I think I’m going to grab a cheapie from them, string it with octave strings, and see how it works for me. A purpose-built octave violin (with viola strings) is going to be a significant investment of money, enough that I’d like to get my feet wet first and see how I feel about it.
It won’t be exactly the same, especially if it’s not a good-quality fiddle, yadda yadda, no kidding. Thank you, Captain Obvious. It will give me enough of a ballpark idea that, for $230, I get to determine whether I really want to spend what could amount to $5,000 for an octave violin with viola strings. And if I don’t like it, up on the Fiddle Hangout classified board it goes.