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Don Rickert Musician Shop

D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin

$2,395.00 $2,195.00
(You save $200.00)

D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin

$2,395.00 $2,195.00
(You save $200.00)
0.00 LBS
First units ship March 2018
Calculated at checkout
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Product Description

Comes with a high-end "5-ply" case; however you must acquire a suitable bow. This instrument can be played with a high-quality violin bow; however, many players will prefer a viola bow. Please feel free to contact us to discuss the choice of the right bow for you or anything else about this really cool instrument.

Our email is and phone number is (404) 828-0136. You can also use the "Contact" link on this page.


This is a new model. The first articles will be available in March 2018. If you order now, we thank you for your patience, for which you will be rewarded with an extremely beautiful, unique, easy to play and sonorous instrument.


The D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin is the successor to our popular Fat Strad Deux Mezzo Viola, which we introduced in 2013. Simply, put, this instrument is possibly the most powerful and sonorous 5-string violin you will find anywhere.

We call this instrument a 5-string violin; however, technically it is a “mezzo viola”, meaning that it is a hybrid between a violin and viola. While the D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin has the same body length and playable string length as a regular violin, it is slightly wider and substantially deeper than the typical violin. In fact, its 37mm rib height (vs. 30mm on a regular violin) is what you would find on a large viola. It also has a bass bar that is a hybrid of a violin and viola bass bar. The wider girth and greater depth of the instrument is the reason that we provide the specially-sized case as part of the purchase price.

Hybrid of a Violin and a Viola

The whole point of a 5-string violin is to provide the player with an approximately violin-sized instrument that is strung to cover BOTH the violin (soprano) and the viola (alto) ranges. The essential problem is that a violin-sized instrument is generally not capable of drawing the full acoustic power from the lowest string (i.e. the C-string). In other words, with the exception of the very finest (and VERY expensive!) 5-string violins, the C-string is acoustically weak relative to the other strings.

One solution to the weak C-string problem (besides going electric, which, when done right, generally solves the problem) is a viola-sized 5-string instrument, generally either a 15.5” or 16” viola with 5-strings. A 5-string viola is often called a “Viola Pomposa”. Well, the problem with this is essentially the opposite of a 5-string violin problem. With an average 5-string viola, the higher strings can be weak and “muddy” (i.e. too “dark” sounding) relative to the lower strings. Further, a 5-string viola sounds like, well, a viola, which has a quite different timbre than a violin. A viola timbre may not be what the violinist or fiddler is looking for.

The new D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin solves the sonic problem in various ways. The aforementioned wider girth and deeper ribs add approximately 25 cubic inches of internal air space to that of a “normal” 5-string violin. This, combined with a special bass bar and optimally-graduated plates (back as well as the top), results in a powerful, sonorous and balanced sound, with a wonderfully warm timbre. 

String Spacing

Another major problem with typical 5-string violins is an ergonomic one. In generally, the strings are spaced too closely at the nut as well as the bridge. This causes BOTH left hand and bowing playability problems.

The new D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin has a wider nut, which affords proper string spacing. Further, the string spacing and arching of the bridge is meticulously optimized for 5-strings. The problem of unintentionally muting adjacent strings with your left hand and unintentionally bowing adjacent strings is gone!

Tuning Pegs

The D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-String Violin is fit with the incredible Wittner FineTune™ internally planetary-geared tuning pegs. Fine tuners on the tailpiece are not needed and the instrument stays in tune.


Special Helicore 5-string Violin set with titanium-wound A-string and a Kaplan aluminum over special steel wound E-string. The special string set gives optimal power, clarity and warmth to the high-end.

The Varnish

Slightly-antiqued red-brown over amber hand-rubbed oil varnish

In Summary

  • Has string spacing at both the nut and bridge that is wide enough to be actually playable
  • Volume, depth and sheer raw power of a professional level violin or fiddle across all 5 strings
    • The awesome responsiveness and power of the C string is not achieved at the expense of the responsiveness and sound of the E-string, or vice versa.

The D. Rickert Fat Strad III 5-string Violin is simply the best 5-string violin you will find anywhere!


Many customers opt to have a pickup installed. There are many pickup options. Please contact us if you wish to add a pickup.

Our email is and phone number is (404) 828-0136.

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