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Manfio's Bench; My latest instrument...


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This is a new, 42 cm. (16.5) viola model, a bit bigger than my previous models. When we make a big viola, it is important to keep the quick response and the sound focus, you can lose these things with a bigger soundbox. Do you find a 42 cm. (16.5) viola too big?

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21 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

The proportions have me thinking of Tertis, but without the super deep ribs.

Perhaps because of the short corners and wide lower bouts...   but my model is more orthodox, I think. The Tertis model is based in low,, full but  unscooped and rather thin plates, with deep ribs. The Tertis model solved some problems such as response, C string and dynamic range, but the sound may lack warmth and colours. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
25 minutes ago, ctanzio said:

Lovely.

Interesting how the ridge lines (edges) come out lighter. Do you do something deliberate to get that effect, or is it just a natural outcome from the varnish and how you apply it?

 

Thanks! I do scrap the colored varnish in the scroll edges in order to highlight them.

 

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Thanks for the info. I have tried making the ridge lines lighter by rubbing with fine compound to get a more "worn edge" look, but I could never get a look that I liked.

Scraping to get a more pronounced accent, sort of like inking the ridges but in reverse, is a nice look.

On your question about preferred viola size, speaking strictly as a casual viola player...

My arm span from finger tip to finger tip is 5'11".

I currently play a 15-1/2" viola which I can easily handle without a shoulder or chin rest. It has a pleasant, although somewhat quiet, overall tone, but the C string takes a lot of work to get it to sound.

I have played a 15-3/4" viola which was also comfortable with a shoulder rest. If I found one whose bow response and tone I liked, I would use it.

I did not like a 16" viola at all in first position. I had to contort my average sized hands to reach the notes. I guess if I played from higher positions I could make it work. But since my preferred instrument is the violin, I will leave such struggles to the professionals or those with outrageous finger spans.

 

 

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Some testimonials by players are poignant.... it is incredible how players suffer to find a good viola. 

As some of you may know, I’ve struggled with not having my own professional viola for several years due to the financial burden of buying a high quality instrument along with finding one that fits my large stature without being overly strenuous to play. I’ve lost many nights sleep worrying about how I would navigate the professional music world without having my own instrument. I was fortunate enough to be loaned instruments from the University of Illinois for 4 years of undergrad, by a fantastic local Cincinnati maker Damon Gray, my teacher, and other members of my studio throughout my Master’s at CCM.
There have been several transitional periods in which I would have to give back instruments, scramble to find another, and try to figure out how to play a completely different viola usually a few days before an important audition or competition. This led me to often injure my wrist, lose motivation, and even depression from feeling that I didn’t have my own personal voice and tone that I wanted to present to audiences.
This summer, I was presented an opportunity by a very close friend to look at violas in Los Angeles, California. I was recommended Benning Violins by an incredible violist and old friend, Johanna Nowik . I tried 30+ violas from different shops that day, but immediately fell in love with this viola by an extraordinarily talented Brazilian viola maker, Luis Claudio Manfio. This 16.3” viola named “Allemande” has a rich and powerful tone, is the most comfortable viola I’ve ever played on, and is absolutely gorgeous! I can't describe how much I love this viola and how grateful I am to officially own a Manfio Viola! Cheers to a lifelong companion!"
 
 
May be an image of 1 person, playing a musical instrument and indoorMay be an image of 1 person, playing a musical instrument and indoor
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