current market situation for octave viola options. The Sensicore options have seemingly completely disappeared from Super Sensitive's product catalogue, which makes me wonder if they have been discontinued. Larsen recently released their Aurora line of cello strings, the smallest size which is 1/16 with a vibrating string length of 420 mm (this information was accidentally omitted from their information PDF; hence I had to ask them via e-mail what the vibrating string length was). Currently I have e-mailed Pirastro and Larsen to see if they can make custom extra small cello strings with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, but I have yet to hear from them. I figured it would be cheaper to get custom strings rather than a custom-made large electric viola with a vibrating string length of 420 mm. I can probably play a massive viola since I have long arms and fingers though, but I have not seen any viola in Australia thus far that is bigger than my acoustic viola. Or as my friend says, just buy a good, old fashioned cello and learn how to play it, hahaha! Does anyone else here have any tips or ideas? 16 March 2021 Jargar has replied saying they were unable to help. D'Addario replied saying that they have actually acquired Super Sensitive and there are currently discussions on which strings they will continue manufacturing. I have yet to hear back from Larsen, Pirastro or Thomastik.
  3. Despite its large body size, my viola actually has a short vibrating string length (from the bridge to the nut) of just 365 mm (14.4"). I currently have the standard long (not extra long) scale Helicores on it, but upon inspection this morning, I think the worn A string looks like it'll need to be changed soon (shows I've been practising enough hahaha)!
  4. Hi all, This was David's reply and has kindly given permission for it to be shared. "Okay here’s what I have. Peter Gallagher was active as a luthier between 1930-55. He output includes violins on various forms, cellos and violas on two sizes. Red and yellow oil vanished instruments. According to the 1930 Edinburgh Postal Directories his address was at 19 Haddington Place, Edinburgh. As I recall his profession was not given, so likely he was making on a part time basis. You have a handsome example from what I see made to a professional standard, although for most a little on the large side! Hope this is useful information. All best David"
  5. The feedback I got from my viola teacher was that the viola does sound great and excels in projection; a feature that most violas apparently struggle with. I guess as martin swan suggested, it wasn’t the work of an amateur. On my previous viola I only used Dominant and Tonica strings. For this viola, I decided to try Helicore strings on it since I recalled them sounding amazing on a viola in a luthier shop many years ago. My current viola you see in the photos sounds a bit bright despite its size, but I will try other strings on it such as Obligato to darken the sound.
  6. Hi everyone, In late 2019, I decided to upgrade to a better viola. Fortunately as I have long arms and fingers, I wanted to try playing a larger instrument and that was when I stumbled upon someone selling his 17" viola. He was a retired man of very tall built and former professional player in an orchestra. The label states "Peter T Gallacher” from Edinburgh back in 1942. I tried looking this up, but could not find much information about the origins of this viola other than it originated in the UK and the previous owner brought it to here in Australia decades ago. Would anyone here have more information about this viola?
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