It's here! My new baby has arrived! I'm so happy.
First off, I've inspected and everything looks and feels to be in perfect condition.
Second, IT'S GORGEOUS! I'm sure it would be able to serve as a lifetime instrument, and the certificate will be a bonus to have and for when I eventually pass it on.
Earlier I thought the higher models were beyond me. I horseback ride and beginners are started on simple equipment because, though expert models allow for more technical expression, these same characteristics allow for more mistakes. I have found it similar with friends who figure skate, pro-level skates are "too much boot" for novices.
And so, Rhiannon, I was pleasantly surprised when you freely suggested all the way up to the 909! I also thought that if I got the 903, 905 or 907, then sooner or later, I will wish I had gotten the 909.
My only hesitation was that the 909 would be the second most expensive single object that I own, so there's this slight twinge in my chest. But then again, Lifetime Instrument. The testimonials you sent me were encouraging too, I loved it when they gave sound/tone descriptions.
Back to violins, you definitely don't have to worry about bursting my bubble regarding Zhu's work. It's rather that I don't have any faith in my own ability! I am the type to play through a piece, make one slip or grind and cry because, "Wow, I suck. I can't trial a violin adequately with these skills!" LOL
My first impression of the violin was: “Gosh, it's so light!” To be entirely honest with you, I thought "can such a light thing be good quality"? Then I plucked the strings and ohhh, it's realllll. LOL! WOWZA. MAMMA MIA.
I gotta tell you, Rhi. I was afraid that my lack of skill was the problem and I feared that I would get a $4k instrument and not be able to make it sound better than my $600 outfit. But I was wonderfully wrong!
Just during tuning, the sound was much richer. Then I played a few scales... and the fourth finger sounded even better than open string! Shifting never felt so good before. I'm sooooo happy! I had time to play for near an hour and my arm and neck barely felt anything, which it totally would have [been a problem] with my old violin.
So far, the shoulder rest feel quite comfortable, I will definitely send you an update after the instrument and I have partnered up for a month or two :)
Thank you so much for your patience, helpfulness, and dealing with my moods. :) I'm so glad to have picked your shop for this purchase.
[UPDATE: 1 week later] You really are giving uncertain and overwhelmed violin shoppers like me such relief and peace of mind.
In fact, when my mother saw your email replies, she declared: "This person puts so much effort in her work and service, she's definitely not an online fraud."
I'm excited to report back to you on how I'm doing with the Zhu violin :D It's been a week now and I think this is what others mean when they talk about the instrument "opening up".
Wow, the strength of the vibrations and projection are definitely a class above what I've experienced before. It sounds warmer and more "smooth/relaxed" then when I first got it. I'm not sure why, but the finger positions are slightly different from my old violin so I have been working hard on playing in tune again. But man, when I do, it feels and sounds sooo good!
I may not have given the instrument and strings enough time to settle yet, but I currently feel that the G string is a little too thick sounding while the E string sounds too thin. Excuse me for not knowing the proper terms to explain, but for my personal preference, the G string's sound seems... unfocused. Like if we were to imagine its' amplitude graph, the peak would be super spread out. In fact, the tuner often has trouble telling what note I'm playing on the G string when I'm trying to check a finger placement.
As for the E string, I wouldn't say its painfully piercing, rather just... thin. It feels like it lacks substance, solidness. If I bow more firmly, then it does improve but also becomes a little shrill to my ears. It would be nice to have warmer, richer high notes.
On the positive side, the A string is solid and I am IN LOOOOOVE with the D string. The sound is so warm yet also vibrant, it really sings! When I play, I can't help but happily sway all over the place lol.
Now that I have a decent feel for the violin, I will write my review for Fiddleheads in the the coming week. It will definitely be solar levels of glowing review.
[UPDATE: 2 weeks later] I really enjoy such long and information-filled letters. Thank you so much for your advice, it really gives me peace of mind going forward :D
The fact that strings and the instrument 'mature' and 'open up' is so interesting, it really feels alive in a way.
Currently, I'm very pleased with how the E string sounds significantly warmer and less 'wimpy' (lol) than before.
I've never been so motivated to practice. I really liked all the information you generously shared despite me not really being a student of yours. It's fascinating to read all this knowledge about these seemingly simple instruments, all these techniques and little improvements that make big differences.
Thank you so much for your advice, it really gives me peace of mind going forward :D
[REVIEW: Google, 5 stars] I never knew that I could have so much fun and so much confidence in a shopping experience!
In my first email to Rhiannon, I was nervous to purchase an instrument entirely online, and so wrote a lot regarding what I was looking for. Her reply completely surpassed my expectations with its friendly warmth and wealth of information. It was truly as if I had walked into a physical shop who's owner became a good friend within minutes.
Over the following few weeks, Rhi patiently answered my piles of questions and gave me plenty of help and time for my indecisive self to choose the best violin for me. I certainly had not expected to learn so much during a shopping process!
I've had my Zhu 909 for a few weeks now. It arrived in perfect condition along with the gorgeous deluxe case and a couple other accessories that I'd ordered.
It's my first violin of this quality and I have never enjoyed playing as much as now. The instrument continues to open up, constantly sounding even richer, warmer and brighter.
Rhiannon was flexible with bundling and payments and continues guide me with her effective advice and good humour.
For anyone who read this long review: If your searching for a quality violin or viola, send Rhiannon an email and give Fiddleheads a try!