I have a Cecilio CVA-400 that I purchased from KK Music Store, with which after an initial rough start (see http://fiddlerman.com/forum/th.....400-viola/ for all the details and final resolution), I am now very happy.
Pictures of my Viola are here: http://gallery.me.com/head.cheese#100200
I know most, if not all, school music teachers decry the use of instruments bought online, calling them "VSOs" or "violin/viola-shaped objects," but I feel that I have a very serviceable instrument that far exceeds my current capacity to play it. In fact, it's been our observation that my Cecilio sounds better than my son's rental Knilling, which is valued at nearly 10 times what I paid for my viola.
When shopping online for an inexpensive outfit, I also considered Florea, and a few other chinese workshop instruments. Ultimately, it was the Fiddlerman.com videos on YouTube comparing and reviewing the various violin offerings from Cecilio that convinced me to take a chance on an instrument that cost me less than $150.
What are some of the other "budget" violas you have experience with, and what are your impressions? Is the quality of production of inexpensive instruments finally reaching a point that they can be a reasonable recommendation to a beginning student on a budget, particularly where renting something "better" might not be a viable option?
Is KKmusic aware of this? Have they had any reviews by Violaman. I am interested to know for in that case there will be a viola draw as well.
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