Best Viola Reviews 2018

Buying a viola can be a confusing task, especially if you don’t know what you need to look out for. There are many considerations to think of and brands to choose from in your search for your ideal viola. We understand this difficulty and have taken some time to carry out thorough research on the subject. From our research, we selected five top brands we found to be offering some of the best violas. These brands have many other models from which you can make your choice, though we selected just one from each brand for this review. From our selection, buying guide, and review, we hope to help you have a clearer understanding and choose correctly.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Body info
Neck info
Finish
Our Top Choice
D’Luca 16 Inch Orchestral Viola
D’Luca Music is a manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments. It aspires to provide, through all its instruments, a playing experience that is both fun and unique.
It has a beautiful sound, and great projection and power. It’s well-made, beautifully finished in lightly shaded golden-brown varnish, and comes with a great viola case.
No cons have been reported at the time of writing this review.
Professional
16 inches
Spruce and maple
Info not provided
Old-fashion antique varnish
Best Value
Cecilio Solidwood Viola
Cecilio Music is committed to inspiring musical talent with instruments that offer quality and value.
It’s a top-quality instrument made with good quality materials. It has a rich sound and is endorsed by music teachers.
The included bow is ideal for beginners alone.
Student
16 inches
Maple
Info not provided
Satin varnish
D Z Strad 15" Handmade Ukulele
D Z Violin is a renowned maker of orchestra stringed instruments. It’s committed to offering the string community a complete range of products and services.
It’s professionally made, has a great sound, is beautifully finished in hand-rubbed antique varnish, and comes with extras which includes two bows.
No cons have been reported at the time of writing this review.
Professional
15 inches
Maple and spruce
Info not provided
Antique varnish
Becker Red-Gold Gloss Voila
Becker is a leader in the stringed instruments world. It delivers top-quality European bowed instruments that are crafted to meet MENC's specifications.
It’s well-built, has a pleasant tone, and is nicely finished in red-gold gloss. It’s also a perfect starter kit for young musicians.
No cons have been reported at the time of writing this review.
Beginner
12 inches
Spruce and maple
Maple
Red-gold polished lacquer
Grace Green Student Viola
GRACE is a seller of various high-quality products ranging from musical instruments and women’s fashion, to children’s toys and more.
It’s a perfect first-time instrument, is brightly colored making it ideal for children, and is also very affordable.
No cons have yet been reported at the time of writing this review.
Student
13 inches
Maple
Maple
Info not provided

(Updated )
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Watch Our Viola Review

How Do I Choose the Best Viola?

Music is wonderful in the right hands and with the right instrument. A once-loved neighbor can become a much-disliked one because s/he or their child got a new musical instrument and have been practicing on it. You cannot understand the horror of having to endure the sound of a learner battling with a poor-quality instrument until you have experienced it. It can strain relationships and cause stress, not to mention cause dogs and cats to howl, tormented by the sound. If for no other reason, this alone is reason enough to spend some time choosing the right instrument, especially if you’re a beginner. Whether you love playing guitar, the trumpet or a harmonica, making music has to be one of the most sought after talents and we’re here to help you on your quest for the right viola.

On a more serious note though, choosing a viola can be a straightforward process if you know exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the factors that need to be considered include size (both of the instrument and the player) and level of expertise.

Apart from the viola itself, it’s also important to look at the viola bow, strings, and other viola accessories that will affect the smooth use of your instrument. A lot of the considerations - as with things related to the creative arts - will have to do with personal preferences. The finishing, the preferred kind of viola case for carrying and protection, and other such considerations will largely depend on your choice and budget.

After you have carefully looked at all these factors, you will be able to confidently decide which viola is best for you.
Price
Price has always been and will always be a major factor when purchasing anything. Violas can cost anywhere from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. Many factors like size, make, quality of materials, and level will affect the price of any viola. It’s now left to you to decide which you want either based on your budget or the features you want.

From our research, we found that for between $75 and $1250 you can own a good viola. Of course, the word “good” here is relative to what good is to you. It should be pretty clear that the $75 viola will not have the same features as the $1250 one. If you want more features, it’s expected that you be willing to pay more.

However, every instrument we selected here has met certain criteria and will deliver value for the money. We made sure of this by avoiding cheap violas that were totally lacking in any form of quality or value. We believe you should at least get value if you buy a product we recommend.
Features
There are some important factors and features that should influence your choice of a viola. These are guidelines to help you choose exactly what you want. This means that for one factor, X may be the best for Mr. A, while Y is the best for Ms. B. These are the major factors to consider when choosing a viola:
  • Size
  • Material
  • Level
  • Age
  • The viola bow
  • Extras – cleaning cloth, viola cases, extra bows, etc.
Construction and Design
Size is one of the most important factors to be considered when choosing a viola. The viola has size ranges that are suitable for different players. Choosing the right size is very critical as not doing this will seriously hamper your play. We will provide you with a simple guide to help you choose correctly, especially since it’s not always possible to physically test the instrument before making a purchase.

The first thing to do is measure the intended player. Measure the length from the neck to the base of the finger. Use the result to work with the following:
  • When the length of neck to base of fingers is 27.1+, the right size should be 16.5 inches (corresponding viola size).
  • For 26.4 - 27.1 inches (neck to finger base); go for 16 inches (viola size).
  • For 25.6 - 26.4 inches (neck to finger base); go for 15.5 inches (viola size).
  • For 24.9 - 25.6 inches (neck to finger base); go for 15 inches (viola size).
  • For 23.2 - 24.9 inches (neck to finger base); go for 14 inches (viola size).
  • For 21.9 - 23.2 inches (neck to finger base); go for 12 - 13 inches (viola size)
The size of the instrument will also determine its volume. Acoustic instruments (like the viola) with large sound bodies have louder volumes. Therefore, the smaller the viola, the lower the volume will be.

The material a viola is made of is also important as it will affect the cost and, more importantly, the tone of the instrument. Of course, higher quality materials will cost more, which should be common knowledge. For the tone, violas made with hard woods like maple will have a brighter tone while those made with soft woods will have a darker tone. The tone you prefer will therefore determine which you go for.

Viola bows come in different sizes just as the violas do. Most violas come with a bow or two when you purchase it. However, should you ever need to buy another, maybe as an upgrade or simply as a backup, know that you need to get one that’s meant for the size of viola you have. The following list will help you with this:
  • For a viola of 15-16.5 inches, get a bow size of 4/4
  • For a viola of 13-14 inches, get a bow size of 3/4
  • For a viola of 12 inches, get a bow size of 1/2
  • For a viola of 11 inches, get a bow size of 1/4
Performance and Ease of Use
When getting a viola, it’s important to consider the player’s level. Getting a very expensive viola for a beginner might be a waste as they will not appreciate the top-quality features. These professional-level violas are best for professional players.

Just as with the level of the player, a critical thing to consider is the age of the player. This is closely tied to the size of viola that will be ideal for the player. It will be financially wise to get a basic level violin for a beginning player who is also young. The reason is that in a couple of months or years, that viola will become too small and will need to be changed.

This, however, is simply for your information. If, for example, you decide to buy a $1250 viola for your 10-year-old child, chances are that if you bought the right size in the first place, in a few months, he or she will outgrow it, requiring a new one of the right (current) size. So make your purchase understanding the outcome.

Take your time to consider all the factors listed and use them as a guide to help you choose the best viola for you.

What is the Best Viola?

It’s pretty clear from all you’ve read so far that you alone can decide which product is best for you. We have provided you with information on what to look out for, the important things, and the not-so-important things. It’s now up to you to decide which you will go for. Let’s go right away into the reviews; be on the lookout for features that appeal to you.
Our Top Choice
The D'Luca CA800AT is handmade from fine spruce and flamed maple. It’s full-sized and produces powerful and resonant tones. It offers a responsiveness and array of tonal colors that are unusual in this price range. Do you need something smaller than this full-sized viola? Try the D'Luca CA400VA-14 Orchestral Series Handmade Viola. It is a 14-inch model.
D’Luca 16-Inch Orchestral Series Professional Antique Handmade Full Size Viola

D’Luca Viola CA800AT


Features
D’Luca Music is a manufacturer and distributor of various musical instruments. It manufactures instruments for both adults and children, with its children’s instruments targeting the development of the physical and mental abilities of each child by engaging, inspiring, and teaching them basic music concepts. It aspires to provide, through all its instruments, a playing experience that is both fun and unique.

The D'Luca 16-Inch Orchestral Series Professional Antique Handmade Viola (Selling at $926.19 - recommended retail price) is a handmade, full-sized viola artfully made from fine spruce and flamed maple. This instrument produces tones that are powerful and resonant. It will offer you a responsiveness and array of tonal colors that are not usual to this price range. Finished in lightly shaded golden-brown varnish, it’s also a beauty to behold. Its features include following:
  • Handmade
  • Full-sized
  • Finely grained
  • Slight old-fashion antique varnish
  • Greet fine spruce and striking flamed maple back
  • Brazil wood bow with ebony frog and genuine horsehair
  • Lightweight case with two bow holders
Best Value
The Cecilio CVA-400 is a student viola handmade with solid spruce top, solid flamed maple back and sides, and a beautiful satin varnish finish. This instrument will inspire viola students to greater musical heights. Would you prefer a model with a different fingerboard material? Try the Cecilio CVA-500 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Viola. It has an ebony fingerboard, pegs, and chinrest.
Cecilio 16 Inch Solidwood Viola with D'Addario Prelude Strings

Cecilio Viola CVA-400


Features
Cecilio Music is a manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments with a commitment to inspiring musical talent with instruments that offer quality and value. The Cecilio CVA-400 Solidwood Viola (Selling at $349.99 - manufacturer's suggested retail price) is a clear showcase of what this brand is all about.

The CVA-400 is a student viola endorsed by music teachers. It’s handmade with the best of materials which includes a solid spruce top, solid flamed maple back and sides, and a beautiful satin varnish finish. This instrument will inspire viola students to greater musical accomplishments. Its full features include the following:
  • 16-inch viola
  • Solid hand-carved spruce top
  • Flamed maple back & sides
  • Boxwood fingerboard
  • Boxwood pegs, chinrest, and tailpiece
  • 4 detachable nickel-plated fine tuners
  • D'Addario Prelude strings
  • Brazilwood bow with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair
  • Cecilio chromatic tuner
  • Lightweight hard case
  • Quality rosin cake, and extra bridge
It comes with a 1-year warranty against manufacturer's defects.
The 15 inch D Z Strad Viola Model 400 is a top-of-the-line viola made for the professional and advanced player. Featuring a two-piece maple back and solid carved spruce top, it’s a viola of extremely high quality. Do you need something bigger? You can go for the 16.5" Handmade D Z Strad Viola Model 400. It is 16.5 inches in size.
D Z Strad 15" Handmade D Z Strad Viola with $800 Free Gift - Bam Case, Viola Bows and Dominant String

D Z Strad Viola Model 400


Features
D Z Violin is a manufacturer and distributor of orchestra stringed instruments, and is committed to offering the string community a complete range of products and services. It delivers string instruments of the finest quality, and you can rest assured when you get one with this brand name. That’s one reason many professional players prefer it.

The 15 inch D Z Strad Viola Model 400 (Selling at $1250.00 - manufacturer's suggested retail price) is a top-of-the-line viola (handmade by highly skilled luthiers using top-quality materials). It features among other things a two-piece maple back and solid carved spruce top. This instrument was made for the professional and advanced player who wants nothing but the best from their instrument. This is a viola of extremely high quality. Its full features include the following:
  • Hand-rubbed from Italian tonewoods
  • Russian spruce top
  • A viola case
  • A carbon fiber viola bow
  • D Z Strad Pernambuco Viola Bow
  • A warm response with unique character
  • A tremendous tone
  • Finished with evenly hand-rubbed antique varnish
The Becker 2000C Viola Outfit 12-Inch is crafted in Romania from carefully chosen seasoned tonewoods. Skilled craftsmen crafted it according to centuries-old tradition. It’s aurally exceptional and visually stimulating. Do you need something bigger? Check out the Becker 2000SF Viola Outfit 16-Inch.
Becker Viola Outfit 12-Inch with Red-Gold Gloss Finish

Becker Viola 2000C


Features
Becker Stringed Instruments is a manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments with a commitment to providing students, teachers, schools, and music dealers with top-quality European bowed instruments. These instruments are crafted to meet MENC's specifications. It also backs its instruments with top-notch customer service.

The Becker 2000C Viola Outfit 12-Inch (Selling at 396.47 - Suggested retail price) is crafted in Romania from carefully chosen seasoned tonewoods. This is the work of skilled craftsmen who hand-carve and graduate every instrument, honoring the tradition that has lasted for centuries. This instrument is aurally exceptional and visually stimulating. It features the following:
  • Select seasoned woods
  • Graduated solid spruce top
  • Solid maple back
  • Maple sides
  • Solid maple scroll and neck
  • Inlaid purfling
  • Ebony fingerboard, pegs, nut, saddle, and tailpiece
  • Fully fitted Bausch maple bridge
  • Composite chinrest
  • Four Wittner string adjusters
  • D'Addario Prelude strings and Wittner tailpiece adjuster
It comes in two choices of finishing: Red-gold polished lacquer or gold-brown satin.
The GRACE 13 inch Green Student Viola is affordable and comes with everything a child will need to play. Made from quality materials, this green-colored instrument is sure to be a hit with many young musicians. Need something slightly bigger? Try the GRACE 14 inch Purple Student Viola with Case.
Grace 13 inch Green Student Viola with Case, Bow, 2 Sets Strings, 2 Bridges, Pitch Pipe & Rosin

Grace Viola GA10-13GR-SPB


Features
GRACE is a seller of various high-quality products ranging from musical instruments and women’s fashion, to children’s toys and more. For affordably priced musical instruments that are made without compromise to quality, check out GRACE’s offerings.

The GRACE 13 inch Green Student Viola (Selling at $75.00 - suggested retail price) is a highly affordable viola that comes ready with everything any child will need to begin to play the instrument. Made from quality materials like spruce and maple, this green-colored instrument is sure to be a hit with many young and aspiring musicians. Its full features include:
  • Spruce top
  • Maple back, neck and sides
  • Hardwood pegs
  • Hardwood fingerboard and chinrest
  • Alloy tailpiece
  • 4 built-in fine tuners
  • Wood stick, rosewood frog, genuine horsehair bow
  • Lightweight case with shoulder strap
It comes with an extra set of strings, extra bridge, pitch pipe, and rosin.

Get the Best Viola of 2018!

Thank you for taking the time to read through this review and guide. We hope you’ve gotten the information you need to make an informed decision. It’s our desire that with the information you have received, you can go right ahead to place your order with confidence, knowing exactly what you want.

Our Top Choice
D’Luca 16 Inch Orchestral Viola
Best Value
Cecilio Solidwood Viola
D Z Strad 15" Handmade Ukulele
Becker Red-Gold Gloss Voila
Grace Green Student Viola