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Hole in Heart Fractional Viola
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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Mouse
February 13, 2019 - 5:52 pm
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Oh, @Irv Sorry for the confusion. I was looking at Gordon’s photos. The guy with the beard and that animal with the other animal in the mouth. They hover over the pegbox, or am I seeing it wrong?

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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Irv
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February 14, 2019 - 7:43 pm
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No joy from my email to The Stringers of Edinburgh.  Got a reply today.  They said that they routinely apply the hole in the heart procedure to 4/4 violins to create very acceptable violas, and would welcome my business if I wanted one.  They have not attempted the procedure on a 14 inch viola.  

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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Mouse
February 14, 2019 - 8:05 pm
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I guess it is up to you to venture into uncharted lands, @Irv . We will all be there with you in our hearts, as you perform the heart procedure. Who knows, you might be creating something great!

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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bocaholly
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February 14, 2019 - 8:21 pm
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What's no joy about the Stringers' answer? Isn't that encouraging that a mainstream violin shop is using the hole-in-the-heart maneuver on 14" objects and finds the results  "very acceptable"?

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steveduf
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February 14, 2019 - 9:08 pm
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Mack has three violins with heads on them, these two plus another lion head which is in storage awaiting rework.  The old man one is a little creepy.930B6CE8-482E-4EA6-AED1-D5271B17F1E9.jpegImage Enlarger51181B32-F502-4C69-9A5B-5F5E15E41586.jpegImage Enlarger

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Mouse
February 14, 2019 - 9:43 pm
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Along with the old man one, the bottom one would spook me.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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Irv
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February 14, 2019 - 10:16 pm
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Hi @bocaholly and others.  Obviously, you are correct.  They now have 20 years of experience with this procedure, which says a lot in itself.  I was just hoping that they would have taken the next (for me at least) logical step.  No big deal since I plan to do it anyway, and I did not receive anything from them discouraging me.

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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Irv
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February 17, 2019 - 10:49 pm
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I am getting my supplies for the pending experiment of providing a hole in heart to a 14 inch viola.  Big question.  The Strad study used Corelli Crystal viola strings.  It does not look like Corelli continued to make them for the viola, but I found a new set.  On the plus side, the c String is tungsten wound.  On the negative side is that they are double the cost of my alternative D’Addario Ascente.  

My purpose is to create a reasonably inexpensive amateur doubling viola and not a bare boned student instrument, so I can live with a string cost of about $50.  I do not play the viola, so suggestions are welcomed.  

I plan on using a harp style 3/4 violin sized hill type ebony tail piece without fine tuners to maximize string after length.

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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Mouse
February 17, 2019 - 11:56 pm
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On one of my violas I put Jargars with a Larsen A. It is pretty nice. I don’t play that viola much because I have the new Rudoulf Doetsch. I am tempted to take them off the other viola and put less expensive ones on it and save that set as a backup for Rudoulfa. Now, I am a beginner, so take it for what it is worth. Rudoulfa came with Obligatos, so I don’t want to take them off. I believe I bought a set of each, Jargar and Larsen instead of one set of the mix. They were listed as a set but when and where I got them had a sale on strings at the time, so I just got a set of each. I can’t remember where I got them. Hadn’t started shopping Fiddlershop at that time.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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AndrewH
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February 18, 2019 - 4:40 am
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Aren't Jargar and Larsen strings both on the expensive side?

Viola strings are generally around double the price of equivalent violin strings, so a $50 string set would essentially be a student string budget. That said, your best bets in the under-$50 price range are D'Addario Ascente and Thomastik Alphayue. Zyex strings are just a little over $50, but very hit-or-miss, working extremely well on some violas (at least one leading viola soloist, Gerard Causse, currently uses them) but badly for most violists I know who have tried them.

If you're willing to budget more for strings: I use Visions with a Larsen A. I've seen Visions recommended for smaller violas and they were an improvement over the Dominant C, G, and D strings I was using before on my 15.75" viola. I was actually a little surprised by the price when I made the switch. I had previously used Visions on my violin, and they are fairly expensive strings for a violin (significantly more expensive than Dominant). But on viola, they're actually significantly less expensive than Dominants, with full Vision sets available for about $80 while Dominants tend to cost around $100.

EDIT: Looks like I was mistaken about the price range for Jargar strings. I've only ever seen people use the Jargar A, which is the second-most-popular viola A string after Larsen.

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Gordon Shumway
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February 18, 2019 - 5:42 am
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AndrewH said
Viola strings are generally around double the price of equivalent violin strings,

Thanks for the advanced warning.

Andrew

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Irv
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February 18, 2019 - 9:40 am
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Appreciate the input.  A very inexpensive option would be to purchase a Kaplan c string  (which I can get for almost the price of an e string) and use a Fiddlerman violin set for the other strings.  I hesitate to use a metal core string.  I will do more checking on the visions.

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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AndrewH
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February 18, 2019 - 11:45 am
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Wait, where are you getting that Kaplan C string for "almost the price of an E string"? I'm seeing Kaplan viola C strings listed at $27 and up. Do you have access to an especially good deals?

(I actually want to know, because, as I said, viola strings are expensive!)

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Irv
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February 18, 2019 - 4:20 pm
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Hi @AndrewH.  Sent you a pm since there are not many left at $10 each plus $2.50 shipping for as many as you want.  However, they appear to be gut core instead of metal core (Sorry for confusion, but my preference is for gut core anyway).

Regarding the Vision.  I can get a set of 4/4 violin Vision strings for about $30.  Combined with the Kaplan gut c string, I may get something useful for less than $50.

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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AndrewH
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February 18, 2019 - 6:02 pm
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Huh. The last price I paid for a set of violin Visions was $49, and the lowest I've ever seen was $40 -- though I'll admit I don't shop for violin strings very often. (I buy a set of viola strings every 4-6 months and a set of violin strings every 3-4 years, so I typically price-shop for my viola strings only, and just get violin strings from wherever is most convenient.)

I can't offer any insights on using violin strings on a 14" viola; although I know two people who play violas in that range (14" and 14.5"), both use viola strings.

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Oscar Stern

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March 25, 2024 - 10:16 pm
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Irv said
I have found another potential method of improving the sound of a fractional sized student viola.  It is described as the “hole in the heart” procedure and was invented in Finland.  Looks easy enough to do.  F48DB1BF-A28B-4A94-8D82-EE6FCFE5B0AC.jpegImage Enlarger1121C0F4-4987-4636-89D5-CE51EE52D90B.jpegImage EnlargerE1D3B718-F127-49AC-AC45-F8D1AAAE469F.jpegImage Enlarger

  

It's commonly used for Converting Violins into Violas but it also allows Smaller Sized Violas to sound much cleaner (maybe Small Cellos & Double Basses too). It kinda reminds me of another instrument called a Crwth[Image Can Not Be Found] which the Treble Bridge foot rests on the soundboard while the Long Bass bridge foot goes down the Bass Soundhole & rests directly on the back. Here on the Hole-in-The-Heart Viola (also Violin to Viola conversion) it's inverted, because the Bass bridge foot rests on the So the Treble Bridge foot is connected to the soundpost, it goes down the hole & rests directly on the Back. This Hole-In-The-Heart Surgery has the effect of reducing higher frequency resonances & gives the lower registers a greater sonority, a quality that was Previously impossible w/ the Smaller Student Violas.

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ELCBK
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March 26, 2024 - 5:05 pm
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@Oscar Stern -

Welcome to the forum! 

Interesting topic!  I think there are MANY folks that aren't comfortable playing a large violin or viola - so, better tone from a smaller instrument would certainly be wonderful! 

I didn't notice this thread when I first joined the forum.  To help with fractional size instrument tone, I had not considered anything other than string choice and possible bridge position adjustment. 

Wish we knew the outcome of Irv's modification, but (unfortunately) Irv hasn't visited the forum since 2022. 

 

🤔... I've wondered if the sound post position for a fractional was much different than a 4/4 instrument.

I'd probably recommend drilling a small guide hole & using a 3/8", or 9/16" wavy forstner bit - for a clean edge.  Since violins/small violas have curved fronts & backs, a simple jig to prevent the instrument from rocking would help.  I'd also rig up a mini drill press stand - they aren't expensive to buy, but the purpose of this thread was to save money.  ... practicing on a similar thickness of scrap spruce wood, at a slight angle, could also help. 

Btw, the image of the modified 'blue' violin doesn't look like wood (the edge of the hole & inside back), it might make a difference, but I still see some chipping around the top edge of the hole.  I'd place tape over a painted surface, before drilling.

 

I'd still consider less invasive alternatives, first. 

Overly BRIGHT Violin? Thread - a paperclip could be an easy alternative. 

Giving Strings a Fair Chance With Instrument Adjustments Thread - posts with videos on sound post adjustments & bridge positioning, to correct weak/strong string issues. 

Suppose it would turn teachers upside-down if I just suggested tuning down a whole step to help contend with brightness (?) 😄 

- Emily

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Oscar Stern

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March 26, 2024 - 5:52 pm
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ELCBK said
@Oscar Stern -

Welcome to the forum! 

Interesting topic!  I think there are MANY folks that aren't comfortable playing a large violin or viola - so, better tone from a smaller instrument would certainly be wonderful! 

I didn't notice this thread when I first joined the forum.  To help with fractional size instrument tone, I had not considered anything other than string choice and possible bridge position adjustment. 

Wish we knew the outcome of Irv's modification, but (unfortunately) Irv hasn't visited the forum since 2022. 

 

🤔... I've wondered if the sound post position for a fractional was much different than a 4/4 instrument.

I'd probably recommend drilling a small guide hole & using a 3/8", or 9/16" wavy forstner bit - for a clean edge.  Since violins/small violas have curved fronts & backs, a simple jig to prevent the instrument from rocking would help.  I'd also rig up a mini drill press stand - they aren't expensive to buy, but the purpose of this thread was to save money.  ... practicing on a similar thickness of scrap spruce wood, at a slight angle, could also help. 

Btw, the image of the modified 'blue' violin doesn't look like wood (the edge of the hole & inside back), it might make a difference, but I still see some chipping around the top edge of the hole.  I'd place tape over a painted surface, before drilling.

 

I'd still consider less invasive alternatives, first. 

Overly BRIGHT Violin? Thread - a paperclip could be an easy alternative. 

Giving Strings a Fair Chance With Instrument Adjustments Thread - posts with videos on sound post adjustments & bridge positioning, to correct weak/strong string issues. 

Suppose it would turn teachers upside-down if I just suggested tuning down a whole step to help contend with brightness (?) 😄 

- Emily

  

Tape & yes it works like a Welsh Crwth because of the long Bridge Foot that goes down the hole & rests on the Back.

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Mark
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Welcome to the forum 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Oscar Stern

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Irv said
I am getting my supplies for the pending experiment of providing a hole in heart to a 14 inch viola.  Big question.  The Strad study used Corelli Crystal viola strings.  It does not look like Corelli continued to make them for the viola, but I found a new set.  On the plus side, the c String is tungsten wound.  On the negative side is that they are double the cost of my alternative D’Addario Ascente.  

My purpose is to create a reasonably inexpensive amateur doubling viola and not a bare boned student instrument, so I can live with a string cost of about $50.  I do not play the viola, so suggestions are welcomed.  

I plan on using a harp style 3/4 violin sized hill type ebony tail piece without fine tuners to maximize string after length.

  

@Oscar Stern 

Link removed by Mouse. Please read the Welcome Email I sent when you joined, and second email I sent you when you first posted the link and I removed it. If you repost it again, you will have to be banned. I was going to state this via email, but they don't seem to be being read. 

Mouse

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