Guadagnini vs Strad model viola

Edited: October 27, 2022, 12:05 PM · Hello,

I have been reading these forums for a while, but this is my first question.

I wonder whether those who have played or know the Yitamusic violas can tell me something about their 15.5" Strad (T20) over the 15.75" 1785 Guadagnini (T20) models?

My background:
I have played music all my life, though not the viola. I am taking up the viola as a late adult learner to support and engage with my son who has started the violin. Being a musician, I appreciate an instrument with good sound, but have no illusions over my own ability to progress. Sadly, local luthiers have nothing (most have closed down), except one or two really basic student violas for very, very high prices. Thus, the idea to look for Yita instruments which have consistently received positive reviews here and elsewhere. I have basic luthier knowledge and a support network to modify the set up if necessary.

I would appreciate feedback and recommendations.

Replies (6)

October 27, 2022, 12:23 PM · Have you considered buying from a specialized online violin shop e.g Shar or Fiddlershop? I don't know where you're located, so there could be shipping charges involved and whatnot, but if you do buy from such a place, at least there's a very good chance you'll get a well setup instrument.
October 27, 2022, 12:44 PM · I'm in the UK and made a decision not to buy locally while looking for a violin for my son. (It's a long and disappointing story). In the end I found a very nice Hidersine Veracini for him on eBay, where everything was perfect. There are a couple of online shops here too that sell set up and serviced instruments, they even service the outfits. But I found that if I was going to take that route, I want to cut the middleman, and experience the excitement of buying an unknown instrument directly from Yita to see what I get :), if that makes any sense. I know a very good luthier that has set up a couple of instruments for me, and he would look into the viola too.

Reading these forums, I'm almost tempted to buy a violin from them too. Not rational, I know.

October 27, 2022, 1:05 PM · I think that before you select a viola remotely it is a good idea (at the very least) to get your hands on a viola to see if your arm length and and hand size are right for the size of instrument you select.

I have played viola in my current chamber orchestra on and off for the past 7 years depending on whether they need another player (otherwise I play violin) and I play a 16-inch viola. The other violists at this time are women who play 15 and 15-1/2 inch instruments.

I have long arms and cannot fit my hands into any gloves smaller than extra large. Even so there are times when playing my viola seems to be a strain. The width of the fingerboard and curvature of the neck circumference can be critical. The width of the upper bout is a serious consideration if you need to play in higher positions.

(I also have played cello for over 70 years - so I should have the hands for a viola too.)

October 27, 2022, 1:57 PM · I don't remember which one I bought, but I think I got a 16 inch model from yitamusic. The difference between those two instruments you're looking at will really just depend on size preference. Sound quality probably won't matter between the two. They're not bad, but the strings that come with it are cheap rubber bands. I changed them to dominants immediately upon receipt.
October 27, 2022, 4:32 PM · Thanks for the important reminder about sizing, Andrew. I have measured my arm, but unfortunately the music shop situation in my town has gotten so bad, that I need to travel a considerable amount of miles to be able to test an instrument. We used to have four music shops, one has closed down, two don't sell no strings at all, and the fourth orders in online. Perhaps my son's teacher can help.
October 27, 2022, 4:35 PM · A W, I'm tending towards the 15.75", the Guadignini copy, because that's closest to the size I think I can play. It's good to know that the sound will not depend that much on the model. Thanks for the tip about the strings.

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