It’s quiet, intimate, and lightweight. I’ve never played a violin before in my life, and the one and only time I had one on my shoulder it felt like it was made of balsa wood. As a result, I tend to underestimate the weight of a viola since I have nothing to compare it to. But the pochette is quiet, sweet, and just a lot of fun to noodle around on.
The way I have to hold it makes it a bit rough to go very far down on the C string; since it’s quite narrow I can’t move it forward and balance it on both my collarbones. It’s on the right collarbone only, so rotating my elbow to get to the C isn’t as easy as on the full-size. But it’s doable, and as I started piffling with it last night, I found a pretty decent way to hold it. I had to take the shoulder rest track off the back, but I still have it in case I opt for it later.
The chinrest/tailpiece would make my viola teacher’s eyes bleed, but it’s clever and easy, and this is so lightweight that I don’t have to put much pressure on it with my jaw to pin it down. I might want to try a center-mount chinrest on Stevie as a result.
I also love the geared pegs! I’m tempted to get them on Stevie as well, but I’m a bit leery of it only because they are a permanent fixture and because they are only really relevant after putting new strings on. After the strings settle in, you barely need to move the pegs at all.
Anyway, if any nonexistent readers are interested in conventional or unconventional instruments, righty or lefty, check out the Adventurous Muse link in the blogroll. He’s a good guy with great customer service, very responsive and pleasant.