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Could someone recommend me a viola to purchase please?

(12 Posts)
MandyFl0ss Sat 17-Sep-16 07:05:01

12 YO DS is starting viola lessons I need to buy him an instrument; although he's a beginner, I think he'll progress quickly as he's grade 8 piano and grade 4 guitar. I was thinking about this:

Any thoughts anyone? What about size? He's 1.55cm in height.

HerestoyouMrsRobinson Sat 17-Sep-16 07:10:25

He's very small ...grin

That's a good viola though!

MandyFl0ss Sat 17-Sep-16 07:13:23

You thinks he's small?? He's really average amongst his peers. And taller than me! grin

CloudsAway Sat 17-Sep-16 08:14:33

I have a little doll's house viola (well it could be a violin), but even that is about 4cm long - would be like a double bass to him!

But assuming you actually mean metres - I'm 1.6m and my viola is only 15 3/8" and even that is too big for me at times, as I have small hands. I think it is hand size that makes the biggest difference. Obviously needs to fit OK in the arms too and should be measured for that, but something too big might make it really hard to play in tune if he can't get his fourth fingers down. Have you a local music shop to try out different sizes and get measured properly? I'd try to do that before you buy online.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 17-Sep-16 08:19:01

sorry, I'm giggling away at the units muddle.

MandyFl0ss Sat 17-Sep-16 08:21:46

Oh I see!!!! blushblushblushblushblushblushblush

I didn't even understand where the comment about his size came from. Now I get it! Doh! grin grin grin grin

Okay so that's helpful. He's obviously growing so I wonder if 15" would be appropriate for him. Might be able to go to shop but it's so awkward to go through the process and then not to buy...

Jims Sat 17-Sep-16 08:35:45

I learned to play the viola when I was younger. when I first started, I used a smaller violin strung as a viola as theyvwere far easier to find. Then when I got better, we went on a hunt and I was lucky to find an older one (100+ years). It's all about hand size smile

Auriga Sat 17-Sep-16 08:38:54

Don't think it'll be awkward, they will expect you to take time & care over the decision. Our local music shop owner suggested we take away three violins for DD to try at home & play to her teacher, for the price of the insurance (which was £10) for 10 days. And made it clear that there would be no obligation to buy, if none of them suited her.

confuugled1 Sat 17-Sep-16 08:42:19

No idea about size or violas per se but dh has just bought one because he fancied trying it out --to add to his rapidly growing collection of other instruments hmmgrin

He has been mulling on it for ages, looking for good deals on a beginners viola and ended up getting it online from Costco of all places!

It was one he'd seen in several places, was a big brand, aimed at beginners It arrived in a day or two and the postage suggested that it had actually been dispatched by a music company he has used before and was considering getting it from as they were second or third cheapest and he'd had good service from them in the past.

I think it was about £95ish (and we're Costco members; if not add another 5% I think). This was less than a couple of months ago so it's worth checking to see if they still have them.

Dh has been very happy with it - he says it has a nice time and is great for a beginner instrument, and he likes the fact he got a bargain but still got if from a music shop so hopefully they will have got a cut from it too. He usually likes to buy from music shops but as this is something like his eleventy millionth instrument and he doesn't have the time to learn the others let alone this! he decided to get the cheapest one of the branded beginners ones that he could find and then upgrade properly if he found he was playing a lot.

Pythonesque Sat 17-Sep-16 09:26:11

Definitely plan to take an instrument "on approval" to show his teacher. If you possibly can get the teacher to look at him and suggest sizes before you start, otherwise do ask and expect help in a shop. I agree it is probably worth getting an instrument he will get a good sound out of to encourage his progress.

Definitely not a 16.5". I think that's the size my monster is, and I'm tall. My 11 year old who is probably the same size as your son, and has just gone onto a full size violin, would struggle with it - and the last thing you want when learning viola (or violin) is an instrument that is too big, as you will develop all sorts of unhelpful habits and poor posture trying to cope with it. If you son has started his growth spurt at all then it might be worth buying or borrowing a cheaper instrument that is easily within his current size and then getting the better one in 6-9 months time.

howabout Sat 17-Sep-16 21:15:39

More about hand size, arm length and general build than height. DD2 has been playing a smallish full size viola since age 10 - she was also offered double bass lessons because of her build and big hands. It is my viola and is small because it makes it easier for me to swap between viola and violin - that would be an advantage to erring on the smaller side. Recommend going to a music shop as many offer rental or option to trade in (either for size or for a better instrument) as well as trial periods. There is a lot of variation in size and sound of violas and bows so it is worth trying out a range to find one to suit the player's personality - if you can get an experienced player to come to the shop with you. No need to spend any more than the one in your link for a beginner or even intermediate.

elidaviolins Mon 26-Sep-16 17:10:01

I have joined here because I keep reading things about myself (thank you) and can't resist joining. For total clarity, in case anyone does not realise, I am a retailer (have been for 14 years) and was a teacher for many years, first instrumental teaching, mainly violin, then after that school music teaching to A level (also I was a viola player in three different symphony orchestras of the good amateur type - these days I am riddled with arthritis and can't play more than open strings).

I am never going to make any value judgments here about any brand or shop including my own, any comments on these matters will be factual only. Anything else would be grossly unfair and would rightly draw down the wrath of the moderators.

Anyway with that said, here is my comment on the viola size: your son is 5 foot 1 in old money (sorry I still can't think in metres). 15 inch is the absolute maximum size you should be looking at and personally I would recommend a 14 inch (which is the same size as a full size violin - man adult lady players of your son's height would be playing a 7/8 rather than a 4/4 but that isn't an option for viola).

For a beginner. you don't need to spend too much. If you were talking about violins I would warn you away from the £25 ebay outfits but they don't seem to exist for viola so you probably won't go far wrong whatever you get.

Hope this helps.


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