The Fiddlerman Master Viola is constructed from hand-carved, beautifully figured spruce and maple tonewoods that have been aged for a minimum of 10 years. It's set up and tested by our professional luthiers in our Florida workshop and comes with a lifetime structural warranty and free lifetime adjustments.
Body: Fully hand-carved with European spruce top and flamed curly maple back. Professional quality hand-applied spirit varnish
Fittings: Ebony fingerboard, pegs, chinrest, and tailpiece with A string fine tuner
Bridge: Professional level Despiau Three Tree or a Holstein 3-star
Soundpost: European spruce soundpost from "Alpine Tone Wood"
Strings: Commonly Thomastik Vision, medium scale, medium tension (standard), but our luthiers will install whichever strings sound best on the specific viola
*The strings might differ depending on the characteristics of the individual instrument. Our professional luthiers test and optimize every instrument before they are sent out. Please leave a note on your order for any string preference.
Every Fiddlerman instrument undergoes our famous 10-point inspection!
Case: Fiddlerman Quality Oblong Viola Case FC75 with dark gray interior.
Bow: Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Viola Bow
Shoulder Rest: Fiddlerman Wood Viola Shoulder Rest (14” come with Fiddlerman Wood Violin Shoulder Rest)
Rosin: Holstein Premium Rosin
Cloth: Fiddlershop Polishing Cloth
Tuner: Fiddlerman Digital Tuner AV10
A warm, deep, slightly muted viola. Great customer service!
I played the violin in high school and college some 20 odd years ago, and wanted to get back into strings. The violin high notes on the E (past A5) hurt my wife's ears, and I've been wanting some deeper sounds, so I figured the viola was a good fit. Many people recommended Fiddlerman over cheap Amazon brands, and my wife liked the Fiddlerman CF cello bow. I also didn't want to splurge $3k on a "starter" instrument, so the Master viola fit the bill. I received the 16.5" viola safely and packaged well. I asked for a Wittner tailpiece (because of my good experience with it across the entire violin family), and they installed one for me for free, yet included the original tailpiece in a bag. What service! The carbon fiber bow was initially mediocre sounding using the provided rosin, but switching to Cecilia Signature made it a lot nicer sounding. Leatherwood 50/50 formula is even better sounding on it. The sound and tone of the viola are pretty good. There is some slight inconsistency to the tone and resonance across strings, but within expectations for the price. I initially thought the instrument had mediocre sound; however, I have (re)discovered that violas have various tones based on use-case and preference, and that my preference for a viola tone is more of the bright-and-clear side, as can be expected out of a soloist instrument. This instrument just has more of a warm, deep, slightly muted voice, very fitting for a viola section in an orchestra or ensemble. My wife (a cellist) liked the tone of it just fine, so I don't think there's anything wrong with this viola. I would just recommend knowing what tone you are looking for, before deciding which instrument you want to buy. The workmanship of the viola left a bit to be desired, with a few cosmetic imperfections. After getting in touch with Fiddlershop, they offered many options to make things right. They truly care about their customers. Ultimately, I was still dissatisfied with the tone, so I reached out to Fiddlershop asking for advice for exchanging to a different viola. Michael made me a wonderful comparison video between a Master and Soloist viola. Listening to the video, I knew immediately that the Soloist had the sound I was looking for, and they kindly let me do an upgrade. I'm now a very happy owner of the Soloist model, which has a nice clear tone I was looking for, as well as great workmanship. Thank you very much, Fiddlershop. You more than deserve a 5 star rating. Everyone I was in contact with at your shop went above and beyond expectations for trying to make this picky customer happy.
On the fence
I played the violin in high school and college some 20 odd years ago, and wanted to get back into strings. The violin high notes on the E (past A5) hurt my wife's ears, and I've been wanting some deeper sounds, so I figured the viola was a good fit. Many people recommended Fiddlerman over cheap Amazon brands, and my wife liked the Fiddlerman CF cello bow. I also didn't want to splurge $3k on a "starter" instrument, so the Master viola fit the bill. Viola was packaged well. The Thomastik Vision strings are a decent match. I asked for a Wittner tailpiece (because of my good experience with it across the entire violin family), and they installed one for me for free, yet included the original tailpiece in a bag. What service! Having made instruments myself (harp, dulcimer, guitar, electric violin), I'm a little disappointed in the workmanship of the viola I received, both on the factory end and Fiddlershop's end. Bridge was shaped well, with string heights set correctly; however, the spacing between the G and D strings is almost 2mm too wide, making it a bit awkward to play. The varnish is thickly laid on, and has visible brush strokes and shoddy workmanship in multiple places -- not quite the advertised "professional" job. The fingerboard didn't get cleaned up after planing, and has many rough spots. Neck has shoddy finishing applied, so there's little unfinished spots already getting stained with my hand oils. Included shoulder rest was uncomfortable for a 16.5", so I replaced it with a Kun. Included CF bow sounds mediocre on this viola, and included rosin makes it an even worse match, at least in my house at 71F/60%RH. I tried 7 different rosins from cheap to expensive, and found Hildersine to sound the best with it. I trialed a CodaBow Marquise GS, and what a difference. Of course, that bow costs more than the instrument outfit, so figures. The sound and tone of the viola are okay for the price, if not a little disappointing. It sounds muffled across the board, and inconsistent tone and resonance across strings. It sounds better than cheap Violin-Shaped-Objects from Amazon. But compared to what I'm used to with my $2400 violin, I feel the quality-to-price ratio is a bit on the lower side. Overall, I'm on the fence about the instrument. It's a perfectly serviceable student instrument, so I'll keep it. The build isn't bad, but a bit lackluster. I personally wouldn't perform/record with this grade of a viola, but I guess that's what you can expect out of this price range. Maybe I'm just picky, but I just expected a bit more, with all the online review/hype about how good this instrument is. Darn you, Internets.
Hi and thanks for your review! We are so sorry that you aren't 100% satisfied with your instrument. We are contacting you privately regarding this matter and also want you to be aware that we have a 45 day satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked.
Love My Viola
I have had my viola about a year now. As a violinist who only plays on the E string when I absolutely have to, I have long wanted to try a viola. I rented one a few years ago and had it for a long enough time that I figured out that it really was too large for me. After talking with Claire, and dithering for a year, I ordered this 15.5" one. It comes installed with a high bridge that fits over the tailpiece, and with a beautiful Everest shoulder rest. Together, they unfortunately made the viola uncomfortably large for my short neck, and it took me about a year to find a setup that works. I even ditched a shoulder rest for a while, using an unevenly folded 1/4 yard of fake suede (I was afraid that real suede would ruin the finish) and a web of rubber bands. The suede worked well and I was even feeling quite proud of myself for ditching shoulder rests altogether when the suede (actually a ball of folded suede) slipped into the hollow below my shoulder. It a lucky accident because it was so much more comfortable! I immediately grabbed my Kun shoulder rest (because it is more stable, to be honest), put it on at a weird angle so the tall part rested in that hollow, and it almost fit! I decided to find the very lowest chin rest that I could. I ordered a Mulko rest from another vendor (sorry) and now it is perfect. Unfortunately, the old chin rest (also purchased elsewhere--this is my third chinrest for this viola) seems to have damaged the finish, which surprised me because the spirit-based varnish seemed so impervious, and this never happened on the oil finish of my violin. In the intervening year, the viola had a chance to mellow out a bit, and I am getting complements on the tone. I love the way it sounds, and my fingers have adapted to the reach. Also, in an unexpected bonus, playing the viola seems to also improve my skill on the violin. I took away a star because there was an issue with the bridge in which there was an unusually large gap between the D and A strings. I gave the star back because Fiddlershop fixed it lightning-quick. When I sent it to them, they had it back to me in a week, shipping time included (I live in Florida). I find this viola to be well worth the money, and the customer service is splendid. I advise you to talk to the guys at the shop about any adjustments you can make to make it more comfortable, which they are happy to do.
Una linda experiencia, primera vez que compro de esta Lutheria y quede muy contenta, llego a tiempo y con todos los artículos prometidos. Realmente muy contenta con el producto, los promocionare desde Bolivia. ;)
It's amazing Buy it to try it out.
Fiddlershop is a small family-owned business located in South Florida. Since 2012 we have been serving the string community with quality instruments and accessories. We believe that music and instruments should be accessible to everyone at a price they can afford.