How to Rent a Viola

Whether it is your first instrument or looking to upgrade, the decision to rent a viola can be a safe, convenient, and cost-effective option. Renting a viola allows you to try out the instrument, as well as test various models or brands to find the one that best suits you. When evaluating a rental, check our guidelines below for the viola to make sure you have a great rental experience.


For beginners, one can expect to pay around $20-$40 per month. Intermediate players should expect to pay around $50-$90 per month.


The quality of rental instruments varies wildly, so it’s important to go with a trusted provider. Always go with a well-known brand and one that is program approved should the viola be for a school band. A proper rental will be professionally adjusted, well maintained, and ready to play.

Beginners should start on a durable viola with scratch-resistant varnish, soft super sensitive strings, adjustable fine tuners, and a wooden bow made of real horsehair. A beginner’s viola will also have strings lower than an intermediate one making it easier to play.

Intermediate violist should look for a viola made from aged wood, is oil varnished, has a flamed maple scroll, ribs, and back, aged maple bridge, solid ebony fingerboard, and resonant spruce wood top.

Professional setup

Since the growth of a student can be unpredictable, make sure that you can have your child resized and exchange your viola at no additional charge so that they have the proper viola size to play on.

To determine the proper viola size, measure from the middle of the left palm to the base of the neck with the left arm and hand fully extended out perpendicular to the body:

12” Viola (20 inches)

13” Viola (22 inches)

14” Viola (23 inches or more)


When renting a viola, look for a store that offers all the accessories your child will need in order to best use and maintain it. Along with your rental, check that if the following are included or can be added: a protective carrying case, wooden horsehair bow, rosin, soft cloth, and name tag. Some other items you may want are a shoulder/chin rest and an extra set of strings.

These accessories will keep your viola protected and in proper shape for a great playing experience during the course of your rental.


Some additional items to look-out for when choosing a rental service is whether or not they offer:

  • a maintenance and replacement plan
  • a low or no exchange/cancellation fee
  • credit towards a future purchase or upgrade

A maintenance and replacement plan enables you to bring your viola in should it need any adjustments or repairs. And, if at any time you change your mind, an easy to exchange policy allows room for you to return your viola and rent another with no long-term commitment or obligation to buy.

Damage Protection

Adding damage protection, if offered, can provide you with peace of mind about your rental. Even the most cautious student can accidentally drop an instrument, sometimes even from other classmates. Damage protection can save hundreds of dollars in repair or replacement costs.

All these aspects will help in making your rental smoother and as stress free as possible.