Renting a Viola from Top Notch in Saint Louis is Simple!

We are here to help you – which is one reason why none of our team works on a commission basis!

2023-2024 School Year Viola Rental Season:

If you need a viola for yourself or your child, you’ve come to the right place. Viola rentals start as low as $20 a month (when paid annually), and our top-of-the line carved violas rent for only $40 a month (when paid annually). While those prices are our annual plan (which gives you the lowest monthly cost), you can also choose between quarterly and monthly plans.

While this is a long page that is loaded with information, the rental form near the bottom is easy to fill out.

When you rent online by filling out the form at the bottom of the page, you can choose to then:

  • stop by the store to select, or just pick up, your viola
  • or, we can deliver the viola to your child’s school (STL-area only) or ship the instrument

You are also welcome to stop by our store where you can complete the entire rental process in person.

Questions? Stop by one of our stores, give us a call, or send us an email (we respond to emails).

By the way: we do not work on commission and we are the only St. Louis violin store that gives you a full 3 years worth of rental credit towards buying your rental instrument (“rent to own”)!

Why Rent Your Viola from Top Notch Violins?

Peace of Mind

All our rentals include insurance against theft & accidental damage! You, or your child, can enjoy your instrument without being stressed or worried about it.

Avoid Hassle

If a string breaks (and one eventually will), we do not charge labor for replacing strings AND all rentals include 50% off the cost of D’Addario replacement strings! Just stop by one of our nearby store locations and we will get your strings replaced.

Our Rental Violas Feature:

  • Ebony fingerboard, chinrest and pegs
  • High quality, American made D’Addario brand strings
  • Your choice: either a brazilwood or carbon fiber bow with real horsehair
  • Lightweight case
  • Sponge (various sizes) shoulder rest
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Rosin
  • Insurance against theft & accidental damage
  • Us! We’re here to support you!

Available Viola Sizes

11″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 15″, 15.5″, 16″, 16.5″

If you rent online (scrolling down this page) we have easy measurement instructions, along with typical ages and grades for the various viola sizes. If you stop by the store to rent your instrument, we’ll make sure you get the right size.

Photo of a Top Notch rental viola, bow, and case that is ready to go

Use and Care of Your Viola

Click to download our 20-page PDF with information about your new rental viola: bow, rosin, tuning, case, protection, care, and more!

We carry a large selection of violins from which to choose

Select Your Viola Series

Our 1000 series entry level violas are made from aged maple sides and back with a spruce top. A good choice for a beginner’s first year as their ear and technique are developing.

Our 2000 series intermediate violas are made from properly aged, lightly flamed maple sides and back, and have a spruce top with a hand applied oil varnish. A great step-up for the progressing viola player.

Our 3000 series advanced violas are made from 5+ year old aged, heavy flamed maple sides and back. The spruce top has an antiqued oil varnish. An all-around excellent choice that you can’t go wrong with and will help you, or your child, stand out in school or community orchestras.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Viola?

1000 Series Viola Rental


  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of $20 and by paying annually you are saving 33% over the monthly plan!
  • Or pay quarterly $75 and save 17%!
  • Or pay monthly $30.

2000 Series Viola Rental


  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of $30 and by paying annually you are saving 33% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $113 and save 16%!
  • Or pay monthly $45.

3000 Series Viola Rental


  • Due to the value of our 3000 series violas we only offer them as a $480 yearly rental (which translates to $40/month) and we do not offer a quarterly or monthly payment option.

NEW! Rent online...

Fill out the form below...

4 simple parts and you are done!

We will then call you...

For your credit card information.

School Delivery

Based on what you select in the form below, we will either deliver to your child’s school (bulk deliveries within 1-2 weeks to St. Louis metro schools are free or $15 for single instrument delivery) or you can stop by one of our stores to pick out a viola!
Fill out my online form.
Photo showing how to measure for a violin or viola.
For some reason when we asked who wanted to stand by the wall and hold a measuring stick for a photo, no one volunteered. Since the photo was my (Steve's) idea, guess who ended up standing by the wall holding a yard stick? Anyways, measuring for a violin or viola isn't hard! A yard stick or tape measure will do the job. Measure from the neck to the middle of the palm.

How Does the Rental Process Work?

  1. Previously, you had to stop by one of our stores. While you can still stop by a store to rent a viola, we now have online rentals!
  2. To rent online just fill out the 4-part form immediately above. The best is to stop by and pick up (and/or pick out) your viola in one of our stores, or you can choose to have us deliver the viola to your child’s school ($15, delivery in 7-14 days). We can also ship your viola to your house (quoted per instrument and address).
  3. After you have filled out and submitted the form we will call you for your credit card information.
  4. By the way, the most difficult part of filling out the form is the very first field: determining what size viola is right for your child. It’s not as hard as it sounds: next to each viola size we provide approximate arm measurements (extend child’s left arm out, palm up, and measure from side of neck to middle of the palm), as well as approximate age and grade ranges. If you aren’t sure what size – don’t worry – just select the size you think is best and mention it when we call for your credit card information.
    • What if your child ends up with the wrong size viola? Just bring it in to our store and we’ll swap it out for a different size.

How Many Strings does a Viola Have?

Answer: Four strings. The viola’s four strings are typically tuned in “fifths”: the lowest string is a C (an octave below middle C), and next is a G, D and then A. The viola’s tuning is exactly one fifth below the violin, and they have three strings which are in common—the G, D, and A—and those three strings are one octave above the cello.

Viola Care Tips

Caring for a viola is like caring for a violin:

  • While we include an instruction sheet with each rental we also want to include some care tips here on our web site.
  • The viola’s bow hair should be slightly tightened before playing, and slightly loosened after playing and for storage. The bow strings are tightened by turning the screw below the frog. Your viola instructor will help you with this, and we can also show you how to do this.
  • Viola bows need a small amount of rosin applied to the hair for sound. We include rosin with your rental. And, again, the amount of rosin is something your viola teacher can help you with – and we can also get you set with the first rosin application before you leave the store if you would like.
  • Each time you are done playing your viola we recommend gently wiping the strings and the top of the viola (with the included cleaning cloth) to remove any rosin dust. This helps to avoid a rosin build-up on the strings and the viola. As you’ll quickly find with your viola: not enough rosin has a bad sound, and too much rosin is also a problem!

We love seeing our violas being used in local St. Louis schools and community orchestras! If you have any questions about renting or buying an instrument from us, contact us today!