The Best Violas In 2020: A Buying Guide

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Best Violas

Introduction

The purchase of a viola is a complex process; therefore, it is essential that you have a clear understanding of the viola brand you intend to buy.

Furthermore, it is crucial that the viola brand you buy is famed for its high-quality workmanship. The two indicators of this are the sound it produces as well as the instrument’s external beauty.

So, in this review, we will take you through some of the best professional violas with the primary considerations you should consider are affordability and quality of the materials used.

Consequently, you will be in a position to purchase a viola brand of excellent value, which still is within your budget.

Here are some professional violas you need to consider.

viola

The Best Professional Violas Available in the Market

Professional Violas

Eastman Strings

Eastman Strings is often known for making amateur violas. Nevertheless, they also are renown for creating advanced violins as well as violas which produce super sounds. So this is the reason we strongly recommend it for advanced players.

So, it is no fluke that Strings Magazine named the Eastman VA305 as the best viola for advanced players because of its playability and tone.

Furthermore, all violas from Eastman Strings are handcrafted from one piece and feature a maple back that typically includes boxwood and ebony fittings.

The outings of these instruments often include a Wittner tailpiece that has built-in tuners plus base Despiau bridge which you can opt to modify after-market.

The cost of this professional viola for sale range s between $100 to $500.

After you have purchased its outfits on Amazon, you will be sent the instrument, without neither a bow nor a viola bow case.

Recommended Viola Model:

Andreas Eastman Model 405
Andreas Eastman Model 405

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DZ Strad

It is one of the best professional violas on the market and is perfect for intermediate viola players. Its users having plenty of praise for this instrument due to the outstanding sound quality it produces.

Moreover, the Model 400, in particular, is one which many of the intermediate viola players find very appealing.

The workshops for DZ Strad are situated in Minnesota and New York. Additionally, all the violas are made from Italian tonewoods that have been undergoing drying for 20 years.

After being dried, the wood is put into a drying room, with this uniform to the traditional European customs, safeguarding this wood from neither opening nor expanding hence ensuring stability.

Upon purchase of DZ Strad violas, you get two bows, a viola case as well as a viola. Usually, the two bows you get are a carbon fiber viola bow and an SZ Strad Pernambuco Viola Bow.

So, you get the option of playing your viola with two different bows, with this sufficient proof why this is best professional violas. To get one of these high-quality violas DZ Strad manufactures, the price you will have to pay will extraordinarily range between $1000 and $1500.

Recommended Viola Model:

D Z Strad Viola Model 101

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D Z Strad viola Model 120

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D Z Strad Viola Model N2011
D Z Strad Viola Model N2011 

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D Z Strad Viola Model 600
D Z Strad Viola Model 600

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D Z Strad Model 800 Viola Outfit
D Z Strad Model 800 Viola Outfit

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Recommended Handmade Viola Model:

D Z Strad Viola - Model 500 - Handmade Viola
D Z Strad Viola – Model 500 – Handmade Viola

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D Z Strad Viola - Model 900 - Handmade Viola
D Z Strad Viola – Model 900 – Handmade Viola

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Recommended Viola Bow Model:

D Z Strad viola bow Model 205
D Z Strad viola bow Model 205

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D Z Strad Model 300 Viola Bow
D Z Strad Model 300 Viola Bow 

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D Z Strad Model 302 Top Viola Bow
D Z Strad Model 302 Top Viola Bow

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D Z Strad Viola Bow Carbon Fiber Model 303
D Z Strad Viola Bow Carbon Fiber Model 303 

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D Z Strad Model 401 Viola Bow Carbon Fiber
D Z Strad Model 401 Viola Bow Carbon Fiber

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Master Antique Pernambuco D.PECCATTE Copy D Z Strad Viola Bow Model 900

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Yamaha

This company is famed in the music industry for the manufacture of affordable and high-quality instruments. These apply both to the violin family instruments as well as the piano, which are nothing short of top-class.

The violas Yamaha makes are significantly pricier as they usually range between $700 to $1400.

The reason these violas are these expensive is that they are hand-made in the Chinese factories making use wood and only using wood which is of the highest possible quality for this specific price range.

Therefore, this justifies why Yamaha often is considered as one of the best violas money can buy.

Yamaha violas come in outfits which are available in numerous sides. This includes a case, a Brazilwood bow, and rosin.

Additionally, these violas typically hand-made from maple, ebony as well as spruce plus come fixed with Winter tailpieces that feature four fine tuners which facilitate simple tuning of this instrument.

Lastly, top-quality DAddario Prelude strings are incorporated into Yamaha violas. Consequently improving the quality of the instrument as each of the strings is upgraded to either Dominants or Evah tePirazzis.

Recommended Viola Model:

Yamaha Model AVA5-140S 'Braviol' Student Viola
Yamaha Model AVA5-140S ‘Braviol’ Student Viola 

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Yamaha Model AVA5 Viola
Yamaha Model AVA5 Viola 

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Yamaha Model AVA7 Viola
Yamaha Model AVA7 Viola

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Yamaha SVV200 Silent Viola
Yamaha SVV200 Silent Viola

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Merano

Whereas this viola brand is of lower quality in comparison to the other brands. It does deliver by being very affordable. Usually, most of the violas they make are priced at slightly over $100 hence making this brand great. If you are a beginner and not entirely sure that you carry on playing after your first year.

Likewise, despite these violas not garnering high resale value, they without a doubt meet all your needs as a beginner on a budget.

The fingerboards on Merano violas usually are made from hardwood and not ebony just like Cecilio. Therefore, this means that you often will need to repair the fingerboards or upgrade to a more advanced model.

However, Merano violas are an excellent choice if currently, you cannot afford to buy a high-quality model.

Finally, after purchase, the outfits you get include an additional bridge, an extra set of strings, a case, rosin, music stand, shoulder rest, and electronic tuner.

Recommended Viola Model:

Merano 16.5" Student Viola
Merano 16.5″ Student Viola

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Merano MA200 16" Solid Viola
Merano MA200 16″ Solid Viola

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Merano 16" White Viola
Merano 16″ White Viola

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Merano MA200 15.5" Solid Viola
Merano MA200 15.5″ Solid Viola 

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Merano 15" Green Viola
Merano 15″ Green Viola

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Merano MA400 15″ Hand Made Solid Wood Ebony Fitting Viola

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Merano 14" Blue Viola
Merano 14″ Blue Viola

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Merano 14" White Viola
Merano 14″ White Viola

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Merano 13" Viola
Merano 13″ Viola 

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Merano 13" Black Viola
Merano 13″ Black Viola

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Merano 12" Viola
Merano 12″ Viola

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Merano 12" Green Viola
Merano 12″ Green Viola 

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Merano 11" Student Viola
Merano 11″ Student Viola 

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Merano 11" Purple Student Viola
Merano 11″ Purple Student Viola

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Primavera

Primavera makes excellent professional violas which are affordable and perfect for the intermediate viola player.

The cost of these violas usually ranges between $250 to $350, thereby making it slightly more expensive when compared to the amateur violas for sale.

Nevertheless, these violas are made from tonewoods of high-quality like spruce which has inlaid purfling plus hand-carved maple.

Moreover, both the fingerboards and pegs are made out of carved ebony as well as fittings. These violas usually have a “student-proof “feature, meaning it has a very sturdy composite bow which has an ebony frog and Mongolian horsehair.

The Primavera has undergone numerous adjustments in an attempt to drive down the cost of its violas whereas still improving the overall quality of the produced sounds.

A good illustration of this is the use of a metal alloy tailpiece which comes with four fine tuners instead of a solid wood tailpiece. Also, rather than make use of the traditional “pillowy” case, a Styrofoam is used in these violas.

However, the viola case is somewhat of low quality. But it functions quite okay and will ensure that your viola is safe from both the elements and drops.

Primavera viola outfits usually come in numerous sizes. So you always have the option of choosing one that perfectly fits your preference. Finally, most of the Primavera violas come together with a hardwood bow.

Stentor

The Stentor brand has gained a reputation as one of the viola brands with outstanding quality while still being very cost-effective. This instrument is often used by guardians to teach their children to play a transitional level viola.

The manufacture of these instruments is done in a Chinese workshop. But before it is supplied to either the store or your home, it passes through the United Kingdom office to be inspected for quality.

Furthermore, Stentor boasts having a wide range of violas available for purchase, ranging from intermediate to total beginners. Therefore, Stentor most likely has viola that suits your wishes.

The Stentor viola bows are made from robust tonewoods and feature a spruce best, pegs, an ebony fingerboard as well as fittings with maple back and sides. Additionally, the Stentor viola bows include trimmed purfling to prevent the splitting of the softer spruce wood.

The Stentor violas cost about $200 and come with rosin, horsehair and wood bow, usually brazilwood plus a cushioned rectangle case.

Recommended Viola Model:

Stentor 1038-12 12-Inch Student Viola Outfit
Stentor 1038-12 12-Inch Student Viola Outfit

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Stentor 1038-13 Student Viola Outfit, 13-Inch
Stentor 1038-13 Student Viola Outfit, 13-Inch

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Stentor, 4-String Viola – Acoustic (1505 14)

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Stentor 1038-14 Student Viola Outfit, 14-Inch
Stentor 1038-14 Student Viola Outfit, 14-Inch

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Stentor 1038-15.5 Student Viola Outfit, 15.5-Inch

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Stentor 1038-16 16-Inch Student Viola Outfit
Stentor 1038-16 16-Inch Student Viola Outfit

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Cremona

Violas made by Cremona are among the professional violas for sale ideal for amateurs. These are available at affordable prices and provide you with exceptional quality. While making these violas, only select tonewoods, and this includes hand-carved maple, spruce as well as ebony.

Additionally, you can opt to make slight improvements to these violas to improve its performance. But they still perform superbly on their own.

Some of the features present on Cremona violas include a prelude string which comes with it out-of-the-box, with this a satisfactory trait. However, when it comes to replacing this with a viola string of better quality, a significant difference is realized.

All the Cremona violas are usually made at the Cremona workshop. It is located in California, United States, and they all meet the standards set by MENC. It is the National Standards for Music Education which was recommended by the Music Educators National Conference back in 1994.

The role of the standard MENC set was to safeguard that all the violas are functioning properly upon arrival. It can be seamlessly integrated into any kid school orchestra or ensemble. Therefore, this justifies why both students and teachers prefer using Cremona violas instead of other violas.

Furthermore, all outfits feature the famous TL-33 case, Prelude strings by Daddario, A Breton VP-61 allow with four in-built tuners for a simpler tuning, a Kaufman chinrest, rosin, as well as J LaSalle Brazilwood bow of remarkable quality.

The price of these Cremona violas ranges between $200 to $700.

Recommended Viola Model:

Cremona SVA-130 Premier Novice Viola
Cremona SVA-130 Premier Novice Viola

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Cremona SVA-175 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-175 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona Viola - Acoustic (SVA-500 15.5")
Cremona Viola – Acoustic (SVA-500 15.5″)

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Cremona SVA-150 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-150 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona SVA-100 Premier Novice Viola
Cremona SVA-100 Premier Novice Viola

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Cremona SVA-200 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-200 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona SVA-500 Premier Artist Viola
Cremona SVA-500 Premier Artist Viola

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Cecilio

It is one of the best violas in the market, especially if you are an amateur player. It is because it provides you with remarkable quality all at an affordable price, unlike the other famous viola brands as it will cost you less than $200.

Additionally, Cecilio hand-makes all its instruments with this thereby adequate proof of the tremendous quality of the device being manufactured. Due to this, devices from this manufacturer have become extremely popular, particularly among individuals who are still learning the tricks of playing the viola all across the globe.

Moreover, the construction of Cecilio violas is from hand-carved tonewoods that have spruce tops, inlaid purfling plus a flamed maple back and sides. It also features a chin rest, a feature often found only on high-end violas which are made from boxwood.

However, Cecilio violas have one main disadvantage, and that is the presence of maple instead of ebony fingerboards. Ebony fingerboards, unlike maple, are studier since ebony is a hardwood hence meaning the viola strings can withstand the continuous pressure of having fingers tapping on them.

Thus, you will have to often repair your Cecilio viola in comparison to other viola brands.

Lastly, most of the outfits of Cecilio have a Brazilwood bow, a quality boxwood peg, chinrest as well as a tailpiece which has four fine tuners.

The Cecilio, therefore, is an excellent viola if you are searching for the ideal instrument for a beginner as it incorporates all the essential components.

Recommended Viola Model:

Cecilio CVA-400 Solidwood Viola

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Cecilio CVA-500 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Viola 

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Cecilio CVA-400 14-Inch Solid Wood Flamed Viola

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Cecilio CVA-400 16-Inch Solid Wood Flamed Viola

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Cecilio CVA-500 14-Inch Solid Wood Viola

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Cecilio 16 Inch Viola with Tuner, CVA-600

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Cecilio 16.5 Inch Viola

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Other Popular Professional Violas Model:

 Mendini 16-Inch MA250 Viola
Mendini 16-Inch MA250 Viola

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 D'Luca PD02-16 Handmade Viola
D’Luca PD02-16 Handmade Viola

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Basic Viola Accessories

Viola Accessories

Apart from the instrument itself, there are other vital items you need to play this instrument successfully. These are;

Viola Accessories
Viola Accessories

Case

Professional Viola Case
Viola Case

Violas are very fragile, so it is prudent to get a viola case to protect it at all times. Lower-end viola models also come with this case. If the model that interests you does not have a case, you should buy another viola.

Recommended Viola Case Model:

Bam Contoured Hightech Viola Case
Bam Contoured Hightech Viola Case

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Crossrock 15"-15.5" Viola Case
Crossrock 15″-15.5″ Viola Case

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Pro Tec PS2165DLX Deluxe Viola PRO PAC Case
Pro Tec PS2165DLX Deluxe Viola PRO PAC Case

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Protec Viola MAX Shaped Case
Protec Viola MAX Shaped Case

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 Bam 2200XL Contoured Hightech Adjustable Viola Case
Bam 2200XL Contoured Hightech Adjustable Viola Case

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Featherweight C-3907V Viola Case 16″

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 Gewa Concerto 331 Adjustable 15"-16.5" Viola Case
Gewa Concerto 331 Adjustable 15″-16.5″ Viola Case

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Paititi 16 inch Professional Oblong Shape Lightweight Viola Hard Case 

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Bow

Professional Viola Bow
Viola Bow

In most cases, you need a bow to play the viola. Nevertheless, you might find that the bow that comes with your instrument is of low quality thus does not meet your needs.

To address this issue, you should buy a high-quality bow as this is the easiest method of upgrading the sound your instrument produces.

Recommended Viola Bow Model:

Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 12″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 13″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 14″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Octagonal Viola Bow – Size 15″

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Merano 13″ Viola Bow + others

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Merano 14" Viola Bow
Merano 14″ Viola Bow

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Merano 14″ Viola Bow

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Merano 15" Viola Bow
Merano 15″ Viola Bow

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Merano 16″ Viola Bow

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Merano 3/4 Size Cello Bow
Merano 3/4 Size Cello Bow

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Rosin

Professional Viola Rosin

All the instruments which have strings dependent on the rosin. This rosin provided the friction which is needed to make a sound.

So, if you slid your bow across the string and it seamlessly glides without producing any sound, it is most likely that you need to add to your bow some rosin.

Recommended Viola Rosin Model:

Melos Light Viola Rosin
Melos Light Viola Rosin

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Andrea Orchestra Cello Rosin
Andrea Orchestra Cello Rosin

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Andrea Solo Viola Rosin 1/2 Cake
Andrea Solo Viola Rosin 1/2 Cake

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Andrea Solo Viola Half Cake Rosin
Andrea Solo Viola Half Cake Rosin

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Shoulder Rest

best viola

It usually is placed on the viola’s underside, and it assists you to keep the instrument safe from slipping. Also, it might add some little height to the viola so that it meets your chin with minimal strain.

Shoulder rests are especially crucial if you are yet to become an expert viola player, but as you continue being more comfortable and accomplished with this instrument, you might decide to stop using altogether.

Recommended Viola Shoulder Rest Model:

D’Luca VV200-14 Viola Shoulder Rest 

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MI&VI Viola Shoulder Rest

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Everest Black EZ Series 15″-16.5″ Viola Adjustable Shoulder Rest

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Vizcaya Viola Shoulder Rest for 15” to 16.5” Violas
Vizcaya Viola Shoulder Rest for 15” to 16.5” Violas

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Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest
Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest

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Bonmusica 16" Viola Shoulder Rest
Bonmusica 16″ Viola Shoulder Rest

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Comparison with Different Viola

Professional Student Violas Professional Intermediate Violas Best Professional Advanced Violas
  Cremona   DZ Strad   Eastman Strings
  Cecilio   Primavera  
  Stentor   Yamaha  
  Merano    

Conclusion

Therefore, we have taken you through some of the best professional violas you need to consider if you are searching for this instrument. Subsequently, you will get to enjoy the sound produced.

However, it is vital to note that not all these brands come with the essential accessories like the rosin, case, and bow so it might necessitate you to purchase them separately.

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