The Scott Cao 017 is the best student viola you can find when considering both the quality and affordability of the instrument. Unlike other violas available in this price range, the 017 has fully hand carved scrolls, tops and backs while the finish is beautifully varnished by hand. Using flamed Chinese maple and spruce, the 017 produces a fine tone while being easy to play. Additionally, the 017 includes a Brazilwood bow and foam case, which makes this viola outfit extremely valuable at a price under $700.
The primary reasons we prefer the 017 from other student level instruments is that it is completely hand made with a traditional oil finish, has an ebony fingerboard with rosewood fittings, and is setup and strung with Dominant Strings. We prefer the oil finish as it is far more durable than the alternative high gloss spray finishes, which tend to chip and splinter. The oil finish also allows the woods of the violin to resonate freely which produces a better tone. Additionally, most inexpensive instruments use painted soft woods for the fingerboard and tuning pegs. The soft tuning pegs can flex and slip, which result in the violin being constantly out of tune while the fingerboard will wear and warp, rendering the instrument unplayable. The Scott Cao 017 has a hardwood ebony fingerboard and rosewood tuning pegs, ensuring the violin plays correctly and in tune for years.
The Scott Cao 017 is available in many different sizes, to suit beginning players. Order the 017 outfit in 11", 12", 13", 14", 15", 15.5", 16", and 16.5" sizes.