How is Gliga Gama Viola?

October 5, 2017, 11:50 AM · I would like to know on the general tone quality of the viola.

Are its projections ok? Some people say they have no problem with good projection but some people say the opposite.

Just wanting to know some qualities about gama Viola I suppose!

I am planning to take the viola to luthier for possible required adjustments that needs to be made.

Anyone have any tips? Thanks!

Replies (17)

Edited: October 5, 2017, 4:04 PM · Count on up to $200 to get it in playing condition from the luthier, even more if he's a high priced luthier. Its probably cheaper to buy an already set up viola from a good luthier.
Edited: October 5, 2017, 7:45 PM · They're some of the better factory/workshop instruments. The Gamma are probably the best of the lot for value:price. Each instrument varies though, so you won't know for sure until it's in your hands or you go and try a bunch.

If you are buying it new it will likely need a new bridge and soundpost adjustment - the pegs are usually serviceable on the Gammas and Maestros and the workmanship on the instrument itself is going to be solid.

Gliga's viola's are usually quite far on the dark/warm spectrum even after setup work, and many are a little on the quiet side, so keep that in mind if that isn't what you're looking for.

I own a Maestro and am quite fond of it, but lucked out a bit on it as far as performance goes.


October 5, 2017, 9:10 PM · If some are quieter and some are not, why do you think the case is?
Also, for orchestral, chamber music, would it be a suitable viola?
Edited: October 5, 2017, 9:29 PM · They have to be built to a certain quality standard, but other than that some are better and some are worse. They're not built all by the same person, and so all the parts are very slightly mismatched. With a bench made instrument the luither would calibrate each part to work together as best they can. In a workshop it's more important to make all the pieces to the set quality standard, and then they're just assembled. They might work well together and you get one of the better ones, or they might all work against each other and you get a less than great one.

I'd say they're fine for an amateur or youth orchestra. I'd hesitate to recommend them to a soloist or section leader, but as a section member I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't suffice.

Chamber music depends on the other instruments and the environment.

October 5, 2017, 9:33 PM · Thanks!

The one I am getting is from US and I live in Toronto. Guess what though,
looks like its kinda stuck in customs (according to canada post but not according to USPS)

Hopefully I will get it early next week.

I live really close to this luthier shop and after he inspects the instrument, I guess if it is not to my liking I "may" return it but hopefully everything will just turn out perfect for me and I will love it.

I like the sound of this viola from what I heard on few youtube clips and comments about it.

There are lots of string shops around here in Toronto but I hope the sound quality absolutely justifies why I got it from gliga in first place.

Also, if luthier does adjustment on it, do you think that can really increase its potential? or is it just not much change.

It's just that some people here have said that it sounded AMAZING when the soundpost was adjusted and few adjustment here and there were made.

October 5, 2017, 9:34 PM · The better factory/workshop instruments would be something like EH Roth, Heberlein, even higher grade Lowendall, definitely not Gliga, I think most people would agree they're strictly beginner/student level, and priced as such.
October 5, 2017, 9:36 PM · Why don't you try a variety of affordable violas and pick your fave? I personally find Gligas to be overly dark with little complexity, but I'm sure the nicer ones will have more complexity. Plus, this is my very own personal opinion.
Edited: October 5, 2017, 9:38 PM · You can get a nice change in volume and response with sound post and bridge adjustments, but if you don't like what it sounds like before the adjustments you probably won't like what it sounds like after.

The customs issue may have to do with how they declare their parcels - you can email me if you want info on that but I won't post it publically.

They have a fair return policy IIRC, it was awhile ago now that I dealt with them and my memory isn't so great at this hour.

Edit: I'd have to agree with Ella - You really should visit the local shops and try their instruments out. Much less hassle compared to ordering something and sending it back if you don't like it.

October 5, 2017, 9:57 PM · True true haha.

THe reason I chose gliga is because of the price range. All the "brands" seem to go kinda alot. Even the low-end model of jay haide viola is on the price range of gliga gama lol Something like EH Roth is out of my question lol thats really expensive for me haha

October 5, 2017, 10:00 PM · Then don't BS about it being one of the "better" factory models, try "cheaper" factory models, in more ways than one.
October 5, 2017, 10:10 PM · I never BSed at all lol

Im just putting out my voice here so I can get some advice on such matter.

Sorry if my post sounds a bit biased.

Just trying to get right viola for me at the right price range for me I suppose.

Edited: October 5, 2017, 10:24 PM · LOL you're not the one that called Gliga a better quality factory/workshop violin

If you were local, I have better violas at similar prices, roughly 50 years old, I don't find new instruments to offer better value for the money than competitively priced older instruments.

October 5, 2017, 10:50 PM · I would absolutely love to have older instrument in the future.
Its like owning a piece of past history of instrument!

When comparing modern instrument and "older" instrument of similar sound quality, would the older instrument generally be more expensive? Just one question that always kinda lingered lol

Edited: October 5, 2017, 11:01 PM · At my store you would generally get a better sound quality for a similar price, so if the sound quality was similar, the older violin would be cheaper.

For instance a customer brought in her highly rated Ming Jiang Zhu violin, she payed $2000 for it but the same model is going for $3000 today, I had an instrument of similar sound quality for $1200 (a French JTL model, 100 yr old), and my $3000 models sounded quite a bit better, I was surprised, for such a highly rated modern Chinese violin, it really didn't sound that good.

Edited: October 14, 2017, 7:05 AM · The quality of Gliga instruments has varied over the years. Before the Rumanian ouster of its dictator, shops (actually, all things) were pretty much government controlled. Vasily Gliga was in charge of his shop and had workers who were loyal (and, because of the dictatorial regime, they were all long-time, experienced, well-trained employees. Where else could they go without government approval?). Once the revolution happened, many of workers who had been trained by Vasily Gliga left his shop to start their own violin factories. This meant he had to train new apprentices, and often, once trained, these new employees would also leave to start their own shops. This meant that the quality of instruments from his shop dropped a bit, and there was more inconsistency between instruments of the same class (Gamma to Gamma, Maestro to Maestro, etc.). Even within the same model there were different thicknesses of tops, different thicknesses of the bridges, resulting in completely different response and sound.

Although it has been at least ten years since I have been there (not living in the area), if you live (or are passing) anywhere near Pasadena, California, go to the shop of Christian Gliga (Vasily's son) and spend an afternoon trying out a variety of instruments. (Let him know ahead of time, so he can have them set-up and ready to play.) I have found some EXCELLENT instruments there. (I have also found some with which I was not satisfied.) Years ago I was lucky enough to purchase the prototype "Hellier" model (the one used for the photos in all the newer Vasily Gliga certificates of authenticity). It had originally been a special order from a customer who, when the order arrived, couldn't come up with the money to pay for it. I picked it up at a big discount because they needed to reduce inventory. (I was SO lucky!) Years later I went back to look at another "Hellier" and to look at a "Greffuhle" model, but I wasn't nearly as impressed as I had been with the quality of my own instrument from years earlier. (This was well after the fall of the dictatorship when many of the apprentices had left.) I was looking at instruments for high school students, and I still found some really good choices. You just have to be willing to play a few dozen instruments to whittle the pile down to two or three, and then make your choice. Remember, EVERY instrument is different.

October 17, 2017, 3:13 PM · There's also a small Gliga shop up here in North Vancouver, B.C. I tried many instruments there and picked the violin and viola that I'm currently playing.
October 17, 2017, 4:08 PM · If violins are of any relevance, I have a Gliga Gama violin, and I love its dark and thick soupy sound. It's great in terms of value for money.

That said, it should not be intended as a professional instrument. Liz from elidatrading (a Gliga sole agent in the UK as far as I know) said on her website that the Gama models of Gliga violins are suitable for anything up to grade 8, which I agree.

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