William Lewis & Sons Student Model WL17 Viola

About the Model WL17

Devonshire - Hand crafted with solid spruce top, maple back and sides. Hand inlaid purfling. Lacquer varnish. Set up in our shop with Prelude strings, ebony fingerboard and pegs, select maple bridge, and a composite tailpiece. thermoplastic case, 2301H fiberglasss bow with horsehair, rosin, Corpus China. Available sizes: 11"-16".
William Lewis & Sons Student Model WL17 Viola

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The solid carved spruce top provides an excellent sound board. The maple back and sides enhance greater projection as well as a refined tonal quality. True ebony pegs and fingerboard (not stained hardwood) facilitates reliable function and playability for many years. Full hand inlaid purfling (not painted) protects the solid top and back plates from splitting damage and demonstrates an attention to detail that other brands overlook. The hard lacquer finish gives durability for beginning students not yet familiar with the delicate nature of a stringed instrument. Each instrument is set up by hand in our Cleveland Ohio facility to meet or exceed MENC (school requirements) for student instruments to give the player the best possible performance experience and inspiration. USA installed D’Addario Prelude strings provide a better tonal quality, longer string life and maximum playability. A good quality maple German Teller bridge is carved so the feet match the top plate curvatures closely to transfer the most string vibration possible to produce the best tone and volume. A composite tailpiece with four integrated fine tuners makes the fine tuning of all strings easy and convenient for the student and teacher. A fiberglass bow gives the student a reliable camber without warping. The Mongolian horsehair ensures that the rosin adheres well and gives an even draw to the bow across the strings. The tough student friendly thermoplastic case with aluminum valance is an industry standard to protect the instrument from weather elements and minor mishaps. 

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Lewis.gifWilliam Lewis & Son is one of the oldest stringed instrument brands still in production.  The fine violinist, William Lewis was born in Devonshire, England in 1837 and moved to the US in 1850 residing near Bellevue, Ohio.  Lewis was a violin prodigy performing concerts at only 8 years old. In 1862, he moved to Chicago and worked for the music house of Root & Cady which was destroyed in 1871 by the Great Chicago Fire. Ebenezer Towner Root then became a partner with William Lewis and formed the music house know as Root and Lewis.  

Then in 1874, William Lewis, concerned by the lack of quality instruments and service available for his students, formed the Chicago Music Company with new partners Newell and Gibbs. Located in the heart of the Chicago business district, players from the finest symphony orchestras in the world would often visit Lewis' shop to have their own instruments appraised or serviced. Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivarius instruments were commonly in inventory.

William later renamed the business Wm. Lewis Company in 1886 and then eventually to Wm. Lewis & Son in 1896. Fred Lewis succeeded his father as president of the company.  In 1995, the 121 year old string maker was purchased by the Selmer

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