Small 14 1/4” Beautiful Old Bohemian Viola, Trade Instrument – Circa 1870 – SOLD FEBRUARY 8, 2023 –
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Fecit Anno Domino nostri 1645
This Bohemia/Prague viola is in very good condition, with no cracks or issues. The varnish on the viola is widely marked and not consistent, although very beautiful. I cannot determine an exact maker, just a region and area around Prague. Bohemia in the last half of the 19th century was a region full of instrument makers, composers, musicians, and the great city of Prague, known for its opera in Czech and all types of classical music. The top was removed to help determine its origin and age as well as check all the blockings and linings inside. Everything was well made. We carved a new set of pegs, bridge, sound post, cambered the ebony fingerboard, and added a chin rest, tail, and end button. Hungarian makers in the string world seem to achieve less acclaim than they should. My experience with them has proved that they almost always have a great sound. Our viola has all the qualities I like to see in a well-made instrument. Wood selection, hand work, hand drawn varnish and very clean workmanship in the interior. This instrument will rival any high-grade trade instrument produced in Markneukirchen and Mirecourt at the same time period. This viola is perfect for the player looking for a small vintage viola with age, beauty, ease of play, and a reedy viola sound.
The instrument has a beautiful tonal quality and playability. It leans slightly to a reedy sound but still sweet in the treble with an even bottom end. The C &G strings are nice but not overly powerful. The response is good for a smaller viola. The sustain is good and I enjoyed the upper register as it has personality and nuance. It is perfect for the violist looking for something old, great condition, easy to handle, and a good sound. This viola will also be perfect for the violinist looking to pick up a viola as a second instrument.