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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 8, 2019 - 1:44 pm
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Not shown in the pictures, is the bow I use for playing. I was showing the bows that came with the instruments, not the bow I use.

I briefly tried out the Cecilio bow that came with the viola, but then decided to try out my Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow, and it worked with the viola just fine.

The Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Bow is actually a touch longer than the viola bow that came with the viola.

I will probably budget in a new viola bow sometime soon though.

I want a wood brown bow though, not a black bow. I like Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Bow, but it does not match my instrument color. Not that I need a perfect match, but something at least brownish would be preferable.

The black bow goes great with my black electric violin though.  😉

I will also be looking into buying new pegs for both my violin and my new viola. I like the begs to end at least close to flush with the outside of the peg box, and none of the Cecilio pegs are cut at any consistent length, and few come even close to flush with the outside of the peg box.

I have fit new pegs into my cheap test violin, so know how do do this job, but I will do better with the second batch of pegs. The first time is always the one where you learn from your mistakes.

MACJR

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AndrewH
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May 8, 2019 - 3:27 pm
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Consider a hybrid bow -- carbon fiber with a wood veneer. Like carbon fiber, they're a lot more "bang for your buck" than wood bows, at least until you get into professional level bows. The thin layer of wood adds back a surprising amount of the warmth that carbon fiber bows are criticized for lacking. And you have to look quite closely to tell it's not a wood bow.

I see there's a Fiddlerman hybrid viola bow at a very affordable price. If your budget is higher, consider a JonPaul Fusion. I've used a C.F. Iesta hybrid viola bow (the same model now sold as JonPaul Fusion Silver) for the last 9 years, and have been more than satisfied with it.

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MACJR
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May 8, 2019 - 3:50 pm
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I have discovered that a 4/4 violin A string will fit on a 15.5 viola.

I should have thought of trying that last night.

It is just a cheap Cecilio A string, but it will work as a place holder until the Tonica strings arrive.

MACJR

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MACJR
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May 8, 2019 - 3:52 pm
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@AndrewH, thanks for the advice. I will take a look and the price of that hybrid viola bow you are talking about.

My budget is rather tight though, so I have to stay away from all the higher priced options, and make due with what I can afford.

MACJR

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Irv
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May 8, 2019 - 3:54 pm
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I have to second @AndrewH on this one.  Not a fan of the carbon bows I have tried.  I now have a violin and cello hybrid, and I like both of them.  If you brave purchasing an off shore one, I suggest that you request the substitution of black bow hair.  Because it is not in high demand like the white, you are likely to get better quality hair by that tactic.  

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 8, 2019 - 3:56 pm
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Looking at the hybrid bow that Fiddlershop offers, within my price range, is a very nice looking bow. I think I will go for that one, rather than the cheaper wood bow I was looking at.

MACJR

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Fiddlerman
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May 10, 2019 - 2:09 pm
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MACJR said
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...........

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

MACJR

The Cecilios are one of the only instrument outfits that we drop ship. The margins are extremely low and we would literally not make a cent if we shipped them to Fiddlershop first. We just keep on selling them because of the price and popularity that was generated off my early videos. Also if we had them here in stock we would want to work on them which would easily require a couple of hours a piece and that would be very costly for us.

We don't touch them Michael. I'm very sorry about the way it was shipped to you but it doesn't matter how many times we try to tell them, they won't get it right.

We do things VERY differently here at Fiddlershop.

Just remember that you can return the Cecilio within 30 days of purchase. With our own stuff you get a 45 day satisfaction guarantee.

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

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MACJR
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May 10, 2019 - 2:21 pm
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Fiddlerman, I put no blame on Fiddlershop for the condition of the viola that arrived at my door. I did read the disclaimer that the Cecilio instruments are shipped from K. K. Music directly.

This was the final straw for me buying Cecilio instruments though. The more I look at the damage, which is mostly small and superficial, the more I am convinced it was done just prier to shipping, or it was done before it was boxed at some point before that even. I suspect it was whoever installed the strings, or last half-assed attempted to tune it, who was careless in handling the viola, scuffing it up in several places, and causing small chips and dings in the varnish work.

I would never treat an instrument like that.

So there is no hard feelings, from me, towards Fiddlershop about this issue. The scuff marks are mostly small enough that they are easy to miss, the worst being on the top of the scroll, and that is just barely visible in at least one of the pictures.

So I will keep this viola, but I have lost respect of K. K. Music and their careless staff.

My next instrument will more than likely be a Fiddlerman viola, or violin. I will just have to save money a little longer next time.  😉

MACJR

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MACJR
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May 10, 2019 - 2:31 pm
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The good news is that the Cecilio viola does sound nice. Even better now that I have replaced the broken A string with a proper, matching, A string.

I did not know that the quality of the A string effects the sound quality of the C, G, and D strings too.

The whole instrument sounded better when I put on a proper viola A string, of the same make and model as the rest of the strings.

I am still waiting for the Tonica strings, but they should get here within the next few days.

MACJR

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Fiddlerman
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May 10, 2019 - 4:44 pm
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Glad to hear it. 🙂
I would do whatever necessary to satisfy you otherwise Michael. 🙂

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

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MACJR
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May 23, 2019 - 3:36 pm
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Irv said
@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 took a look at my bridge on the violin, and noticed that you were right, it was rather flat. I finally got around to fixing that issue today, and boy did that make a difference.

No more struggling to isolate that blasted D string!  😉

The more I work on these things, the better I get at doing these things right.

In viola news, I adjusted the bridge feet on that instrument as well. It had not been properly fit to the viola. That was why it was slipping all over the place. Now it is far more stable.

I am also making good progress on being able to play on the alto clef. It is still not second nature, like reading the treble clef, but it is coming to me faster and faster now.

MACJR

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Irv
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May 23, 2019 - 6:22 pm
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@MACJR and others.  Glad I could help.  It proves even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.  

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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Fiddlerman
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May 25, 2019 - 1:23 pm
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I'm glad that you were able to improve the instrument rather easily. 🙂

Cecilio are more worthwhile if you can make adjustments yourself. 🙂

Great shop set-ups and changes are expensive.

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

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MACJR
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May 25, 2019 - 1:49 pm
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Fiddlerman said
I'm glad that you were able to improve the instrument rather easily. 🙂

Cecilio are more worthwhile if you can make adjustments yourself. 🙂

Great shop set-ups and changes are expensive.

  

I had also changed the tailpiece to a Wittner, before I fixed the bridge. I gained sting length after the bridge by a fairly good amount by doing this. The Wittner tailpiece looked small enough to fit on a violin, so I hesitated to use it, but it works fine.

The tailgut is still settling into places, so I have to tune during mid-practice sessions every now and again, but the it should settle down soon.

Cecilio violins do make good learning instruments, because the fittings almost always need adjusted. They can also help you learn to play the violin/viola, once you make the needed fixes.  😉

The cost of getting Cecilio instruments fixed, by a real luthier, probably would be too high for many of the people who buy Cecilio instruments. This would be a real bummer for those cash strapped people who are not adept and doing-it yourself projects.

Once the fixes are done, though, the instruments do play fairly well.

MACJR

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