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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Ranger IV Travel Viola by D. Rickert

$2600 without trade-in. Contact us at 706-896-0909

Ranger IV Travel Viola by D. Rickert

$2600 without trade-in. Contact us at 706-896-0909
1.00 LBS
Generally ships within 45 - 60 days

Product Description

The Ranger IV Travel Violin by D. Rickert

The Ranger IV Travel Viola is a viola version of our new Ranger IV Travel Violin. We can make a Ranger IV Travel Viola in any size from 15" to 16.5". The most popular sizes are 15.5" and 16". If you do not know what the size refers to with violas, it is the body length, measured from the tail saddle to where the neck meets the body. Violas do not come in standard fractional sizes (e.g. 4/4 3/4, etc.) like violins. Even today, viola size tends to be expressed in inches rather than centimeters or millimeters, a throwback to earlier times.

Elsewhere we have claimed that the Ranger IV Travel Violin is the best sounding travel violin available anywhere. The same is true of the Ranger IV Viola. In fact, due to its longer soundboard and greater internal airspace, the Ranger IV Travel Viola does an even better job at approximating the tone of a good viola than the Ranger IV Travel Violin vis-a-vis a quality violin. It is actually quite amazing.

What is a Travel Violin or Travel Viola?

A modern travel violin has a full 13” (like a 4/4 violin) playable string length, but has a narrower body in the 1.75” to 4” range. Modern travel violins look much like their ancestors, 18th Century pochettes. The smaller body affords the use of an easily-portable tubular case. Also, modern travel violins are built to be far more durable than regular violins. A travel viola is simply a viola-sized variant.

The Ranger Travel Viola: Basic Description

Body Shape

The Ranger IV Travel Violin has a skinny oblong shape reminiscent of many late 18th Century pochettes (pocket fiddles). It has a convex top and back. This is called a "bent flat plate" design. This type of bent soundboard adds internal air space. It also seems to vibrate in such as manner as to increase volume and deepen the timbre. Our theory (many of the rules of traditional violin making do not apply very well to small instruments like pochettes and travel violins) is that the stiffness resulting from this type of bend on a flat soundboard plate allows for a thinner and more resonant plate.

The Shoulder Rest

The Ranger IV Travel Viola uses a new Velcro-attached adjustable dense foam shoulder rest. The shoulder rest is easily removable for stowing the instrument in its case.


The following dimensions are for the standard Ranger IV. We also offer the Ranger IV Travel Violin Slimline, which fits into a smaller diameter (4") case.

Overall length: 24” - 27" (61 cm -  68.6 cm)
Body length: 15” -  16.5" (38 cm - 41.9 cm)
Nut width: 25 mm – 28 mm
Width at middle: 3.4” (86.36 mm)
Rib height (at ends): 1.18” (30 mm)
Rib height (middle): 1.53” (39 mm)

  • Note: all dimensions have been carefully worked out so that the Ranger IV Travel Viola, with chin rest attached (and, of course, the shoulder rest removed) fits perfectly into our 5” diameter well-padded case.
  • There is also room to spare for your bow and the detachable shoulder rest.
  • The case can be made to match the length of bow you will be using.

Playing Characteristics and Sound

With its custom center-mounted chin rest and the adjustable shoulder rest in place, holding and playing the Ranger feels pretty much like playing a regular viola; actually much more manageable.

The Ranger IV emits about the same volume as a regular viola. The timbre is amazingly close to a high quality full-size instrument. It is full-bodied and focused. In fact, it sounds pretty much like earlier versions Deep Body Custom Travel Violin-Viola II.

Special Features:

  • Wittner FineTune internally-geared tuning pegs
    • These incredible tuning pegs have a gear system in the buttons. The gearing ratio is a very respectable 8.5:1. A cylinder in the middle of the peg shaft turns in response to turning the button. The pegs are celebrated for their kindness to the peg box. They are held in by friction. Some top violinists have even installed them on priceless antique violins. They look pretty much like ebony.
  • Custom-made chin rest
    • The chin rest is a “flat Flesch” type of rest, which we carve and re-shape to fit the tail of the Ranger IV Travel Viola perfectly. Unlike some our earlier instruments, this chin rest does not require removal in order to fit the instrument into a 5” diameter case.
  • Tailpiece
    • The default tailpiece is an ebony “Hill” style. If a pickup volume control is installed, the tailpiece is a special poly-carbonate tailpiece by Wittner.
  • Now with a simple but very effective adjustable shoulder rest
    • Our first Ranger series travel violins used a modified Wittner ISNY adjustable shoulder rest. The new shoulder rest, attached with industrial strength Velcro, is much simpler to use and is actually more comfortable.


A durable padded tubular case is included with all of our travel violins and violas. The case diameter is either 4” or 5”, depending on the instrument model. The case length depends on the bow used and whether or not it will be stowed in the case with the instrument. We can help you decide.


The size of bow you use depends on how long of a case that you can work with. A ¼ size bow only requires a 24-25” long case. A ½ size bow requires about 27” in case length. A full-size bow requires a 31” long case.

Those of you who know us are aware that we really discourage the use of lousy bows. We also believe strongly that a bow for a travel violin should NOT be wooden.

Optional Built-In Pickup

Many customers opt to have a pickup installed. There are many pickup options. Please contact us if you wish to add a pickup.

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