I'm looking forward to spending a great deal of time with this new instrument. It is lovely! I greatly appreciate the service and your efforts to make everything just right for me!
Thank you for your response regarding my concerns about the imperfections on the fiddle finish. Overall, I am very happy with the fiddle and do not think my concerns are worth making an exchange.
I have enjoyed playing it and find the quality of the instrument and the sound a big improvement over my first instrument. I greatly appreciate your offer to 'make things right', but honestly, I don't think any of the glitches were because of anything you did! The post office messed up, the bling was sent (I just didn't look hard enough), and the quality of the violin isn't affected by the [small surface] marks.
So all of this to say, I would like to proceed with the purchase. I guess my next step is to consider a bow upgrade!
Thanks again for your care and support throughout this transaction. I'll definitely send recommendations your way!
[REVIEW: Google, 5 stars] Dealing with Rhiannon has been an excellent experience from start to finish. She was quick to respond to messages, and to make sure there was nothing more that she could do for me to make sure I was happy with my purchase.
My violin arrived extremely well packaged and it's lovely!
Wow it looks amazing! I've been looking online for a violin for the past few weeks, and have been frustrated because I couldn't find one I liked, the VN 102 is hands down the nicest looking one I've seen that fits my budget! I'm a beginner, but I want to get a violin that I can still use when I am at an intermediate level.
I must have looked at over 50 violin shops during the past few weeks, I wish I found yours earlier. Other violins I found within this price range look rather cheap, I can tell the VN102 is of very high quality - I had been thinking I'd need to spend at least [double this price] to get a violin that suits my preferences!
You've answered all my questions and concerns in great detail. I'm learning so many interesting things about violin playing/violins everyday!
The more I learn, the more I love this violin.
I'm a pretty anxious person when buying things, adulting is hard! It was so much simpler when I was a kid - my mom just picked out my piano, guitar and clarinet. I'm so excited to start this journey, I've wanted to play a bowed string instrument for a long time.
Thank you so much for all your help! I've emailed many shops and none of them have shown the attention, diligence, and friendliness that you have (some don't even reply). I am glad I did a lot of research, otherwise I would have just purchased from Long and Mcquade instead of a proper violin shop.
[UPDATE: 1 week later, Google 5-star Review] Best customer service ever! I was blown away by Rhiannon's attentiveness and kindness, I will definitely be recommending Fiddleheads to anyone looking for a violin/violin gear.
Thanks for getting these to me Rhiannon! They all look great, although the Scarlatta looks the best. I've played them all for a few minutes each and definitely feel the "upgrade" in quality from my old heirloom.
This will be fun to get to know these beautiful instruments.
I'm sure it will be tough to decide which is best! Will keep working with them this week and my teacher is going to get a chance to try them as well.
[UPDATE: 1 day later] I'm into playing them and really enjoying comparing combinations of bows and violins. Early impressions are that the Scarlatta and Seraphina are head and shoulders above the VN 102 sound quality and feel.
The Seraphina is feeling very warm and rich sounding.
The Scarlatta a little brighter.
I know the strings have to come along yet so in no hurry to make a decision yet.
I am finding the lower tones on the Seraphina very attractive and the Scarlatta slightly superior in the higher tones and appearance.
Interestingly, my instructor did a "blind" test of the three you sent me, not knowing which was the more expensive or names and she had a very similar feel for them.
After playing it for the last few days, I just find it sweeter and more even in its tone than either the Seraphina or the Scarlatta.
And of course I will keep the [deluxe] case.
Thanks so much for your patience and this has been a great process to work through.
I'll definitely write up a positive review for you and Fiddleheads!
The violin has made it safe and sound, and is she ever a beauty. Oh my goodness. I am beyond excited.
Absolutely thrilled with my new Bellissimas "Donna" violin, from Fiddleheads Violin Studio. She resonates so big and warm. It is quite an upgrade for me and am looking forward to aging beautifully with it.
I'm also still a beginner and felt crazy for wanting such a pricey item. I'm [had been] playing on a really cheap "Zev," so [was] excited to hear a nicer instrument. It makes my old one seem like a toy! I'm very happy with my decision and am really excited.
Thanks for helping me make it happen.
[REVIEW: Google, 5 stars] Happy I chose Fiddleheads Violin Studio in beautiful British Colimbia, to upgrade my violin.
Rhiannon was a pleasure to deal with, and helped me get the violin I wanted, into my hands.
Professionally packed, the instrument made it safe and sound in the mail.
I highly recommend.
We got the violins - thanks! We are looking forward to learning.
I appreciate your help with this and your offer of future help. It was just what I needed.
I am looking forward to this adventure.
I hope that some of my grandfather's violin skills get passed along. My other grandfather was a chess grandmaster- which is another skill I am trying to learn!
Thanks very much for your service. I have researched you and your company [Rhiannon] and you are obviously quite reputable as a musician and business owner!
I am also a performing musician, music teacher and during the day, I work at the local Long and McQuade music store here in London. Nice to have recognition from someone as accomplished as yourself.
If anyone I know needs this type of product, I will be sure to recommend you! Thanks for everything.
She has arrived. I can't thank you enough for the great service and advice you have given me. She is lovely, and already I am enjoying being able to play dynamics so easily. So smooth.
I love the lower register and I am sure that she is only going to develop over time. I like the lighter chin rest etc. Lovely to look at.
Great thank you for the great service. I am so excited. You have done a tremendous job supporting me in my violin search and purchase.
Thank you thank you thank you.
Rhiannon was fun to deal with and every time I see the violin can't help but smile.
By the way I'm 78 years young, never too late to learn. You won't be disappointed. Thanks, Rhiannon.
I love music. I have been longing for a new violin since I was 12 years old, but my mother and I have never been in a financial position to make my dream come true. I've been playing the same couple hundred dollar student violin my mother first rented out for me in 4th grade. I am very excited to hear how my sound is able to progress.
When I was listening to sound samples I did adore the depth the guarneri pattern brought to the lower strings. When I play pieces by myself I always pick romantics with love-sick highs and guttural lows that are sooooo much fun to drag out and dramatize. Dark, buttery romance is beautiful. I [felt] torn between having a nice high or a nice low. But in life the maker himself obviously preferred the guarneri pattern for a reason, so I trust his instincts.
After reading [reviews] I think my heart is set on the 909. The flame on the 907 is definitely more dramatic, but I don't really mind the softer look. As long as it plays beautifully it doesn't matter- I will fall in love with time. I didn't think my boyfriend was overly handsome until we had been together for a while and I had fallen for his personality, and one's violin can be likened to a spouse, right?
Wow, I totally just rambled, I am sorry! Something about your personality and passion for music makes me want to open up to you right away about my experiences. As the woman currently selling me such a vital part of my life I feel like you need to understand where I'm at right now. Oooooooh I am so excited!!!
[UPDATE: 1 month later] Omg omg omg!!! Love it!!!!! Woohoo!! I am so in love. I'm getting those first date jitters already..... like going out with a guy who's just too handsome!! The chin rest is such a lovely color of brown too.
I was playing quite a few pieces before, but off memory..... Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, that one was almost performance ready with my partner when lockdown started. I have been playing at about a grade 4-5 level as far as I know, with no real structure before my first year of lessons [last year].
I love the way the G and D strings can pull at an audience's heart as much as anyone, but I play a violin, not a viola- seldom do I get the privilege of playing so low for extended periods of time. In an orchestra setting I need the upper register to be able to sing for me.
I've been loving practicing.... Granted, I've only had a couple of days to do so. I definitely did notice the strings need to be broken in, I was doing some scales and couldn't go up past the second octave because it was just so painful bwahaha. The low B on the E string was so scratchy and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I decided it must be the strings. But just a few notes after that, D natural and the E harmonic sound so lovely!
I can't wait until she really starts to sing!! There's so much resonance there. Playing in tune has never been so rewarding. I am sure it will improve too, I have much faith and determination!
My previous violin would resonate when I was in tune but it was never as obvious as this one. It is my favorite part of music. The satisfaction of hitting the notes just right. I will definitely keep enjoying playing in tune.
Of course I'll have to message you with some pictures and updates on this violin's life, as it is somehow just as much your baby as it is going to be mine... strangely enough, I also feel odd about closing communication with you. We must be long lost sisters or something :P
It is nice to talk to somebody about string instruments and music. I haven't had this in a very long time. I am vastly enjoying your wealth of knowledge and experience!
I'm excited to practice again tonight. I'll have to go to Kamloops just to buy new rosin when my cake runs out.
Seriously though, thank you for this amazing transaction.
I will be sure to write a very nice review [about your service] one day when I am bored after a two hour long session of scales.
This gorgeous violin is not just another violin, it's truly a work of art!
Where do I begin to start with how magnificent this instrument sings?
Effortless; every time I pick up this violin in my hands to practice its as if it transports me to another world, a dream realm, a concert stage. Truly a pleasure and a gift to play!
I started my musical journey when I was seven, but didn’t officially become persistent at learning until my latter teens. Technically you could say I had a later start in life to music; and throughout the years acquiring a few different violins.
The hunt for a new violin began once I realized my current intermediate violin was holding me back from progression or advancing in technique. I was becoming discouraged by the inadequate sound and playability quality of it. Out-growing the instrument
Reaching out to Rhiannon was the best thing I did! I had a few specific needs and wants in a new lifetime violin. At the time I felt like I was a bit vague, or still trying to find my voice in a superior instrument. Definitely not lost any more in this aspect thanks to Rhiannon! She went above and beyond helping and guiding me in finding exactly what I was looking for.
Once my bow made contact with the violin, no lie, I began to shed tears. Not of sadness, but in awe of how a superior violin has no equal in craftsmanship, tone, comfort, and most important the power of its sound.
Initially, the Migel violin had a very quick response and warm up time. Projecting its sound quality straight away. With first impressions this drew me to consider that this violin was in par with my playing ability now. Making this violin feel like the proper choice.
Before I tested out the sound quality of the Kowalski I was astonished with the artistry and beauty of the violin. I didn't want aesthetics to be my main influencing factor of my decision. Sound and playability were most important.
At first the quality of sound was comparable to the Migel, but after a good twenty to thirty minutes of warm up it started to surpass, becoming superior. Upon examining this instrument further, I noticed it demanded perfection, or a soloist touch. In a sense I felt inadequate to play it.
Feeling confused I reached out to Rhiannon and shared my finding with comparing both violins. She didn't make the choice for me, but she helped me to see why and what I was experiencing when playing. Rhiannon's knowledge, input, and expertise were invaluable!
She offers a great, stress free trial period. If I only had an hour to chose, I would have made a grave mistake. Above all I had plenty of time to decide the prefect fit in the comfort of my own home.
After further playing I noticed that there were limitations with the Migel. An example of this was if my finger positioning happened to be slightly off the violin would hide those imperfections. I felt like there was a limit it would reach and could not pass. I was looking for an instrument with that above and beyond performance level.
The main qualities and reasons I chose the Kowalski violin as my musical voice happen to be its demand for preciseness. I had to play in tune for it to really resonate fully. It was teaching me!
After talking with Rhiannon, she, using her analogies and musical understanding, helped me to see that a relationship with this instrument would allow me to grow in tone, technique, and over all music ability. I was enthralled with the idea that this violin would teach me to become an advance player in the years to come.
Set up can make all the difference in your musical experience. Rhiannon takes the time to set up each violin to her clients needs and preferences. Outfitting them with high quality strings, bridge placement (whether you’re a classical or fiddle player), as well as chin rest adjustments; amongst other things.
Even if you're not exactly sure what you're looking for the fit and feel are comfortable while practicing or preforming. In turn her quality assurance puts the violin to the test to make sure its everything you were looking for.
Tomasz Kowalski designs his instruments to excel in superiority over time. Even now I can confirm that! I can't stress it enough, each time I practice on this violin it improves in sound; through its projection and tone harmony. To have only been made in 2018 this gorgeous instrument sounds like it has been around for centuries. Truly a violin fit for a soloist!
Enthusiastically I can say “I made the right choice”! with putting my faith in Rhiannon’s talented skillfulness and expertise in assisting and guiding me to find my unbelievably beautiful violin.
I'm just very excited to begin playing! The violin is beautiful.
I love her! :)
I wish all the success for you and your business it was a pleasure! I will leave my honest review when I get the chance.
Most pleased with your kind service thank you again.
It's such a joy to do business with a woman that has so much passion about her art and excellent customer service
I'm a 59 year old woman who recently retired in August. I have wanted to learn how to play the violin for over 30 years, but decided to wait until I retired so that I could dedicate time to learning. I started violin lessons a couple of months ago on a cheap violin to make sure I would commit before making a good purchase, and now I'm hooked.
Rhiannon, I knew I had the right gal and the right violin shop after reading your reply! You've been so awesome and I truly appreciate your help!!!!!!!
I've been doing the internet search the last few weeks at night during my 'wine hour' and the more searching I did the more confused I became. Then I came across your website and was thoroughly impressed with all the reviews and comments I read! I just wish I was much closer and could visit in person.
My 'Baby' arrived about an hour ago..... it's so beautiful!!!
I did play a few minutes and the sound is so much nicer and wow what a difference a good bow makes as well!!!
Violin sounds amazing and really enjoying playing it. All about the Christmas music now.
Again thanks for your lovely emails, it's such a joy to do business with a woman that has so much passion about her art and excellent customer service!
5 stars for sure! You provide amazing service!
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!
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!
What I like about the violins modeled after the Cannone is the power and the dark sonorous notes of the lower range and the sweet, mellow, round tones of the upper range; never shrill.
They are both incredible works of art.
I've retired from software engineering and I always felt for the women I worked with often times being undervalued by male managers. I worked with one very gifted software engineer and I can remember her frustration in meetings when she would answer a manager's question and the manager would look to me to corroborate when she had far more expertise in the specific problem.
Thank you SO much for the warm welcome of your speedy reply and the wonderful photos.
Thank you once again for all of your help! I've been busy the last couple days with homework and haven't had a chance to play the violin until yesterday, but I am super happy with it.
It’s so nice to be able to play an instrument again. Thank you so much for all of your help!
The violin looks and sounds wonderfully. Probably you already know that from having enjoyed playing it a bit already.
We have wanted to conserve your efforts, which is why we've told you what we know, and don't, and we very much appreciate the "copious," helpful information you have been sending us and the time and effort you have expended to help us as ongoing customers.
Mr. Dimitrov does seem to be dedicated to his craft and also a nice person, plus his relationship with you is important; he had written us that you have been his dealer in Canada for 10 years and that he knows you well from that standpoint.
The certificate appears very thorough and professional, and it fits with it being a bench made instrument related to the personal attention of Mr. Dimitrov in its inception.
Thank you for this very thorough and informative insurance letter. It appears to be exactly what we would need for such an instrument. We look forward with great anticipation to seeing it this week. So, we're set for now, thanks to your and Mityo's efforts.
We thank you... for sending Mityo's beautiful instrument to us and for all your considerate, extensive care and attention to our preferences and musical needs.
All your attention to detail and for the helpful information you provided and working hard to complete this transaction... It is obvious why and how your business is successful.
I was looking to replace my daughter's Gliga violin with something that had a better sound and in a smaller 7/8 size than 4/4. After researching online, we decided to try the VN-102 violin with a 2-week at-home trial to Montreal, Quebec.
We previously bought a Gliga Gems 2 violin (in 4/4) and her teacher hated it because it didn’t project and it required too much work to get a good sound out of it. My daughter is 18 and has been playing for 10 years. She is an intermediate violinist and not very motivated to go much farther.
We took the violin to be approved by our violin teacher since he is very picky and hated our old violin. He just loved the 102 and couldn't stop raving. In his words; "You got an AMAZING (with all capital letters) violin. It's awesome.”
So, obviously we kept it.
Rhiannon, the owner, was very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful during the selection and ordering process.
The violin was securely packaged and it arrived quickly, in perfect condition. It is a beautiful instrument with a great sound, 100% approved by our violin teacher.
Thanks for preparing [setting up] Very happy, overall. Thank you!
[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!