Cecilio violas are one of the most well-known beginner viola brands and consistently our #1 rated beginner viola brand. The Cecilio CVA-400 in particular is our recommended viola for new violists because of the quality of the instrument and the value of the traditional outfit. While one of the cheapest beginner viola options, the Cecilio CVA-400 offers tremendous value and high quality instruments for the price. Traditionally priced around $130, all CVA-400 violas are hand-carved, come with a 1-year warranty, and include everything the beginner violist needs to get started.
What We Looked At
Our review of the Cecilio CVA-400 thoroughly examined multiple attributes of the instrument to make our recommendation to you. Obviously buying a viola is an expensive choice so our analysis mainly focused on why we think the Cecilio CVA-400 is an excellent buy for the price and value. Given the low price and significant freebies included, we found it hard to compare the CVA-400 to other violas so instead stuck to an overview of the instrument itself for our analysis.
We think the CVA-400 is an ideal instrument for the beginner violist because of its:
- Value for Price
- Quality of Materials
Cecilio CVA-400 prices usually hover around $130 on Amazon and other retail websites. While Merona violas are the cheapest new viola option, they don’t hold up to the quality and value that you get with the CVA-400. The $30 extra for the CVA-400 is definitely worth it if you want an instrument that will retain its value over its life and require fewer repairs.
Should you rent instead of buying?
Generally, no. We have written an article on this topic explaining why renting a viola is usually a poor choice. Especially for a viola that is priced at under $200 and will retain its value if you want to trade in, buying is usually better choice financially.
Value for Price
The Cecilio CVA-400 is unmatched for value when compared to price. Already having the second lowest price among the top viola brands we recommend, the viola outfit comes with a ton of stuff.
All CVA-400 outfits come with a quality brazilwood bow with unbleached Mongolian horsehair, hardwood finger board, boxwood pegs, a chinrest, a tailpiece with four nickel plated fine tuners, a lightweight hard case, quality rosin cake, an extra bridges, and a extra set of strings (absolutely necessary in case a string breaks during rehearsal). Only thing it doesn’t come with is a shoulder rest!
Each of these items alone would be very expensive:
- A beginner wood viola bow costs between $30-$50
- A viola case costs $50+
- Extra strings cost $50+
- Extra bridge costs $20
Quality of Materials
The CVA-400 is made from some of the best materials known for the construction of a viola. The back is maple, the front is spruce and the sides are maple. In addition, it has inlaid purfling and a beautiful finish.
The pegs are made of boxwood, and the fingerboard and tailpiece are made of rosewood. Because the fingerboard is made of rosewood instead of the traditional ebony, it may need repairs a little more often than others violas, but the price more than makes up for this.
This viola is made from fine materials that can be found in use on models that are far more expensive than this one.
Finally, the wood is aged and the viola is constructed to the highest standards set forth by Cecilio.
About the Company
The Cecilio Music Company was founded on the principle that anyone, regardless of economic status, should be able to enjoy making music by offering affordable, quality instruments. The founders had observed many families who had school-age kids, but who could not afford musical instruments so they vowed to create a musical instrument company that created quality instruments for extremely affordable prices.
Based in Los Angeles, the company thoroughly inspects all instruments made in their overseas factories to ensure the quality meets their exceptional standards.
Overall, we think the Cecilio CVA-400 is a great buy for your money. Not only is it low-priced at less than $150, but it packs a ton of value and quality into that price. There’s a reason we have consistently rated it #1 in our best viola brands review. If you’re looking for a great beginner viola, check out the Cecilio CVA-400.
Selected Amazon Reviews
“The viola is beautifully made, I would say of excellent quality. Though I am no musical instrument expert, the clarity and sound are very good. It more than met our expectations. My 11 year old daughter is very happy with it, and her teacher too.”
“My daughter love this Viola, even though this is not a great quality, but its been 4 months she is still playing great.”
“After we got it, I was nervous because my kid’s viola teacher cautioned us about buying a viola online. If she does not approve, we’d have to go back to $25 per month rental. She tuned it, tried it, and told my kid that ‘It’s a keeper.’ That’s good enough for us!”