Hand carved solid spruce top with solid flamed maple back & sides
Satin antique varnish finish
Hand inlayed purfling
Ebony fingerboard, pegs and chin rest
Ebony tailpiece with 4 nickel plated fine tuners
D'Addario Prelude Strings
VAC-40C light weight form fitting hard case
VAB-40B Brazilwood bow and unbleached horsehair
Extra viola bridge
Quality rosin cake
Very Good Experience
Cecilia Handmade Ebony Viola CVA-500
Last year my grand daughter borrowed a viola from school ( I wanted to be sure she was serious ) I decided to buy her one this year , it is a beautiful instrument, with good sound . She is so very pleased with it . Great instrument for the money ! Looking forward to her performing for many years to come !!
We purchased this viola for my daughter who switched from violin to viola last year at school. She used a school viola last year, to make sure that she wanted to stick with. This year we decided to buy her one of her own. This viola was less expensive than others we looked at but it is a serious instrument. Beautifully made and with great sound. I can see my daughter using this for several years.
Excellent purchase and having good experiences with it.
Purchased the CVA-500 16.5" over 3 weeks ago, and I have probably close to 50 hours playing time on it (couple hours a day) and I still say incredible value at this price. The bow could be better for me, but decent for beginners, and easily upgraded. The Prelude string are mellow sounding enough, maybe due to losing 20 % of the length between the bridge and tailpiece because of the removable tuners. Anyway, with better strings, a different tailpiece, upgraded bridge, and a professional setup are always an option, as an intermediate step before necessitating the purchase of a better viola. No need to spend $400-500 on the first one, and the next level could be modifying the CVA-500 before going for a serious violas. If you have some experience and want to shoot for a modifiable intermediate viola at the outset, the CVA-600 looks maybe worth considering, with its nice rubbed oil finish. I was impressed with this viola the first day, but in the last couple of weeks the viola has been improving soundwise, so I just keep wanting to play it. ;-). The color of the wood under the antique finish also seems to be getting deeper and richer looking. I have a violin with the oil finish that started sounding more resonant after a few months, and also looks better when it's kept hydrated. Just keep the viola and your violins hydrated, and if they have good pegs, pegbox holes, and were/are installed and adjusted properly, they should stay in tune. Even the best violins could slip tuning if they're dehydrated or mistreated. Dehydration not good for your bows/bowhair. Happily, I am having very good experiences with this viola; the alto clef reading is also starting to gel, although I am impatient, lol.
Excellent Value for Beginner Viola
Yep, the Fiddlerman himself is to be believed! You're not going to get a better viola to start on, than this Cecilio CVA-500 outfit! Incredible value at this price, even the 'extra' Cecilio bridge looks like it was cut specifically for this viola. The bow is decent for starters, and the violin setup and fit, form, and function just works. The Prelude string are mellow with the supplied bow, although I used my own light violin rosin, not the light rosin supplied by Cecilio. I needed to supply my own shoulder rest and Damp-It, and the case left a little to be desired (better room, better latching/zippers), but what the heck do you expect at this price point, I'm super impressed with the viola and bow, which are most important. I've been learning the violin, but the fingering is so tight for me that I wanted to try viola (in spite of the alto clef, haha), and so I constrained the budget to this Cecilio model, not knowing if I could handle playing viola.. I ordered the 16.5" since my arm measurement allowed for this, but the viola I received measured a 16" body length (I didn't include the heel at the base of the neck, because my violin body measures 14" not including the heel). Anyway, the end result is that with the 16" body, the fit is perfect for me, and the notes are under my fingers much more comfortably than with the violin. I placed the order with Fiddlerman, and the Cecilio arrived here from west coast to east coast in 5 business days! One last thing, I am very impressed with the sound. I have heard that for a viola to be "truly alto" or "full scale" (or a viola scale equivalent of a 4/4 violin), it would have to be a 20" body! The viola does have a nice cello like sound on the C string, and when plucking the G, D, and A strings, it is violin like, but with more thickness. The antique varnish is nice on this viola, but I like that oil finish that my violin has. The CVA-600 is considerably more money compared to the CVA-500, but it must be awesome, if the CVA-500 is any indication. One last thing, I am pleasantly surprised that it really doesn't need any setup work. The bridge is perfect, the sound post is where it should be, and the string heights meet the standard. The nut height is slightly higher than it should be, but not bad enough to affect play or warrant expense to a beginning or intermediate player. I imagine Cecilio has improved in this area based on some past reviews (or I got lucky?). Thanks Fiddlerman !! Thanks Cecilio !!
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