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  1. I would like to receive some information, if possible. Thanks!
  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. I'm currently trying an old (probably) German viola without label from a private seller - I don't have much experience with old instruments but took it to a local luthier and was informed that it has bad worm damage and has had numerous repairs including grafting wood etc... is it still worth considering in this state or is it greatly devalued as a result / likely to need significant future repairs / in danger of deteriorating further if I continue to play it as is?
  4. Has anyone heard of the viola maker by the name of Daniel Mason? Last year I shipped in a very nice viola by him from Robertson and Sons in NM, but I wasn't able to buy it at the moment. When I called the shop they said that they receive the instrument sporadically on consignment, but they don't buy it from the dealer himself. Does anyone know of him or his instruments? When I google his name, the only somewhat-relevant results that pop up are pages about a professor of violin at the University of Kentucky, who I assume isn't the same person.
  5. Hi! I am new to this site. I’ve been trying to find out what the line on my viola top plate is called. You can see it in the picture attached under the left f hole. My teacher couldn’t recall what it is called, but he says that good instruments have unique things like this that reinforces certain frequencies and provides better resonance. I don’t know how true that is, but I’d still like to find out what this line is called.
  6. Hello everyone, It has been a long time since I last posted. I am still playing my 17" viola and last year started playing cello too. I have been reading through old threads on this forum, but now that there are some new string options for viola, I wanted to hear what people think. I am at AMEB Grade 4 level for viola and am interested in learning more about string options. I play for leisure and I currently do not have plans to perform in the future, but it is a goal I am working towards. I had my viola serviced recently by one of the best luthiers in the area (both my viola and cello teachers go to him) who increased the bridge height and fingerboard and replaced the sound post. My viola projects very well and now has a deeper sound, but is still on the bright side and not very mellow. I am seeking strings to help darken its tone and sound more mellow. I know I won't be able to get it to sound like my cello though. My viola has a vibrating string length of 375 mm, which is not much longer than most violas. On this viola, I have tried the following combinations (all medium gauge): Full set of Evah Pirazzi Full set of Helicores Full set of Obligatos Spirocore tungsten C, silver G, chrome D with Jargar A Spirocore tungsten C, silver G, chrome D with Karneol metal A Evah Pirazzi was absolutely awful. I can't say that I actually "tried" them properly as they came with my viola when I first bought it from the old owner, but I quickly had them replaced. They were so bright to the point that I almost ditched the instrument altogether and I was going to consider a different viola. The Helicores were okay, but I don't think I will use them again since the Obligatos are warmer and the Spirocores are stronger. I like the Obligatos the most; however, I do like the Jargar A more than the Obligato A, as the former is more louder and clearer. I also prefer the Jargar A over the Karneol metal A when matched with the Spirocores since the Karneol metal A seems to ring too much in comparison. I like the power of the Spirocores; however, they sound a bit cold and one-dimensional. When comparing the Spirocores with the Obligatos, the Obligatos are much more warmer and ring more, but they pack less of a "punch" than the Spirocores. Currently, I also have a Larsen A in my reserve, which I have yet to try. I still have all of the above strings in my possession except for the Evah Pirazzi and Helicores. My luthier said to take advantage of a viola as large as mine, powerful strings such as the Spirocores would help bring out its potential. I told him that I preferred a warmer sound, so he said Obligatos were okay, but they tended to be a bit weak and preferred the Evah Pirazzi Golds. What are your thoughts on this string chart from Shar? If this chart is "true" for my viola (I am aware that strings will sound differently depending on the viola), "Warm" and "Direct" is what I like. After reading through other people's posts over the years on this forum, I am considering trying out the following strings (in no particular combination): Full set of Evah Pirazzi Gold Vision C, G and D Vision Solo C, G and D Full set of Permanents Larsen Virtuoso Solo D (to use with the Larsen A I have already) Aricore C, G and D Superflexible Stark Obligatos I have tried Evah Pirazzi Gold on my old student viola and I did like them, but am not sure how they will sound with my current viola. From Shar's chart, Vision appears to be worth trying as it is near the Obligatos, but in other string comparison charts, they suggest that Vision Solo is warmer and more penetrating than Vision. What are you experiences with this? I got the idea of using Permanents from @Andrew Victor (I love reading your posts sharing your wisdom). I wonder if these will have almost the same power as the Spirocores, but sound warmer due to the lower tension? My viola teacher suggested trying out the Larsen Virtuoso Solo D; hence it is on my list to buy and it is a popular choice. I know in this day, Aricores might be an odd choice given that Pirastro has discontinued them, but I see they are still available for sale in some websites and they are apparently a "dark" and "warm" sounding string. I got the idea of trying out Superflexibles from the Thomastik website, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of mentioning of them by violists online. The Permanents and Aricores don't appear in any viola string comparison chart; hence I'm not sure how they would fair against the rest. I will mention the stark Obligatos since I was previously considering giving them a try, but I might be dwelling into dangerous waters as trying light or heavy gauge is a bit of a hit-or-miss according to my luthier. Please let me know what your thoughts are.
  7. Hi all, I‘m wondering if you have any ideas about the origin of this viola. Most violinmakers have different opinions about it. I‘m interested if anyone knows something similar? The length of the back is 41,7cm. Very high arching. Clear, transparent, honey colored, amber varnish. Covered hole in the back of the peg box. Please tell me if you need more information. Some dealers really fall in love with it and some are definitely not impressed… Musicians and the audience love it! Thanks for your help!
  8. Last year, we spent an afternoon the day before our first concert playing around with some new recording equipment including a multi-camera switcher, trying to add a bit more production value to our videos. I love this repertoire! Kim Kashkashian and Robert Levin have a 2007 album called Asturiana: Songs from Spain and Argentina. After I heard it, I immediately sent her an email asking for some of their arrangements and I only had to wait 10 years before they published them. The edition is very expensive (and in two volumes) and doesn't include exactly the same repertoire as the album, but it's definitely worth it for any violist. Anyway, please enjoy these three songs by Ginastera, Guastavino, and Montsalvatge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kviZB7gc9AI (annoying that we still can't embed videos)
  9. jandepora

    Viola Id.

    Hello, I bought this viola in the last Amati auction. It is a very good sounding instrument! My luthier has done a very good work. The lob is 425mm I leave you here photos to know your opinion about it, its origin or age. Thank you very much for your help.
  10. Does anyone happen to know the original (or current?) body length, or any other dimensions, of the Maggini viola listed in the Cozio archive as "Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Brescia, date unknown, Viola: 59839"? I doubt it would be acceptable to try to post copyrighted photos, so perhaps this question is just for those with access to Cozio, unfortunately. It is not particularly elegant looking, and might not have drawn my interest, except that I just played an inexpensive new instrument that as far as I can tell was inspired by that viola. It played and sounded *far* better than I could have imagined for the price. The new instrument is made in a wide range of sizes, and I was just wondering how big the original might be. The one I tried was 15-3/4", and to someone who has never been a fan of small violas, it was shocking how good it was. Or for that matter, the same question about this da Salo: "Gasparo Bertolotti 'da Salò', Brescia, date unknown, Viola: 49143" I would be thrilled if anybody knows these instruments and could give me a clue as to the actual dimensions.
  11. 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?
  12. Joseph Curtin introduces an innovative viola featuring a player-adjustable neck angle, an integrated chinrest, and micro-mutes that modify the brightness and power of the sound. https://youtu.be/uB_2x-ga0qk
  13. https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/viola/earliest-joke-1714/ A demotion to the viola section for being out of control!
  14. What are your favorite things you've heard a luthier say? My favorite was when one day I was showing an instrument of mine to luthier Nick Frirsz. He looked it over for several minutes with a rather inquisitive expression and said: "Well, it's pretty cool. It was made by someone, who was sitting next to someone, who knew what they were doing." I got a big kick out of this and will never forget it. I still have the instrument, which has since been restored and is really quite exceptional, and I think about that line all the time.
  15. Instead of continuing the hijacking of a thread by a fellow violist with the same name, I thought maybe I can indulge my fascination with da Salo violas (and violas, in general) in a new thread. I just discovered Amihai Grosz who plays a 1570 Gasparo and it has got to be the greatest viola I've heard. Short demonstration: Also, look at that wide grain. So... there's not much to this thread, I guess. I hope that others might post their favourite sounding (and looking violas), modern or old, to get an idea of what is out there. Looking at you, Mr Dwight, I was following your viola thread when it was being made, and still no sound clip! I'm so interested in hearing it!
  16. I have a viola without label which has a stamp inside the back. The attached photo shows the stamp. Does anyone know something about the stamp and maker? LOB = 420 mm I bought from a person in Canada some 10 years ago, but I lost the receipt. Pictures of bridge are uploaded. However the stamp on the bridge is hard to read.
  17. I acquired a full size viola few years back and the label inside was blotted out by ink. However the name penned by ink "Charles S Sweet" is still clearly visible. I presume he was the maker of this viola but I am not able to find anything on the web about this maker. Is there any one of you experts knows anything about who is this Charles S Sweet and like to share with me? I will be very much appreciated. Thank you very much.
  18. So, as some of you might know, I was recently looking for a viola, and bought one on Ebay. Now before I go on, I just want to make it clear that I am in no way trying to "plug"(?) a specific seller, or promote any seller. I thought it might be useful for some who is also looking for a new viola. I'm posting my thoughts on the Viola as an instrument, and not the seller. I bought this viola from Yitamusic on eBay, and I must say.... I am absolutely amazed by the its sound. The auction described the tone as Deep and Open, and that is exactly what it is. Warm, deep, soothing, open. I put new Warchal Karneol strings on right away, and it goes extremely well with this viola. The sound is loud, and the setup is great. The nut is very well shaped, the bridge feet fit to the instrument, and the soundpost is adjusted to fit to the arching of the viola. Overall I'm happy with the setup. I might, maybe, reshape the neck at some point, but might keep it as is. Still deciding. All in all, this was an absolutely excellent buy, and for the price, is a fantastic viola. I would say it is suitable for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and would even go as far as say it would suit a professional player. I'm not sure if I would classify it as a "Solo" instrument though, although someone who plays well could make it work. The varnish is applied well, and is not at all too thick, as you might see on some cheap instruments. The viola is 16.25 inches. Keep in mind, when buying a viola or violin like this, the bridge wont be on the instrument, and the soundpost will be down. Just saying. I will try to get a sound clip on tomorrow. Thank you for reading.
  19. I am about to get started on making a small viola (15.5"). I am wondering what differences there are between using poplar and willow for the back. Any insight is greatly appreciated.
  20. I have a viola labeled as a Stefano Scarampella. I assume it has been mislabeled but curious what people think.
  21. Hello All, Can any of you identity the chinrest in the pic that is attached? I’m looking for a side mounted large cup Flesch shaped viola chinrest that has some coverage over the tail piece. I have tried a center mounted Flesch but it placed me too far center.The chinrest in the pic looks like exactly what I need. Thanks George
  22. We are located in Windsor On Canada - We still have an amazing collection of tone wood for violin, viola, and cello - both 2 piece, single pieces and jointed pieces spruce and maple - most pieces are from 1974 - 1980's accessories include bridges, fingerboards, etc wood blocks for scrolls molds ribs scrolls roughed out tone wood roughed out bows (brazil wood - various sizes) hanks of horse hair for bow rehairing tools 6-14 terrco marlin violin carver (backs, fronts and scrolls can be easily reproduced here) and so much more We are very limited in time as we no longer have the storage - please contact me for viewing can be purchased by large or small lots Inquire please!!!! I can post close up pics of any specific pieces
  23. Hi everyone, Dumb question from a violist who has played for awhile but has never done any customization: I want to switch out the Wittner tailpiece for a Hill style on my 15in viola. I found the one I'd like for the price I want on Shar (it's not my main instrument and I'm not going to be performing any solos; just teaching my kiddos but I want it to match my boxwood Teka chin rest, so it doesn't need to be anything crazy expensive). It says "full size", so will it be okay for my instrument? Thanks everyone! I'm learning new things every day!
  24. My mother recently passed and I inherited this viola. I dont know much about it and would like to know its value.
  25. Luis Claudio Manfio has an idea that there should be a book dedicated to violas with 25 good classical violas. Below I have generated a draft list. I first generated the list of 12 luthiers first - only luthiers in the Po River Valley (Genoa/Bologna and up) + Stainer with 3 or more violas listed on Tarisio's Cozio database are included - all born 1660 or before except I also included G.B. Guadagnini (born 1711). So the luthiers list are: 1) Andrea Amati; 2) Pellegrino Di Zanetto; 3) Gasparo da Salo; 4) Girolamo (Brothers) Amati; 5) Giovanni Paolo Maggini; 6) Jacob Stainer;; 7) Andrea Guarneri; 8) Giovanni (Brothers) Grancino; 9) Giovanni Tononi; 10) Antonio Stradivari; 11) Matteo Goffriller; 12) Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. 4 steps follow: include the most "famous" viola of each of the 12 makers ("famous" as in referenced by most sources in the Cozio database); include the most famous uncut contralto viola for each of these 12; try to fill out the range of viola sizes from 15" through 19" at 1/4" intervals as much as possible; and lastly include some "discretionary" adds. The dates below are mostly from Tarisio's database which I feel is a bit shaky, but oh well: 1. Andrea Amati "Charles IX" c.1564 Cremona at Ashmolean; LOB 469.2mm (~18.5") 2. Pellegrino Di Zanetto 1580 (?) Brescia at Chi Mei; LOB 468mm (~18.5") 3. Gasparo "Nathan Gordon" 1580 Brescia with NY Philharmonic; LOB 436mm (~17"1/4) 4. Gasparo "Kievman" c.1580 Brescia ; LOB 392mm (~15"1/2) 5. Maggini "Joyce" 1600 Brescia at Fondazione Pro Canale-Milano; LOB 426mm (~16"3/4) 6. Maggini "Dumas Tenor" 1600 Brescia; LOB 424.5mm (~16"3/4) 7. Maggini 1600 Brescia with Austria National Bank; LOB 413mm (~16"1/4) 8. Gasparo c.1609 Brescia at Ashmolean; LOB 443.8mm (~17.5") 9. Girolamo (Brothers) Amati "Stauffer" 1615 Cremona at Museo del Violino Cremona; LOB 411mm (~16"1/4) 10. Girolamo (Brothers) Amati "Wittgenstein" 1620 Cremona; LOB 430mm (~17") 11. Girolamo (Brothers) Amati c.1620 Cremona at Royal Academy of Music London; LOB 449.5mm (~17"3/4) 12. Andrea Guaneri 1664 Cremona at National Music Museum South Dakota; LOB 482mm (~19") 13. Jacob Stainer "Baron Knoop" 1670 Absam; LOB 424mm (~16"3/4) 14. Andrea Guarneri "Conte Vitale" 1676 Cremona; LOB 419mm (~16"1/2) 15. Jacob Stainer "Hammerle" 1678 Absam in the Herbert Axelrod collection (?); LOB 398mm (~15"3/4) -- note: I am not sure if this is uncut; I want to only include uncut models 16. Antonio Stradivari "Tuscan-Medici Tenor" 1690 Cremona at Istituto Cherubini Florence; LOB 478mm (~18"3/4) 17. Antonio Stradivari "Tuscan-Medici Contralto" 1690 Cremona at Library of Congress; LOB 412.2mm (~16"1/4) 18. Giovanni & Francesco Grancino 1692 Milan; LOB 420mm (~16"1/2) 19. Andrea Guarneri "Primrose, Lord Harrington" 1697 Cremona; LOB 413mm (~16"1/4) 20. Giovanni Tonini c.1699 Bologna; LOB 417mm (~16"1/2) 21. Giovanni Grancino "Max Aronoff" 1707 Milan; LOB 429mm (~17") 22. Matteo Goffriller "Funkhauser" 1710 Venice with Dextra Musica; LOB 406.7mm (~16") 23. Antonio Stradivari "Gibson, Saint Senoch" 1734 Cremona; LOB 411.5mm (~16"1/4) 24. Giovanni Battista Guadagnini "La Parmigiana" 1765 Parma; LOB 381mm (~15") 25. Giovanni Battista Guadagnini "Villa" 1781 Turin with Dextra Musica; LOB 402mm (~15"3/4) Right now there are no ~15"1/4 no ~18" violas; and from second half of the 18th century C.F. Landolfi, P.G. Mantegazza and L. Storioni are missing. Please suggest what classical violas you would swap into the list and what you would swap out! For me, I am tempted to swap in a C.F. Landolfi 1758 Milan with LOB 388mm and swap out G. Tononi's.
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