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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Fat Strad 8vb Acoustic Octave Violin (4-string and 5-string options)

$2,499.00 $1,995.00
(You save $504.00)

Fat Strad 8vb Acoustic Octave Violin (4-string and 5-string options)

$2,499.00 $1,995.00
(You save $504.00)
1.00 LBS
Generally ships within 30 days
Calculated at checkout
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Product Description


This instrument is, in fact, the most powerful (loudest) violin length octave instrument, yet possessing a nice, warm, focused timbre, we have made to date.

This is one of our newest designs for a purpose-built octave violin. The Fat Strad 8vb Acoustic Octave Violin is available in either a 4-string or a 5-string configuration. The 4-string can easily be converted to a 5-string at a later time.


This is the one of the latest entries to D. Rickert Musical Instruments' long history of making incredible purpose-built (made to be an octave violin or fiddle...not a conversion of a regular instrument) violins and fiddles. The new Fat Strad 8vb is, as the name implies, based on the Fat Strad body, which has proven to be more versatile than we ever imagined. “8vb” is the musical designation for “play an octave lower than notated”

Note about stringing

The Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin is so acoustically powerful, it can even handle octave viola (chin cello) strings, including a low C "chin cello" string; however it is designed for octave VIOLIN strings and that stringing is our strong recommendation. The peg box is a bit small for the extremely large octave viola strings. Stringing as a 5-string chin cello (C, G, D, A, E), while possible, is emphatically discouraged. In our design process, we found that an octave G-string is the optimal low end for this instrument. In addition to being too large for the instrument, an octave viola (chin cello) C-string is acoustically weak. This is why we have other larger instruments designed for octave viola strings.

When commissioned as a 5-string version, the tuning is a 5-string tenor violin tuning, which is G, D, A, E, B.

General Information

The Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin has a 14” long body and a 13” playable scale...same as a violin, fiddle or small viola. The ribs are approximately 37mm rather than the 29mm to 30mm more typical of an instrument this size. Overall, the Fat Srad 8vb Octave Violin will feel quite familiar to a violinist or fiddler.

Tuning Pegs

The Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin comes with the incredible Wittner FineTune internally geared tuning pegs as standard equipment (no extra charge). These tuners are so accurate that fine tuners on the tailpiece are not necessary.

Neck width

The neck where it meets to the nut is about 27mm; which we have found to be optimal for a 4-string octave violin or fiddle. It also works well for a 5-string tenor violin configuration. 

The Varnish 

Golden amber brown hand-rubbed oil varnish with artfully tasteful "antique" treatment

Structural Design of the Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin

The Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin is both slightly wider in the middle and lower bouts and “thicker” (37mm vs. 29mm ribs) than a regular violin or small viola. It is also more extremely arched top and has new bass bar design (closer to a viola than a violin), which dramatically enhances the responsiveness of lower-pitched strings. 

With its wider girth (8.5” lower bout rather than the standard 8”), higher arching and wider ribs (sides), the Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin has approximately 27+ more cubic inches of internal air space than a standard violin or small viola. The greater air volume, combined with the new bass bar, is the instrument of choice for players who have been seeking a lower-voiced instrument acoustically rather than electronically.

What is the deal with the reverse tuning peg staggering used for the 4-string configuration?

If you look carefully at the photos showing the peg box, you may notice that the staggering of the tuning pegs looks backwards, as if this were a left-handed instrument. There is a reason. We keep the 5-string peg box of the Fat Strad Deux 5-String Violin and plug the peg holes closest to the nut. This allows us to string the instrument such that the low fat G-string is quite far from the nut; thus, reducing the string angle and reducing string breakage.

Another advantage is that if one desires, the plugs can be easily removed from the closed peg holes, allowing the Fat Strad 8vb Octave Violin to be fit with 5 strings, with an octave B string at the high end. The tuning, then, from low to high, would be G, D, A, E, B. If you play material requiring a lot of high position (close to the instrument body), such a configuration will make sense. We will configure as a 5 string for an additional $75.

Please note that we WILL NOT string this instrument as a 5-string chin cello (C, G, D, A, E). As stressed earlier, the instrument is not built for that tuning and you will be disappointed in the weak response of the C string.

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