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Don Rickert Musician Shop

D. Rickert Fat Strad Acoustic Octave Violin

Contact us at 706-400-1481 for price

D. Rickert Fat Strad Acoustic Octave Violin

Contact us at 706-400-1481 for price
1.00 LBS
March 2018

Product Description


This is a new model. The first articles will be available in March 2018. If you order now, we thank you for your patience, for which you will be rewarded with an extremely beautiful, unique, easy to play and sonorous instrument.


This is the first new octave violin that we have introduced in quite a while. The NEW (2018) D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin is a VERY powerful (loud) violin length octave instrument; yet it possessing a nice, warm, focused timbre.

This is one of our newest designs for a purpose-built octave violin. The D. Rickert Fat Strad Acoustic Octave Violin is available in either a 4-string or a 5-string configuration. The 4-string can easily be converted to a 5-string at a later time.


This is the one of the latest entries to D. Rickert Musical Instruments' long history of making incredible purpose-built (made to be an octave violin or fiddle...not a conversion of a regular instrument) violins and fiddles. The new D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin is loosely based on an enlarged (width AND depth) Stradivari pattern. It has the same body length and playable string length as a traditional violin. If you want a viola-sized octave violin range instrument, check out our new Tertis-bodied 15.5" Tenor Viola (see Related Products at the bottom of the screen).

Note about stringing

The D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin is so acoustically powerful, it can even handle octave viola (chin cello) strings, including a low C "chin cello" string; however it is designed for octave VIOLIN strings and that stringing is our strong recommendation. The peg box is a bit small for the extremely large octave viola strings. Stringing as a 5-string chin cello (C2-G2-D3-A3-E4), while possible, is emphatically discouraged. In our design process, we found that an octave G-string is the optimal low end for this instrument. In addition to being too large for the instrument, an octave viola (chin cello) C-string is acoustically weak in comparison to the higher strings. This is why we have other larger instruments designed for octave viola strings.

When commissioned as a 5-string version, the tuning is what we call a 5-string tenor violin tuning, which is G2-D3-A3-E4-B4. This is an octave VIOLIN tuning with a bonus B-string on the treble side.

General Information

The D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin has a 14” long body and a 13” playable scale...same as a violin, fiddle or 14" (i.e. small) viola. The ribs are approximately 37mm rather than the 29mm to 30mm more typical of an instrument this size. Overall, the D. Rickert Fat Srad Octave Violin will feel quite familiar to a violinist or fiddler.

Tuning Pegs

The Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin comes with the incredible Wittner FineTune internally geared tuning pegs as standard equipment (no extra charge). These tuners are so accurate that fine tuners on the tailpiece are not necessary.


We normally string this instrument with either:

  • Helicore Octave Violin Strings (Helicore Viola A-string for B-string in 5-string configuration)
  • SuperSensitive Octave Violin Strings

Helicore and SuperSensitive strings are VERY different from each other. We will always consult with you on string selection.

Note: If a customer is absolutely certain that he or she really wants a high-tension string, we will install Thomastik-Infeld SuperFlexible Octave Violin Strings.  

Neck width

The neck where it meets to the nut is about 27mm; which we have found to be optimal for a 4-string octave violin or fiddle. It also works well for a 5-string tenor violin configuration. 

The Varnish 

Golden amber brown hand-rubbed oil varnish with artfully tasteful "antique" treatment

Structural Design of the D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin

The D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin is both slightly wider in the middle and lower bouts and “thicker” (37mm vs. 29mm ribs) than a regular violin or small viola. It is also slightly more arched top and has new bass bar design (closer to a viola than a violin), which dramatically enhances the responsiveness of lower-pitched strings. 

With its wider girth (8.5” lower bout rather than the standard 8”), higher arching and wider ribs (sides), the D. Rickert Fat Strad Octave Violin has approximately 27+ more cubic inches of internal air space than a standard violin or small viola. The greater air volume, combined with the new bass bar, is the instrument of choice for players who have been seeking a lower-voiced instrument acoustically rather than electronically.

What is the deal with the reverse tuning peg staggering used for the 4-string configuration?

If you look carefully at the photos showing the peg box, you may notice that the staggering of the tuning pegs looks backwards, as if this were a left-handed instrument. There is a reason for this. The peg box is sized for 5 tuning pegs. When configured for 4-strings, the peg hole for the lowest string is either plugged or not drilled, per your preference. This allows for easy conversion from an octave 4-string (D3-A3-E4-B4) to tenor 5-string (G2-D3-A3-E4-B4) configuration. If you play material requiring a lot of high position (close to the instrument body), the 5-string tenor configuration makes a lot of sense, especially to a fiddler. It means fewer position changes--and we all know that traditional fiddlers, with the exception of Bluegrass and Jazz fiddling, like to stay in 1st or 3rd positions.

Please note that we WILL NOT string this instrument as a 5-string "chin cello" (C2, G2, D3, A3, E4). As stressed earlier, the instrument is not built for that tuning and you will be disappointed in the relative weak response of the C string in comparison to the higher strings. We have other instruments designed for the 5-string chin cello tuning.

If you have any questions . . . 

If anything above does not make sense, or if you have any other questions, please do no hesitate to contact us. We are eager to help.

Our email is and phone number is (404) 828-0136.

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