Fiddleheads Violin Studio Top Image featuring a photo of Rhiannon, Owner Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! March Closures and Shipping Dates: Click HEre Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! Click Here Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! Spring Break/March Shipping Delays: Click Here Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!

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Fiddleheads Violin Studio Testimonials & Feedback:

Ming Jiang Zhu Violin and Viola Reviews


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- Workshop Models 903 - 905 - 907 - 909

- Handmade Models

Zhu 903

I'm from Japan and a total beginner in violin. I visited Rhiannon in person. It was a Saturday but Rhiannon spent half the day with me!

First, I was thinking to buy Zhu 901. Even though I'm a beginner, I could tell Zhu 901 had more projection than other violins in the same price range. But I preferred the 903 and it was not much more money to spend for the improvement in appearance.

I'm so impressed with the work of Ming Jiang Zhu's workshop. It must be a great workshop with the master's supervision. Every piece had perfect antique varnish work which is not too shy and not too obvious. I love the beautiful colour and gradation.

Zhu 903 might be too good for me but I really liked the looks over 901. I will love this violin for life!

UPDATE [2 Years Later]: I just went to the jam night. A lady, who had played fiddle a bit before, came to me and asked. " Is it Viola?" She described the tone of my 903 deep and mellow.  Just wanted to let you know. 

- Hiroomi, Barriere BC

Just to let you know, Susanna had a wonderful Christmas practice last night on a farm (and with a wood stove). Two guitars, 2 violins, a piano and 3 voices, preparing for Sunday evening Christmas program.

I could hear the new [Zhu 903] violin for the first time in the band setting and it was beautiful. The other violinist immediately complimeted Susanna on the new instrument for its clear, full sound. Even when Susanna was standing with her back to me, I could hear the clean sound of her violin coming out above the other instruments.

We are all really happy with the new addition which you helped us with.

- Neels en Dina (with a hug from Susanna), Alberta

Thank You! Everything was safe and sound. What a gorgeous [Voxy Bow and Zhu VN-903] violin outfit! I can't wait for Caitlin to come home from school and see it - I know she will love it. Violin concert at our house tonight!

(Later...) Violin and player are fine. She loves her new [Zhu VN-903] violin and just this last weekend passed on her old one to her little brother. He is so pleased about that - so they're both very happy!

We were extremely pleased as usual with your knowledge and service and will not hesitate to return and recommend you whenever we can.

- Sheena, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Wow Rhiannon! You are nothing if not thorough.

The Zhu 903 violin is beautiful! I am very pleased and my daughter, Liza loves it. It will be a few months before she grows into it, but she's all excited. Her teacher , a Chinese violin detractor, was blown away. She was very skeptical when I told her I had bought a Chinese instrument, but she came around very quickly when she played it. Lots of raised eyebrows and looks of surprise. 

Thank you for the prompt friendly, attentive and impeccable service. Cheers,

- Keith, Los Angeles, CA

The [Zhu VA-903] Viola arrived today. My daughter is out of town until Saturday night so I can't give you her reaction. We have not told her about it, so it will be a complete surprise.

The color is more orange-ish than I thought it would be, which is very nice. I was expecting quite brown but there is a nice orange cast.

Thumbs up for that.

We took the viola to her teacher to tune it and prepare it properly. She thought the tone and rich sound was wonderful. I'm no sound expert but comparing it to her crappy 14" violin with viola strings, it sounds like a cello.

Thumbs way up for that!

UPDATE [3 Years Later]: It's been over 3 years since we bought my daughter's Viola. It is like new.  She is in 11th grade now, 1st chair in the viola section. Just popping in to say thanks for the great Viola--it is still getting heavy use and is a great Viola. And of course, the Tertis model has the fullest sound and louder than others. And I was so worried it might crack in our super dry desert heat, but it hasn't.  You were so patient with all my emails and questions. Again, just giving you some good feedback. Hope you are well and happy and making lots of sales.

- Wesley, Utah

Sydney loves the [Zhu 903] violin. Her teacher was impressed too and said she will definitely tell students to check your site out if they are looking for a violin. Thanks again,

- Troy, Calgary, AB

The [903] viola is beautiful!  It has a very pleasant voice (especially the C when you need a robust low note - if my teeth ever feel too tight, I will simply lay my jaw against the instrument & play a long, loud C and that will cure the problem! :oB This is a nice deep (thick?) instrument.

I LOVE the low sound of the instrument -- VERY nice.  I can hardly wait for our Gospel group's next practice to see how it sounds with the other instruments in the group. Thanks kindly for your help. Gratefully,

- Paul, MCPO, USCG (Retired)

I love the violin! I work way out in the boonies and i took it with me to practice. No husband, no toddlers! The violin is much better than my old one.

- Lolita, Dawson City, Yukon

[The 3/4 size VN-903 violin] is beautiful!  Lisa hasn't seen it yet as we are giving it to her for her birthday but we are sure she will LOVE it.

We were totally captivated by the gorgeous violin in the beautiful [satin] violin bag.  Thanks for the lapel pin as well. We will continue to spread the word in Ottawa about your awesome customer support and fantastic violins.

UPDATE [2 months later]: Lisa loves her new violin! She took it out of the case on her birthday and played her working piece which is one of the Seitz's in Suzuki Book 4 immediately and she never looked back from there. It sounds great already and we look forward to a year from now as we know it will only get better.

Here is a picture of Lisa from her [Christmas] recital last weekend.

- Brenda & Cynthia, Ottawa, ON

The [903] violin arrived yesterday and I'm very pleased. Thanks for all your help!

- Kailey, Violin & Viola Teacher, Ottawa, ON


Zhu 905

Shifa played the [1/2 size Zhu 905] violin over the weekend and likes the bigger sound. More than the violin, she enjoyed the gift [of a violin pin] you gave her!

UPDATE [3 Years Later]: Shifa is now 10yrs old and is studying at the RCM Grade 7 level. The 905 Shifa currently uses has garnered many positive comments from professional violinists in the region for its dark tone, and for the projection/volume making many think it's a 3/4 including, apparently, our violin teacher.

- Riyaz, Waterloo, Ontario

First of all, thank you for shipping 4 violins to my new student.  It has been an interesting experience for us all.   As they probably let you know already, they chose one of the 905 models.   They brought me the other 3 violins yesterday and I have been showing them to some of my other students. 

One of the 903's is very popular - it has a particularly nice warm tone.  Three people were interested in it, although only one is ready to purchase right now.  I told her I would give her your contact information, so she can discuss payment with you. 

Another family is interested in the Ming Jiangs as well.

UPDATE: Thanks for the help with my [other] student - it is a nice 905 they got there.  

- Bethany [Violin Teacher], Toronto, Ontario

I have put a few hours on the violins you sent. I like the Zhu [905] the best. I did try a John Haide violin today, a 2003 model, it was a little mellower but I think the Zhu will come around with more playing.

UPDATE [6 months later]: I'm loving my new fiddle I purchased from you and putting lots of hours on it.

Thanks for giving my songs a listen and also for the advice, everthing helps and I realize nothing but hours of dedicated practice work.

UPDATE [1 year later]: Still loving my Zhu and I think it's sounds better all the time (all the practice probably doesn't hurt either).

- Terry, Maple Creek Saskatchewan

We are keeping the 905 Strad model.  It is really incredible and anyone who plays it does a double take...thanks again.

Once again, thanks for everything. All the best,

- Dan, Burlington, ON


Zhu 907

Hello, my name is Shunpei and I received this beautiful violin, your VN-907, from my wife, Amanda, for Christmas.

I am in love with the 907! Beautiful, aesthetic, and the rich, deep tones - the way it rings with each stroke from the bow is just stunning. It is my partner, my second wife if you will, and I am looking forward to growing in my violin/life journey together. I will cherish her forever. Thank you so much.

UPDATE [18 months later]: This violin has been a blessing. I love how the sounds just pops out at you. It seems to have a slightly "richer" tone (although subtle) compared to other violins out there. I'm just as happy with it still as I was when I first got it. : )

- Shunpei, Burlington, Ontario

I originally emailed Rhiannon asking about a couple of the Bellissima violins, but I described what I was looking for (mostly something that didn’t make both me and my roommate want to die when I was playing in upper positions), and she suggested I consider the Ming Jiang Zhu 907.

She was incredibly helpful and accommodating, and even took the time to answer my emails and make arrangements when she was busy with a tour/things definitely more important than dealing with me. I ended up trialing the [Bellissima] Valentina and the 907. I really wanted to like the Valentina better because I’m cheap, but after a week of personal deliberation and semi-consensual blind comparison tests on various friends and family, the 907 was the obvious winner.

It just sounded clearer, warmer, and richer. The lovely colour and finish, and the little details, like how smoothly the pegs turn, are nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve had it for a while now, and it’s only gotten better with time. The projection has improved, and the sound really fills the room when I’m practicing by myself. In the upper registers, it sounds like it’s singing rather than straining like my old violin.

It feels like this violin is a friend, and my old one was just a co-worker. Sorry for waxing poetic, but it really is a joy to play.

To sum up, fantastic customer service, and I love this violin more than I love myself.

- Elsa, St. Catharines, ON

I found Fiddleheads when looking up [these violins online.]  I liked the variety of violas at my price level, I liked that Rhiannon plays viola as well as violin, and I liked the kinds of things I read in the testimonials, so I sent off a message outlining what we were looking for and asking for recommendations. 

Two days later I was treated to a generous couple of pages reviewing the potential best matches for us, and a month later we had a terrific viola – a Tertis style model 907.

Over the space of three weeks we tried out every available viola in [Winnepeg], and none sounded or felt right – they were hard to play, harsh sounding, or just hollow-sounding.  [Your viola] was different.  Even in its box it was so elegant-looking with its warm brown colour and jujube fittings.

The neck is particularly slender and light so it’s easy to hold up for a long time.  And the sound was great from the start – smooth and warm across all the strings and in higher positions, and responsive with strong and full projection (not just loud)– just what we were looking for! 

My daughter’s teacher was impressed with several of the instruments we had brought for her to hear, and this one was, hands-down, the best of the lot.  For me the next test came when, less than two months later, she was playing a duet with one of the leading violists in the city and to my ear there was no really obvious difference in tonal quality between her new viola and his larger and more valuable instrument. 

Back in orchestra and ensembles this fall, it’s great to hear her lone viola richly filling out the bottom end and support her as she tackles increasingly complex repertoire.  My daughter feels that, over the four months she’s been playing her new viola, the sound has warmed up even more, especially on the C string, the open string notes ring even more, and it resonates more when played or sympathetically when other instruments are played nearby.

I was really impressed by Rhiannon’s warm personal style, and investment in the process, balanced with practical business sense – it really was the next best thing to actually being in the store!  When it’s time to move to a more advanced instrument, we’re sure to be back to Fiddleheads and to the Zhu violas!

- Ala, Winnepeg, Manitoba - Read Complete Review

Excellent, the [VN-907] violin arrived last night. I have not had too much time to play it yet but my first impression is very good. The most significant thing that I noticed is the dynamic range. It is much easier to sound good from piano all the way up to forte - the sweet spot for decent resonance is simply larger. I also really like the appearance - the antiquing is very nicely done.

UPDATE [1 Week Later]:Yes, I am really enjoying it - I can already here it opening up although that is probably mostly a result of the strings getting broken in. At this point I am pretty sure that I will keep it ...

UPDATE [2 Days Later]: I have decided that I do love and want to keep the instrument. Thanks for the great service. I will enjoy the instrument, in fact it has been my habit to switch my practice every other week between my 5 string electric and my acoustic. But now with this new toy, the electric may need to wait a few weeks (at least until the newness wears off - I'm such a big kid).

- Dan, Menomonee Falls, WI

[My son] is LOVING his new [VN-907] violin. It has really sparked his enthusiasm and he is thrilled with it. The music in the house sounds so beautiful, I am really lucky. Thank you so much for all your time the other day. I am so thankful that we found you and we will be sure to let others know.

- Maja, Revelstoke, BC


Zhu 909

I recently purchased a VN-909 (August, 2012) and not only has the violin exceeded expectations but the level of service and professionalism that was provided by Rhiannon was fantastic! It is obvious that Rhiannon has a real passion for music and truly cares for her customers needs and concerns.
The 909 projects an incredibly warm, rich sound that makes this violin a real pleasure to play. The full tone and exceptional characteristics of this violin only inspire me to want to be a better player.

The price for this model from Fiddleheads is unbeatible and, I believe, is a wise investment for any level of player. I know for myself I will not have to make another violin purchase for many years to come. If I'm lucky enough to ever achieve the level of skill that we all desire, I have no doubts that the 909 will still be the instrument for me. 

In the meantime I couldn't be happier with my purchase and I feel incredibly lucky to have found Rhiannon.

UPDATE [November 2012]: It has now been three months since I purchased my 909 from Fiddleheads and I love it more now then ever. The warm, rich sound that was so prevelant when I first purchased this violin really has improved dramatically.

This violin continues to amaze and to inspire me. I never would have expected so much change in the sound quality, it was so impressive to begin with. I think that it really speaks to the talent of the maker and to the ability of Rhiannon to recognize truly great quality.

There are so many choices now in where to purchase a violin that it can be very confusing for anyone, the 909 is the third violin I have a purchased and in my experience I can truly say that I would never consider buying from anyone but Rhiannon.

- Jeff, Salmon Arm, BC

I love the 909 and my teacher agrees that the sound is wonderful... I am already hearing the instrument as a whole open up a bit.

[UPDATE: One month later] I really love this violin, it sounds better everyday! I will give a formal testimonial someday but this year in seminary we are on a media fast and we have very limited access to technology so it might not be soon.

Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. I will recommend you to any and all violin playing friends!

[UPDATE: 6 months later] The lower register is opening up beautifully and as I grow more accustomed to the heavier bow I chose, the more I love it. Gravity does the work for me, and when I feel the need, I can really dig in and wow does that bow respond.

As does the violin in every arena. The sound is so deep and full; I have a new teacher down in denver where I am for seminary and she is very impressed with the whole setup. When I told her the price I paid for it she was floored!

I have not played on a violin within 1/2 the price range of my Zhu 909 that sounded as nice and looked as beautiful.

I am so thankful for all your help. My MT instructor also swore by carbon fiber bows for the price until he tested the Dolfler [bow I got from Fiddleheads]; he agreed it was worth going with the wooden bow over the carbon fiber- and I am a big-time naturalist and nature lover so I did not want to succomb to the man made materials bargain. 

Thank you again for everything, when I have my hand back I will give a full testimony on my love affair with my violin!

P.S. I am listening to Bruch's 3rd Concerto right now- someday I will play that piece on this violin!

- Kirby, Helena, Montana

I bought the VN-909 from Fiddleheads after reading about Zhu's gold medals in violin competitions, and I can't stop playing it.

Rhiannon hand-selected this particular violin for me when I told her the sound I wanted. The violin has such a rich, clear tone and beautiful warmth. It's a huge improvement over the instrument I was previously using. It's also beautiful to look at.

The set-up of the violin is perfect so I didn't have to take it to a local shop to make any adjustments.

I was also pleasantly surprised that Fiddleheads switched out the infamously scratchy E- string from the set of Dominants on the violin with a more suitable Lezner E-string from Goldbrokat. Now that's detail.

Fiddlehead's service felt so personal even though our communication was through email. Through it all, Rhiannon was so kind and accommodating. I felt really cared for. So thanks Rhiannon!

I definitely feel confident recommending Fiddleheads to anyone looking for a violin.

- David, Lake Forest, California

I’m an advancing student and have just acquired a new violin – a Ming Jiang Zhu 909 and I love him. He is a him, and his name is Vinny. He has beautiful projection, is very comfortable to play and I don’t have to push the sound at all.

With the strings I am using (Pirastro Passione) Vinny sounds very warm and mellow, especially on the G string. He is an excellent violin for classical music, and I love playing fiddle with him too. The varnish is beautiful.

Thank you Rhiannon and Mr. Zhu!

- Hanna, Age 13, Williams Lake BC [read her mom's feedback below]

Our teacher loves how this [VN-909] violin rings and can be heard clearly, even with the most gentle notes; and when impact is called for, it delivers big time.

The sound is far beyond others we’ve tried in this price range, and Rhiannon’s price was excellent! We feel fortunate to have found such a lovely instrument that we could make work budget-wise.

Hanna is advancing quickly and has so much potential with this violin - it will be with her and serve her well for many, many years to come. [She] is very attached already!‘

- Heather, Williams Lake BC [read her daughter's feedback above]

I love my violin. I am playing every day and loving it.

I love the full rich tone [of the 909] and it is very true up the fingerboard. One piece I am playing has a "gritty" section in it and I am playing it up the G-string with wonderful resonance and vibration which gives me just the sound I am looking for.

My granddaughter Kieran (who has my old violin, thus my need to buy another violin) has played it too and I think she is a little jealous!

UPDATE [2 Years Later]: I still play my violin every day and am going to take my grade 6 in June. The violin still sounds great. Since I have been playing my viola more I can really notice the difference in quality between the two instruments. I am finding [the viola] is very inferior to my 909 violin and now I want a viola to match.

- Felicity, Lindsay, ON

I wish I had bought a violin from you sooner. The 909 was a good buy. The balance between the strings is quite good. It's a great fiddle, a really nice fiddle and I am glad I purchased it from you. I need to play it in a fair bit more, but it is really opening up and the projection is excellent.

UPDATE [1 Year Later]: That little [909] violin really has opened up. I am very happy with it. I wish more of my students could play violins like this one. It's a gem.

- Tom [Violin Teacher and Private Dealer], Oregon

The [VN-909] violin arrived! I had to find someone to set up the soundpost and bridge. [The luthier, Christopher Eccleshall] apprenticed as a violin maker with Hills of Bond Street, London. Despite his reservations about Chinese instruments, he had to agree that "Zhu seems to know what he's doing." Praise indeed.

I've had a run through my music repertory and am really impressed. The sound is so luscious, mellow and bright at the same time. And the instrument is even lighter than my Italian fiddle, which is another plus.

Many thanks for including the free Canadian Fiddlebook - just what I wanted. That hard case is a beauty, too. Thank you for all your help getting me this lovely violin, Rhiannon. I hope I can do it justice.

- Nick, Ashburton, England


As posted online by Nick

Don't be afraid to look abroad in your search for the "perfect" violin - I found mine at Fiddleheads, in Canada. It's run by a professional violinist, Rhiannon Nachbaur , who has set up a truly inspiring website ( with a range of quality new and used instruments.

Her current selection includes, for example, a bench-made 2006 Andreas Jovani, described as "perfect for a professional musician or advanced student." It's just over £1000, plus carriage. I think I paid around £80 carriage on my Zhu, which was supplied on trial.

the handsome young Eric in performance

[My son] Eric is 13 years old and earned 3rd place in string group of CMC held at Rimouski last year. Also he just won the 1st place of  Bach Sonata and Concertos in Vancouver Kiwanis festival. The adjudicator's comment was "you are more powerful than your fiddle can handle.

So we really needed an advance violin. Eric brought your [Zhu 909] violin to his new teacher, Lawrie Hill, who is very famous.

He is surprised the [Zhu] violins' quality. We are fortunate to buy the violin from you, we are really happy with your violin. Thank you!

Also, It was nice talking to you, you are really a sweet person.

- Vincent, Taichung Country, Taiwan

I received the very beautiful [909] violin today and it plays very nicely. And as you say in about a year it will sound even better. Happy to have it and I will be doing a concert with an orchestra and will use it now for rehearsals and performance.

I just thought I had to have a [909] violin in my collection as I have read so many good things about them--some day I may afford to buy one of his custom jobs but for now this one is fine. Very sweet sounding and responding instrument.

- Sydney, Louisiana

The [909 left-handed custom] violin is beautiful. I'm really proud to own this instrument. Thank you.

- Rick, Lloydminster, AB

A few weeks back when I started thinking about acquiring a good violin, I went to a fiddle contest solely for the purpose of listening to each player. They were all quality players of excellent skill.

When I heard an instrument with an outstanding sound I questioned the player. The Strads were easy to identify and the owners confirmed my feeling they had played a Strad copy. The three that stood out were Guarneri copies. Two were made by Zhu.

I truly appreciate your spending so much time trying to help me [buy a violin] and making an effort to keep the cost down. I certainly will not forget your kindness and courtesy.

I would say my little research at the fiddle contest has me setting my sights on a Zhu built violin. With that in mind I will work towards saving the funds needed.

PS: Your outstanding reputation is well deserved.

- Walt, Arizona

Well that is great. [A fellow customer] buying the 1-pc back 909 sight-unseen and yet unheard, I can testify they are certain to love it. It has a wonderful voice and clarity and a great price for its performance and playability.

Love your email… you have a very good and a humorous dispensation! I would bet you make an excellent teacher.

- Pablo, OK

The 907 15" viola is such a lovely instrument, but I am soooo glad we went with the 909 in a 15.5" afterall, since [my daughter] Allison is playing the heck out of it.

She has really improved over the last few months and receives compliments on her instrument all of the time. For the spring semester in the Fairbanks Youth Orchestra she has been placed 1st chair! Her conductor last week told her that she has been playing fabulously and congratulated her on her hard work.

Also, she was wrapping up a lesson and her instructor's next student was there, (a 50ish year old women) and she commented on the lovely sound of Allison's viola. We are very happy. Thank you! :)

- Yvette, Fairbanks, Alaska

I received the [VN-909] violin yesterday.  The violin is in perfect condition, it is good that you pack as well as you do because the outside box did receive some dings, that of course is normal. 

I would like to say thanks for all the attention you gave to the sale.  I only had a few choices as to whom I could purchase that model and I chose you because of your reputation.     
I am in my mid-fifties and as a grade schooler I was interested in the violin mainly because of the beauty of its sound.  A few years ago I found a Chinese violin kit for $100. I bought it out of the curiosity of how hard is it really to play a violin?  It was not until last year that I took a serious look at the question.  I found that it is relatively easy to play notes evenly with a little bit of practice.  My ambition is to eventually play some simple melodies.  It is enough for me to produce the sounds of the violin and so bought a violin from you that can produce those qualities of sound, unlike my curiosity violin. Thank You.

- Keith, Spokane, WA

Good day!  The violin was received last Friday.  The initial trial got a favorable view from the teacher and hope it will get through after comparing with other violins. The teacher [Victoria Strochkova], compared it with four other violins. She quite liked the 909 model.. and she has decided to get [a 909] from you too. 

Thanks for your kindness and generous offer to my daughter's teacher. She will for sure refer her students and we will tell people whoever look for a violin to you in the future.  We can also provide your information to my daughter's next year middle school music band teacher.  She has over few hundreds band students, many of them play violin like my daughter. 

You earned your reputation.

Best of luck for the very success of your business!

- David H, Danville, CA

I loved the Ming Jiang Zhu 909 model from the first touch. I love [my 909], I also hope it will sound richer with the time.

You were very thoughtful that sent to me two of the MJZ violins to try. I will introduce the other violin to two of my students who need to change their old instruments. I would appreciate if you will have some other models sound similar to [this violin] in future I will ask you for another trial.

I am very happy with 909 so as we agreed I will send you [final] payment. I really appreciate your good will and I am very happy to have business with you.

- Victoria Strochkova, Violin Teacher, San Ramon, CA - Website

Pleasure doing business with you. Your price was great by the way. Shar marked it up $1210 [higher than Fiddleheads].

- John, Cleveland, OH

Your web site is great. After reading your wonderful site, you seem to have a lot of nice stuff and good advice.

I've read really good reviews about the Zhu Violins. Your [input on the Zhu 909] is exactly what I wanted to hear. If it's as good as you say it is, the reviews say it is, I think everything will be fine. I have a luthier friend that just got back to me and he said the same thing about Zhu.

- George, Sudbury, MA

You have a real gift. You are honest, approachable, and know how to make others feel comfortable, even with all the struggles you have had. I do love my violin "Mr. Zhu." He is resonating more and more. I told [my teacher] Nancy it's like there's a swarm of bees trying to get out of the violin; it really vibrates.

I will work hard to be worthy of such a fine instrument. I never dreamed I could own such a thing, and you made it possible.

I wish you the best of luck and am very happily telling people about you. When I am ready for a really nice carbon fibre bow I will contact you.

[UPDATE: 6 months later] "Mr. Zhu" had his first "jam" session with me, my teacher and couple other students. The violist sitting next to me leaned over and said, "Wow, that's some tone coming out of that violin."  "Mr. Zhu" almost popped his strings off he swelled so much with pride. Thanks,

- Pamela, WA

Good evening Rhiannon. I can't thank you enough for being so patient with me [during the trial], and taking your time to make things fit my needs.

For a while now, I have been saving up as much as I could in order to find a violin that will be able to last me throughout the rest of high school and continuing on at college. I can honestly say that this violin has been a gift, and being able to come across it was a lucky thing for me. If it wasn't for you I know this would not be possible.

[Since I received the violin on trial] I have been constantly practicing with it, and I have found that it is a very powerful violin. Just what I was looking for!

I found that all four strings were very balanced, and I must say that of all the strings I enjoyed hearing the G string the most. It was nice and rich which was something I had not expected. The E string had a nice brightness to it just like you said. I have been trying out countless violins and searching for the one that suited me most.

This one has definitely stood out [of all the violins on trial]. I am quite fond of this instrument. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to send it out to me! I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

I will definitely keep in touch and let you know how things are coming along. I can't wait to see how this violin will grow! Once again thank you for being so helpful with such a difficult process [of selecting a violin from many shops]. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. Wishing you the best in your business as well! Cheers,

- Jessica, Arlington, Texas

The violin arrived today.  Annie seems to be very pleased with it so far.  She will be seeing her teacher on Monday, in the mean time she is giving it a good workout.  Thank you for prepping the bows and tuning the violin.  Even with my poor ears I can tell there is a major difference in the sound of the violin; I'm impressed.

- Steve, Riverport, Nova Scotia

[The 909 is] really beautiful, and the jujube fittings complement it perfectly (darker than they appear on your website, and very nice).  And I even like the antiquing, too. It sounds really good now, I can tell that the sound will be even better after it's been played in for a while. It will be nice to have an instrument that I don't have to worry about upgrading in the future, as I'm sure I'll never be better than what it can give me.
Also, thanks for the free lesson.  I'm not sure how much you charge, but I'll have to send you a fee.

I took the 909 to [a local luthier]. The only thing they needed to do [for my fiddling] was adjust the bridge height, as it was too high [from what I am used to]. They adjusted it in one day, I was charged $20, and that took care of the issue I was having.  It is now more comfortable for me to play, and with much less effort; I can't believe how much it changed the feel.
Anyway, the sound continues to be very nice, and I can't wait until I get out of school and can begin playing more.  As you did, I particularly like the sound of the G and D strings – very dark/full sound.  I'm sure that with time and regular playing it will sound even better, and I love the fact that I will most likely not have to buy another instrument, as this one will be all that I'll ever need.
Thanks again for all your help/coaching.

- Darren, Newark, OH

I just wanted to let you know that I picked up my new 909 violin from the post office today. It arrived safely in perfect condition. Thanks so much for making this a perfect transaction! I really appreciate that. The instrument exceeds all my expectations, so I am thrilled and deeply grateful.

- Ivey, Columbi, South Carolina

Just a quick update. Loving my violin. It sounds wonderful to me, although I can't remember how it sounded when it came home, so it's hard to know how it's changed. I'm a newbie, what can I say. I will be happy to write a review, and will do so shortly. 

- Robert, Kamloops, BC

[Upon ordering a 909]: I just somehow know that i'm going to love the VN-909! I wish i would have been aware of your store and expertise before I had ordered a Scott Cao King Joseph 1500 model violin --It was awful! The Scott Cao violin had no balance in tone, was completely uninspiring, it didn't sing at all and the A string sounded muted and the C note on the A-string was completely dead, and the tuning pegs were sticky and the neck's varnish made the neck sticky and there were about 5 thumb prints in the varnish on the back of the violin that wouldn't rub out with a cloth and all for 4000.00! Scott Cao's violins are garbage!

I know i am in much better hands with you -- total inspiration and encouragement -- and that I am going to love the 909.

[UPDATE Upon receiving the violin 3 days later]: Sold! I love it! Thank you so much! It's beautiful sounding + looking (very even sound across the board with good volume +easy playability + good action), with just a light varnish (not drowning in it like the Scott Cao), which I think affects the sound. It seems to be quite a bit lighter in weight than my old violin-- that's great for my old neck + jaw that's holding it up!

Incredible G-String!-- and the other strings! The "909" is so beautiful it makes me cry. Yes it's an excellent violin, far superior than the Scott Cao 1500 which actually cost more money. Can't mass produce LOVE!  

I love the name of Ming jiang Zhu's workshop---"Noble Heart"---this violin "909" was made with love and by a very "Noble Heart." Thanks again. I'm in love with "909"! Wow! Thank you!

- Paul, Victoria, BC

Great news Mira's [909] violin has arrived...OMG what a beauty!! She will be very excited when she gets home from school. Any idea on the time frame for the bow? Only reason I ask is that depending on time I might have it shipped to her teachers house.

Mira just found out last week that she has been accepted into the Page program at Queens Park in Toronto. Her session runs for five weeks starting in mid March. So she thought she would leave her new baby with her trusted teacher to play (who is very excited by this).

I will certainly send a picture with comments at some point. I am assuming that after her teacher plays it for a month she will have some wonderful comments also like... I want one!!

Thank you again for everything..I look forward to listening and watching Mira for years to come!!

- Kelly, Fort Frances, Ontario

We received the violin in perfect shape Saturday morning.  I didn't expect it to come so soon since it only cleared customs in San Francisco Thursday evening.  Canada Post's tracking updates are faster than USPS's (I put the tracking in both ways) and was more informative than I expected.  

We took the kid's to a kid's show at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Friday and I didn't have to stay home to wait on the violin since I knew its location J!  I was a little worried when the mail man was coming up the drive.  The outer box looked like it had lost a tug of war with a pit bull but the interior "coffin" was fine.  The bridge and sound post were both upright.  After acclimatization Kathleen tried it out and played for the kids for an hour or so.  Even I could tell it sounded nice.  It fits in the case nicely.  

She is very pleased with both the violin and the case.  I'll likely be buying her a new second bow for her birthday this summer.

If we know of anyone in the market to purchase, we with refer them your way also. Thanks for your wonderful customer service.

- Keith, Frederick, MD

The [909] violin is working out really well.  I am enjoying playing it each day……I am improving I think…double stops are finally doable!  It sounds great.  Sometimes I play my other violin just to see…….I usually get through one tune and then its back to the 909!  My instructor continues to comment on its loudness…..I guess I like that!  Otherwise his comments are favourable.

[UPDATE 1 month later]: Last week my instructor commented positively on my even tone and strong playing so I guess all is well…..he has an "ordinary" violin….more similar to what his students usually have I would think, as well as a great sounding older violin.  I do not know the maker of either.

The 909 has made things a lot easier for me/ I really like the sound, it is easy to play as compared to my other violin etc. etc.  Fun!

- Wendy, Nanaimo, BC

I received the Zhu last evening. I came home late last night and it was on the front porch. I let it acclimate overnight and began playing it this morning.I have another violin that I've been playing, which is an intermediate Jay Haide violin, and quite frankly, sitting here playing them side by side, I have to say that I love the Zhu. They have somewhat different tones of course, but I love the warm sound of the Zhu and it's projection qualities compared to the Haide. The Haide has a brighter quality to it, but still I prefer the Zhu overall.

As I suspected though, the action on the new Zhu is a little higher then I like, but that can be corrected quite easily. As far as aesthetics go the 905 is a beautify violin. In fact, it puts the Jay Haide to shame, from the finish to the peg detailing. I'm quite impressed with the violin in general and it far superior to the last one I purchased. In retrospect I probably should have just gone with the 909, but I can always buy one from you down the road, assuming you still have one available in the future.

Ah yes, the name! Well, my guitars are all named after women, both fictional and non-fictional. I don't know if it's just me, but I have name instruments after the fairer sex. I've yet to name an instrument after a poet and since my two favorite poets are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, I've decided to call her Emily. So there you have it! Emily!

Well, take care Rhi, and I want to thank you for a wonderful recommendation concerning this violin.

UPDATE [4 weeks later]: BTW, the more I play the Zhu the more I love it. My instructor was commenting last night on how wonderful my violin sounded.

- Larry, Harvest, AL

My teacher was able to find  time in her schedule this past weekend to visit the local shop with me. We were offered six instruments to try, some recently made and some older, in the $2500 - $3500 range. I was surprised by the extreme "antiquing" done to some of the recently made ones. One older German violin seemed to have potential so I took it for a trial for a few days. After carefully comparing it to the Zhu 909 at home I found that while the German violin did have a very good, clear sound (not bright or harsh) it did not have the warmth and fullness I was hearing in the sound of the Zhu.

So, I definitely would like to keep this Zhu 909 and proceed with completing the transaction. Thank you for offering the Ming Jiang Zhu violins, and the other fine instruments at Fiddleheads, here in Canada. I'll be sure to mention Fiddleheads to anyone I meet that would be looking for an instrument or that asks about my Zhu.

- Stephen M, Toronto, ON

The [909] violins [on trial] arrived in good condition along with the bow. Thanks for the careful packing! The two violins have very similar sound, both are definite upgrades from my current violin and my teacher approves! The quality is noticeable - distance of strings to fingerboard is short allowing for easier playing. I am definitely enjoying playing them. I am leaning towards the #42 which has a sweeter sound while #40 is definitely louder.

- Alfred, San Diego, CA


Handmade Zhu: Contact Us for Information

Hi Rhi, I wanted to thank you for making the purchase of my [handmade bench] Zhu violin via the internet and Fiddleheads such a positive experience. Remember the exhaustive email mania...with extensive talk about violin tone, value, shipping...and kids and trucks and trips and weather?

Needless to say, your opinions regarding instrument selection, shipment and transfer of funds were essential and admirably professional, but it was the endearing snippets we shared about our families that generated confidence that is typically lacking in traditional violin transactions.

It was so appreciated that when my incoming email doesn’t have something from Fiddleheads, it’s a little disappointing. On the other hand, I know that if I ever have a question or two, you’ll be there as always.

The violin, hand-made by Zhu, is still exploding with more volume each day. The tonal qualities, rich to begin with, almost seem to try to outperform the volume, as if each quality was vying to outdo the other. It’s truly a remarkably powerful instrument and well worth your price.

Of the six violins I’ve owned, only the Zhu’s immediately bright but mellow response transmits full sound so intense that it reverberates right through your body. What an incredible experience. And as you said, with a gold medal luthier, the violin’s value is almost guaranteed to increase at a greater rate than is typical for instruments in its price range.

Thank you again for your advice, service and the honest elements of concern...they were tru ly appreciated. With confidence and satisfaction, I have recommended others to view the Fiddleheads web site and seriously consider the purchase of an instrument from you.

In my opinion, your personable manner and service are untouchable. With thanks and fond memories,

- Jonathon, Delta BC

Thanks for your kind explanation, I really impressed with your kindness and professionalism. I really keen to get some fiddles from you in the near future.

After having some trials [the handmade Zhu violin] sounds really marvelous and I decided to buy it as I thought it would be a good investment, hope it will be true.

- Henry, USA

Thank you for your reply. Mr Zhu's prices are quite reasonable considering the prices of top makers in the USA. 
At this point I'm trying to play those top new violins that are yet not so sought after that they are getting very expensive, but are great instruments.

- Henk, USA 


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