At the beginning of the C20, Lionel Tertis promoted the use of 16 ¾” violas as the accepted minimum size of instrument to be a “true” viola. However, later on in the century this generally lowered to around 16 ¼” – 16 1/2”.
Many players are now opting to play smaller instruments for better playability, comfort and reduction of RSI. As violas are particularly stressful on many people’s bodies due to the increased reach and length of playing arm needed to play comfortably. Many more players are now using instruments more towards 15 ½” which can make a significant reduction in strains caused from playing over-sized violas for one’s particular body size. At the higher end, violas can go up to 18 ½”, which the majority of players will find completely unplayable, but those with body dimensions to match may love. It is all about getting the right size for you.
My instruments are known as having a variety of colours and a wide expressive range to allow you to best create your music with.
How a instrument projects, it’s volume, its tonal qualities and the feel under the player’s hands are all key having an instrument that truly plays as you deserve.
Every instrument has its own personality and style which develops throughout the building process.
The size of violas over the last several years has been become a lot more varied in what people search for. Different people’s bodies will suit different instrument.
Several body dimensions are very important, more so with this instrument than any in the bowed string range, to ensure the biggest reduction in stress on the body to find the correct size instrument.
You want an instrument that you can play for life, not just a few years. Violas can be particularly stressful on the body if you play the wrong size for you.
For each instrument, the wood is carefully chosen from fine quality wood not only for its tonal and physical qualities but also for its compatibility with the style of the model and desired sound.
I enjoy recreating the textures and beauty of old instruments. To this end, I make and develop my own varnish. I employ a variety of techniques designed to produce the richness, and depth of colour I aim to achieve with each instrument, whether made antique style or new.
I am fortunate to have an extensive plaster cast collection taken from original masterpieces. Along with my designing methods, these guide me in shaping the tone and stylistic characteristics of my instruments