Instrumental bargains and how to find them

Our aim here at Tim Wright Fine Violins is always to source instruments which offer fantastic value for money; instruments which sound far better than their price would suggest. One top tip for those of you searching for such an instrument is to consider broadening your search to makers from less well-regarded schools. My most recent consignment is a great example of the bargains which can be found using this tip.

The instrument in question is a lovely viola with the ideal combination of big sound and easy manoeuvrability which really looks the part thanks to its gorgeous, richly textured varnish. The really exciting part is that this viola is not Cremonese, but Australian, made in Queensland in 2005.

Although it’s fair to say that Australia’s lutherie is less well-known than its vineyards, there are plenty of great makers to be found and the maker of this viola is no exception. James Robinson studied with the Cremonese maker Morassi before returning to his native Australia and setting up shop. Lucky for us that he did:  if the instrument was a Morassi, it would be 5 times the price of this viola, mainly because it is Italian rather than Australian.  

Not everyone is prepared to look outside the box for their instruments: in fact a well-known London shop told my client that they didn't even want to see the instrument because it was Australian! No matter your budget or requirements, a more broad-minded approach to finding the perfect instrument will reap dividends.