I bought one.
It looks nice and it sounds nice :). Just like a giant violin but tuned the same as a viola except an octave below. It is also surprisingly light! Weights less than an electric guitar.
Was quite cheap. Only $375 on gumtree. Normally is about $1000. Apparently it’s got better strings put on it too.
After playing it all weekend I ended up breaking the A string when re-tuning (the thinnest one). I think a couple of the pegs may need refitting because it slipped a bit when tuning, which is what I blame the string breaking on. So I think i’ll send it to the music shop to get the pegs refit and have them replace the A string when they do that.
It came with 2 bows, one of them a nice carbon fibre bow. I can play some tunes on it, but it’s taking a while to get used to the spacing as the jumps for even a semitone are huge on the fingerboard. I figured out how to read music and map the notes to the strings on the bass clef. Good thing I can read it from piano.
I have to say, the bowing on it takes a bit more effort than on the violin, not sure if it’s just my incorrect technique or if it’s just you need to push a bit harder to get a nicer sound out of it when bowing. If you bow too light on the thick strings, it doesn’t sound as good.
My violin teacher also teaches cello and viola too, so I should be able to ask her to show me some basics. It’ll be a hobby instrument that I plan to just muck around on although it’s a lot of fun to play.