Someday, not anytime soon - for now I'm very happy playing my 'silent' electric viola while I learn how to play the damned thing! - but eventually I would like to get a decent acoustic viola. A used student model would be fine, or better still, a nice instrument that is cosmetically beat up but still playable. I don't ever expect to perform in public, so it would be strictly for my own enjoyment and obviously I will never need an expensive viola. Anyone have any tips on buying second hand instruments in this category? What are the things to look for and what things to avoid?
FWIW, I live over a hundred miles from the nearest music store, and while there are some pawn shops closer I don't think I've ever seen a viola come up for sale. You see fiddles now and then, and even stand-up basses, but not violas. Chances are I would have to buy online.
We would love to find a viola at that price range that we feel is consistent and adequate but for now, your best bet, and it's a c--p shot, would be something like a Cecilio.
We don't test and adjust them because our profit margins are so low that basically the extra shipping costs would reduce the chance for us to be competitive. As is now, all dealers seem to only dropship the Cecilio violas.