You can see and hear the Rickert & Ringholz Type I Octave Violin in performance at the Kennedy Center by the Berklee College of Music Jazz Ensemble...Duncan Wickle (in the red shirt and wearing a hat) on Octave Violin
The Rickert & Ringholz Type I Octave Violin is hardly a budget priced instrument; however, it is a lot less expensive than Rickert-designed premier models, such as the Cradle of Harmony Octave Violin and Type II Octave Violin. costing about 1/3 of the price of these top-end models. It is based on a modified Romanian-made Meisel 14" viola, which has the same vibrating string length as a 4/4 violin, but with an ever so slightly larger body and bassbar that favors low-end response.
As surmised by Don Rickert, the converted viola indeed, when strung with Octave strings instead of viola strings, and with some other minor modifications, has a greater depth of sound and projection than simply stringing a regular fiddle with octave strings. In fact, the volume and projection of this instrument is astounding.
Quite a few Type I Octaves were sold and customers are very happy with them. The only new skills required for an experienced violinist or fiddler to play this instrument are handling the thicker strings (more deliberate bow pressure, something every viola player knows) and heavier bow (a Viola bow).
The Type I is currently not being sold, as
the profit margins were too low and it "cannibalized" (competing
against oneself with a similar less expensive product) our high-end
octave violin sales...that's business!
Click on any of the thumbnail images for a full-size view.