GLIGA OF ROMANIA
Superb violins violas cellos and basses.
Supply note: for the past two years Gliga have been a lot slower than I would like. Simply, demand is outstripping supply. This is gratifying in a way because their UK popularity is very largely down to me, but it's also annoying because it does make things difficult for a very small business. If I have something in stock and you want it, buy it before someone else does. If you want something that is not in stock, you will need to be prepared to wait. Mail me to see if it is on order but if it isn't, it could be two months, or even longer for something unusual or at particularly busy times. Anyone considering buying from the much larger businesses in the USA should be aware that on entry to the UK you will have to pay VAT plus import duty on the full value including shipping, and then a carrier fee on top (hint, I am always cheaper).
Elida Trading were the first people to bring Gliga stringed instruments into the UK on a commercial basis. We had first seen them on ebay and were intrigued. My own first viola was a Poller, which was made in Romania. I had started learning on a Skylark from the school music cupboard and finally decided to get my own. My mother, having a more realistic opinion of the likelihood of me practising than I did, tried hard to persuade me to spend my £50 (yes, £50, in 1977!) on a nice hacking jacket since I was also keen on riding, but the viola won. When I was teaching, I used to recommend another Romanian brand, Zeller, so I was very keen to try this relatively new maker.
In September 2015, I drove a 3200 mile round trip in order to visit Gliga. I'd wanted to do it for years and previously the best I had managed was a trip to the Frankfurt Musikmesse (which was very difficult to cope with due to my disability, I ended up throwing a temper tantrum in very bad German!). An expected meeting with a cat person in Salzburg (more than halfway there) gave the excuse to go. In the end that was cancelled but by then I had set my heart on going. And with the Gliga workshop being spread over three floors, how much longer would I be physically able to go? So with a friend from church who bravely volunteered to come with me, off I went. Six days and 3200 miles for the sole purpose of spending two hours in the Gliga workshop! Well, a talking point for years to come, and yes it really was worth it! My very amateur video is below and there are some more pictures and videos elsewhere on this website.
Will Gligas suits every player? No. We do find that the great majority of UK players up to at least Grade 8 prefer the rich dark and mellow tone of a Gliga, but if you want a bright sounding violin you probably would be better to look at a good Chinese instrument. Also, they are a little deeper in the ribs than many violins (this is partly what gives them their rich tone but it does add to the weight) and the necks are a little thicker. If this is a major issue for you, they may not suit. But the Gama in particular is played at quite high levels - there are some in the National Children's Orchestra and in high level county orchestras, and one young man won a place offer at all four Conservatoires, auditioning on a Gliga Gama viola (mind you, you have to be able to play at that level!)
Gliga make real violas right down to 11 inches (that’s the same size as a ¼ size violin). With violas there is always a trade-off between size and tone. Acoustically, the C string requires an instrument of a size no-one can actually play! So traditionally everyone has played the largest size they can cope with simply in order to get the tone, but of course the larger the viola, the greater the armache! Other methods have been tried to make very small violas (child size) sound like violas, but Gligas are the best we have found, and it’s just done by having deeper ribs. So, down to 13 inch at least, they really do sound like violas.
We restring the instruments, lubricate the pegs and fit adjusters. As standard, we fit Dominant strings and four adjusters to violins and violas of ½ size and above, and a Wittner Ultra tailpiece (with built in adjusters) to ¼ size and below. Cellos have a Wittner Ultra tailpiece (with built in adjusters) and Helicore strings for the Genial and Gems. Gama and Maestro cellos come to us with Spirocore strings as standard. If you want different strings, or a Wittner tailpiece, or just one adjuster, just let us know.
Ich kann Deutsch lesen und schreiben, aber ich kann nicht Deutsch sprechen, Wir können Gliga-Geigen nach Deutschland senden, es kostet nur £10 mehr. Bitte kontaktieren Sie uns hier Gliga geigen und bratschen
Je peux en Français écrire et lire mais je ne parle pas Français. Nous pouvons vendre les violons Gliga à la France, c’est £10 plus. Contactez nous içi violons Gliga , s’il vous plait.
We did have a soundfiles page but unfortunately that does not seem to have survived the site move and I can't find the files. When funds permit, I will get some professional recordings, but in the meantime, there are a number of recordings on youtube made by players at various stages of learning and they give a very realistic picture. For sample pictures, please see the products page. We are not geared up to taking photographs of individual instruments, except that for Maestro instruments we can get pictures direct from Gliga. Antiqued finish is darker than normal finish and “shades off” at the edges.
Below, the most common violins are described. These can be ordered on this website. Gliga make other models which can be ordered, these are described here Other Gliga models
Here is a little hint for bargain hunters: should you be the first to want to try a particular model that I have not sold before, get in touch. If it's something I want to see too, you are likely to get a very favourable deal. I have seen everything listed below, except double basses.
There are four grades of instruments:
A word about set-up
All our violins are sent ready to play. Before we send the violins out, we lubricate the pegs, fit four adjusters (unless you do not require them) and fit Dominant strings, except on Gamas and Maestros where they are already standard. Sometimes customers enquire about getting professional set-up. Whilst we can arrange this, we would advise that any set-up work which involves changing the bridge and/or the soundpost has a significant effect on the tone. We find an overwhelming majority of players below Grade 8 actually prefer the instruments as they come, except that some prefer a lower bridge. Even changing to a Wittner tailpiece has an effect on the tone. We have had customers disappointed because they have spent money on a high level set-up and then found that they preferred the instrument before. Obviously these considerations apply to any violin, not just the Gliga.
We are of course bound by distance selling regulations and in fact we have only ever once refused a return and that was in exceptional circumstances. We understand, however, that people are wary of buying a violin without trying it first. We do not have premises that lend themselves at all easily to a violin trying visit, which is why we much prefer to post. Should you wish to try several different violins including a Gliga, but be unable to find a shop that can accommodate your needs, we can send Gligas on approval for you to try alongside other instruments you may take from other shops on the same basis. However we are very tiny and we are only able to offer this facility on items we would normally keep in regular stock. If you want to try a 17 inch viola painted like a Zebra, simply because you are curious, we will not be offering to send it on approval!
Here is our trade-in policy (and some thoughts about the way trade-ins work).
Strad / Guarneri
All small size violins come in Strad pattern only. Full size violins, only violins, are also available in the Guarneri pattern. This is larger than the Strad model (body length is slightly more than 14 inches) and the tone is both darker and more powerful. The cost is the same as the Strad pattern Cellos are available in the Montagnana pattern in Gama and Maestro versions, but at extra cost.
Colours and Patterns
Gliga make violins in different colours and patterns. For some idea of what can be done, have a look at the American dealer's website violinslover (if you consider buying from there, just a warning, if you are in Europe you will be charged VAT and import duty when it arrives). We only obtain these coloured and patterned violins to order and they will cost more than the standard finish. One customer had her family crest painted on the back of her violin!
Special Antiqued / Boxwood or Maple fittings / One piece back
All these options are available but at extra cost. The boxwood / maple fittings version is also known as the Genova / Gloria.
Left Handed instruments
Left Handed instruments are available – we strongly recommend that you check, before ordering, that you really do want a left handed violin as the great majority of left handed players actually play right handed (we know at least two who did this to a professional standard). Finding a teacher may be difficult. If you are sure, we can supply any Gliga in a real left handed version (bass bar, soundpost, bridge, pegs all reversed) at 25% more than the prices shown above which are for right handed instruments. Left handed instruments are always obtained to order.
Double Basses We are happy to supply Gliga basses but in fact we’ve only ever sold three! The prices here assume the factory set up and strings and are for the instrument only. For those new to the bass, please note that ¾ is the standard adult size.