I was practicing my viola last night and thinking about how great it sounds and how glad I am that I was able to acquire it. A couple of years ago, I bought a new violin. I found a really good deal that I couldn’t pass up. I thought I would for sure be able to sell the violin that I had, which would help pay for the one I was buying. I did a bit of research and I was certain I wouldn’t have a problem. I was wrong. Selling my violin turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated. After a year of trying in a number of different places, I decided that maybe I should just give up and keep it for someday when London grows into it. So I shelved it. Then one day, I had an idea. What if I traded it in for a viola? I knew of a violin shop in town that had offered me a trade-in when I was looking at violins, so I figured I could take it back there and get a decent viola if I saved up maybe a little more. I ran the idea by some friends in an orchestra. They suggested I talk to another man in the orchestra. Maybe he would trade me. He had some violas that he might be willing to make a deal with. So I talked to him. I went to his house and tried out some instruments and we made a deal. I ended up with an old, kind of beat up 1899 Heberlein Jr. It looks like it’s been very well used. There are imperfections everywhere. It has been fixed a number of times, and many times maybe not the best fixes. But it sounds so good! It feels good to play, and every time I pull it out, I’m happy with my trade. I’ve had a bit of work done to it, including a new bridge, new tailpiece, new chinrest, new strings, and planing of the fingerboard as well as some crack repairs. There are still other things I will do in the future, but right now it sounds fantastic and meets my needs perfectly.
I am also more than happy with the violin I purchased, that started this whole ball rolling in the first place. It doesn’t have a label, but I’m told that it’s a 1932 European instrument. I’m not one that really cares much about brands or makers. If I like the way it sounds and feels, that’s all I really care about. I love it. It sounds great and it’s easy to play. Many people have commented on it’s beauty in appearance and sound. I have had a number of people tell me that they would pay twice what I did for it and think it worth the price. I’ve always been happy with it, but in the beginning, I had a bit of buyer’s remorse when we were trying to pay for it and realized I wasn’t going to be able to sell my old one. After the headache of it all, I can look back and see that it all worked out perfectly. Now I just need to spend a bit more time practicing these beauties!