Real reviews from real players!
Below is a small portion of worldwide customers’ feedback we have received over the years, from concerts soloists, professional musicians, serious collectors, teachers, to aspirings violinists.
Just a quick line or two to confirm the safe delivery today of the Guarneri del Gesu “Cannone” Master Build violin, which I’m suitably impressed and pleased with.It compares and contrasts very well with my Heinrich Gill (2009) No. 66 German-made violin.As you suggested, the Guarneri “Cannone” has a singing tone and with good volume. Based on my first play of the violin today it certainly responds readily to bowing inputs across a good range of dynamics.The violin’s build, finish, set up and action, and therefore general playability, was excellent and it was indeed ready to play straight out of the box, with only a slight tune up required.Pretty good when it’s just jetted over the Pacific to Australia!Thank you very much for your assistance in the purchase of this gorgeous violin.I count myself as fortunate indeed when my violin-focussed web surfing brought me to Infinite Strings and the superb violin collection you offer there.Best wishes,Jeremy
Buyer from Australia, on Master Build deluxe Wood Guarneri del Gesu 1743 “Cannone”
Hi Lance,I trust you are well and coping with a tough time in our world.I just wanted to reach out and thank you once again for the purchase of the Theodor violin. I really am very impressed and thrilled! It really is on par with some top modern fiddles which I have had the privilege of trying. Over a year ago, I was at Bishops in London and tried a few modern violins – the best fit was a Roger Hargrave Strad model which immediately suited me, but was well beyond my price range. I had a similar affinity with the Theodor.After a few weeks of playing in, it has already opened up wonderfully and I have decided to use it as my main professional instrument. I usually use a Hopf violin circa 1800 which has a lovely sweet tone, but the Theodor has a much wider colour palette which I really enjoy. In addition, it pairs very well with my Gilles Nehr bow, which is a bonus. The combination serves as great inspiration as I tackle old and new repertoire. Just FYI, there appears to be a minor blemish on the right edge of the fingerboard, where the wood appears to be chipped. It doesn’t affect my playing, but I may have it looked at next time I am at a reputable luthier.Some colleagues that I play with have instruments by Collin Gallahue and Frederic Chaudiere, and the Theodor stands tall in their company.Please thank and congratulate Ben Zheng on a fantastic instrument.As I think you are aware, my friend and colleague Serge Cuca is equally impressed, and he is quite an authority on tone and workmanship.Anyway, hope to be in touch again, but I just had to share my enthusiasm with you. Please do let me know if Ben has been commissioned for future instruments.All the best for the tough time ahead.Regards,Dieter
Professional Customer from South Africa, on Private Stock VSA Competition Antonio Stradivarius 1690, the ‘Theodor’
Good news. Fed EX tracking said the violin would arrive this Friday. It came on Tuesday!I have been playing it a lot since, and I absolutely love it! So beautiful to look at—and a brilliant job of setting it up. It is very easy to play. And the sound is wonderful, all I could have asked for—and will get even better with age. it is powerful and rich in the lower strings, and sweet yet projecting in the upper. I am so impressed, and extremely excited by how much fun it is to play. This Cannone model is a real winner.I must say, your Private Stock standards are quite impressive, if they all turn out like this one. Several years ago, while I was still in the States, I received on loan from two different violin shops a total of five violins by the top current Cremona makers. Only one was of interest, but in my mind not worth the price they were going for. If this violin had been among them, it would have been the winner. Well done, guys!Thanks again, Lance, for giving me first shot at this one and the generous discount making it easier to make the decision to go for it.A very pleased customer,Susan
Professional Customer from UK: Grimsby Symphony Orchestra, Louth People’s Orchestra (as Music Director); Lincoln Symphony Orchestra (guest conductor). Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, Boston Sinfonia
On Private Stock VSA Guarneri 1743 “Cannone” del Gesu
I appreciate all the time and effort spent helping me select and purchase my violin. The projection and volume are even greater than I expected! The violin itself is beautiful and can tell much care was put in the craftsmanship. I couldn’t have asked for a better violin, especially for the great price. I can tell how much craftsmanship and quality are put into your instruments. Once again thank you for all your help and customer service. I will make sure to recommend your site to anyone who is in looking in the market for a new violin.Thanks again,Ben
Customer from AZ, USA, on a master build ex-Heifetz Guarneri
Just wanted to say how impressed I am with the violin.It arrived literally ready to play – it did not even need tuning, and I’ve only had to tweak the tuning VERY slightly a handful of times since… despite playing it every day. Outstanding stability.The other aspects of the setup (soundpost, bridge, peg fitting) are also perfect… unlike every other instrument I’ve purchased from overseas, I did not need to spend $150-$200 (plus leaving with a luthier for a week as soon as receiving it) on a setup.The craftsmanship and sound are what really got me – simply unbelievable for the price. A completely professional level violin for about the cost of a lower priced student instrumen. I have a very nice violin from a good luthier that cost me more than twice as much, and the master build Leduc absolutely leaves it in the dust as far as the power, responsiveness and complexity/richness of the sound.Extremely happy, absolutely the best value instrument I’ve seen anywhere. 10 stars out of 5!
Customer from Australia, on a master build Leduc Guarneri
I absolutely love this violin. The look, the feel, the sound, everything…..Initially when I played the first few notes, I liked it very much. I had an instant chemistry. But the Larsen IlCannone Soloist strings were not my most favorite type of feel and sound. I absolutely understand that strings are a personal preference. I tried changing the strings to Larsen Virtuoso with Pirastro Universal E. It produced more of a deeper, warmer and rounded sound. The Larsen Cannone gives more of a soloist “punch” and Evah Pirazzi’s are generally not my preferred for Del Gesu replicas. Pirazzi’s seem to work better for Strad models.Every violin that I bought from you has been excellent. But this specific violin is on another level. In general, I would recommend Private Stock for soloists and professionals, master build for college music majors and advance students (or backup for professionals) and bench copy for students upgrading to a full size violin. Even Bench copy is fine for a professional if they need an instrument for extreme weather conditions but want a good sound.Thank you so much again and please keep in touch.Sincerely,Edward
Dear Infinite Strings (Lance):
I fully 1000% endorse the Master Build line of violins made by Leon Sheng. As a former concert artist (studying at the top music conservatories and with top coaches), I have been fortunate to have played on some of the most wonderful historical instruments gratefully loaned to me by various private patrons, including violins by Antonius Stradivarius, Guarnerius del Gesu, Nicolas Amati and Giovanni Paolo Maggini. Unfortunately, the duration of my loan for the Stradivarius and Guarnerius del Gesu violins are coming to an end soon. Therefore, I have acquired violins made by outstanding makers including Christophe Landon, Gregg Alf, and Nicolas Gilles. I have also tried and really like violins made by Frederic Chaudiere, Marco Coppiardi, Feng Jiang and Shan Jiang.
One day, I happened to come across the website for Infinite Strings and the Master Build collection by Leon Sheng caught my attention. Out of curiosity, I ordered a trial of the “Soil” Stradivarius replica by Leon Sheng and I could not put the violin down. In addition, I ordered the Leon Sheng “Leduc” Guarnerius del Gesu replica for one of my top students and we both were awe-struck by the violin. I have shown these violins to top soloists and my trusted luthiers and we are all blown away specifically in the areas of tone (including projection and range of colors), appearance (including varnish), playability, and pattern/measurements of the original. They blow out any of the competition in the price range and actually match up in quality to the top contemporary and historical Cremonese makers. The only difference is affordability. In terms of affordability, I have always been on the look out for the best tone/quality/price violin for my students. I used to recommend the Scott Cao (STV-750, 850, or 1000), Jay Haide L’Ancienne, or Snow violins to my intermediate to advanced level students. Going forward, I will recommend the Leon Sheng Master Build.
Finally, it has been a pleasure to do business with Lance. He offers great integrity and customer service. What an amazing discovery and I wish you the very best of success for your business. If any prospective customer has doubts or needs to talk to a live reference, have them contact me via email through my website.
Thanks a million and keep in touch!
Eilite-level coach; Former Concert Violinist/Soloist
Hartford, CT (USA)
Professional customer from Connecticut, owning several master builds one Private Stock “Leduc” Exact
First off let me tell you that the violin arrived safely in perfect condition. I have to admit that it is a beautiful looking instrument. The photos on line while very nice do not capture the true depth and quality of the varnish. I got the opportunity to see the Il Cannone in person in 2002 when it was here in New York. I work for the New York City Police Dept. and was guarding the famous Del Gesu while it was in New York for a concert by Regina Carter the jazz violinist. The luthier who was taking care of it at the time allowed me to pluck the A string. What an honor…As far as this violin is concerned, it is a true gem!! Such a cultured and fine tone. You can play very softly on it, but you can also push this violin in demanding repertoire. Yes, my Private Stock no. 85 is a good violin, but this no.118 can and will keep a violinist happy for a lifetime.I was recently at an exhibition of violins here in New York by the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. The least expensive violin for sale was around $15,000. I can tell you that your violin sounds and plays much better than that one and many of the other violins that I played that day in the $25 to $30K range.I feel very lucky and honored to have such a wonderful representation of Mr. Chang’s work at such a reasonable price! Thank you very very much Lance!!!Warmest regards,Robert
Customer from NYC, owning two private stock Cannone ( latest review on a VSA edition private stock )
The violin is here safe and sound.You just did a ‘perfect’ job delivered a ‘perfect’ violin for me!Once I started playing, I simply could not put it down! This violin sounded so good that I couldn’t believe that I was the one that’s actually playing it.No wonder Mr. Chang and his assistant, Mr. Zheng, received so many medals for tone repeatedly for so many years. It is also to your credit that you put together a perfect package, knowing what I want and need, to setup this violin with the ideal strings and adjustments to produce the tone I am looking for!Warriors game is on now, got to go.Thank you so much for your patience, extra effort, and hard work (coming to record on Thanksgiving Day!)Yours,Larry Hu
Customer from San Francisco, on a Private Stock VSA “Ex-Heifetz”
Professional customer from O.S.S (Orquesta Sinfonica de Salta) Orchestra, Argentina. On a Master Build “Ex-Heifetz”.
The Cannone is great, I am very impressed. Beautiful appearance, first class workmanship, easy to play with outstanding projection and tone. This instrument is an unbelievable value as it out easily outclasses a $25K violin I was seriously considering.
What is the name of the luthier who made it? What year did it win the VSA tone medal?
Customer from Texas. Review on a Private Stock VSA Cannone.
It’s been around half a year now since I play my Cremonese-copy violin. With time it sounds more and more better! As it matures, I try different types of strings and now the best one is the standard “Passione” set. I think it means that the instrument is very even and clean in the whole range, has a large projection and sounds good in almost any environments/rooms. Sometimes I change the E string for Solo E and the sound is becoming a bit different. However, I feel like I haven’t figured out what’s the best variant yet. I would like to say thank you one more time for the exceptional work and honesty.
Customer from Russia , on Private Stock “Cremonese” strad custom order
I’ve just received my Master Build deluxe wood Stradivarius 1716 ‘Messiah’ violin today.
The violin arrived in perfect condition, it was even still in tune! after a journey half way around the world and stuck in UK customs for the best part of 2 weeks. Full marks to your packing department.
This violin far exceeds my expectations in the quality of the workmanship and wood, it’s truly a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, the pictures on your website don’t do it justice. I’ve played it for 2 hours and it responds evenly on all strings, a rich sonorous G string responding beautifully in high positions on all strings despite barely being played in. I’ve just played Paganini’s 4th caprice on the violin, not easy on a familiar instrument but I was stunned how playing on this violin was so comfortable.
Anyone looking for a quality instrument at such a reasonable price need look no further than ifstrings.
Very best wishes,
Professional customer from UK, on a Master Build “Messiah” Stradivarius
It’s my honor and privilege to purchase this Guarneri del Gesu “Cannone” violin, excellent workmanship, the violin sounds huge and powerful, suitable for solo performance. My Colleagues also like it very much, thanks for your recommendation.
KE XIN DING
Soloist and first violinist of Guiyang Orchestra, China , on Private Stock VSA “Cannone” Exact
Just wanted to let you know that I received the violin and have been playing on it for a few days now. So far I really like it. The higher strings are especially beautiful and singing. The lower strings are less mature-sounding but over time they should open up a bit.I’ll be doing a review on YouTube in the next week or so and I’ll send you the link. I’m extremely happy with both the look and sound of the violin, plus the value.Thank you for your help and for a wonderful instrument.Chuck G
Professional Customer from Georgia, on a Master Build “Cannone” Guarneri
Dear Lance, I love this violin. I meant to write sooner, but have been unable to put it down. I am also at a loss for words, your description was accurate in every way. Five hours seem to go by each time I pick it up. I have been inspired to abandon the use of a shoulder rest and have returned to ‘ground zero’ of proper technique. The toy like playability is good for this transition. The resonance and connectivity is unbelievable, as is the nuance and pallet of tone colors. And the power, … like a solid wall of sound. The instrument showcases my deficiencies as a player and also my cheap junk bow, it will be another pleasant shock to play it with a good one. What are your cleaning instructions? What are your recommendations on a less painful chin rest? Or should I use this pain to help from gripping too firmly as has been my habit?
Kind regards. Dennis
Customer from Canada, on a private stock pristine “Cannone”
Hi Lance,Violin arrived Friday in fine condition. Looks amazing and sounds good. Thank you for another fine instrument (#6).Today, it will be compared with an IS Ex Vieuxtemps by the professional player I gave it to last year. That violin hasdeveloped nicely and had excellent tone from the start. It will be interesting to hear them at the same time.Best Regards,Hugh CaldwellThis “Ex Heifetz” was compared to prior Heifetz model and a prior Vieuxtremps. Prior Heifetz has Larsen ‘Il Cannone” strings which that violin likes better than the original Evahs so this comparison was not exactly apples and apples. The older one has great sound but the new one compared very favorably and the G was even richer sounding on the new one and the other strings were very responsive and clear. This did not sound like a new, raw violin prior to a normal play-in time required by most. The new Heifetz also was equal or better than the older Vieuxtemps which still had Evah strings on it. The response and depth of the G string on the new violin is very impressive and takes maximum bow pressure with no problems- no choke or bareak up of tone. The only thing we did not like was the Evah E string which feels very hard and high tension–enough to hurt fingers in high positions. This was replaced with a Gold label and felt much more comfortable. It did not change the tone or response of other Evah strings in any way.Whatever changes were made in the bass bar and graduations seem to be very effective and positive.
Experts customer from Arizona, owning multiple Master Builds ( Cannone, Ex-Heifetz, Vieuxtemps..etc )
My name is Boris, I am a professional violinist, for 10 years I was assistant concertmaster at the Santiago de Chile Philharmonic. Now I am a violin teacher at the Catholic University of Valparaiso. I have purchased 4 Ifstring violins, all master series, and I can say, that is by far the best choice on the internet, in sound, workmanship, playability and price. I bought for my students many other similar violin online, but these are definitely superior. The last violin, surely not the last, see you soon. Thanks Ifstring!
Boris del Rio
Professional customer from Santiago de Chile Philharmonic, on Master Build Series
We are the proud owners of a Master Build Series violin, with the Vintage Modification, and a Viola, also with this modification. These instruments are extremely comfortable, responsive and have an amazing projection. The Viola is played by my husband who uses it everyday at the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra, and it is now his instrument of choice, for its responsiveness and playability, over his well above 10K Stopka. When working on my husband’s viola, they are able, from audio clips of famous instruments my husband gathered as a description of what he wanted, to alter the modification for this instrument until it had the same qualities. The violin is a copy of a Guarnerius and the impression from everyone who plays it is how well they were able to duplicate the “fat” or big round sound of a Guarnerius. It offers the refinement found in older instruments, as some ot the characteristics found in 100 years plus violin I owned, but with the projection and power of comtemporary instruments, needed for today’s highly demanding halls and violin orchestral/solo repertoire. But even above the high quality of this instruments, and how unbeatable they are for the price Infinite Strings sells them, the single most admirable quality about this company is their CUSTOMER SERVICE, quick, dependable, there is no question they will not answer, if you have problems with your instrument they will always respond, and their recordings, pictures and descriptions are always accurate. A pleasure to do business with, for real musicians, a their professionalism really puts buyers at ease regarding the quality of instrument they are receiving.These violins are addictive, most people that buy one, come back shortly for another one!
Professional customer from Porto Rico Symphonic Orchestra, owning both Master Build and Private Stock
“WOW! I just got done trying out the violin for about an hour, which I received today. I am incredibly impressed with the handling, sound, and maturity of an instrument so new. It is amazingly even across all of the strings, immediately and easily responsive, and quite rich and complex in its sound for a brand new, never-before played instrument. My “regular” violin is a beautiful 1702 Stainer model in the $80,000-$100,000 price range. I also have two very good 19th-century instruments, and several lesser 20th-century instruments. Yours is by far at the top of the heap after the Stainer — no comparison to any of my others, and I feel as though once I break in your Guarnerius and play it regularly, it will sound even more spectacular. A fine, fine second instrument to back up my 18th-century violin at an unbelievable price. I have tried several “new” strad and guarneri copies in the past few years by well-known makers that sell in the $15,000-30,000 range — I can tell you quite honestly, that this violin I now have is every bit as impressive. Keep up the fine work, and my infinite thanks!
Professional customer from Pennsylvania, on a Master Build “Ex-Heifetz”
Manrico Padovani, Concert Soloist/Recording Artist/Internationally Known Violinist