Matteo Yi, Guadagnini 1785 Replica 15 ¾” Viola, 2022 – Great Sound!


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We have a gorgeous viola from Matteo Yi in a Guadagnini model. A fine copyist and maker, this is one of Matteo’s sought-after replica instruments. The Guadagnini family were fine Italian makers spanning close to 200 years, and the originals go into the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Matteo works in the Hengsheng violin studio and began his professional career making fine instruments in 2005. He studied with master luthier Mr. He of Guangdong Province, China. His focus has been on learning traditional violin & viola making and studying the fine European master vintage instruments for over ten years. Finding the right plate thickness and never resting on his varnish techniques, in both application and flexibility, have helped him rise above many makers. The sounds on his instruments are beautiful and responsive, and his skill set is evident in his detail and exactness on every line and chamfer.
Matteo has a strict process for the selection of the woods which I believe is one of the main reasons, along with excellent carving skills, that make his instruments stand out. The tops are Italian spruce with an even, tight grain. The grain width is consistent at 1.5 mm. to 1.65 mm. width. The back, ribs, neck, and scroll are made from Bosnian maple containing much curl. Matteo is also a student of the degree of density of each of his pieces of wood (hardness of the wood). He takes great care in the wood selection and there is a clear distinction in sound in all his instruments because of his patience and not settling.

Corpus 402.0 mm., Major Width 235.0 mm., Minor Width 187.0 mm., Rib Height 37.0 mm.

The sound is powerful, warm, and rich at its core. The C & G strings have sustain and deep warmth. The response jumps off the instrument. I love the G string on the viola, It’s better than Wow! The viola has a great reedy, almost woody core on the G and D strings and a quick response. The voicing is clear but remains meaty with a viola thickness to the sound. The instrument is easy to play and will be especially nice for the player looking for a 16” viola sound in a slightly smaller, very easy to handle 15 ¾” inch body.