Violas come in different levels for players on different stages of their learning journey. Many students start out by renting violas for practice until they are ready to own one. Essentially, violas fall under three categories:
- Student Violas: These are for beginners. Young students or players at the early stage of learning the viola are constantly working on the basics of playing, tone production, fingering, bowing etc. Hence, maple (dyed black to resemble ebony) is sometimes used for the pegs and fingerboards, areas that are exposed to more friction. Student violas are mostly machine-made to keep costs low while maintaining tone consistency. Quite affordable. Prices range from $200 – $2,500.
- Intermediate to Advanced Violas: With higher workmanship, the sound of an intermediate viola is also much better. There are more dynamics and stronger projection. The pegs and fingerboards are crafted with ebony and most of the instrument is handcrafted. Prices range from $500 – $10,000.
- Professional Violas: Pure craftsmanship using the finest quality of wood, professional violas exude a rich tone and wide dynamics. Masterpieces like these are expensive. Prices go from $10,000 onwards.