Best Mendini Viola Guide

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This best Mendini Viola guide it’s here to evaluate different Mendini violas so that you can pick the one that works best for your situation.

Suppose you are looking for a new viola. If that’s the case, this best Mendini Viola guide is here to help you go over different options and choose the one that works best for you. I recommend the Mendini MA-250 has durable construction high-quality materials. It is suitable for beginners through intermediate players, which means you can invest in one instrument that you can play for years at a time.

Bottomline Up Front

Mendini produces many decent violas, but I recommend the Mendini MA-250 for beginners, students, and intermediate players because of the durable construction high-quality materials. I reviewed each Mendini viola based on the value and accessories, the quality of the instrument and accompanying accessories, and the suitability for different musical skills. 

Mendini Viola Sizes

This best Mendini viola guide has to start by explaining the sizes because violas are a bit tricky. If you are familiar with other stringed instruments, you know they are divided into size categories represented as fractions. Violins and cellos have half sizes or ½ and full size of 4/4 and everything in between.

Not wanting to be like everyone else, Violas has no such sizing. Instead, they stick to a more formal designation of inches: 16 inches, 15 inches, 14 inches, 13 inches, 12 inches. If you are lucky, you might have half sizes like 13.5 inches or 14.5 inches. The name or size refers to the length of the viola’s body. With Mendini, you get sizes between 12 inches and 16 inches.

So, how do you know which size to choose?

For adults

Pick something you are comfortable with. You can choose a small, 12-inch viola and just create a deep bend in your elbow, or pick a 16-inch viola and stretch your arm out wider. It is entirely up to you.

For children

You have to do the good old-fashioned measuring for children just like you would for a violin or fiddle. Or you can do what I do and just have your kids hold different violas until they can wrap their hand over the scroll and still keep a small bend in their elbow. 

Selection Criteria

As part of this best Mendini viola guide, I broke down my view and recommendations based on materials, construction quality, and accessories. For me, accessories are incredibly important when you start. Nothing is more demoralizing than working up the courage to try a new instrument, spending the money, and then being told you need at least half a dozen new things.

Mendini specializes in beginner and student instruments that come with

  • Brazilwood bows with Mongolian horsehair
  • Chin rests
  • Rosin for your bow
  • Extra strings
  • A case (most of the time)

The Brazilwood bow they provide is made from unbleached Mongolian horsehair, the best quality material in a viola bow.

The rosin is suitable for beginners and students. Still, suppose you are an intermediate player, and you invest in any of the Mendini violas on this best Mendini viola guide. In that case, I recommend you upgrade your rosin to something more suitable to your skill level.

In almost all cases, no pun intended; you get a case. Usually, Mendini gives you a hard case that provides you with much better protection against damage, dust, and pollen.

Beginners versus Intermediates

Each of the instruments listed in this best Mendini Viola guide is designated as a student or beginner model or something suitable for intermediate. Mendini does not specialize in products for advanced players but offers a handful of high-quality stringed instruments for students, beginners, and intermediate players alike.


Beginners need tight construction and sturdy wood that prevents the instrument from breaking or cracking.


Intermediate players, who have played an instrument for a year or two, need durable hardwood, larger sizes, and better construction to highlight the warmer tonal quality their more advanced skills can produce. 

Best Mendini Viola Guide: Student Models and Intermediate Models

My criteria for this best Mendini Viola guide are the quality of materials and construction, the accessories that come with it, and what skill level each viola is meant for. All of the instruments featured here are manufactured in China. Still, they have to undergo quality testing and quality assurance not only in China but in Los Angeles when they hit the Distribution Center, so they get tested twice.

Mendini MA Student Viola

For students, the Mendini MA student viola is a good option. This is often what you find in music schools or rented out by music teachers. This model comes in a range of sizes, 12 inches through 16 inches, and finishes. If you are looking for something that comes with a different color rather than natural wood, this model is best because you can get a white, black, purple, or blue finish.

Any of the finishes other than natural wood are still crafted from the same Maple fingerboard and maple chinrest and the other hardwood materials for the body. They are dyed a different color depending on which color you want. So, the black finish on a 14-inch Mendini Viola is still made from the same high-quality wood, but it is dyed black instead of the natural wood color.

The tailpiece is made of alloy. While these models are right-handed, there are left-handed options available from Mendini.


  • Hand-carved spruce top with maple back and sides
  • Lots of colors available
  • Maple for the fingerboard, chin rest, and pegs
  • Has accessories including a hard case with backpack strap


  • Uses young wood so only food for beginners
  • Mendini MA-250 Beginner/Intermediate Viola

Mendini 12-inch MA 250

Next in this best Mendini viola guide is the MA-250 line. The Mendini 12-inch MA 250 is perfect for beginners or intermediate players because of the quality materials and construction. I love that it is also an affordable model. You can buy it in 12 inches at $90, 14 inches at $110, or 15 inches at $120. Choosing from a few sizes means this model is suitable for a broader range of players. 

Below is a video demonstrating this viola:


  • Comes with accessories like a bow, rosin, and cloth
  • Available in four sizes
  • Maple and spruce construction
  • Round tone, suitable for beginners or intermediate players


  • Strings are fine for a beginner but too low quality for an intermediate
  • Not available in 16-inch sizes

I love how Mendini violas cater to all budgets. No matter which size you choose for the Mendini MA-250, you have so many different accessories that make it possible for you to start playing right away.

This model has solid spruce, hand-carved, for the top panel of the body. The back panel and sides are crafted from maple. The fingerboard, chin rests, and pegs are also maple. The wood choices make the viola incredibly lightweight and easy to carry around.

I have a cello, violin, and viola at home, but I love when I play the viola because it feels like nothing compared to carting around the cello.

In terms of accessories, Mendini gives you everything you need, including rosin, a horsehair bow, extra strings, a cleaning cloth, and a hard case. The hard case can store everything you have so that it’s kept in one place. If my children don’t have a hard case in which to keep all of their music-related accessories, they lose something almost immediately.

Note: Even though this model is suitable for intermediate players, the rosin it comes with is very rudimentary. If you have any experience playing a string instrument, I recommend you purchase better quality rosin.

Mendini MA-350 Intermediate Viola

The Mendini MA-350 intermediate viola is similar to the MA-250 in terms of features and accessories, but the size is different. You will only get a 13 inch model for the Mendini MA-350 viola. It costs around $95.

You get an unbleached Mongolian horsehair bow which is better for an intermediate player because of how it pulls across the strings. Beginners can undoubtedly use this bow too, but intermediate players will hear a difference.


  • Has all the accessories you need
  • Comes with tight construction, so it lasts a long time
  • Produces a warm tone
  • Made of maple and spruce


  • Only comes in a 13-inch size viola

Best Mendini Viola Guide: Maintenance Tips

No matter which of these you purchase, make sure to follow the Mendini maintenance tips that come with each instrument. These tips will help increase the longevity and lifespan of your instrument.


Never use wood polish, furniture polish, or rubbing alcohol on the body. Take a lint-free cloth like the one provided in your accessory kit to wipe down the body after you play very gently. This will help prevent dust or dirt accumulation, compromising the tone and projection.


To maintain good friction between your bow and the strings, you want to apply rosin regularly, usually once per week. you should use the same lint-free cloth to wipe down the bow, especially the parts that you hold with your hand, as this will remove any buildup of oils or dust.


To maintain the strings that come with the Mendini viola you choose, you want to use the cloth that comes with your accessories to wipe the strings down after you play. If you don’t wipe them down each time you play rosin, dust and debris will build up the strings and compromise the sound.

Most kits for Mendini violas have extra strings, which are meant to replace the strings when they break. You should replace one string at a time but if you are replacing all four with a different type of string, do them one at a time instead of simultaneously.


Question: How much are Mendini violas?

Answer: Mendini violas range in price, typically between $100 and $150, depending on which model you choose. Student models are less expensive, but they include the accessories you need to get started, which makes them well worth the price.

Question: Is Mendini a good brand?

Answer: Mendini is a reputable brand owned by Cecilio. They specialize in providing affordable, beginner instruments that people can purchase no matter their economic constraints. They are highly regarded for putting in suitable quality control measures for each instrument, with handcrafted wood and all the accessories a musician needs to play successfully.

Question: Is there a difference in the finish on Mendini violas?

Answer: Yes, you will find different finishes for Mendini violas. The most popular is natural wood, followed by a glossy or colored finish. A colored finish is simply paint applied to the natural wood, but children tend to gravitate toward colored finishes because it helps them stand out in a crowd. For a beginner or child, a colored finish is just fine. Still, I would advise against it for more intermediate levels because it adds extra weight and inhibits the acoustic sound quality from your instrument ever-so-slightly. The interference is not enough for a beginner, but it is something an intermediate player would notice.

Question: How do I choose the best Mendini viola?

Answer: When you look over this best Mendini viola guide, choosing the best instrument is based entirely on what level of musical skill you need. Every model reviewed here has good quality tonewood like ebony side panels or Maple and a spruce top. Pick a size that works best for your situation.

Question: Do bigger violas sound better?

Answer: You don’t need to pick something from this best Mendini viola guide based entirely on size. While there are different sized instruments reviewed here, the size differences are negligible such that they won’t influence the tone or projection significantly. What matters more is that the instrument fits comfortably in your arm.


I recommend the Mendini MA-250.  I recommend this particular instrument because it has excellent quality and craftsmanship and is suitable for beginners through intermediate performers. In this past Medini Viola guide, you have read about many different selections. No matter what you choose, rest assured that Mendini is one of the best manufacturers for beginner and intermediate violas. Beyond that, consider your skill level, the size you need, and the material you prefer.

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