Converting a Violin to a Viola?

April 2, 2006 at 07:30 AM · I teach elementary music, instrumental and general, at an inner city school. I have taught violin at my school for the last 7 years. I want to start teaching viola and I heard that I can take an existing violin eliminate the E string, move the other three down and add a C. Is this a way for me to teach viola on a budget or is it a waste of time as well as a violin?

Replies (12)

April 2, 2006 at 08:29 AM · Sounds like it would work as a last resort. There are organizations which specifically try to provide instruments to inner-city schools and you might try contacting them if you haven't. I know Muriel Anderson is working on something. Bill Townsend too, if I remember right. You can contact him through here.

April 2, 2006 at 09:09 AM · I have done this, and it works. You just have to be careful as to the C-string, as sometimes the tail-piece cloth covering can be too long and can extend over the bridge. And depending on your type of tail-piece, it may be difficult to fit the C-string into the G-string position. But there's definately no reason as to why you can't do this.

April 3, 2006 at 04:21 AM · I heard that making such a conversion works, but the instrument halves in value.

April 3, 2006 at 07:45 AM · That's a load of bollocks Michael. You're just swapping strings. It's like saying that if you switch from Dominants to Evah's that the value of your instrument doubles. It doesn't work like that.

Anyway, you're probably not going to be using your Strad for the conversion, and if you were, you could probably afford a viola anyway.

April 3, 2006 at 03:27 PM · LOL Ben I think you missed the joke!!

April 3, 2006 at 05:12 PM · LOL

April 4, 2006 at 12:47 AM · Also, I recently saw a 5 stringed violin. E string all the way down to a C string. Because it doubles as a viola, as soon as you take it out of the shop, it looses $30%.

Ps. Mr Clapton, you made my day :)



April 4, 2006 at 02:50 AM · you mean people would actually take one out of the shop?

April 4, 2006 at 03:14 AM · Yep, I know someone who took one out of the shop and left it in their car. When they got back the car had been broken into. Strangely, the viola was still there and they found another 5 violas stuffed into their car?



April 4, 2006 at 06:04 AM · LOL!

Jokes aside, you can definitely change the strings on a violin for viola ones and play it as a viola. I've done that before when I first started with the viola at 9 yrs old. Yeah, getting the C-string into the G slot might be difficult be do-able.


April 4, 2006 at 11:57 AM · Thanks for your help ... I will give it a go.

April 5, 2006 at 04:56 PM · The violin makes a small size viola. The air cavity resonance is wrong for good sound. But still you can do this. Order a 3/4 size C string for this conversion. If the bridge was correct for the violin then the A string in the old E string position may be too low. Check for buzzing.

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