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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin by Donald Rickert

$5,200 Contact us at 706-896-0909

Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin by Donald Rickert

$5,200 Contact us at 706-896-0909
1.00 LBS
Currently 65 days

Product Description

The Double-Fat Strad is the best purpose-built octave violin available, anywhere!

What is an Octave Violin?

An octave violin or octave fiddle, if you like, is a specially-designed or modified violin that is set up for, and uses, specifically-designed larger diameter strings, and is tuned an octave lower (G2 to E4) than a violin in standard configuration (G3 to E5). The numbers after a note name refer to its octave vis-à-vis middle C, which is C4. With a few exceptions, the lowest note on any musical instrument is somewhere around C0. Most adult humans cannot even hear notes that low.

An octave violin is played like a regular violin, as it usually has the same critical ergonomic dimensions as a standard violin. The most significant of these dimensions are a body that is about 14 inches long (give or take) and a playable string length of about 13 inches.

Other larger instruments with the same octave violin tuning go by other names, such as tenor viola or tenor violin. The Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin is a true octave violin.

Brief description

This is a true purpose-built octave violin that has evolved over years of custom builds for discerning players. The plan profile (i.e. front view) looks pretty much like a traditional Strad pattern violin. The side view reveals the fact that its ribs are 40mm high rather than the 30mm ribs of a standard violin. With the higher ribs, its dimensions are proportionately closer to those of a cello; albeit, a tiny one.

Internally, it is graduated to optimize sonority and rich timbre, which is enhanced further by our bass bar, which is designed specifically for an octave violin. Interestingly, if strung with regular violin strings and tuned like a regular violin, it actually sounds quite nice; dark and quite loud. Some players, especially fiddlers, have been using fiddles with deep ribs for years to achieve such a tone.

The sound is powerful and warm, as is very nicely rich in colorful overtones. Please check out the video so that you can hear the wonderful sound of our instrument for yourself.

Due to its high rib height, the Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin requires a specially-sized modified viola case. We provide such a case, a $350 value, free of charge.

Who is it for?

The Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin is for accomplished musicians seeking a tenor-baritone range instrument that can hold its own acoustically; without reliance on a pickup or other sound reinforcement technology. Due to its non-augmented acoustic power, the Double-Fat Strad Octave Violin is ideal for Old-Time and Bluegrass jams, Irish session playing, as well as any other kind of acoustically-oriented ensemble performance. Of course, it can be, and often is, fitted with a pickup.

Our history with purpose-built octave violins

In the 1990s, Dr. Rickert was inspired by an article in STRINGS Magazine (Sept./Oct. 1992) by Darol Anger, entitled “Another Voice: The Baritone Violin

For years, Don Rickert experimented with re-stringing regular violins as octave fiddles and built a number of experimental prototypes of purpose-built octave violins. Purpose-built here means designed and made specifically to be an octave violin rather than a mere retrofitting.

Dr. Rickert designed and started producing a variety of high-end purpose-built octave violins in 2007. Our first high-end instruments to enjoy market success were the “Cradle of Harmony” octave violins. They came in two versions:

You can see other octave violins and related instruments under the Gallery: Custom and Discontinued Instruments link to the left.

Our current octave violins are the best yet. Their design is based on our experience with the dozens of purpose-build octave instruments we have made in the past 15 years. Our current octave violin has a plan profile that is essentially identical to a regular violin. It has a scale length of 13”, which is identical to modern conventional violins. It has very deep ribs (40mm vs. 30mm for a standard violin). It also has a special proprietary bass bar that gives the instrument incredible power in the its low tenor range. Our bass bar design is based on 15 years of research, experimentation and experience with all of our extended range instruments, including 5-string violins and violas, octave violas and our highly-praised violoncellos da spalla.

Give us a call: 706-896-0909, email:


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