Pernambuco Bow

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Is an Otto Benjmain viola a good viola to buy?

I’m in a high school orchestra, and I’ve always rented a viola from Hames since I began in 5th grade. My grandmother has offered to buy me a viola of my own now, and the description is as follows: Otto Benjmain Intermediate 15-16.5 Viola Outfit: Beautiful flamed maple back viola, professionally set-up using D’Addario Hellcore strings and Despiau bridges. Comes with a custom-fitted oblong case and handcrafted Pernambuco bow.
The sale price is $1,259.00, which is $640.00 less than the original price. It’s a new viola, and this is the add in a little flier my grandmother got through the mail. I guess I wasn’t paying attention in class, but I have no idea what a lot of that means, and I have no idea if this is an instrument appropriate for the high school level, or if it’s a good price.

Any help would be appreciated.

It looks beautiful, but of course you can’t base an instrument off the way it looks. I believe one of my students has this instrument, I just don’t like it that much. It’s a find instrument for ‘intermediate’ students, but I prefer better violas for my students. Normally, I do not support buying instruments online. But I have recently found two trustworthy dealers that I have personally bought from. They do refunds, test tries, rentals, and have fine quality instruments.

I wouldn’t tell you to buy online if I didn’t trust these violin shops, so good luck. And remember to try out the instrument before you buy. Pernambuco bows are fabulous, but just see which weight fits you better and of course if the bow contrasts well with your instrument. Get a sturdy case and some good rosin.

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