The following information about this luthier was submitted on 4/10/2006 by Cristian Gliga. It has not been verified by Violinist.com, which takes no responsibility for its accuracy.
Builds violins and/or bows? Yes
Retailer of string musical instruments - violins, violas, and cellos - manufactured in Romania, in Gliga's workshop.
Opinions expressed below are those of their authors alone.
overall rating 2 1/2 to 3 out of 5
Recently, I bought a Gliga 15 inch viola and this is my story. I saw a viola on the internet, that really intrigued me, it was a Gems-1 workshop model, considered an advanced model. It had alot of appeal, and a nice look..I also liked the idea of it being made with Eastern European Tonewood..typically, I would rarely buy something like this from the net, but decided I would just go for it, considering all of the awesome reviews they get on the net etc....after ordering, it showed up promptly on my doorstep, though they didn't provide me with tracking..I opened it up and took a deep breath..the new case was very scary and actually looked like a coffin! it was all I could do to just pull out the instrument, which was covered in some sort of fuzz or fiberglass like fibers shed from the 16" viola case, that took me a half hour to get off with a microfiber cloth..I got the bow out (wasn't the setup bow that it comes with) but actually paid 100 extra for it, and the hair had gotten caught in the latch and during shipment and ripped about 35% of the hair out.. so spent alot of time dealing with that, I expect I'll need to have it rehaired soon though, it seems to be a solid bow, however.. after quickly disposing of the case and cleaning the instrument of the fibers..I checked out the instrument. I was quite pleased with its tone, but it was slow in responsiveness, I expect it was the strings I had ordered to be put on it, so I can say its probably no fault of theirs..they just didn't suit the instrument. I was impressed in that it seemed to be a solid student grade instrument, well buit, and I was very impressed that it had a sweet very mellow sound, was happy about that..I also really liked the papers it came with and the photos, with the description of the instrument..a real plus..The fittings were hard to look at though and the bridge was stark white, it was a difficult view to look at against the orange (yes) orange varnished. so it wasn't anything like the picture I saw on the net at all..it was almost as if they used this rediculous varnish to actually try to attempt to hide the wood grain underneath..considering how things were going I had to run it by my luthier and just have it checked out..so I made an appointment and went over. She had obviously heard of Gliga and thought the instrument was solid and it had all of the structure it should have, the corners were blocked, had a solid basebar, though she thought it actually might be a violin basebar rather than a viola, the neck angle was good and the setup she said was "spot on" I think the soundpost was kicked and leaning a little so she fixed it. must have been moved during shipment. since it was a mid grade instrument and I own quite a few choice violins, I decided to use the opportunity to experiment with this instrument, its not my primary instrument and the modest investment was such that it wouldn't make me cry, so said lets just check it out in more detail...I really wanted a completely different look from the modern orange varnish this instrument had, so I decided to head in that direction..something, I would normally never do, but since I had barely played it, was new, and hasn't yet developed its voice, I say said what the hey..so I left it..a week later the luthier calls me to come in and talk..so eager to hear what its all about went in, she had removed the fingerboard and inspected the instrument more thoroughly..the varnish was of concern (as it was for me in the beginning) Gliga stated was oil, but actually turns out to be an oil, polymer blended varnish which is actually nearly tough as nails, almost imnpossible to remove, and non reacting to any solvents, so we decided to strip it manually..of course I can't say that is necesarily a bad thing for their varnish, in some instances it might be ideal, for me though I like delicate varnishes (my own preference)she told me the finger board was tight bonded, not too unusual for a finger board but on close inspection the entire instrument was assembled with tight bond..I personally prefer hide glue for the main structure because over time it should shrink and swell in dry and humid conditions, and separate naturally in its respective parts..so I wasn't real happy to learn that it was not built with a traditional glue...anyhow, without writing a novel and to sum things up. IMO they build a solid student grade instrument with an average setup and for the cost, I would say its not a bad choice for a beginner, I would recommend visiting their store, holding the instrument, and playing it before a purchase. the pics on the net (at least in my case) did not accurate portray the instrument..
Build, blocked, basebar, lined etc..
I liked the tonewood...
the nice mellow tone...
the bright orange impenetrable Varnish
the tight bond
the setup, the stark white bridge, low end pegs chinrest etc..(a preference)
so I'm having the instrument reworked almost from scratch, stripped and re-varnished and with completely new fittings, strings etc..
anyhow, I just want to reiterate this is by no means an effort to discredit or either positively rave on Gliga; its just my experience with my purchase..nothing more. Obviously, I am only one person out of the thousands that have bought Gligas.