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Navyasw02

Auction viola vs student level?

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I've never tried playing viola but want to try. I'm half tempted on an upcoming auction to buy one sight unseen based on the condition report to get something that might sound better than a factory made student violin. Judging from the past 2 tarisio auctions, it looks like there are some decent candidates around. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Price range is probably 2-4k. 

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Seems a lot of money to risk on a project that may not go very far. For a "suck it and see" instrument Yitamusic would be a safe choice and will probably play easier and sound better than many auction punts. You have the choice of sizes and models too. After struggling with a duffer for too long I was happy with my Yita for 10 years and finished up section principal in a good amateur orchestra, where my co-principal also played one. 

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27 minutes ago, Rue said:

I also have a Yita viola. It is very decent.

Those on eBay look pretty sporty and the price is right as a second “see if you like it” kind of instrument. What size is most popular for one of their violas? 

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They make copies...The Guad copy I have is 15.75". It actually is more comfortable for me to play than my Samuel Shen 16" Strad copy.

The tonal qualities of each are very different  - but one isn't better than the other.

You'd have to look at each model and decide which appeals to you the most.

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My Yita is 17" but my colleague was happy with her much smaller one. On mine I can't put down all 4 fingers on the C string without lifting the first one off

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No brainer. With that budget you can go to a shop and get a well set up shop instrument (mostly Chinese). You can try several, pick one you like, and develop a good relationship with the shop.

I love auctions but it can be a crap shoot. As far as getting a Chinese violin on line, you might get lucky with something like Yita, but my experience is that set up and playability are usually off, you will have to take it to a shop where you will pay up for set up work, and face a grumbly owner.

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Another vote for Yita. I bought a violin over the summer and I am quite happy with it. I haven't tried their Violas, but for a back up or a just to try instrument it seems worth it. Better than spending a lot until you know if you want to continue.

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Based on the suggestions here I bought a Yita 16" T20 viola and threw in another $50 for a bow.  Overall, not bad for the $330 I paid for the combination with shipping.  I immediately broke the C string while tuning it up and replaced with Dominants.  The strings it shipped with are more like metal dipped rubber bands than strings.  The fittings are pretty cheap, but workable.  I may modify the setup later on, but for right now it's good enough and certainly comparable in tone and playability to the Chinese made violas I tried at local shops in the $1000-2000 range.  

 

The bow plays like a $50 bow and has low grade hair, overall nothing particular special. 

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