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Should I Rent or Buy a Viola?

Should I Rent or Buy a Viola?

If you're an adult beginner, or a parent of a child who is about to start learning, deciding whether to rent or buy a viola is a common dilemma.


Rental Pros

  • Renting is an affordable and flexible way to start, with plans that allow you to pay monthly, or in three-month blocks (at a discounted rate). Click to view our instrument rental plans.
  • It's a great option for parents as you can change sizes any time as your child grows, with no additional cost.
  • If you are a petite adult, renting gives you the option to try out a 14" viola if a 15" or above feels too big.
  • At any point while you are renting a viola, you can use your first three months' rent toward the purchase of any new instrument. Keep in mind that you have to claim this benefit on or before the day your rental instrument is returned.
  • Our rental violas are insured for accidental damage. Click to view our rental Ts & Cs for more info.
  • When taking up a new instrument, there is always a small chance that the player may give up after a short period of time so by renting a viola first, you get to try before you buy.
  • If you rent a viola from us you are entitled to free servicing of that instrument every six months for as long as you are renting.
  • You do not have to go through the hassle of finding a buyer if you are wanting to sell your viola.
  • All rental violas are set up and serviced on-site by the luthiers in our workshop and are in excellent playing condition.

Purchasing Pros

  • Purchasing is a good option if you are certain you will continue with the viola. It is a one-off payment and you gain a sense of ownership.
  • There is a wide selection to choose from and you will be able to choose the viola that you like.
  • If you have two or more children who are learning (or going to learn), it is usually more economical to purchase a viola, as the older child can pass on their instrument to his or her younger siblings.
  • If your child moves up in size or quality, you are able to sell on your instrument (through platforms like Facebook marketplace and Gumtree) and regain some of the cost. 
  • If the viola you bought from us is from our intermediate range or above, we are happy to sell it on consignment for you or accept it as a trade-in. Click to view out consignment and trade-in terms and conditions.
  • If you purchase an instrument from us, regular servicing is free for the time that you are the owner of the instrument as we like to know that your instrument is performing at its best at all times.

Click to Browse our Range of Beginner Violas


Is renting a viola cheaper long term?

On average a child will be on the one size for around 12-18 months, however, it can be as little as 6 months or as long as 3 years.

Renting a viola is the cheaper option if your child is on the one size for 18 months or less, however, if your child is on the one size for more than 18 months it actually works out cheaper to purchase a viola, plus, you have something to sell on afterwards.

From our experience, children are usually on the one size closer to 18 months, however, you never know exactly how long the child will be on the one size for because each child grows at a different rate. 

If your child comes in to be sized and they are in between sizes, we usually recommend renting the smaller size until they are ready for the next size up. That way, if you decide to purchase the next size, you know you are getting the most time out of that size.

Another reason why we would recommend renting the smaller size first is that it is easier to learn on a viola that is too small, rather than too big. If you push a child on to a size that is too big, too early it can negatively affect their technique and can also lead to physical injury. 

Can I buy the viola that I am renting?

Unfortunately, you cannot buy the viola that you have been renting. If you wish to purchase an instrument after renting, your first three months rent can only be credited towards a NEW instrument.
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