A beginner viola is only as good as its maker. If it has no creator it’s price will always be low. If it has an owner, you have a good chance of seeing the maker once a year.
To answer the question we will answer the following question and make a few assumptions.
How long has the manufacturer practiced making violas with the same violins, violas made by a specific maker?
We assume that each violin is treated as a unique item. It’s like your car. Its condition will not match what you own, but if it’s a bad car you’ll get a $100,000 to $200,000 repair bill (or maybe even worse).
A beginner violin may appear to be in mint condition if it’s in great condition. However, a $500,000 viola is just a $500,000 viola and as I said above it will look new to you if it ever gets hit by a truck.
The quality of the original maker’s work and repair will determine its value. Even the top violins are worth less than the manufacturer’s work and repairs. It’s not necessarily worth buying a low quality viola, but it isn’t worth it if it doesn’t have an original maker’s work.
How long has the violin been in the same manufacturer?
We assume that if you have a new violin it’s in mint condition. If you have a violin that has been in the violin industry for more than 100 years you’re probably asking about a very long time. Some violins may have been played on for over 150 years while others have been played in the last 10. The quality of the manufacturer will certainly affect the quality of the violin.
How many years has the violin been in its maker’s workshop?
This will determine the relative age of the instruments. If the first instruments are less than 100 years old you may want to get a more expensive model.
However, if one of the instruments is over 100 years old you can probably take that one home. If multiple instruments are under 100 years old, the first instruments or the original one will have been played for quite some time.
How long has the manufacturer repaired its instruments?
This will determine the quality of repairs the viola has had over the years. We’ll assume that if the violin has been played for ten generations the repairs will be minimal. If it’s been in it’s maker’s workshop for years
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