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Took the leap, and bought my first viola from Fiddlershop
1st viola
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MACJR
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May 1, 2019 - 2:33 pm
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I have wanted to buy a viola for some time, but I kept putting it off. Today was the day, though, that I finally had the cash set aside to finally buy that viola, from Fiddlershop.com.

I would have liked to have bought a Fiddlerman viola, but that was a little out of my price range right now, so I went for the Cecilio CVA-500.

I do like my Cecilio CVA-500 violin, so a matching viola might work out well for me too.

I originally had wanted to go with a 16.5" viola, but Fiddlerman had suggested a 15.5 ( a long while back), so that is what I ordered today, the 15.5" viola.

My reach is probably good enough to play the 16.5" viola, but for comfort, maybe the 15.5" is the better choice.

I am getting up there in years, and I do have spinal issues, and joint issues, as older people tend to get.

MACJR

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Pat
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May 1, 2019 - 2:57 pm
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Congratulations MACJR! My first violin was a Cecilio also. To me it's always exciting getting a new instrument, whatever it is.

I've got a pretty long wingspan myself and have wondered how the viola would feel compared to the violin. Give us an update once you've had time to fiddle around with it. Or 'viola around' with it?

p

Bad times make for good stories.

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cid
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May 1, 2019 - 3:36 pm
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@MACJR I have a viola! I started with a 16” because according to all measurement charts, that is what I would use. I traded it in, and up while at it, and got a 15.5”. I am very very happy with it. It is much easier on my left hand and left arm than the 16” viola. The sound quality is the same. When I tried the 15”, I could notice going from 16” to a 15”, but no difference between 16” to 15 1/2”.

Funny you got the “sister” viola to your violin. I did the same. My violin and viola are the same maker/model. They both are warm and nice, could be warm and beautiful if I could play better.

Have fun with it.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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MACJR
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May 1, 2019 - 4:30 pm
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Thanks for the replies, Pat and cid.

I do like my Cecilio CVA-500. It needed some luthier touch ups, by me, to be able to play it easier, and could still use a nut string groove fix, that I intend to get to someday, but overall, it is a very good quality instrument. They should do better work on the finish and fittings, but the instrument itself is very nice.

I still want to try a Fiddlerman viola or violin sooner or later though. Maybe next year I will save for another month or two and go for something nice then, for whichever instrument I am liking the most then, violin or viola.

MACJR

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Mark
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May 1, 2019 - 7:26 pm
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Macjr, 

Grats on the new viola, I guess now since going to the dark side there's no hope🤔, you and BillG are in the same boat now.

 

Grats and have fun,

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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MACJR
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May 1, 2019 - 8:01 pm
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Well, Mark, I would not call getting a viola going to the "Dark Side." I think of it as more going a little more towards the "Bass Side."  😉

I do like playing the lower notes on both the violin and the guitar.

MACJR

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cid
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May 1, 2019 - 10:46 pm
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Actually, the viola is quite versatile. It is also a nice bridge between cello and violin. No dark side. Not even a down side. I guess it would be more in the gray side, in between light and dark side. Yes, I think that is what it is. But, I do not think of my viola as anything other than just right.

MACJR will find the same. It is actually quite nice to ahve along side your violin, as MACJR will also find out. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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AndrewH
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May 2, 2019 - 12:09 am
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Just be careful with your posture, because the risk of injury is much higher with a larger instrument. (Speaking from experience.) Keep your left shoulder down and avoid squeezing hard with your head.

Technique-wise, you will have to dig into the string more with the bow. Not using enough bow weight is the most common difficulty that people have when switching from violin to viola.

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BillyG
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May 2, 2019 - 2:09 am
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Awesome @MACJR !

( The "Dark Side" was an earlier standing joke on the forum with one of our regular contributors at the time @Barry - LOL Barry! )

I know what you mean about the lower notes - it's not that my high-end hearing is damaged or poor (just normal drop-off for someone of my age) - I just prefer the "warmth" of the bass-end sound for want of a better word.  And you'll certainly get that on a 15 - 16" instrument.....  cool !

Keep us updated, and enjoy your new instrument 🙂

EDIT :  How strange.... (the FM forum is my first visit of the day, then I go to Facebook - guess what was at the top of my FB feed ???? ) My friend Barry posted this, I'm sure he won't mind it being shared here - 

bvjoke.JPGImage Enlarger

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I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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cid
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May 2, 2019 - 7:17 am
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@BillyG That is so funny! 

@AndrewH The reason I traded my 16” in for a 15 1/2” was due to my arm getting very sore and it felt like I was straining muscles, and that was not halpening with my violin. Even though all charts clearly stated the 16” was my size, it really wasn’t. Maybe in my more flexible younger days I would have been able to learn and play on the 16”, but I am not that flexible anymore. I was very disappointed as we headed in to trade it for a 15 1/2” because I thought I would lose sound volume(?).  But, the 16” was definitely too large. It was too bright a viola, too, but I was concerned more with the soreness and straining. I could have waited until I was better at playing it to trade for a different one, if it was not for that straining and soreness.

I am happy with the 15 1/2” viola. My sound volume was not lost. The 15” ones I tried definitely had weaker sound. Maybe, if I was an experienced violist playing ability would have adjusted for it, but I am a newbie. 

I wish there were more hours in the day. I really need more time for my violin, cello and viola. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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MACJR
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May 2, 2019 - 11:20 am
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Thanks for the support, suggestions, and advice, from all above.

I am looking forward to playing that viola when it arrives. I had always wanted to try one out.

Speaking of cellos, I had always ruled those out as being too big. There was no way I ever wanted to mess with one of those. But after noticing cello sounds in a few show themes, and commercials now and then, I have to admit that I do love the sound of a cello.

Space to store one is still an issue though, but I am leaning more an more into maybe trying out a cello one day too.

Maybe a keyboard first though.

For now though, I will stick with my current instruments, and the new viola when it gets here.

MACJR

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Fiddlerman
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May 3, 2019 - 12:42 pm
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MACJR said
Well, Mark, I would not call getting a viola going to the "Dark Side." I think of it as more going a little more towards the "Bass Side."  ;)...............

Yes, the "Dark Side" is a common expression for violinists transferring to the viola.

Also in regards to tone, dark is the expression for deeper (lower frequency) tones. Bright would be higher frequency tones. Like turning the bass on a tone control up for the same music. The music will be darker.....

Also, as Bill noted... Standing joke....

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Ripton
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May 3, 2019 - 7:51 pm
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My first was also from FM. Love my Masters Viola. Dark Side eh? Just watch what I sound like.. Hey, let's take this a down a fifth.  

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MACJR
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The new viola arrived today. It suffered from some shipping, and possibly pre-shipping nicks and dings, but nothing major enough to warrant a return (or the cost of returning it). I wish they had put the instrument, in its box, into a shipping box. More often than not, instruments that arrived damaged are the ones that were shipped just in their instrument box.

For violins, the odds were better that they would survived, even when shipped in just their instrument box, because of the padded cases, but for a guitar, oh my, the damage was extensive.

There was one early casualty when tuning the strings. I had mistakenly assumed that the A string, tuned somewhere near to C#, needed to be tuned upward to reach A, not downward.

SNAP! That is the first time I ever broke a new string.

From previous experience, strings are loose on the Cecilio violins when I order them. Not the case with this viola though. Most of the strings were already near tune, or had too much tension in them.

So it goes.

I have ordered a new A string, but the new "Tonica Viola String Set" might arrive before the replacement A string. If so, I will use those instead of the steel strings that came with the viola.

I have to say though, overall, I am not as impressed with this Cecilio viola as I was with their violins. The bridge is slippery on the slick surface too. It also looks like sloppy work on most, or all, if the fittings.

Luck of the draw I guess. This viola probably belonged in the reject bin though.

MACJR

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Irv
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May 7, 2019 - 6:41 pm
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@MACJR .  I am sorry to hear of your disappointment with the cva 500 viola.  My experience with this model, other than their unusual pistachio colored finish, has been mostly positive.  No great loss with that string.  I suggest that you bin the others to join their mate.  

My favorite trick with a string is to pluck one while turning the peg knob of another, perplexed on why the pitch does not change.  

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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MACJR
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May 7, 2019 - 7:00 pm
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@Irv, mostly, the imperfections are rather small and I will learn to overlook them in time. It was more banged up than any of my previous instruments, other than the first classical guitar that was sent to me, that was cracked in two places.

Overall though, the varnish work on this viola was done better than it was on my Cecilio CVN-500 violin. But the violin has much better coloring. This Cecilio CVA-500 viola, is yellow-orange. Egad!

I guess I will get used to it... until I can save up for one of those Fiddlerman violas.

However, the most important part is the sound, and from the three strings I have left on it, it sounds nice. All else is forgiven, when the sound is good.  😉

And about turning the wrong peg, I have no idea what you are talking about. Me, make a mistake like that? Way too many times.  😉

Especially on the guitar, with those extra number of pegs to mix-up with.

MACJR

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MACJR
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May 7, 2019 - 7:04 pm
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A few pictures. One with the Cecilio CVN-500, and the other with the new Cecilio CVA-500.

MACJR20190507_120129_sc.pngImage Enlarger20190507_121142_sc.pngImage Enlarger20190507_123209_sc.pngImage Enlarger

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MACJR
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May 7, 2019 - 7:32 pm
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I like the flame pattern on the back of my Cecilio CVN-500 violin too.

That was a good luck of the draw.

MACJR20190507_154707_src.pngImage Enlarger20190507_154757_src.pngImage Enlarger

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Irv
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May 7, 2019 - 8:28 pm
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@MACJR .  Right off the bat based on the photos, the viola has a much better cut bridge.    You are likely going to have difficulty adjusting your bow hand to it since you have the muscle memory from using a flat bridge.  Been there, done that.

I have no clue how you can play a guitar.  I gave up on them (except a tenor guitar or a banjo).  The concept of fifth tuning is much more intuitive for me.

Cecilio bows are not “world class.”  I quickly disgard the pegs and retrofit Knilling perfections (And thus dispense with the heavy fine tuners).  But the fit and finish of the existing pegs looked ok to me.  

Do not think the 600 model and up are improvements to what you have.  In my opinion, they are too heavily constructed for good performance (although they are pretty).  Some of the cheaper Mendini MV 500 are also good.

Enjoy.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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MACJR
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May 7, 2019 - 9:07 pm
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@Irv, that bridge arc difference is mostly illusion. The violin is leaning one way, and the viola is leaning the other way, so the difference is smaller than it looks.

However, that violin is hard to play. It takes a bit of practice to be able to isolate the D string. It was even worst before I fit that new bridge in that violin. Since I am still new at fitting bridges, it may be that I can do better next time, if I find the right specs to use. The specs I used, were better than the bridge that was originally on that violin, but it is still a little tough isolating that D, just not as hard as before.

I have other violins, another acoustic, and an electric, that are both easier to play.

I had no problem adapting to bowing on the viola, even if it only has 3 strings right now. I will not get the true feeling for playing that viola until I replace the missing string, or install those Tonics when they arrive. It depends on which arrives first.

For me, the guitar was easier to learn than the violin. Except that I am still getting used to having so many strings to fumble my way through. I am getting better, but I can still lose track of strings from time to time, on the guitar. Four strings is a whole lot easier to manage. But violins, and violas, have so many more factors to deal with, that make them the more challenging instrument to learn.

I am better at playing the violin, than the guitar, mostly because I am much newer at playing the guitar. If I had started the guitar first, I could imagine being very frustrated trying to learn how to play the violin.

MACJR

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