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Our Ethics & Integrity

No overpriced shipping fees like Fiddlershop

I tried to order online from Fiddlershop, but their total freight charges was unbearable, 200% of the cost of the products!

Your shop doesn't do this to Canadian customers.

Thank you very much, Rhiannon, I was happy to make the connection to your shop. Be safe.

October 30, 2020

The single best customer-experience I have ever had

[REVIEW: Facebook, 5 stars] Fiddleheads Violin Studio (and Rhiannon) have recently provided what may be the single best customer-experience I have ever had (online or in person)!

In searching for a new case for my Mandolin, she helped source an AWESOME choice...and went out of her way to get it to me in advance of vacation.

But it wasn't the case itself that made the experience so magnificent. It was "Magnificent Rhiannon"!

Her rapid responses, world-class expertise, customer-orientation, friendly (and witty) service, and genuine care and concern were truly unique - and rarely seen in business (or humanity in general).

I would send ANY prospective customer her way. I would recommend her HIGHLY to anyone! Please, please, please...if you need help with fretless stringed instruments and gear, CALL HER IMMEDIATELY!

YOU, magnificent Rhiannon, are a caring, loving, empathetic person. You absolutely rock! You have been wonderful to deal with. Thank you so much for being who you are...amazing in every way! I’m certain you will want to help me get going again on a non-fretted (i.e., more “worthy”) instrument, after such a long time of “cheating” on fretted instruments.

Thanks again for all of your patient support and for your great service, Rhi!

August 17, 2020

One of the best online transactions I've ever had

[REVIEW: Facebook, 5 stars] How do I begin this, I wonder?

Thank you, Rhiannon, for not telling me to just stick to the status quo. I am left-handed. That is not very uncommon these days. But I also have a deformity in my wrist which would make bowing with it an incredibly laughable sight.

Instead of just shrugging me off and going "sucks to suck", she actually LISTENED to me. And the result? She supplied me with my wooden baby boy, Solomon: a left-handed violin.

I understand that quality comes at a price, though. I would have bought a cheapish 300$ beginner violin forever ago but I know how I am: the plasticky (not sure if that is a word, apologies) cardboard material would discourage me. It wouldn't feel motivating at all, I feel.

I will admit, I was beginning to lose faith once my investigation into Gliga violins fell flat not too long ago. I started to hear that they tend to sound a bit dull right before a shaky purchase.

Corresponding with Rhiannon throughout these tumultuous times [Covid-19] has been a blessing in disguise. As someone who works in retail, I believe in transparency and honesty above all. And from interacting with her, I can strongly confirm that she is a kindred spirit in that formula.

Working together with her was fun, informative, and ultimately one of the best online transactions I've ever had.

She is a spunky, delightful lady who knows how to walk the tightrope of professionalism blindfolded.

Solomon is everything I could ask for and more.

August 6, 2020

Completely and totally overwhelmed: It sounds nothing short of magnificent

I could not be more pleased with the 2018 Guarneri Topa violin and deluxe suspension case I recently purchased through Fiddleheads!

The Topa itself is nothing short of thrilling to play. It is a joy to hear the warm, powerful yet clear, resonate sound that this instrument is capable of producing with ease. If you are in search of a life long player and the budget allows I cannot recommend enough taking a serious look at the Topas.

This violin exceeded any expectation I had. It does not hurt either that this is one beautiful fiddle in addition to the terrific playability and sound.

The customer service from Rhiannon was incredible from the first communication to follow up. I took a leap of faith trying mail order for such a violin purchase but from the first communication with Rhiannon I knew I was in good hands!!!

I was very clear about what I was hoping to find in an instrument and Rhiannon "knew" which violin should be mine......and she was 500% correct. Her charm and wit in addition to her instrument "match making powers" have earned a customer for life.

Thank you Fiddleheads!!!

Some messages sent during the purchase:

Rhiannon, you were just so incredible this whole process. Thank you so much for sending the sound sample and all the info you provided!!!! You definitely put my mind at ease!!!! I’m really glad we were able to connect through this process!!!! Just adds another element of making this fiddle even more special.

[UPDATE: 1 week later] Overwhelmed. Completely and totally overwhelmed. It sounds nothing short of magnificent. I nearly speechless for once!!!!!!

[My son] just loooooooves it. His first words where when I played a D-major scale were “holy sh*t!!!!!” I couldn’t even chastised him....he was totally right!!!!! Thank you sooooooo much! I cannot even describe how I feel. Hahaha I totally shed some tears this afternoon! My Mom would have loved this too. Just wow!!!!!

I would love to leave a proper review for your website in a few days after I calm the heck down. I really grateful to have had this experience with you and the end result of having this incredible violin that will long outlast even me!!!!

[UPDATE: 2 weeks later] After the initial shock wore off.....I keep loving that fiddle more and more!!!! There’s even times when I play it I just have to stop and say “Wow!!!!!!”

I’ll never out play or out grow that machine!!!! Having said that I already feel like I’ve grown so much more creatively!!! Who knew dynamics could come so easily now and playing in 3 position and beyond produced a clean beautiful now your didn’t have to fight to get!!!!

It’s truly a remarkable instrument!!!! I really couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome!!!!! I’m so thankful for your help to get there!!!!

July 23, 2020

I was incredibly nervous about buying such an expensive instrument online but Rhiannon made it the best experience

Rhiannon was the first and last person I contacted when I decided to (nervously!) try mail order after looking locally for nearly 2 years for a considerable upgrade for the violin I have been playing for years and still not finding “The One”.

Her passion for stringed instruments and clients is evident within even the first communication. I clearly explained what I was hoping to find and with thoughtful communication and attention to detail on her end.....I ended up with a life long player.

I couldn’t be more pleased with that I may have not tried/found without her knowledge. Everything from communication right through to shipping was above and beyond.

I cannot say enough positive things about my experience....she earned a life long customer.

July 22, 2020

Perfect wedding gift for my husband to be

Thank you for your quick response and the reduced price! This is perfect!

The violin, bow and case look beautiful!

Thank you for helping and for your honesty.

I appreciate you taking the time to test out some options for me too and for all of your help to make sure it's great!!

I hope to have this special instrument in our family for a long time :)

June 1, 2020

Beautiful violin, recommended seller!

We received the violin! It looks beautiful.

Thank you for your professionalism. I will recommend you in the future.

May 1, 2020

No pressure from this shop made me feel respected

I am delighted that you don't impose any idea. This is beautiful.

I have a little stress in this task of upgrading instrument, whereas it should be an enjoyable experience.

Your help comes as a big rescue :) Huge thanks for this, Rhiannon.

March 2, 2020

All my worries about shopping online melted away

Since receiving my new Ivan Stankov viola from Rhiannon's Fiddleheads violin shop, I have been dancing on air. Let me tell you why, and why I can warmly and highly recommend Rhiannon's help in your search for the perfect violin or viola.

I'm over 70, and have been playing violin for a number of years (about 10), but wanted to switch to viola as I like the alto register better. Since my violins were family hand-me-downs I really knew nothing about how to find the perfect instrument. After searching the internet, I ran across the Fiddleheads' website and decided to just ask for information.

One of my biggest concerns was about shopping over the internet for something so complex and even more about shipping of such a fragile instrument. (I live in a semi-remote area of Alaska, and packages most often arrive late, crushed, or damaged.) Added to all this, I had limited income and a strict budget.

Rhiannon was wonderful, warm and personable throughout the entire transaction, from search to purchase. She answered all my questions large and small, took all my conditions and found a gorgeous viola with an amazing voice for me.

She arranged for photos and worked with the maker, Ivan Stankov, to provide a video recording so I could hear the viola's sound. Even after all this, I was hesitant about shipping, but Rhiannon described the lengths that would be taken to package the instrument safely. Not only did it arrive incredibly quickly, it came through unscathed – from Bulgaria to Alaska! The packaging was superb. The outer box had a couple of dings, but inner was fine.

As to the Ivan Stankov viola itself – first of all, it's beautiful. It's a 16" Guarneri model set up with rosewood fittings. But even more importantly, its voice is dark, warm, and resonant (a friend described it as having a dark chocolate tone). Switching from violin to viola can be, I'm told a bit difficult, but the setup was so great I've found the changeover to be very easy. I love it!

Reading the alto clef is a bit of a challenge, keeps the brain active for sure. It traveled very well, and is doing even better as days go by. As she recommended, I am playing it lots. Truly, I can't thank her enough. I am so glad Rhiannon found this viola for me!

I am so happy!! And I am dancing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! Multiple hugs!!

If you want to find the perfect violin or viola, I highly recommend that you ask for Rhiannon's help!

November 4, 2019

By far the best shopping experience with the most knowledgeable shop owner possible

I recently purchased a very fine Pawel Migiel violin from Fiddleheads. I highly recommend this shop and its thoroughly knowledgeable proprietor. Rhiannon answered all of my questions about the violin and she just knew that it was the right fit for me.

I had been feeling that the violin that I was playing on was limiting me both technically and interpretively. You reach a point with your playing when you need something more. I had been searching for a great violin that "wouldn't break the bank," so to speak.

I will be performing the Bruch Concerto no.1 this coming November and just felt that my current violin, while very good, was limiting me, not allowing me to express myself as completely as I would like to.

Before I get into the specifics about this violin, let me offer some background information about myself.

While not a professional violinist, that was more a matter of choice. I turned down a very prestigious music conservatory in the East because I was not willing to commit at the time to being away from my family. I have been playing the violin for nearly 50 years and have studied with some very famous violinists over the years. I have played in community orchestras, chamber groups, in churches, for weddings, and as soloist with orchestra.

I have played on violins costing a few thousand dollars, and on violins costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. I also apprenticed for a short time in a major violin shop in New York City, learning about proper set ups. I know good violins. In short, I am a violin buff.

I have owned Italian, French, German, Bulgarian, Romanian, American, and Chinese violins over the years. Some violins have been good, and some have been very good, but none in my opinion were great. I can honestly say that this Pawel Migiel violin is a great violin.

After playing on violins from Romania, Italy, China, and Bulgaria - I was at a loss. The $5000 range is nice, but really could not take me to where I wanted to be with violins . Still, I was limited to a range below $10,000. I had heard and read very good things about the Topa violins, but they were still a bit out of my price range.

Searching the internet and researching violins and makers, I came across violinmaker Pawel Migiel. I learned that Pawel Migiel was a student of Topa in Zackopane Poland and was producing very fine violins that almost rivalled his masters.

While his violins can fetch prices as high as $11,000, I saw that Fiddleheads had a very reasonably priced violin of his for less than $8,000. It was literally thousands of dollars less than any other shop. I emailed the owner, Rhiannon, and she replied back within a couple of hours.

When I contacted Fiddleheads and spoke with its owner, Rhiannon, about the violin, I immediately knew that I had made the right decision. We spoke on the phone and she listened attentively to what my playing needs were. Because she is also a violinist and performer, Rhiannon knew that the Migiel violin would be the perfect partner for the Bruch Concerto.

Rhiannon is the consummate professional! She is so willing to help and accommodate you with a trial period, that I really had nothing to lose. She arranged for a trial period of her 2018 Migiel Guarneri model violin.

I was a bit leery about purchasing a violin from another country, even if it does border the USA. I had always dealt with shops from within the USA (Shar Music, Southwest Strings, International Violin, Johnson Strings, etc.). I have to say that this experience beat them all. From the exceptional price of the violin, to the customer service, packing, 2-day shipping, and trial period, everything went smoothly and better than expected.

I had a couple of sleepless nights worrying about the violins journey to the US, but after receiving the violin and seeing the way it was packaged and shipped I knew my worries were all for naught. The violin came in a couple of days.

The way that the violin was packed was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. It was in a "violin dart shaped" box inside a bigger rectangular box! The outside box was completely enclosed in brown wrapping paper and was marked with "Fragile" stickers all over it.

On the box was a handwritten note from Rhiannon to me about the violin. Once I opened the main box, the smaller violin box was encapsulated by reused Styrofoam walls and plastic bubble wrap. There was also a note to me on the violin box.

When I opened the violin box, the violin was in a beautiful violin sack, surrounded by smaller air filled plastic pillows. The neck of the violin was cradled in a Styrofoam block designed to prevent the violin from moving around in the dart shaped box. This was truly a sight to behold!

Upon unpacking the violin (which was meticulously packed and shipped in a manner I had never seen before), I stood amazed at the sheer beauty of this violin. It wasn't red, or orange like so many modern violins, but a beautiful shade of brown over a golden ground. A very transparent deep varnish. Beautifully figured maple (a one-piece back) and a tightly grained spruce top.

It was tastefully antiqued and very reminiscent of a what a golden period Cremonese violin looks like today. I quickly tuned the violin and proceeded to play it for nearly five hours that first day.

I wrote this to Rhiannon straight away:

"I must admit, I think this Violin is worth the money just by sheer looks! (It even smells sweet!) The Migiel is a beautiful, beautiful violin!! After playing it for a minute I could tell it blows away my Dimitrov!!! I can never play this violin in an orchestra... I would not want to chance it getting injured by a careless player!!!

"I am so happy!!! I feel like my heart is going to burst through my chest!!! This is definitely a better Violin than any one I have previously owned!!! I even tried and considered a Topa about three years ago and this Violin is better than that one!!

"Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! She is a keeper. And now back to my new baby!!"

I made this violin my own after only a couple of hours of playing it.

This is truly the violin of my dreams - a marvellously rich tone, dark and broad in the low register, and brilliant and soaring in the high register. It's hard to believe that this is a brand new instrument. The set up is meticulously done, and the instrument is a marvel to look at. It looks like a well preserved violin from the golden period of Cremona.

The Migiel violin just sounds like a well maintained old concert violin. I cannot believe that it is only a one year old violin?! It can play the softest pianissimo, and is capable of producing voluminous sound. I cannot wait to play the Bruch on it with orchestra!

Rhiannon's and Fiddleheads set-up of this violin is equally amazing. Pegs that turn smoothly and hold in place. A well- shaped top nut, perfectly planed fingerboard, well-made Milo Stamm bridge, perfectly cut and positioned sound post, proper bridge to tailpiece string after-length, and Evah Pirazzi Gold strings. In NYC I would have to pay close to $1,000 for this type of a set-up.

While I had a two-week trial period, I arranged for the balance of my payment to be made the first day. The violin has that dark desirous Guarneri sound. It is thick and full on the G and D strings. The A and E strings are equally impressive for the quality of their tone. The E string on this violin rings like a bell all the way up the fingerboard.

Back to customer service -- Rhiannon is a complete professional.

Customer service was first rate. Rhiannon is a pleasure to deal with. She is a total professional and knows her violins! She thoroughly answered the many questions I had about the violin both before, during, and after the purchase.

She also sent me a beautifully written letter about the condition, origin, and value of the Migiel violin for insurance purposes.

Her price on this marvellous instrument was thousand less than anywhere else. Couple that with an excellent trial period and it was totally stress free experience.

The Migiel violin is a phenomenal instrument - deep rich tone, brilliant in the high register, with plenty of power -- truly outstanding instrument, best I have ever owned (and maybe even played too).

I brought the Migiel to my luthier in NYC and he was amazed by the quality of build and sound of it. He said that for me to get an equivalent hand-made violin in a shop in NYC, I would have to spend at least $20,000.

I highly recommend this shop and Rhiannon.

I am eternally grateful and indebted to Rhiannon for all she has done for me with regards to my Migiel violin. She's a great business person and offering excellent customer service and products.

I am sure she has made many musicians very happy since she started Fiddleheads in 1997. She is a true gem! I will definitely be recommending musician friends to here from here on in.

So there you have it, I cannot wait to get home from work each day to play this magnificent violin and unlock more and more of its as yet undiscovered potential.

I highly recommend Pawel Migiel violin from Fiddleheads.

August 23, 2019