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Romania – Gliga String Instruments

​Although there are several violin making workshops in Romania, the Gliga brand is by far the biggest, mostf successful Romanian ​string instrument label. Further down, we introduce to you the firm and its foundr, Vasile Gliga. On this page, you will also find a description of our setting up procedures of the Gliga ​instrumnents.

​Vasile Gliga founded his violin making company in 1991 and the company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It is one of the most successful family owned businesses in Romania. They make true violas starting from 11 inches (this is the same size a 1/4 size violin).  If you a looking for a European made viola, Gliga make beautiful instruments known for their rich, dark, mellow sound.

About the Gliga Company

During its tentative beginnings, Gliga had only two luthiers making two violins a month. Each violin would take 300 hours to produce. Vasile Gliga and his wife Elena were the two original Gliga luthiers. Early in their careers, they trained as luthiers

Carpathian Spruce

​in the Romanian government’s instrument factory in Reghin. The company has now grown to the point that upwards of 3,000 violins are made every month. Gliga make violins, violas, cellos and double basses. They seek to produce quality instruments at price that everyone can afford. As such, there are instruments available for players at different stages of their careers from beginners to advanced players to professionals.

The wood used in Gliga instruments is sourced from the Gurghiului Valley in the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania. This is close to Reghin where Gliga’s luthier workshop is located. The valley is commonly known as “Italian Valley”,  as luthiers travelled to this valley from Cremona in Italy to find the ideal wood for violin making. Cremona, of course, is historically known for its master luthiers, and it is where the violin family was invented by Andrea Amati. It has been said that Antonio Stradivari himself used wood sourced from this location.

The trees chosen from the forests are special. They need to be between 150 and 200 years in age, have grown at an altitude of above one thousand meters and are found on Northern slopes as these are both sunny and have high humidity. The wood from these specially chosen trees is dense and homogenous and it is seasoned for six to twelve years resulting in a superior quality of tone. Highly prized and resonant Carpathian spruce is used for the belly of the instruments. The ribs, back and necks are made from a beautifully flamed maple that is also known as curly sycamore. An abundance of this maple grows in the Gurghiului Valley. However, only about one in a thousand of these trees will have the wavy fibres that give the exceptional resonance desired in the finest instruments.

Two hundred steps are required to produce a Gliga violin. After the wood has been milled, the instrument is handmade. Many of the tools used by the luthiers have themselves been handmade specifically to allow the delicate shaping and carving. Teams of three or four people are used with each person being a specialist in one step of the process. This allows Gliga to maximise output without compromising on quality. It takes at least three months for a student violin to be made and up to a year to complete a professional level instrument.

Traditionally each of the finest instruments were the work of one master craftsman. However, Vasile Gliga believes that having several people working together will add to the character of a violin.

The instruments themselves are carved and varnished by hand. Gliga make most of their instruments according to a Stradivari template. The instruments are all different and may be finished with an antique or a normal finish. Instruments finished with an antiqued style will look old even though they are new. This does not impact on their sound.

In 1995, the world famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin wrote a letter to Vasile Gliga from which the following quote came “Dear and very fine craftsman...I shall treasure the instrument you made…”

Vasile Gliga

Vasile Gliga the founder of Gliga


T​he setting up of Gliga Instruments at Animato Strings

​Gliga instruments purchased from Animato are fully set up in our onsite workshop. When you purchase a Gliga viola from Animato, have confidence in how it will sound and perform.

Following many years of experimentation, our luthiers have established the best set up that specifically suits the Gliga range of instruments. During their setting up, extensive work on the part of ​Animato's luthiers, along with testing and further modifications, are essential to meet our exacting standards. 

The process of setting up begins with our luthiers checking and, if necessary, planing the finger board and adjusting the nut (just before the strings enter the peg box).  To ensure that the pegs fit well, the peg holes may need to be reamed, and in some occasions, the pegs have to be recut. The pegs are then lubricated with peg paste to prevent sticking and slipping. The sound post is always modified and optimally positioned, but when we are not satisfied with the resulting sound, the sound post is replaced.

Our luthiers fit the bridges with great care, ensuring the appropriate shape and height and the correct angle between the bridge and the belly of the viola.  The violas come with a Wittner carbon fiber tailpiece with integrated fine tuners.  They are fitted with​ quality strings.  For example, a Gliga III viola comes with Pirastro Tonica strings.