Fiddleheads Violin Studio Testimonials & Feedback:
Bulgarian Workshop and Bench Violin/Viola Reviews
Thanks for all your help and patience this morning! Enjoying my new [Rose Valley] fiddle all ready!
Any way he gave it his seal of approval and that meant a lot to me. Don't know if Sandy is a household name in BC but he sure is in Cape Breton where he has taught just about everyone who ever played the fiddle.
I have told many about the personal service you provided me in choosing my new violin. It was the hilite of my trip west this year!
The playing tips you gave me were valuable as well. I wish I lived out there, I would be able to take some of your lessons! Perhaps next year on my annual trip west.
Thanks again, Rhiannon, for all your help and support.
- Gord, Toronto, ON
Hi Rhiannon, nice to hear from you. I'm pleased to send you this feedback on how I'm enjoying my [Bulgarian] violin. I don't think I'll ever truly do it justice as a player but that keeps me motivated!
I absolutely love my violin that I purchased through you at Fiddleheads! When I first played it a year ago, my teacher told me that I was very lucky to have a violin with such wonderful tone. It is so much easier than my old girl, and you're right, I do appreciate the more mellow tone.
As a beginner player, I wasn't sure I would hear the change you told me would take place over time as I played, since it already produced such a lovely sound, but I have!
It definitely has opened up, has a deeper resonance and more mellow tone which I love. It is a joy to play and inspires me to keep practicing! Thank you so much for helping me to find just the right violin.
- Leanne Copithorne, Deerfield Farm [Alberta]
The thought of purchasing a violin not only over the Internet but in another country was a bit unsettling to me. Rhiannon was friendly, accommodating, and answered all my questions. She provides a great service where one can take an instrument [on trial] and I quickly took advantage of the offer.
I received the [handmade Bulgarian] instrument within a week to Alabama USA. The violin was well packed. Once received the instrument was better than anticipated and sounded fantastic.
The more I played the more I appreciated the quality and sound of the instrument. I purchased the violin using Paypal.
I’m a very satisfied customer and would highly recommend Fiddleheads to anyone looking for quality instruments from an establishment with great customer service.
- John N, Trussville, Alabama, USA
After 2 lessons, my instructor was impressed with the look and sound of the [Bulgarian] viola. She liked the deep tone. She asked how much I paid for it, and said she paid more for hers and hers doesn't sound as good.
I have given her one of your cards so she can take a look at your website, she said they're always looking for good instrument sources.
- Jennifer, Devonshire, Bermuda
Hi Rhiannon, I am really enjoying the instrument - it is a huge upgrade from what I was playing before. It's got great warmth and a beautiful look to it. The sound and quality of the violin is great and I know I will be playing it for years to come.
My instructor was also really impressed with the violin, especially when I told her I got it off the internet! I have passed on your name and website to her as well.
Thanks so much for all your assistance, buying a new violin seemed like a very daunting task to me, but you were so helpful and kind.
- Lauren, Etobicoke, Ontario
I was a complete novice looking for a violin when I came across Rhiannon's website. I had a previous bad experience with a purchase from a private owner so I was unsure of who I could trust.
After a few emails to Rhiannon I knew I would be buying my violin from her. She was not only a wealth of knowledge, but took the time to understand my needs, my budget and experience level.
My final choice was a new [Bulgarian workshop violin] that I am thrilled to own! Being a new student, I never expected to get such a rich sound at this stage, which will only get warmer and more mellow with time. My instructor was amazed I was able to get this beautiful instrument, prism bow, a case and extra strings for the price I paid.
Thank you Rhiannon for your time, expertise and patience. I will remain a loyal customer and would recommend you to anyone looking for a new instrument! If anyone wishes to contact me regarding my experience, please feel free to get my email address from Rhiannon.
Brenda’s enjoying learning to play it (as am I) and we love the [Bon Musica] shoulder rest – it completely frees up the hands to do what they are supposed to! We will send your our quartet picture when we take one!
- Cynthia, Kanata Ontario
My son's violin teacher, Oleg Rutkovsky, is an honors graduate from the Moscow Conservatory of Music [Moskovskaja Gosudarstvennaja Konservatorija]. He recently advised me that my son's progress has greatly surpassed the quality of the student violin that we purchased for him and we should try to secure a better quality violin.
After several conversations with Rhiannon over the phone I was confident that she was not just trying to sell me a violin. As the parent of a violin student I had many questions and Rhiannon patiently discussed in details all matters that I needed answers to. After discussing my son's level of progress and my budget, we decided on a Bulgarian workshop violin.
When we arrived for my son's violin lesson his teacher inspected the violin and began to play it. He played it for quite a while and finally announced,"This is a very good violin." He asked me what was the price and when I told him he said,"It is worth the money, buy it." I'd done some researching online and saw another shop was selling the same violin for $1800. [Fiddleheads' price was $1300].
The teacher's still talking about that violin a week later. When we took it to the lesson to show the teacher he started playing it and wouldn't put the violin down. My son has these big round doe eyes and you should have seen them when his teacher kept on playing the violin; he was worried he wouldn't get the violin back!
[The teacher] also said that "He would feel comfortable in referring his students to fiddleheads.ca for future violin purchases. So for him to like the violin and give it a compliment, that's a big deal. And for him to recommend his students to go to Fiddleheads, that's also a big deal.
My son loves his [Bulgarian workshop] violin and he appreciates the improvement in the quality of sound in his playing.
PS: It was my pleasure to write this testimonial. These days having something good to say about a transaction is becomming a rare event. Fiddleheads is our official violin resource and we also consider you a friend.
UPDATE (6 months later): This violin really makes a huge difference to Reynaldo's playing. He hears himself better and it sounds so much better. Even the older songs sound far better on this violin than on his older violin.
- Raymond Hill, Bronx, NY [Watch Reynaldo's Youtube Videos]
The violin arrived safely last night! Yay!! I've already played it for many hours :) My husband actually turned around and gave it to ME as a surprise - even though I had bought it for him to learn on. He wanted me to make sure and tell you that, "I think the new one is just really great! I'm happy that my wife can have it!" He's thrilled :)
It is a beautiful violin and I've enjoyed playing it so far! The raised grain is very nice. :) It surprised me that it sounds so different than my old one! Not in a bad way, just a different way. I'm excited to keep playing it!
Thank you so much for all of your help and time. I'm glad we could buy violin(s) from you again. :) Thanks for everything!
p.s. Thanks for the mute! The baby sleeps through me playing right next to her :)
- Amanda, Harrogate, TN
As [the Moneff] plays-in it develops greater depth of sound and character with a range and scope which I strive to learn to properly utilize. In return it brings me joy, a deeper understanding and the realization that at age 57 I can so learn a new trick or two. HUGE value for dollar! Well done Ms Moneff, and thank you.
- Michael Sears, White Lake, BC, Canada [Read his full, very detailed review here]
I just wanted to thank Rhiannon for her EXCELLENT customer service! She was knowledgeable, fair and quick to respond. It is nerve-wracking choosing a violin from the internet (our first time), but she made this experience pleasant and worry-free.
After describing to Rhiannon what we were looking for, she quickly listed the merits of the VN-900, switched the strings to Obligatos [as per my request] and matched a competing website's sale price.
THEN, SHE DID SOMETHING UNEXPECTED: she advised me to look at the Angela Moneff violin from Bulgaria as well. This turned out to be a beautiful bench-made (by a woman!) Guarneri-style violin from the Kazanlak region or "Rose city" of Bulgaria.
The beauty of this instrument: it will STILL IMPROVE with constant playing over time! [My daughter's] teacher quickly noted that the sound was NEW but also recognized that it would open up with constant playing. Since my daughter practices 2 hours or more a day, we look forward to this remarkable instrument improving in the coming months. [See attachment for our detailed review.]
Thanks to Rhiannon's keen sense of matching the instrument to a player (even when we're SOOOO far away), we ended up buying a Moneff violin. If you are a serious violin student looking for great tone, clarity & projection from an instrument with the potential to open-up and do even greater things with time.... in addition to getting a good overall value, you should try the Moneff.
- Fe & Nina, Spring Hill, Florida
Yes, they did and they are both really nice instruments. What you said about them both was on the mark. The Ming responded almost immediately, but then Moneff started perking up after an hour's play. Then I started getting confused (in a good way).
I'll probably have a bunch of questions in the next few days.
Thanks for everything you've done so far.
Just an update on the violins you sent me. I am leaning toward the Moneff. There's something about the violin that seems to make me "pull" the sound out. I play mainly old-time fiddle, but the sound I'm looking for isn't as metallic or harsh as traditional old-timey music. I tend to play a lot of unaccompanied pieces in open tunings (right now I'm sticking with key of G and D songs on the Moneff. I'll have to figure out later what to do about cross tuning if I buy the instrument), and the sympathetic vibrations on the Moneff are very rich and wonderful. I also like the chunky neck (ex-guitar player). The Zhu is really nice as well though.
One question I had was how much the strings affect the sound of these violins. Although I have the sense that the sound I'm getting from the Moneff goes beyond strings differences, I was wondering whether the thickness of the sound had to with the Evahs. There's a reediness to the Zhu that can work in certain situations, but I was wondering what the Evahs would sound like on a Zhu violin. I have mainly played Helicores (both heavy and medium) up until now on my other violin, mainly because I cross-tune on one violin. Any insight regarding the sound "effect" of strings would be helpful.
[1 month later]
Yuji, Seattle WA
I would highly recommend to anyone who wishes to shop for a violin should consider contacting Rhiannon at Fiddleheads Violin Studio. Her personalized service and research skills are outstanding.
Rhiannon did help me thoroughly along within my budget restrictions and I ended up with a bench work violin from Angela Moneff.
I will not hesitate to recommend your shop to anyone and I am thankful for the services you have provided me. Believe me that I will continue to shop at www.Fiddleheads.ca for whatever you can provide me for my new violin in the future. Thank you.
Upon Receipt of Violin
I will write again because I received the beautiful violin, case and bow. Again I am happy with what I see and play with. I feel proud.
- Roger Charbonneau, Ottawa, ON
I will try to make a nice customer testimonial video for you. I will mention everything I went through personally with you and how you've treated me (very well btw). I will also show off the violin and may even have yearly tone check videos as well. Bow and case will also be mentioned and described by brand and material and such. And if I had time in the video I would like to talk about you as a violinist and I'd like my info to be accurate. So if there is anything you'd like me to mention just suggest it. Note that it might take me awhile to get the video together because I'd like to do it in the highest quality possible. Once its ready I will send a link though. Thanks for the help so far! :D
[UPDATE A few months later]: Just checking in. Letting you know that things are going good with violin my love for them has grown exceptionally since we last spoke
The [Moneff] violin arrived over the weekend. To my eye, it is beautiful. I tuned it up and played a bit. I'm very happy with it.
Rhiannon, I wrote up a small recommendation of you for your site - it was easy though - you represent the easiest and most knowledgeable dealer I've encountered, and I think prospective buyers need to understand this as well!!
Perhaps one of the most difficult and daunting tasks facing a musician is purchasing a violin. Rhiannon has, however, turned this into a very positive experience by virtue of her personalized service, knowledge and honesty.
You are not simply purchasing a violin from a dealer: Clearly an astute business person, Rhiannon is also an award-winning violinist and music teacher. As a result, she sells instruments that actually meet the buyer's needs and expectations.
I purchased a Stankov violin from her, and after several wonderful communications, I made the wise decision to purchase this incredible instrument - I cannot thank you enough, Rhiannon!
Wooo hooo. This is so cool. I like the way it looks in the pics. It looks better in person.
I like it!!!!! [Stankov] nailed the "looks" of it and it has just enough shine to protect it. The family likes this violin a lot - they like it better than the last [workshop] one. It's really nice - much nicer than the pics.
The G & D strings just sound awesome. Lots of overtones, volume, and confidence. The A & E strings seem muted or stuffy. I'm guessing they need to be played. Now that I say that - the instrument needs to be played. New strings. New violin. After playing the new one I picked up my other one and what a difference.
Ivan is so cool - he actually has someone play it in a church.
[The] violin vibrates something crazy - but it's cool. My other one doesn't vibrate all that much and sounds "held back." Also, I like the string sensitivity and volume control. So far I'm pleased and can't wait to break this one in. :)
[UPDATE: 4 weeks later] As for the violin - it sounds great now. Infeld Blue strings and I'm happy. The Evah's were way too high tension for me. My fingers were hurting too much. But the infeld Blue's sound as loud and nice without the high tension.
I got the Stankov in the mail very quickly. No extra costs from customs, thanks for doing the paperwork so all I had to do was receive it at my door. Love the violin!! It's a beautiful thing. Beautiful woods, even better than the photographs. I showed it to the finest fiddle players in the northwest and both of them played it and they both really liked it. It's a dandy! Thank you!
And thank you, thank you, thank you! You made my day [by accepting payments for a Stankov violin]! Actually, probably my whole year! I am going to try and get that money together as soon as possible.
[UPDATE 2 weeks later]: Played a gig today. And the violin sounded great! The sound has opened up even in the little bit I've been playing it. So I am falling for it, I think we'll have our happy ending. :) Thanks again, sooo much, for your help and flexibility. I will make sure to write a paragraph for your testimonial page!
Just a word or two to let you know that by adjusting the bridge on the Stoinov violin, the sound on all strings became marvellous. The violin has a wonderful projecting sound and great sustain.
It's an easy instrument to play. The response is great. The bowing to achieve a great sound requires less pressure on the strings to achieve a very noble sound than other violins.
The Stoinov violin sounds better every time I play it. This guy is a well kept secret. His violins are in the $12,000-$15,000 class easily and get better with time.
I'm glad I bought the Stoinov and appreciate your speed in getting it to me. Best wishes for a great holiday season.
The Dimitrov violin arrived today safe and sound… and speaking of sound …it sounds great!
My daughter has nicknamed it "Boomer" because of its volume; it has impressive projection doesn't it? I don't think it will take long for her to break it in.
She was quite surprized and excited when it arrived; she had been showing your website to a friend to show her where we got her pink [Prism] bow from, and my daughter had zeroed in on Mitio's violin… never imagining I was going to actually buy it for her! This transaction seemed almost too easy - thanks for all your help!
Please let [Dimitrov] know we are happy with it, and it is being played by very capable hands! If my daughter uses it for a performance soon and I can get good footage, I will pass a video clip along to you.
We have enjoyed having the violins over Christmas, and Lauren has taken a real shine to the Dimitrov. We have played quite a few, and she is still loving it. Thanks Rhi, you have been great to work with. I will be sure to post some clips of my daughter at her next recital with her beautiful new violin so you can hear her.
Lauren is loving her new violin, and was so happy when I told her we were going to purchase it. She is sounding really good! Let me know how I can put a comment onto your website, you have been great to deal with and I would not hesitate to recommend your shop to others!
To Mr. Dimitrov:
I am now the very proud and grateful owner of this wonderful Guarneri del Gesu 1743! Words cannot express how happy I am with this incredible violin.
I wrote Rhiannon Nachbaur at Fiddleheads.ca who helped me pick it out that the sound is everything I wanted--lush, warm and sweet! The violin itself is just beautiful and feels so good in the hand. Thank you for making this beautiful instrument.
- Alicia,Jackson, Mississippi
The Dimitrov arrived safely! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Not only is it stunningly gorgeous, the tone is magnificent! It is everything I desired--lush, warm and sweet! The sound is so incredibly pleasing to my ear and senses (and it's still just a baby!). What is a surprise (oh, duh) is how incredibly easy it is to play and to tune!
Cue Matchmaker music from Fiddler on the Roof… Matchmaker, you've done it again!
Thank you for the note and surprise. Bulgarian Rose [perfume]…how appropriate!
Rhiannon, it is very easy and a pleasure to be a continued customer with you. Not only are you an experienced player and teacher, you are an upfront and honest businesswoman with integrity who loves what she does!
[UPDATE: 4 weeks later] I just LOVE my violin! You have no idea what happiness and joy I feel to finally have my "forever" violin! The good news is that I am participating in a virtual ensemble doing Ashokan Farewell! Having just started lessons in October 2012, it is a definite learning and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g experience for me!
Thank you so much for contacting Mr Pertkov and getting the information. I will buy a viola made by Mr. Petkov, because my daughter loves his instruments.