About Fiddleheads and Owner Rhiannon Nachbaur
About Fiddleheads and Owner Rhiannon Nachbaur
Operating since 1997 (celebrating 25 years this fall) by an award-winning professional symphony violinist/fiddler, Fiddleheads Violin Studio is an eco-responsible and award-winning woman-run business specializing in quality stringed instruments with customers around the world.
Rhiannon's penchant for formal red dresses earned her the moniker "The Lady in the Red Dress"
Rhiannon Nachbaur (she/her/hers) is the award-winning businesswoman and violin specialist behind the service marvel that is Fiddleheads. An experienced and sought-after violin/fiddle instructor since 1994, she's also a multi-award-winning classical musician. She is currently a section player in a professional symphony and Concertmaster (head violinist) in two other orchestras and a professional member of the American/Canadian Federation of Musicians, local 145. She previously served in other Concertmaster roles and in a variety of bands (rock, metal, pop, folk, country, Klezmer) in her youth.
Blessed with perfect pitch and self-taught on the violin since age 12 in her native San Diego, California, Rhiannon later majored in Violin Performance in a Jazz-focused Canadian music school under the Berklee College of Music syllabus. She possesses a remarkable skill set that qualifies her to provide sensible expert advice and conscientious service to her many customers.
As a symphony violinist and violin teacher for over years, Rhiannon recognizes the importance of having good "tools" with which to work to achieve the best results in our playing. Growing up in poverty conditions in the southwest United States and now as a parent herself, she also respectfully understands we are all constrained by budgets and wants to give her customers the best possible value for their dollar.
Though Rhiannon's customers are served over the Internet, they are treated as if they are receiving paid specialist consultancy in person and without the usual pushy sales tactics or gimmicks. Her loyal customers swear by her consistent reliability and honesty. Rhiannon clearly loves her work and people, which you will see is continually reflected throughout her service, articles, products, violin playing and in her many other successful creative endeavours.
In addition to running her thriving business since 1997, Rhiannon is a section musician with the professional-level Kamloops Symphony and as Concertmaster with the Brandenburg Orchestra (Baroque and Classical music in period dress) and the Thompson Valley Orchestra (Pops and Classics). She is featured on various independent artist albums and won numerous awards for her musicianship. She also served for five years as the founding President of a non-profit violin group which hosted coffeehouses and provided loaned violins, hosted workshops and provided scholarships to young violinists.
Rhiannon (age = as old as disco) is also the wife of a wonderfully kind and hard-working HR/Accountant husband Don Anderson, formerly of TQM Consulting and is a devoted mom to their brilliant, Philosophy Major daughter and creative, arts school son. How does she do it all? Rhiannon possesses astonishing drive and a passionate heart. She uses her ever-growing skill-set and creativity to develop efficiency systems, including building 99% of this incredible website herself, to manage a diverse range of projects and tasks simultaneously.
Simple origins: Violins were laid out on a bed comforter as new shelving was installed in the music studio
History: The Shop's Humble Beginnings and Impressive, Sustainable Growth
After graduating from a contemporary Canadian music college with honours as the program's first ever violin major in 1997, followed by two solid years working as a busy gigging and teaching musician, Rhiannon settled down in the tiny rural village of Canoe, BC, Canada. There she started raising a family while simultaneously building up a positively thriving violin school.
Like most string players she had a hard time finding good quality violins from honest dealers for herself, and also for her students. She was downright frustrated by inexperienced (even rude) music shops, so-called luthiers operating violin chop-shops, and fly-by-night salesmen literally selling questionably-sourced and overpriced violins literally from the trunks of their cars. Already blessed with a natural ability to play and teach violin at a highly proficient level, she took it upon herself to master an authority understanding in the complex mechanics of the violin in order to source the best possible instruments for her students.
Rhiannon developed her own novel and brilliant component in her fledgling home-based business: an ethical consultancy and trusted master source for quality instruments at modest prices.
By eliminating middle-men and working directly with the finest violin makers, she established a relationship where she had a direct say in the construction and qualities of her violins, as well as the opportunity to provide the best value, quality and prices anywhere.
Being a forward-thinker optimizing her time, she posted select violins to her school's website for her compliment of students to view. Before long, other online customers from far and wide discovered the praiseworthy one-woman violin shop in the boonies of Canada run by a symphony level violinist who really KNEW the instrument inside and out.
After her first few online customers experienced her unrivalled service and benefitted from expertise one would usually have to pay to receive, word spread, her reputation grew, and the business expanded. In 2015 Fiddleheads and Rhiannon relocated to Kamloops, BC, which increased Rhiannon's orchestral options and improved her service to her customers in many ways.
Fiddleheads carries the finest, hand-picked selection of new student to professional violins in its corner of the world. Much of her offering consists of dependable exclusive brands she, herself, developed and improved over the decades, which cannot be purchased anywhere else. The site has literally thousands of pages and its growing content, including Rhiannon's published magazine articles, has attracted millions of visitors. This widespread following has enabled Rhiannon to have personally served thousands of elated customers across Canada, the USA, and around the globe.
Undoubtedly, Fiddleheads offers the most honest and qualified violin expertise thanks to Rhiannon's work as a teacher and symphonic musician. Coupled with her person-to-person support and service, she has developed a violin shop experience that cannot be replicated or bested. [Read customer testimonials]
Rhiannon hosted a violin experience introducing kids to violin at a "Discovery Days" event in 2003
Personal Experience and Trusted Advice
Think of shopping at Fiddleheads as walking into a local violin shop. Owner and Symphony Violinist Rhiannon Nachbaur is happy to take the time to personally serve you.
Having the best possible violin shop on your side is just as important for your musical development as an accomplished teacher or a prized instrument. We know you can buy a violin pretty much anywhere, but you choose Fiddleheads and remain loyal because we can fill a much deeper role in your music life: that of advisor and specialist.
Running the shop like a specialty boutique, Rhiannon personally selects and only sells limited products which she believes, as a professional musician and experienced teacher, are best for her customers' budgets and needs. Choosing a violin is easiest at Fiddleheads, not only because of our service, but also due to the fact we have eliminated all the duds and lemons, focussing only on a top violin model or series in any given price range.
Our experience in finding the best possible products makes us able to expertly guide our customers in their purchases and sell the same accessories and materials which Rhiannon uses herself and in lessons. Fiddleheads' customer loyalty stems from the positive and enjoyable experience customers have dealing with us. We offer distinctive and unparalleled expertise rarely seen in the string world. We guide and educate each unique customer in ways other shops simply cannot compete.
Our customers are incredibly pleased and bowled over by personal service and our prompt, complete replies to their emails. Rhiannon takes the necessary time to assist all customers in making informed decisions and it shows. The direct assistance from the owner and expert herself is so informative and beneficial that customers feel as though they are enjoying an in-person consultation with a top contemporary violin connoisseur.
There will be many times you will need something to advance your craft, well beyond that first or second violin, and you can count on Fiddleheads to guide and serve you well over the long-haul. This fantastic service has earned Fiddleheads and Rhiannon several business awards and many other nominations on top of over 1200 sparkling customer testimonials to date.
You will see all the prices and policies are posted online so all information is open and there are no catches to her business dealings.
Fiddleheads never pays teacher kickbacks or commissions for the sale of instruments. It is unethical to pay teacher commissions. Rhiannon does encourage students to pay their teacher for their time (chocolates do the trick, too) when asked to assist them in finding an instrument. It is very prudent to ask your teacher or local shop if they pay or accept commissions if you do not want to participate in a corrupt payola structure.
Read the Strings Magazine article, "An Elegy for Ethics," (archived here) to discover how, unbeknownst to most buyers, many music teachers receive secret cash commissions for sending their students to unscrupulous shops. You may also glean info from our customer testimonials on our superb ethics and Rhiannon's countless published articles.
Customers say shopping conveniently from the comfort of their own homes on our site feels like working with Rhiannon in person
Rhiannon commissions, direct from the workshops and master makers, a very choice selection of instruments crafted to her specifications so every tone quality and price range is represented. Many products are made exclusively for Fiddleheads, such as her Bellissima violins and Voxy bows. She only sells instruments with the best tone qualities for the price and many of her name-brand instruments are special "Fiddleheads Exclusive" editions with added improvements over the standard lineup.
She then ensures every single instrument is properly set-up to her specifications with her luthier before they are put up for sale. Each instrument then is tested and played by her personally before they ship out. If she thinks it could sound or play better, back to the luthier bench it goes. Rhiannon also personally "plays-in" some new master level instruments (as time allows) so their tone has begun to open up before going out to their new owners.
Instruments are stored and shipped from her optimized studio in the high-desert city of Kamloops, BC, one of the driest locations in Canada, ensuring the woods will cure properly and provide the absolute best tonal maturation possible. This is far superior than operating in a humid region, such as the deep south of the United States, which is hard on new instruments' tonal and physical maturation.
*Rhiannon strongly cautions her customers against purchasing instruments stored in and shipped from humid climates as her customers have reported many issues down the line with instruments purchased from sellers at such locations before being played in other climates.
Informed Online Purchasing Environment
Our 14+ day in-home instrument and accessory trials are also encouraged and welcome to allow customers to make the best decisions possible. We put much effort into seeing the customer feels as though they are here in the room with Rhiannon testing out the violins, but from the comfort of their own home and at their own pressure-free schedule.
Rhiannon, a private and group lessons violin teacher since 1995, sees that her customers are educated every step of the shopping experience. She spent over 20 months creating this new website to see much of her extensive knowledge uploaded from her brain into these pages. Our product pages include more detailed measurements, specs and search tools than any other shop online. Combined with other online resources such as our sizing chart, Glossary of Terms, FAQs, and hundreds of articles results in a phenomenal learning environment where customers make well-researched, self-serve buying choices possible.
Convenient and Safe Cart System
The online shop accepts a variety of payment methods to make shopping easier and more secure for everyone. Some items are shipped for free and many items can be combined with other items to ship efficiently cost-wise and environmentally. Nearly every item is placed on a permanent sale price, and we have a number of incentives and money-saving measures for our customers.
Our new website, launched June 7, 2021, is hosted on our own dedicated server and operates via the sophisticated and secure Magento 2 platform, which is utilized by Fortune 500 companies. This also ensures your precious personal data and purchase history is not in the hands of merchant platforms like Shopify, which is used by most competing violin shops and is sadly responsible for an increasing number of scam sites.
Imitation Isn't Always flattering
Fiddleheads has earned such a solid and enviable reputation that knockoff, similarly-named websites providing inferior products and service have spawned with hopes to capitalize on our efforts and good name. Even some large and popular shops (who should know better, tisk tisk) have mirrored our product offering and plagiarized our text, policies, and intellectual property.
Please shop carefully and make completely sure you are shopping with the original, award-winning Fiddleheads Violin Studio by Rhiannon Nachbaur.
Fiddleheads supports many local events and charitable causes has been involved in many community projects.
A dedicated environmentalist, Rhiannon implemented a strict and comprehensive "Green" eco policy for the business in the early 2000s, the efforts of which saw Fiddleheads as the first business in her city to win a "Green Business Award." Fiddleheads is currently a finalist for "Environmental Leadership Award" and "Small Business of the Year" with the Kamloops Business Excellence Awards (winners anounced in October 2021)
[Read customer testimonials on the subject of our eco policy]
Fiddleheads' focus on professionalism and fairness sees us constantly striving to provide courteous service to all customers and prospective customers.
We strive to provide a safe and warmly supportive place for all customers to shop, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs systems, or neurodivergence. Insensitive or inappropriate remarks from cranky-pants and bullies are not tolerated.
Thank you for your interest in doing business with Fiddleheads Violin Studio and please contact us with any requests you may have in your quest for an instrument.
- Rhiannon Nachbaur (she/her/hers), Owner Fiddleheads Violin Studio
*The business was previously known as Rhiannon's Violin Studio (1995-1999) and Fiddleheads Violin School (1999-2016).
Fiddleheads gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.