Epiphone Viola Bass Guitar Review

Epiphone Viola

Being a Paul McCartney fan, it should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of violin/viola basses. It’s fair to say I’m not the only one. After all, why would so many companies produce their own versions if they weren’t popular?

The first bass I ever purchased myself was the Epiphone Viola. Having played with it for hundreds of hours now, I feel like I’m entitled to fairly review it. Here is my review on the Epiphone Viola bass guitar. 


If you love the look of violin basses, you’ll love the look of the Epiphone Viola. It has a traditional sunburst design which is suprisingly bright and well-colored. It’s outlined in black in a thin white stripe with the sides being black. The sunburst design follows all the way up the neck and really looks great. Everyone I’ve shown the bass to agrees that it’s really beautiful. Very nice to look at.

The knobs look nice and are easy to control. There are two volume knobs (one for each pickup) and a master tone knob. They’re sturdy and do not feel cheap, which is nice as other basses in its price range tend to skimp in these areas.

The Epiphone Viola is a passive bass, meaning that it does not require any additional power to run when plugging it in.

Feel Of The Bass

The Epiphone Viola feels very nice when you hold it. Because it’s a semi-hollow bass, it’s incredibly light (7 pounds) which means you can play it for hours without getting tired. If you’re a performer or you like to stand when you play, this is going to be a real advantage for you. In fact, it’s weight was one of the first things I noticed when I picked it up for the first time. Very easy to carry and transport.

Some people have reported that the Epiphone Viola faces an issue with neck diving. Neck diving is when the neck of the bass tends to dive towards the ground when you’re not holding it up. It won’t be a huge issue for more people, but it’s definitely there. Due to the shape and size of the body, it’s inevitable and neck dive happens to some degree on most violin basses.


Sound is the most important thing when it comes to our instruments, right? This was the deal maker for me. The Epiphone Viola doesn’t just sound good – it sounds better than its competitors, even the ones at higher price ranges. I’ll admit, I wanted a Beatles sound when I went to buy the Epiphone Viola. I considered the Hofner Icon and Ignition, but the Epiphone Viola had one thing that seperated it from the Hofners – its versatility.

The Hofner basses are incredible basses, but they’re really only great for one style of sound (think the vintage sound of the early Beatles.) The Epiphone Viola doesn’t just nail that early vintage sound (not as good as the Hofners, but still good) – but it’s also able to sound good with more modern music as well. Here’s a clip of me covering “Strawberry Fields Forever”

Try to get that out of a Hofner 🙂

Now that’s not to say that Hofners are bad – not at all. In fact, I’m looking to pick up the CT 500/1 as soon as possible. It’s just that, as I said, they only really have one sound. That sound is damn good, but it is after all, only one sound. I’ve used this Epiphone Viola for everything from early 60’s to modern rock, to funk. This bass will shine with most genres.

See What Others Are Saying

“I bought my Viola several years ago and am delighted with it’s vintage styling and classic British Invasion sound. For those who are…” (read more)

“There are so many ways in which Epiphone Viola is better than its main competitor, Hofner Icon/Ignition Violin (it is my understanding that… (read more)

Who This Bass Is For:

This bass is perfect for anyone looking to get a violin bass on a budget. If you’re looking for a bass that is versatile and can play many different types of music, this bass is for you. It is the only ‘Beatle bass’ that I’ve tried that’s actually able to sound good throughout all of the Beatles eras.

Who This Bass Is Not For:

Those looking for the signature Hofner ‘thump’ should look for the slightly more expensive Hofner Ignition.

If you do end up picking up the Epiphone Viola, be sure to get this case specifically designed for it! The case fits the bass perfectly and makes transport a lot easier and safer. The Epiphone Viola is a real steal for its price, so you may as well use that money you save to protect it, right?

And of course, if you have any questions about the guitar (or its competitors) feel free to ask!

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