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!

We are a local St. Louis stringed instrument store that specializes in renting, selling, and repairing stringed instruments. If you need a viola for yourself or your child, you are in the right place. Our viola rentals start as low as about $17 a month (when paid annually), and our top-of-the line carved violas rent for only $33 a month (when paid annually). While those prices are our annual plan (which gives you the lowest monthly cost), you can also choose a quarterly plan or even choose to pay monthly.

NEW! As of July 2017 you can now rent a viola online by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. We’ll deliver the viola to your child’s school or you can pick it up from one of our stores.

As always, stop by one of our stores, give us a call, or send us an email (we respond to emails): we are here to help you.

And, by the way, we do not work on commission. We’re here because we love stringed music, not because we love money.

Photo of Steve, one of our owners who taught orchestra for years in the Parkway and Rockwood school districts. Steve can assist with your viola rental.
Steve is one of our owners. He's often at the Maplewood store, or perhaps visiting a St. Louis school. He taught orchestra for years in the Parkway and Rockwood school districts, and he is happy to help you!

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.

Save Money

3 full years’ worth of your rental payments can be applied to the purchase of your rental instrument! This means you don’t have to wrestle with the “is-it-better-to-buy-or-rent” decision when you rent from us.

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 the 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
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

$200year

  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of about $17 and by paying annually you are saving 33% over the monthly plan!
  • Or pay quarterly $66 and save 12%!
  • Or pay monthly $25.

2000 Series Viola Rental

$300year

  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of about $25 and by paying annually you are saving almost 35% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $95 and save 17%!
  • Or pay monthly $38.

3000 Series Viola Rental

$400year

  • Due to the value of our 3000 series violas we only offer them as a $400 yearly rental (which is about $33/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 selected in the form below, we will either deliver to your child’s school ($5) 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. You can choose to have us deliver the viola to your child’s school (how awesome is that!?) or you can pick it up from one of our stores. We can also ship your viola to your house, although we do have to charge for the shipping.
  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!