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made with quality european tonewoods

The spruce tone wood tops are sourced in the Swiss Alps.  The spruce tops are split, not sawed, to maximize tonal qualities. We use beautifully flamed Bosnian maple for the back plates. The wood is correctly aged and air dried to give the instruments long lives with professional maintenance. 

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Built in our Vermont Workshop

 The instruments are built by the luthiers in our workshops. Each plate is graduated relative to the stiffness and flexibility of the tonewood. The oil varnish is made and hand applied by our head luthier. The luthiers building were trained at the Chicago School of Violin Making and the North Benett Street School.

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Professionally Designed Fractional Violas

Our violas are designed to provide young, passionate violists with an instrument that is a fractional viola, not a modified violin. The wider lower bouts draw out more sound and depth for the lower end of the range than the more common Strad pattern. The slightly shorter string length is proportional to a 16” viola string length rather than a full-size. 


specialized set-ups

The set-ups are designed for dedicated players. High quality, Aubert bridges are carved for each instrument. Wittner geared pegs facilitate tuning and prevent slipping and sticking pegs under the variety of playing conditions students experience. Professional strings, typically Evah Pirazzi, are used. Soundposts are adjusted specially to each instrument to maximize balance and ringing tones. 

Flexible Program: Rent or Purchase

The Richelieu instruments are available for either rent or purchase. The rental program provides flexibility through either a 3, 6, or 12 month renewable contract which includes a Pernambuco bow and Bam or Revelle case. Optional damage waivers are available. Richelieu instruments may be purchased and later traded in toward another Richelieu, or an instrument of greater value by students as they grow or advance in level.