Violas for Beginner to Intermediate Players
Please read our Setting up for success article.
Far too often beginners instruments fail to instil a love for music in the pupil. Many beginners, particularly children who learn at school, learn to play on poorly made instruments that have been set-up incorrectly. Instead of focusing on tuition, lessons are interrupted by the need to retune the instrument or adjust an ill fitting bridge…the child then practices at home with an instrument that repeatedly slips out of tune, making it impossible to play, or to train intonation. Add a bow with loose hair or a warped stick to the equation that produces a sound more like a creaking door than a musical instrument, and it is no surprise many children give up due to lack of progress, with limiting judgements such as not being "naturally musical" preventing them from trying again.
The issues above can be eliminated by choosing a quality beginner instrument. Since its inception, Cardiff Violins has striven to provide functional beginners instruments at affordable prices. We choose well made inexpensive Chinese instruments that our luthiers set-up to be fully functional.
There is an added challenge for violists, as many aren't yet tall enough to play a viola and are given a violin set-up as a viola. Typically, an appropriately sized violin is strung with the A, D & G strings shifted towards the treble, with a C string added to the bass. Although this will provide an opportunity for the child to learn the viola, they will never be able to produce the rich and resonant tone expected from a viola, leading many to quit studying this lovely instrument.
A popular but slightly controversial solution is to perform a 'hole in the heart' operation on the violin, by drilling a hole in the belly between the treble foot of the bridge and the soundpost. The hole diminishes the treble frequencies, producing a significantly deeper and richer tone than is otherwise possible on a violin strung as a viola. Although this is a fairly effective procedure, many parents shun the idea of irreversibly altering their child's instrument (in case the child wanted to play violin in the future), and children can sometimes feel self conscious due to perceiving the instrument as unusual.
Due to increasing numbers of children learning the viola, we have opted for the least compromising solution to enable children to learn the viola whilst producing a deep and sonorous tone, which builds confidence and enthusiasm to continue studying. All of our smaller violas (12", 13", 14") are made with extra deep ribs, substantially increasing the size of the sound box, in order to achieve increased projection and richness of tone through the depth of the body, as opposed to the length. Each viola is set-up with one of our quality house bridges and viola strings which are designed to produce the tone of a viola on a smaller instrument. The instrument is sold with a viola bow which further enhances the sound. This is important as many young violists are given a violin bow, which is too light to draw the heavier viola strings.
We offer a range of instruments to meet various levels and budgets, and recommend customers buy the best instrument their budget allows, as each increase in price corresponds with a very noticeably improved sound. We will always part-exchange your previously purchased instrument from us, providing it's in good condition. In some circumstances we part exchange instruments bought elsewhere, providing they are of good quality, so please bring them with you.
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