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Tarisio's preview -viola


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See a very smart looking instrument on the Tarisio site for the forthcoming auction. The same size as the one Luis Manfio has been showing off on the Pegbox thread. Not exactly cheap though. I like the model in general. Seems to have a touch of the Tertis model about it in the lower bouts?

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Christopher, Any interesting story on the background to the Becker viola. It is quite large - Is this typical?

Doesn't seem to show a lot of wear for a 60 year-old. It is quite a high estimate for an (admittedly well-known) American.

Besides that, the viola section looks quite solid this time round. Two Bisiachs and more. I presume the fact that all the items are listed as withdrawn when clicked means simply that the photos are not yet available?

Good luck with the sale.


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The Becker viola comes from an estate in the midwest. It was purchased by that family from the Beckers when it was new. It has seen little use judging from the condition...just what we like to see!

All the Becker violas that I have seen have been of the same large sized Strad pattern. They may well have had other models, but I am not aware of any.

As far as value, Becker violins routinely sell in the $35,000 and up range depending on the period and condition. Older Beckers from the 1920's have sold for a good deal more than that. Most would say that a Viola should be priced somewhat more than a violin.

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Thank you, Christopher. I noticed the photos were available shortly after my last post. That is very informative - about the Becker viola. Yes, I always think violas should go for more than violins, but often that does not seem to be the case.

It is a fine-looking instrument. A little out of the price range though a student of mine might be looking for. I would like to hear from someone who has the chance to try some of the 16.5 inch range of violas as to their sound. Also the viola bows (those two Nurnbergers, in particular.)

Let me say too this auction seems full of interesting items. Congratulations! Hope it is a success.

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This Becker viola is really a very good instrument, the workmanship is very "clean" and precise. It's interesting to know that he sticked to big violas, perhaps because he got consistant tonal results with this size. I may be wrong, but I think I'll never make a small viola again too... (but never say never...).

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Some auction houses,eg sothebys,etc, if you live near by will let you take instruments home for a few days to try them as long as its well before the auction and you can satisfy them as to your ID ,but Tarisio have such a long auction i guess you have to go to a viewing to try them.I dont think this trial period applies to very high value instruments though.

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I agree that violas should cost more, for these reasons:

- the number of good sounding viola is smaller when compared to violins;

- good sounding violas are much more difficult to make than viollins;

- we, makers, have to take difficult decisions for making a viola, such as, size, string length, stop, type of sound, etc.

- in the case of big violas, the instrument is much larger than a violin, there is more wood to be carved, refinished, varnished, etc;

- the sound adjustments in violas are more complicated than on violins too.

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