- Violins and Violas: VN-100 - VN-102 - Comparison of VN-100 to VN-102 - VN-103 - Lefty Violins
[My teacher] liked the [VN-100] violin and thought it was worth a lot more than what I paid for it. Hope all is well with you and thank you again for all your help.
- Lisa, Calgary, AB
I found [www.fiddleheads.ca] while I was looking for information on violins. I think you have the most informative site out there... My [VN-100] violin arrived on Tuesday afternoon. It's beautiful and it sounds great too. I can't wait to start taking lessons.
I want to thank you again for all your help, if I hadn't found the Fiddleheads.ca website I would probably still be trying to chose a violin. I would definitely recommend Fiddleheads to any musician in need of great advice and service. I will be sure to contact you in the future if ever I need anything else for my music.
- Brianne, Delta BC
The [VN-100] violin is as kick-ass as promised. I waxed poetical and posted purty pictures here [on my blog and at the left]. That first post was just my excitement bubbling over in the first two days.
You're right -- [the VN-100] is a beautiful instrument. I love the colour and the finish. I mean reeeally love it. It plays like a dream; so consistent and bright and responsive that it honestly had me playing better immediately.
Some of that is certainly due to new strings, but I already love how it plays and sounds, with that long sustain. Can't wait to get some more time on it (everyone's napping here right now).
And thanks so much for the wonderful case -- it's a lot nicer than what I was expecting, and much appreciated. Love the little goodies too. The girls were pleased with those.
After our last lesson, our teacher, Liz, played my [VN-100] violin. She had admired its beauty before, but hadn't properly played it yet. Her partner, Ron, was there too, an old-school fiddler who knows hundreds (literally) of traditional tunes and plays them like a dream. Liz loves the way it plays and thinks it was a terrific value (it also sounded GORGEOUS while she played).
Ron was very impressed with the tone and spent several minutes inspecting it afterwards. He agreed that the craftsmanship appeared to be outstanding -- in fact, he speculated that it must have been manufactured with all the latest technology to be that good! He doesn't really trust anything from China, but said he wouldn't care who had made it if it looked that good and sounded that great. Grudging respect, I'd say.
So yeah, it was was a full-on love in for the VN-100. I seriously open up the case throughout my work day just to gaze at it...
- Jeremy, Summerland, BC
My grandson really enjoys [his violin] ... We spend 15 minutes just doing long slow, sort of straight bows. He takes it really seriously. He is still wondering how the frog is called a frog when it doesn’t even look like one.
I, too, am enjoying my [VN-100] violin very much. It is a huge improvement over the one I started out with. I do love the sound that comes through the new fiddle. It reverberates though the wood so nicely and for me is a very nice experience. I think I have found a fiddle teacher and am determined to get that [VN-100] well and truly excercised and let it start to come alive. I really do enjoy the sound that comes out of it.
If I had had it to start out with, I dare say that I would be much better with playing and would have looked so much more forward to getting it out and practicing. It is terrible to say in a way but using a poorly crafted instrument could be quite instrumental, excuse the play on words, in discouraging a student. Having experienced that fuller bodied sound that I have now is very pleasurable for me.
Rhiannon, you work very hard with your business as most successful people do. You deserve a lot of credit and a big warm hug so get your husband to give you one from me.
I am so pleased that I found you and you took all the mistrust and caution out of doing business. In this day and age, who ever sends out a product purely on the promise to pay? This is the way it used to be and it is very gratifying to have experienced it again with you. You are quite a unique business woman. Thank you.
- "Grandpa" Joe, Mission BC
The [1/8 size VN-100] came and my daughter was thrilled! I am so relieved. It is in great shape and so far we have only had one lesson, but she seems super excited. I'll send a photo and update later but I wanted to say thanks again for everything!
Juliette begged today to practice (I was tired and trying to relax and ignore her!) which I thought was really cute.
She loves the violin and is really proud of it. She even seems to have a pretty good sense of rhythm. She happily played for about 10 minutes (off and on) tonight - she is still building up her muscles so she can hold it in that position (she gets "itchy", which is her way of taking a little break, I think) but she tried hard tonight.
Anyway, I did want to thank you again for everything you did. We love the violin and she loves the little pins you put in (and the card - she got such a kick out of it!) It was extremely thoughtful and I would definitely recommend you to anyone who is looking for a violin or stringed instrument.
UPDATE (2 years later): We've gotten many compliments on the violin's tone (her new violin teacher is quite pleased with it). However, Juliette has grown too big for the violin, and her sister will use it… I can't believe she's grown so much! The old violin does fit Charlotte (who will be 4 in February), so that is good. (She calls it a violoon, for some reason.) Thanks again!
UPDATE upon size upgrade: The [1/4 size VN-100] violin is lovely. It has an even nicer tone than the 1/8 size (probably because it is larger). It really is a beautiful violin. [My daughter] loves to play it because she sounds good instead of just making noise. As always, we're very pleased. :-)
I totally meant to let you know that we got the [VN-100 violin]! He won't get it until Christmas morning...but I know that he will LOOOOOVE it. It is beautiful!! So thrilled :)
Thank you so so much Rhiannon! And again, I really would love to have coffee with you one of these days.
Thank you for your note. I'm looking forward to the [VN-100] violin arriving, it is a xmas gift for a friend and I was pleased by the reviews it got and how it looked, so I am looking forward to trying it out and giving it as a gift. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely and best wishes to you,
Thanks for the email--Kate loves her [VN-100] violin and blue bow! The tone is beautiful--and the brooch was such a nice gesture. She'll wear it when she performs :-)
UPDATE (1 year later): We purchased a small VN-100 the summer of 2009 for our daughter, Katelyn (10 yrs), and have been extremely satisfied with the instrument. We decided to get the same model in 4/4 now she has grown out of her other violin. [Full size] violin arrived today--picked it up minutes before her lesson! We all love it :-). Kate was particularly pleased, "I only squeaked 5 times, Mom!" Definitely a keeper. The violin too. :-)
Aidan loves "Clementine" [his 1/2 size VN-100]. He was so excited once we got to the car. He couldn't wait to show "her" off to my folks.
Even with our terrible rental bow it sounds great! He was even able to play his tune before I put tape on it. Thanks again for everything! I wish you weren't so far away! It was great to meet you, and a pleasure to do business with you! Thanks again!
UPDATE (1 year later): Aidan loves his fiddle FYI!
Picked the new [VN-100] violin up from the post office today. It sounds very nice...far superior to the Hammacher Walmart special I was using. Thank goodness Hammacher has a full money back policy.
Thank you for the set-up work.
Just wanted to send this pic of Taylor...She loves her violin... Thanks so much for your help... My brother loved the violin too... He decided he would pay for the whole amount.. That was an extra blessing for us.
May you be blessed in your business!!!! and your precious beautiful family. Thanks again so very much,
I received the [VN-100] violin and prism bow today- I can already tell it's loads better than that cheap violin I bought! And thanks for the pin! It's going on my case- just to help the people who look at my arrow shaped economy case and ask me what it is. Love the prism bow- I do like the burgundy.
It's been great dealing with you and your company and I know I will be back for more products, wisdom, and laughs. The more I try to practice on my crap violin, the more I realize I made the right choice going to you :-)
Nice Violin. I didn't want an inferior instrument. I'm making good progress now on a fiddle tune, "Mckenna's Reel." I got through it for the first time just now with the new violin, without getting frustrated about my fingers being in the way of each other. It's a nice violin.
The violin arrived today! It's beautiful, thank you.
Thank you again!
[My daughter] has kept your business card preciously and she is so proud of her violin. She tells me other kids at school make comments when she plays about how good she plays or how good it sounds...
She had difficulty and lacked motivation this winter, but she has a different private teacher now and is falling in love all over again with the instrument. Her relationship with the teacher is terrific and Megan is quite enthusiastic.
You do amazing work, giving unique character to violins & bows & cases... It matters. Violin is a love story.
We're really happy with the last [VN-100] violin we bought from you. And our teacher loved it so much, she bought one for her granddaughter.
The violin is beautiful. Cadence enjoys the size very much, though it makes her previous violin look like a toy! :0) We love the sound of the new violin. We are just not used to a "real" violin...in comparison, the other one Cadence had looks and sounds like a toy! :) I thank you for all your help, not to mention patience.
As for earning a customer...you have done that, and more! I could not be more impressed by your professionalism and attentive customer service. I understand why you have won many awards. I can't believe my good fortune in finding your website on line.
The [VN-100] violin has a very warm sound. From the get-go, and because the sound stays so true, the learning process was straightforward. It maintains its tuning very well and overall it is an excellent instrument.
We finally received the violins. They are fantastic! They are even better than what we had hoped for. It is a real joy to listen to the music they make. My daughters are very very very happy and so I am :-) . Thank you for guiding me through what was a real stressful buying decision for me. You really did help me find the perfect violins for my 2 daughters. And you helped me through all the complications of overseas shipping etc. I am very grateful. I cannot recommend your site warmly enough and I definitely know where I will be buying my next violin ;-)
Just a short mail to let you know how happy we are with the violins and, of course, with the extraordinarily wonderful service :)
Amina got her new [VN-102] violin only 2 weeks before the annual winter concert, but her teacher let her play with it anyway because of the lovely sound. I am sending you a link to one of the pieces they played (from their teacher's blog). Amina is one of the youngest group of the "archets juniors" and is she sitting all the way at the back on the right. The concert was great and everyone had a wonderful time.
Our violin teacher is also very happy with the violins. She says they are excellent. She told me that Canadians have a reputation of selling good quality violins (compared to France ......). She was extremely happy with the Bonmusica shoulder rests, too. She has been looking for good quality shoulder rests for the smaller violins, but didn't think that Bonmusica made them for sizes that small (she said they were impossible to find in France). I gave her your contact information and I would not be surprised if she contacts you.
All this to say THANK YOU for your help, for the violins and for the wonderful way you treat your customers. Yours gratefully,
The VN-100 7/8 size was purchased in November to give to my daughter for Christmas. Not Granny's sedan or the sports car but rather like the Prius (yes, I own one too). LIght, very responsive and a pleasurable, smart choice to drive. It, too, has its own personality that wants to explore. You are correct. The 7/8 VN-102, for myself, is much easier on the hands. Amazing how the slight change in dimensions can yield enormous benefits in comfort and ease! The violin is beautiful and the sound incredible!
The 100 is a younger warmth but still a woody, organic sound. I think younger is a better term than brighter. You know, describing a violin's tone is quite subjective, isn't it!
I truly believe the 100's sound has great potential to open up and to develop more including warmth with continued playing. I like the way they both resonate with playing so that there is a tremendous tactile satisfaction. I can literally feel the violins making music. The "better" beginner felt like playing on plywood.
Both of these violins have good tone even to my ear, and comparing is easier as they are both strung with Dominants. Of course, the upgraded woods in the SE 102 are apparent, but they both "sing" in their own way. Both beautiful in their unique sounds. From a nonmusician, the Special Edition VN-102 has a warmer, earthier, more organic sound while still "sweet" on the higher notes.
A side note; My first violin was a "better" beginner purchased from the local music store. It was restrung with Dominants when the stock generic strings were torturing my fingers. I paid USD $600 for the music store beginner set-up including case, bow and mini-rosin plus $59 for the new Dominant strings. Both the VN 100 and SE 102 are much higher quality instruments and are both excellent choices for their respective prices.
When these babies arrived, it felt as though I had been piloting my grandmother's old heavy sedan and was magically behind the wheel of a fancy, Italian sports car. Much lighter in weight, more powerful and instantly responsive. Granny's sedan is serviceable in plodding along running errands, and one is grateful for it when that it is the only ride available. Ah, but the SE 102, it has personality and begs to take a road trip and to go exploring.
Compared with the music store beginner, the engineering and craftsmanship of both the 100 and SE 102 make them both easier to play and to produce good sound. The string height and action with better bridges feel more "right." The better bridges are also a tremendous help in bowing and changing strings.
Thank you so much for your expertise and this transaction has been such a pleasure. My violin pin is too cute, and I look forward to wearing it!
Thanks as always, Rhiannon!
I received my [7/8 size VN-100] violin order last week. Thank you! I am very pleased with everything. I have several friends who play string instruments. If they comment on the violin, I will share their thoughts with you.
Before my 7/8 violin arrived, I used my old bow/old violin to get the feel for it again. It was then that I realized even the 4/4 felt much more comfortable to me once I figured out I wasn't holding it in as good a position as I should have. (That isn't to say it wasn't a bit big for me, but I did experience a dramatic difference in feel.) I agree wholeheartedly (with my teacher) that the 7/8 violin was needed. So I'm glad I learned that.
I'm 55 years old, so I don't expect to ever master the violin...but I am confident I will keep up with learning all I can because the 7/8 violin is manageable for me and I have many resources available to me.
I think the case you sent with my 7/8 is going to hold up better than the case I received with my student 4/4 violin. Also, since I have invited a little bit more than the cheaper violins on the market, I am inspired to take extra better care of it and remain steadfast in learning how to play. Sometimes the greater the investment, the greater commitment. I also like the color of the 7/8 better than the 4/4 although I admit, both are attractive to me.
As soon as the violin was [tuned] Kaitlyn's eyes lit up once she tried the new violin and heard the amazing new sound. Quite different from her Fiddlestix! She really enjoyed the pin that you included as a surprise. It was a very thoughtful gesture that was not overlooked. Thank you for patiently answering all of my questions.
Aurora loves her new [VN-100] violin! Her teacher was impressed by it also, she snagged a few of the business cards you put in the case. She was also impressed when I described how helpful you had been, the trial period, how quickly the violin had arrived and the price.
The only small downside is that there is no room for her shoulder rest in the case (but she commented how snugly the violin sat in the case).
Anyway, I am back on your website to order a shoulder rest and replacement strings (her teacher thought it was a good idea given lack of decent strings available locally) and a bow for my mom (who is learning with the girls and helps them with practice) as she is now suffering from [prism] bow envy… I thought I'd drop you a 'Thanks, its working out great!' note. Thanks again,
[UPDATE]: Aurora's violin has been a real hit up here. She is liking her new instrument a lot, and her teacher has nothing but great things to say about it. Her little sister Tawney is playing Aurora's old 1/4 violin, which we got used for Aurora. It has seen better days and has been having issues so we are thinking we'll get Tawney a 1/4 size VN-100 with the Dominant string upgrade. She is really loving her purple bow! Thanks so much!
The feedback [on the viola] is fabulous. My teacher said that the VA-202 Viola is the best sounding viola she has heard under $2000. She also mentionedthat it truly competes with some violas that shops will sell for $4000 to $5000 [USD].
A gal that is looking at buying [a VA-202] viola is in the Symphony. The instrument is the best that the principle violist has ever heard under $2000 and performs as well as most that are priced at twice that much.
Basically, the viola that you set up for me, a new player, is good enough for the Symphony. It truly is a wonderful instrument.
The [1/8 size VN-102] violin arrived. It's beautiful, and Nandi is in love with it. She doesn't care that it's a bit big. She's playing it and won't go back to her 1/10th. LOL!
The fine tuners work very nicely, and I love that they are the kind that won't scratch the violin. The bow looks like it's fibre glass, if I'm not mistaken—so practical for kids (and grownups!) Someone (you?) has set up the violin very well. Thank you! Nicely done!
I made a video of Nandini playing her new violin, but it's too big to send. Anyway, she's very happy with it. It's easy for her to play and get a good sound. It's so important that children be able to produce a sound they are happy with. It encourages them to play more. It has a very nice sound, and we're very pleased with it. Thank you for facilitating this purchase.
I'll be contacting you in a year or so for a ¼ size.
I received the violin. Looks great. It is a very nice piece. I am 110% satisfied and I am sure my wife will be also. I can not believe how light the violin actually is...it is quite amazing. Thanks again.
Just got the package today.... Very fast, well packed.Thanks.
Daughter didn't even eat lunch.. too excited to try new [VN-102] violin. And played it during her entire lunch.
My wife loves the look of the violin, so did me and Clara. And it sounds so much richer than those student models. My daughter already commented that the Vibrato is more resounding, and easier to hear.
Just wanted to let you know, my daughter's violin teacher has approved the violin. and my daughter likes the sound of the violin. I love the case. She likes the higher pitch that the VN-102 seems to resonate. And we like the great customer personal service we rec'd throughout the entire transaction.
I received the [VN-102] violin yesterday. I love how it sounds. I'll be bringing it my violin teacher to have her test things out. I'm thrilled with it. Thanks for your great service.
At first I was skeptical; I thought, how could there possibly be a violin online that would fit all of my needs, like...having a 7/8 violin, a hard case, a [carbon] bow, and a shoulder rest?
I found that, because I am small for my age, I didn't fit a full size violin. The stretch made my arms hurt, and I didn't enjoy playing because of the aches and pains it caused. But I wasn't small enough for a 3/4 violin. So the 7/8 violin was the perfect solution to my problem, but because there are very few 7/8's made, it was nearly impossible to find one that size. I finally found the right violin at Fiddleheads!
The [VN-102] violin is perfect for me. I brought it to my violin teacher, Saskia, and she said that the purfling is well made, the F holes are cleanly cut, and the sound is deep and rich. I have been surprised and I recommend this product.
Mehra's violin teacher was very impressed with the quality of Mehra's new violin. Mehra is really enjoying playing it, so I am happy to report we are very satisfied and will keep the violin.
Being someone who knows nothing about violin, I found the Fiddleheads website very informative, and invaluable in helping me choose the right instrument for my daughter. Rhiannon was so helpful, and the violin, case, bow and shoulder rest were exactly as promised. Excellent value for excellent products and service!
Thanks again, Rhiannon.
Lisa’s teacher was very impressed with her [1/4 size VN-102] violin and I am too – good sound even from a beginner. [Her teacher] is enjoying it a lot and constantly compares its excellent sound to that of the violins of the other Suzuki students in her group class.
This has certainly been a great violin for Lisa and I would expect that the sound in a slightly larger instrument would be even better now it is time to go up a size. In fact, her teacher yesterday suggested that I order a similar violin from you again because it has been such a great violin.
UPDATE [3 years later]: Lisa's ½ violin that we purchased from you has matured beautifully. I, to this day remember going home to pick it up from our front step in below zero weather and then driving to pick Lisa up at school. Next we went directly to her private lesson where Lisa used the new instrument and it sounded amazing right from the moment it was tuned.
We received the [1/2 size VN-102] violin yesterday! Thank you.
Lisa really likes it and it sounded great at her lesson. I think she really will love it! She particularly likes the slightly brown chin rest and pegs. This time she had her teacher put a couple of black stripes on for fingering instead of the variety of colours she had before because she doesn't want to ruin the way it looks.
It already has great sound - much bigger than the 1/4 [VN-102]. There is an upcoming performance she has been asked to take part in - it will be great to have the new violin for it!
She also loves the [complimentary gift] earrings! Christopher is very pleased with the [Prism] bow case although he is envious of Lisa's new violin.
Yes the violin is very nice. [A musician friend] thinks we should try a North American bridge, said it's common to North Americanize chinese instruments with new bridge and strings, but other than that feels its a good value and plays like a more expensive instrument.
I like the [Prism] bow. [My friend] felt it was light, he's used to something heavier but said it does play quite well.
I'd be happy to keep in touch and let you know how things are going, thank you again for all your help :)
Once again thank you for all the personal assistance and dialogue – it's nice and makes you feel cared for.
Looking forward to a good year with Abigail. Maybe this will be the thing that really gets her going. Hope springs eternal. She now has a violin with part of you in it. I rather like that thought.
The [VN-102 Special Edition] violin arrived yesterday, well I picked it up from the post office yesterday, in good shape. Abby loves the "tiger stripes". I guess it sounds good - anyone can fool me on that one. She has orchestra today.
Once again, outstanding. Maybe Abby's playing can be outstanding.
Oh and thanks for the extra – the blues book and all. All the best to you, eh?
Thank you, Rhiannon! I confirm the setup exactly as you say in this email "Simplicity works for me" I know I will be intrigued and delighted by the Bon Musica shoulder rest.
I am happy to say that I have been enjoying my new lefthanded 102 violin. It will be fine for my purposes. I will write again after some time so I can maybe give you more of a report. We are in a heat wave here and I have been spoiled by San Diego weather. Thank you for getting the violin to me so quickly. I was totally pleased with everything. The packing job was great! Incredible. The corrugated cardboard columns and the tiny airbags protected the violin perfectly. The sponges protected the bridge on both sides.
Good luck in all your good works.
In my years as a lefty I have adapted, as all lefties do, to learn to play instruments that are made for right-handed musicians.
As a result of searching the internet for help in locating anywhere one might be lucky enough to know of someone who was knowledgeable in lefties playing left-handed violins, I came across your website, www.fiddleheads.ca. What a shocking and stunning website....what a find for someone like myself! I devoured the information and emailed Rhiannon to begin the journey towards my dream!
As Rhiannon learned of my dilemma and after much communication back and forth, she recommended I purchase her VN 102. It has been a journey of much excitement as you can imagine how a lefty feels when struggling with adapting to the ‘norm’ and now being able to be naturally positioned to play according to my natural inclination. When my VN102 outfit arrived fully equipped, I could only hold it in my hands and admire its beauty. A long standing dream come true! So surreal!
Thank you for making a left handed instrument so easy to find at a reasonable price. My life has been an uphill battle in search of lefty instruments and now that I have decided to try my hand at fiddling it was surprisingly easy to locate one at a fair price. Thanks so much.
You sold me a beautiful VN-100 (the lefty on backorder). It's absolutely PERFECT.
As you know, lefties are not easy to find and literally unheard of at our local shops. I went to a local shop a wild back to get a new shoulder rest and I was asked what I played. I told her I played a left handed 4/4 and she looked at me as though I had just lapsed into Swedish… She had no clue there was such a thing. Still cracks me up!
You have gained yet another loyal customer and I sincerely look forward to purchasing from you in (hopefully) the very near future.
I wanted to give you my impressions on my new left hand [Fiddleheads] VN-100 violin because it is just beautiful and well crafted. I love the oil finish look (darker than in the photos on your site, which was a nice surprise), warm sound and good feel when playing.
I feel privileged to be able to purchase a left hand violon that is not only affordable and well set up, but also carries a great sound and surprisingly good projection.
Although I am just beginning to play violon, I have been a professional musician, pianist, singer and performer for many years.
Thank you for your quick reply. Well, to start off, I've always been a fan of the [left-handed VN-100] violin - I love the beautiful sounds it makes. The kicker - I've never played the instrument!
Lately, I've been looking around at purchasing one … [This] is a reasonable price for a new left handed intrument. Thanks so much for the information!
Last year I was able to access and play over 30 violins for varying lengths of time, with a view to purchase.
My needs were that it be comfortable, a little forgiving, respond to my learning and development, be appropriate to various types and styles of music, sound good under my ear as well as to the listener, and display as many desirable traits of sound as my money was able to buy at the time.
I do not need a soloist’s or “Concert Hall” instrument.
The least expensive instrument I tried was around $400.00, and the most expensive a violin by Canadian maker Raymond Schryer at $12,000, with the majority ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 CAD.
My finalists were a beautifully voiced French violin from 1912 costing nearly $4000 and the VN-103 Soloist for $2500, and I ended up deciding on the Chinese instrument.
The Xuechang Sun seems a really great value for my dollar. When I first played this violin, it was basically a baby; the varnish still new and soft, the sound improving almost weekly. Now, it has settled in to itself, developing colour, tone, and a quick response.
I love its voice; it has developed a warm balance with nice overtones and an “Italian” sound overall. It is not edgy or overly bright, which is important to me.
I used Corelli Crystal strings to play-in my violin. They are a good basic, straightforward type string which helped me hear differences in sound as the violin matured. When these strings began to lose their sound I upgraded to Evah Pirazzis which are a terrific match, offering improvements in all regards.
As a note of general interest, it has been my finding that play-in time for an instrument is TREMENDOUSLY important. Oddly it seems, this does not always get the recognition it should. Older instruments which have been sitting unplayed for any length of time will require a certain amount of playing time to regain their former stature, and new instruments will change and improve for varying lengths of time; some apparently for years.
A good instrument seems to sound decent from the beginning, and only gets better. To judge a new instrument immediately out of the box is to raise the possibility of doing oneself a large disservice. A knowledgeable teacher or salesperson seems an invaluable asset here.
In summary, I found my choice great value for the money, with a sound pleasing to myself and to others. I am very satisfied with it and love how it improves with playing and the passage of time. It makes learning fun and again I will state, for the record, how pleased I am with Rhiannon and how patiently she has “taken stock” of me and matched me so well to my instrument.
"My VN-103 from Fiddleheads (Xuechang Sun maker) is proving to be a phenomenally beautiful appearing and sounding instrument. Rhiannon at Fiddleheads helped me immensely in selecting this instrument to fit where I stand in my learning journey. To note a few observations:
1. The 103 weighs in at exactly 16 ounces, 2 ounces less than my prior violin.
2. The color is beautiful throughout, with intriguing slight variations on both the front and the back as part of the understated antiqued look.
3. Overall, the color is a rich, mid-range mahogany.
4. The front shows a grain running parallel to the finger board, with a few areas of slightly lighter shades, leaving the impression of some aging. There is a darker outline of the violin front where the front meets the sides, which also contributes to the aging effect. The color differences on the back are a bit more pronounced, as the back is comprised of two separate pieces of wood. Overall, the back is something of a number of subtle, light and dark, horizontal stripes that line up seamlessly in the middle. The sides have a pretty-much uniform pattern of alternating and minutely varying stripes that continue up into the scroll.
5. The ebony chin rest has a subtle pearling of brown stripes in the black. This matches the wood used on the front, neck and back and draws attention when seen up close.
6. The sound is impeccable. It is both rich and deep and comes readily from every bow stroke. In contrast to my prior instrument, there is no metallic “sliding” sound that often comes from the slightly imperfect bow stroke of a learning student. In that and other ways the 103 could be said to be “forgiving.” My teacher, who has very discerning hearing, also praised the sound and was definitely impressed that I made the investment in my violin future. After several weeks of using the violin I don't have a single critique of its sound quality. In fact, the sound has continued to improve throughout my use, and I look forward to reviewing again in a while as I continue to learn about the instrument's great performance.
7. As this is a substantially more advanced instrument than many learner violins, I am finding that the superior sound quality actually accelerates learning, primarily I think because the violin does not produce the harsh notes that can be so disruptive to a learner's playing on a lesser violin and because the superior sound is highly rewarding and therefore encourages more practice.
8. The production workmanship appears superb, and the pre-shipment preparation of the violin before shipment to make it ready to play immediately on arrival was meticulous. The packing for the shipment from Fiddleheads was extremely well-cushioned and protective.
9. This violin is more expensive than many that an intermediate player or a student might see. In my view, though, this is a classic case of long-term value vs. immediate cost. After several weeks of experience with the violin, I am totally convinced that the value (mainly from the substantial improvements in my playing and enjoyment that the violin is leading me to) has already exceeded the cost and will continue to do so."
I am writing about the cello that I bought. I am a cellist by night, a serious amateur for 4 years. I tried and heard many cellos and knew exactly what I wanted to hear from a new instrument. I tried a CL-303. The first time I played it I noticed the fingerboard is made from very high quality ebony and almost perfectly set up for me.
It's very difficult to describe a feeling for an instrument; it's better in music, but what I could hear playing it, was a very nice sound with a beautiful "sustain" that inspired me to remain quiet and breathless long after the last note has finished.
After almost 6 months of practicing 1.5 to 2 hours a day I'm completely used to this beautiful cello. The sound is worlds better than when I first bought it. It is improving all the time. It seems the cello is learning to play better! A good sound comes from a good cello with a good setup, good strings and a good bow but most importantly a thousand of hours of practicing on daily basis.
The secret to buying a cello: You try it, if it feels good, then you let a friend play it for you so you can listen without thinking of performing with an instrument that you don't know. You can also hear what it sounds like from the front and at a distance.
I am very happy with my CL-303 cello. It's a serious instrument for a serious cellist and an excellent investment. Thanks again for your excellent service, Fiddleheads.