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Kallie

Different viola shapes and sizes

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Hi there,

 

Is there perhaps a general rule regarding different viola shapes and sizes, and how that impacts the sound? There are 3 violas that I'm currently looking at, all different shape, and size.

 

I'll attach the pictures. I'm specifically interested in the Double Bass shaped viola. Does anyone know how this shape changes the sound from the normal shaped violas?

 

Thank you.

 

In order, these are 16.25, 16.5 and 16.5inches

post-63555-0-13060100-1400274185_thumb.jpg

post-63555-0-50591200-1400274195_thumb.jpg

post-63555-0-37440600-1400274199_thumb.jpg

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I always thought that the various attempts with the different shapes were to get a bigger sound from an instrument that was 'too small' to produce the bigger sound.  A viola that is in size with the sound it should produce is too big to play comfortably under the chin.  So...if you go shorter - for comfort - you can try to go wider - in the hunt for that bigger sound quality.

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I always thought that the various attempts with the different shapes were to get a bigger sound from an instrument that was 'too small' to produce the bigger sound.  A viola that is in size with the sound it should produce is too big to play comfortably under the chin.  So...if you go shorter - for comfort - you can try to go wider - in the hunt for that bigger sound quality.

 

Thank you for that explanation. :)

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#1 is a Tertis model viola, the original designed by Lionel Tertis.  Looks like a modern knockoff, as they were originally quite big, at least 16 3/4.  The idea was to get a deep tenor sound in a viola easier to play, hence the sloped shoulders with the wide chest and lower bout.  #2 Is more a typical Strad style viola that is narrower and will generally have a more contralto sound. it has less interior volume and a narrower chest and f holes closer together.  #3  shows Brescian influences in those long f-holes, and looks wider than #2, however the f-holes appear closer spaced than in the Tertis knock-off.  Most players today will go for #1 or #3, but #2, with the contralto sound, has its fans too. #1 is also a bit shorter, which can be easier to play, but other factors may make it harder, such as string length.  The downside of tenor violas is they have a less penetrating a string, and you are more likely to hit the c bout edge with your bow.  So I guess it comes down to whichever you like. 

 

Excellent explanation, thank you. All of the linked violas are modern China violas, with first 2 being from Yitamusic

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Kallie:  Did you get one of the above?  Or were you just perusing shapes and styles still? :)

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Kallie:  Did you get one of the above?  Or were you just perusing shapes and styles still? :)

 

I'm planning on bidding on the first one. Auction ends in about 2 hours....

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Exciting! Let us know how it goes! :)

 

Well, I won the auction. :) Will update again as soon as I receive the instrument. Few weeks of waiting. >_<

 

 

While on the topic of violas, can you, or anyone, perhaps suggest Viola strings? Specifically an A string which isn't harsh, or too bright. Rather a more soft and warm A string.

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Congrats! That is exciting! I hope you are a more patient waiter than I am.

I have been using Helicores with a Larsen A (a common, popular mix) for years. But to try something new I have Warchal Karneols coming to try on my new viola...they are in the mail!

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Congrats! That is exciting! I hope you are a more patient waiter than I am.

I have been using Helicores with a Larsen A (a common, popular mix) for years. But to try something new I have Warchal Karneols coming to try on my new viola...they are in the mail!

 

What a coincidence. I just put Warchal Karneols on my VIOLIN today. First time using them. They work very well with my violin. Easy, quick response, warm, colorful sound. Let me know how it works for viola. :)

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Hi Kallie,

 

The Larsen A is excellent and is widely used by professionals.  The Jargar A is also very good and is a bit warmer.  Another that is excellent that you might like is one made by Pirastro called "Eudoxa Aricore".  It is different from both the Eudoxa and the Aricore.  It has a synthetic core and a warm sound.  It's also very soft under the fingers if you like that feeling.

 

On one of my instruments Larsen works best, on the other Jargar (medium in both cases).

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What a coincidence. I just put Warchal Karneols on my VIOLIN today. First time using them. They work very well with my violin. Easy, quick response, warm, colorful sound. Let me know how it works for viola. :)

Karneols are my string of choice for violas, be it a Chinese student instrument or a benchmade one. The biggest problem is that they are not expensive enough, so many snobbish violists won't even consider trying them.

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Hi Kallie,

 

The Larsen A is excellent and is widely used by professionals.  The Jargar A is also very good and is a bit warmer.  Another that is excellent that you might like is one made by Pirastro called "Eudoxa Aricore".  It is different from both the Eudoxa and the Aricore.  It has a synthetic core and a warm sound.  It's also very soft under the fingers if you like that feeling.

 

On one of my instruments Larsen works best, on the other Jargar (medium in both cases).

 

Thank you Ron. Ive heard great reviews of the Larsen A strings. May try it myself at some point.

 

 

Karneols are my string of choice for violas, be it a Chinese student instrument or a benchmade one. The biggest problem is that they are not expensive enough, so many snobbish violists won't even consider trying them.

 

Thank you Jacob. For violin, they are most certainly worth every cent, and considering they are much cheaper than other strings, that it a huge plus for those who use them. I think I might try them first, and maybe change the A string if it doesn't match what I'm looking for.

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I was interested to see someone actually plays one of those more interesting shaped violas.  

 

post-43707-0-67747200-1400651247_thumb.png

 

Really nice youtube Video of the Afiara String Quartet playing Beethoven String Quartet No. 1.

 

 

I tried to Google the Afiara String Quartet to see what the maker was of the viola, but apparently the person playing on the video is not playing with them now.  (??)  I'm sure someone here knows the answer.

 

Joe

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Cool!  I think that's just ornamental...maybe some baroque influences?, since it's symmetrical.
 
No one has mentioned the Pellegrina/Rivinus as a shape...they kinda scare me :unsure:...but maybe if I saw one in person I'd be impressed... :D
 
...and very recently, I came across the Sabatier violas- which might be 'only' a Suzuki recommended style (supposedly easier for small hands)...but I don't know enough about them to say for certain.

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That looks like an Iizuka viola. This is probably the most popular "odd" shaped viola (maker) among professional musicians. I've tried 2 of them, one I liked a lot, the other less so.  

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 No one has mentioned the Pellegrina/Rivinus as a shape...they kinda scare me :unsure:...but maybe if I saw one in person I'd be impressed... :D

 

 

I know two gentlemen who play Pellegrinas, and I've played on both of them.  The sound is good, but the really (really really) impressive thing is how comfortable they are.  Highly recommended for players who need to cut down on tension.

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Those violas were similar in shape or size.  Attached is a photo of something somwhat different.attachicon.gifIMG_1096.pdf

I was very much inspired by the Pellegrina viola shape but I didn't use pointed corner knuckle buster bow bashers. 

 

The playing size is about 14.5 inches (370mm) and the longest plate span is about 20.5 inches (518mm).  It weighs only 473g with a built in shoulder rest.

 

The short length and light weight do make it very comfortable to hold for injured players or smaller players who aren't into Sumo wrestling.

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Missed that! Is that a viola though? Or something that looks like a viola?

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I was very much inspired by the Pellegrina viola shape but I didn't use pointed corner knuckle buster bow bashers. 

 

The playing size is about 14.5 inches (370mm) and the longest plate span is about 20.5 inches (518mm).  It weighs only 473g with a built in shoulder rest.

 

The short length and light weight do make it very comfortable to hold for injured players or smaller players who aren't into Sumo wrestling.

 

Very cool, Marty.

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Well, I won the auction. :) Will update again as soon as I receive the instrument. Few weeks of waiting. >_< 

...

Well? Is it here yet???  :) Inquiring minds (and those of us fascinated by Chinese workshop instruments :ph34r:) would like to know!

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Well? Is it here yet???  :) Inquiring minds (and those of us fascinated by Chinese workshop instruments :ph34r:) would like to know!

 

There has been quite the delay actually. When they first sent it, it failed to make it past China customs (security reasons or whatever, apparently a common occurrence), so it was returned to the sender. Then it took about a week and a half for them to resend it, so *fingers crossed* it should be arriving this coming week, or the week after that. At least their communication is good, so Ive been up to date of what's been going on. I plan on posting a review topic once it arrives.

 

According to the tracking page, it seems to have made its way into South-Africa. That is usually the fast part rather than the actual processing time it takes to get it from South African customs to where it has to be delivered eventually....

 

I also ordered Warchal Karneol strings, which on my violin has been fantastic, considering its much cheaper than the usual brands.

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