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Del Gesu model viola

Year: 2014

Back: Poplar
Top: Italian Spruce
Neck: Maple


Antiqued oil varnish


Body length: 410 (16 1/8″)
Bouts: 191, 130, 237
String length: 376
Stop: 224


I entered this viola in a VSA competition, during an open discussion about all of the viola entries an exasperated judge said “… and Del Gesu didn’t even make violas!”. True… but if he had what might they have looked like? To find out I scaled up a Del Gesu violin, the Plowden, giving it a 410mm body length. I had to nudge the ff-s up the body a little so as to keep the string length manageable. The head was not enlarged in proportion to the body, rather I made it just big enough to look “right”. While it seems likely that a large head has a beneficial effect on an instrument’s tone, having the extra weight hanging out there is not that good for long term playabiity.

This viola has the warmth and easy response typical of my poplar instruments. It also has a little more focus than usual, possibly due to the slightly more elongated body proportions……..