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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Fat Strad Deux 5-String Mezzo Violin (5-String Violin or Fiddle)

No longer available

Fat Strad Deux 5-String Mezzo Violin (5-String Violin or Fiddle)

No longer available
0.00 LBS
Generally ships within 30 days, depending on setup options (special varnish, add 5-6 weeks)

Product Description

Comes with a case; however you must acquire a suitable bow. A quality viola bow works; however we recommend either the Rickert Specialized Series Light 5-String Violin Bow or the Heavy 5-String violin bow. The Light bow weights about 58 gr and has rather aggressive special synthetic hair (Zaralon, invented by the famous Dr. Peter Zaret). The Heavy bow weighs about 68 gr with somewhat less aggressive Zarolon "hair". The Light bow is designed for fast response (yet ability to make the C string sing) needed by lead fiddlers. The Heavy bow is designed for accompanying (aka "second") fiddlers who make extensive use of of double string harmony playing (i.e. drones, double-stops/chords).


See the article at the D. Rickert Musical Instruments blog, The NEW Fat Strad Deux 5-String Mezzo Viola by D. Rickert Musical Instruments (Updated 7-18-14).

The Fat Strad body has proven to be one of the most versatile “platforms” we have ever seen. We originally conceived the Fat Strad as a 5-string octave viola, which some people call “chin cellos.” While it worked pretty well, we felt that the instrument was just a bit small for the low cello C string.

We then viewed the Fat Strad as strictly a powerful and sonorous regular 5-string. With the right strings, the Fat Strad Deux 5-String configuration performs well beyond any other 5-string we have ever encountered. The standard 5-string configuration is, by far, the most commonly commissioned by customers.

Based on customer requests and our own curiosity, we found that the Fat Strad Deux, with a 4-string configuration is the foundation to our best Octave Violin to data. To our surprise and delight, the Fat Strad with a 4-string configuration is amazing as an octave violin (often incorrectly called a “baritone violin”).  We sell the instrument in 4-string octave configuration as the Fat Strad 8vb Acoustic Octave Violin.

It has a lovely timbre in the octave-strung configuration and has the projection power needed for an octave violin. It is almost as powerful (loud) as our considerably larger Attuned Special Series Tenor (Octave) violin, as well as our tried and true W.S. Mount and Darci Jones Model Octave Violins; used by a number of famous musicians (e.g. The W.S. Mount Octave Violin is “in the mix” of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas’s new CD, “Abundance.”)

Note: This is not an outfit. Ships in a very basic case. You must supply your own bow or purchase a new one from us.?

The Fat Strad Deux is so acoustically powerful, it can even handle octave strings, including a low C "chin cello" string.


General Information

The Fat Strad Deux 5-String Mezzo Viola, available with 4 or 5 strings, by Don Rickert Musical Instruments is a hybrid between a violin and small viola; hence the “Mezzo Viola” in its name. “Mezzo Viola” translates to half way between a violin and a viola. It has a 14” long body and a 13” playable scale...same as a violin, fiddle or small viola. Unlike its predecessor, The Fat Strad 5, which was only available in a 5-string configuration, the Fat Strad Deux is available is either a 4-string or a 5-string. With the 4-string configuration, either a 26mm (normal) or 29mm (wide) nut is available. The 5-string is available with a 29mm nut.

Tuning Pegs

The default tuning pegs for this instrument are a specially graduated set of Wittner FineTune internally geared planetary pegs. The Pegs go from large viola size (for the lower strings) to standard violin size for the higher strings.

The Varnish

The default varnish for the Fat Strad Deux is a traditional dark amber-medium brown oil varnish with an artfully done antique treatment.

Optional Custom Varnish

For an additional fee, we can apply an old-style hand rubbed Italian varnish. The most commonly requested custom varnish treatements are non-antiqued…

    • Medium-dark reddish brown
    • Medium dark sorghum (deep amber brown with red highlights…similar to Amatis and many Stradivari instruments)
    • “Golden”, which is about as light as you can go with old-style Italian varnishing, as the instrument is “tanned” under UV light as part of the varnishing process
    • Dark brown, which has never been requested, but we can do it.

An important piece of information on custom varnishing: In addition to the added cost, time to completion of the instrument is 5 to 6 weeks longer (so think twice).


More on the Structural Design of the Fat Strad Deux

The Fat Strad Deux is both slightly wider in the middle and lower bouts and “thicker” (36mm vs. 29mm ribs) than a regular violin or small viola. It is also more extremely arched and has new bass bar design (closer to a viola than a violin), which dramatically enhances the responsiveness of lower-pitched strings. The 5-string model has wider-spaced strings than the typical 5-string ergonomic triumph! Anyone who has ever played a 5-string violin knows that the strings are too close together, resulting in many players with normal sized hands to end rejecting 5-string fiddles. The Fat Strad Deux has a 5.5mm string spacing, which is plenty wide!

With its slightly wider girth (8.25” lower bout rather than the standard 8”), higher arching and wider ribs (sides), the Fat Strad Deux has approximately 27+ more cubic inches of internal air space than a standard violin or small viola. The greater air volume, combined with a new bass bar design (a hybrid, but more viola than violin), is the instrument that serious players have been seeking in a 5-string instrument.

Some of the characteristics that professional and advancedd fiddlers seek:

  • Has string spacing wide enough to be actually playable
  • Volume, depth and sheer raw power of a championship level fiddle across all 5 strings
    • The awesome responsiveness and power of the C string is not achieved at the expense of the responsiveness and sound of the e” string, or vice versa.

The Fat Strad Deux in 5-string configuration is simply the best 5-string violin you will find anywhere!

How the Fat Strad Deux Mezzo Viola Works

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