Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, what you see is what you will get, as we take time picturing every single instrument so buyers can see the exact violin being showcased.
We have one simple philosophy: Making better instruments, selling at better price
As the market is flooded with mediocre instruments, disregard the price tag it is put on. What is difficult to come by is a well built instrument, made of quality seasoned tonewood, fine tuned to its best playability, yet still at the price “friendly” to the musicians.
Our goal is never making and selling massive quantity instruments, but to assure each single one has its best price-quality ratio, so the player can enjoy it in their long musical journey.
The difference between each line is a combination of tonewood usage, varnish applied, and workmanship for each category. In general, higher-end models are made of higher quality tonewood, and take a longer time to complete. That being said, we take just as much care with our lower-end, more cost efficient models. All of our instruments are crafted with essential playability and efficient tonal production in mind.
Yes, each instrument will bear a label, indicates the specific series and model name. On our higher end instruments, a maker signed label will also be included, to represent the individual maker’s work.
Is the audio/video recorded from the exact violin being listed? Do you add after effects to make the recording sound good?
Yes, we record or videotape each violin individually, so buyer can see or hear how the violin sounds under “real” performance setting.
We do not add after effects to the audio, simply way too time consuming and lose the purpose to faithfully represent each instrument’s character. What we do is using “instrument” mic with total flat frequency response, so to capture the sound accurately; direct into the computer/software with no further editing. Usually the player would record the track within two takes, not knowing the instrument beforehand. Maybe not a perfect performance, but suits the purpose of auditioning the instrument.
The price of the instrument reflects:
- The cost of tone wood material, varnish, fitting, and strings.
- Maker’s commission, depending on the expertise of each maker.
Usually the higher end the model is, the longer it takes to finish the instrument, ranging from 1 month to 3 months. What you pay for is the combination of raw material, and maker’s labor in crafting the instrument. That means even an one thousand dollar violin sounds as good as a three thousand violin elsewhere, we are still gonna sell it for cost of making the instrument.
Not necessary one is “better” than the other, as we have very strict control on tonewood selection, varnish used, to building method that applies to different series of the instruments.
From the making perspective, they are pretty consistent in terms of build quality and overall playability, if made under the same maker/workshop.
However, it is true that no two violin sounds “exactly” the same, even made by same luthier and used identical tonewood: this is why we record every single violin, using classical repertoire ( the best way to exam a violin’s capability), so buyers can hear the subtle tonal difference between each instrument.
We use a combination of German, Spain, and USA made varnish, spirit and oil, or mix of both.
In general the oil varnish takes much longer to dry, and can produce a richer, complex tone. Though both oil and spirit varnish come in different grade, a higher end spirit varnish is definitely better than lower end oil varnish, as some Cremonese makers are for sure using spirit varnish and have achieved ideal appearance, and promising tonal result.
One extremely important aspect in varnish, is the ground coat, which seals the wood and has a huge impact on resonance. Testing and experiment is necessary for ground coat formula, since different tonewood will have different response to same ground coat/varnish; while too thick the coat will suppress the vibration, and too thin will make the tone overly aggressive.
We acquire tone wood directly from sources in Europe/East Europe, ranging from Russia, Germany, Italy, Swiss, and Bosnia. One very important process is to stock the tonewood and let it naturally, prior put into making. Minimum 8-10 yrs while the higher end model is well over 20 yrs.
Age, origin, and density defines the quality of tonewood: ideally well seasoned, with “desired” density is suitable instrument making. In general, the softer, lower density wood is more favoured for bass frequence, and vice versa. This is why we always go through the “pairing” process, to match the top and back according to the density/flexibility, so to achieve optimal resonance in tone production.
An instrument made by one single luthier from the beginning to finish: ideally done by the luthier who has good knowledge, massive experience in each step of making, so the maker can have total control from tone wood selection, arching, graduation, to the varnish.
Depending on each maker’s approach, some are making one violin at a time, while some are making 2-3 instruments at a time, for a better balanced, consistent tonal result. The average time in making also varies, as some prolific makers can make up to 3-4 instruments per month, excluding the varnishing time.
As violin making is a high complex process, that requires different skill sets to complete an instrument, a workshop setting becomes the solution in instrument making, to fulfill the availability purpose. It could be a team of individual makers, who take turns working on different component of the instrument, or several luthiers just focusing on their specialized parts. By any means, a smaller than 5 people setting is more ideal to achieve better consistency, as well higher quality control.
It takes about 14 days to a month to finish the white instrument, while the varnish process varies and depends on the material.
The key to a proper set up, besides standard measurement, is to adjust the overall tension that applies to the top and back of the instrument. This includes the bridge height, string length/after length, and sound post position/length – which 1mm difference could make quite an impact on overall sound. We achieve the ultimate set up based on our extensive knowledge of the density/flexibility of used tone wood, and tonal character of the violin.
A one piece back usually comes at a higher price when we purchase the tonewood, depending on the origin and availability. However, regarding tone production and the acoustic aspect, there is no difference between a one piece and a two piece back.
Why do you only use classical pieces to demonstrate the violin? Can I play a fiddle tune on the violin?
A quality instrument should be capable of a good range of tone color, sufficient response, and decent playability throughout all positions. For that reason, classical repertoires are more ideal to demonstrate the capability of an instrument, rather than a fiddle tune, which are typically being played in first and third position. That being said, you can absolutely play a fiddle tune on a violin- we have a great number of buyers who are fiddlers.
I really like this violin, but cannot afford the price you are asking, can you help lower the price a little bit?
Contact us and we will see what we can do.
Typically, a Guarneri would be ideal for small-handed players due to its shorter body length and slender pattern design. Many of our female buyers are satisfied with either the Vieuxtemps or Heifetz pattern, while the Cannone can still work well for the same purpose. The neck shape is always cut at a U/V profile, for easy chordal playing. Something else to consider is the response of the violin: the more efficiently that the instrument vibrates, the less your bow hand has to work, and that will help to ease the left hand significantly.
We put great attention into packing, to assure the instrument deliver at ready to play condition: instrument is put into a solid foam case, with bubble wrap and foam material used with in and out the case, so the violin will have no room to move during transportation. Upon receiving, simply follow the unpacking instruction and the violin is ready to play with no further adjustment needed.
All violins will be shipped with a case, no bow. It is best to pair our instruments with a quality bow, either wooden or carbon fiber: the usual “free” or give away bows usually won’t have proper balance or weight, which leaves little to no usage, and not recommended.
Yes we ship internationally on regular basis, as a matter of fact at least 50% of our instruments are sold to players outside US, and so far well over 1000 instruments delivered worldwide. We ship via USPS Express Mail or Priority Mail, which takes 7-14 days to deliver worldwide.
Since we have been in the industry for over a decade, we often see our used instruments being sold for resale at a decent price. However, sometimes we’ve seen them sell for higher than the original purchase price, because they’ve been upgraded to higher end fitting and strings, etc. Since we are our own manufacturer selling our instruments at a direct price, you will always have the advantage, in terms of price-quality ratio, over what is available in the current market.