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"Hi! I received my order!! I am absolutely just blown away. This violin is gorgeous! Evan, I can't believe it's mine!! And all of the "little" touches are huge to me. I never dreamed that I'd be able to own a violin such as this, nor ever be a part of the StringWorks family. The violin that I've been playing for the last 9 months is a very inexpensive violin that came from Amazon. I was grateful for it, of course, but the sound and feel was very "factory." Does that make sense? I cannot BELIEVE the sound difference!! All the differences! Not to mention that you all made this experience so special. I couldn't buy the more expensive items in your beautiful shop, but you never treated me as less-than because of it. Thank you so very much! All of the little "extras" that you sent will literally be kept forever, lol.
"Todd & Evan, I'm very impressed with my Maestro cello. You're right, it really does ring; and yet the open A is not harsh. Precisely what I wanted to achieve though I didn't expect such a powerful sound and I only have perhaps 5 or six hours on it (yes my finger tips are sore as hell). 25 years ago I paid $7,500 for a Mittenwald cello, and it's very good cello but in my opinion my Maestro outshines it in every aspect. I was expecting to pay $15,000 for a suitable cello. The set up is great, I like the response and know it will only get better and the workmanship and finish is beautiful."
R.S. Denver, Colorado
"I have had the cello for ~1 week now, and want to give you an update. I love it and the more I play, I love it more!! It sounds so smooth and beautiful, (despite my poor skills) and as StringWorks' website description, it indeed has a singing A string! My teacher also described the cello as "a great instrument", and asked me to give my cello a name since it's my partner in crime. :) I named her Melody BTW.
Y.J. - Boise, Idaho
"Hi Evan and Todd! My cello teacher is very pleased with my Virtuoso cello and composite bow! She said the price of each was excellent. Actually, I played with our little group orchestra (about 12 pieces) without telling her about my cello ... she stopped rehearsal after our first piece and exclaimed, "Jane, you have a new cello! It sounds great! What a difference!" When I had my individual lesson, she played my cello and was very happy with the depth of sound and ease of playing. She was proud of my choice and was interested in StringWorks! I gave her your info in case she wants to refer someone to you.
Again, thanks for my new lease on cello life!"
J.D., Largo, Florida
"First I want to Thank you both for helping me through email, travel and store experience to find Mr. Maestro Cello and Krausch bow! I was so surprised to have Evan deliver the cello to try out and willingness to drive 4+ hrs to sync up with me. His enthusiasm and love for doing what he's doing is so visible. Evan encouraged me to experience the showroom and ability to try different strings, instruments and bows...hence my 14yr. old son (who plays violin) and I drove to the shop. We had such a fun time -- making a mother-son drive trip. The time spent at StringWorks was very fun. We loved looking and playing different instruments. The experience was like Harry Potter and his wand chosing him! Although being very new to cello (5 months) and an adult learner, Evan definitely didn't make me feel like a "newbie". My son, Evan and I even played some pieces together. My son had such a great time he talked about StringWorks most of the way home! Side note -- I spent many emails back and forth with Linda & Evan, both which are very diligent in answering ANY & MANY questions!! AGAIN -- THANK YOU, THANK YOU!"
K.G., Bloomington, IL
"Just wanted to mention after having my [Maestro] cello for a little more than a month, I am absolutely in love with it. I am extraordinarily pleased with both my purchase and the service I received. Well done!"
"Many thanks for your help Todd. We received the (Virtuoso) Cello on time. I know Maria will be very, very, happy when she arrives back home on Sunday. You and your team behaved in a most honorable and professional manner. All the very best"..."Thank you so much for all the extra work! I just arrived home from a week at music camp, and played my new cello, it sounds beautiful and it arrived in perfect shape. Thank you for taking care of it!"
P.R. and M.R., Argentina
"[The Maestro viola] is a beautiful instrument with a beautiful sound! Thanks again for all your help in choosing the right viola for me. I am so happy to be getting back into music, which is what I was born and raised with!"
"[My cello arriving] was like Christmas morning when I was a child! I took out my beautiful bow first....then my cello from its awesome soft case and saw her for the first time. She is gorgeous! Beautiful color and the varnish is lovely, the flaming on the back is amazing, the neck and sides are gorgeous, the front is so pretty, the pegs are handsome, the bridge is positioned well...Awesome set up! The sound she makes is warm, rich, big, bold, mature. It is wonderful to hear! She has lovely strings and plays with ease and joy...I am in love with my new cello!!!!! I cannot thank you enough. She is a perfect fit for me, you were right, you chose well! Thank you for inviting me into the StringWorks family!"
"Both my daughter and my wife liked the character of the Michael Todd III over the Maestro... which has a great tone as well...the Michael Todd III is just a more mature... complex sound... very lyrical... fun to play!!"
"[The Virtuoso cello] looks gorgeous! The sound is incredible as well. Very happy with it. I find the Krausch bow much easier to hold and has better playability. Thanks for the great suggestion!"
"Every Cello I have looked at in the past when thinking about buying, they didn't come close to what I found when I unboxed this [Artist] Cello."
"Hello Evan, I received the violin. Much more volume than my European workshop master copy of unknown vintage. Do you offer your setup (The StringWorks Setup™) on privately owned violins?"
A.T., Greenville, Mississippi
"The maple is impeccable, the instrument is exquisite....[we] will soon be working together and sweet sounds will fill the valleys and hillsides of East Kentucky. Thank you so much for the wonderful service, the helpfulness, and the friendly assistance that you gave me. I am a grateful and happy shopper with StringWorks, Inc., and certainly a supporter of your establishment. Everything was exactly as you described. It is, indeed, a pleasure to find such excellent personal service, and I am truly pleased and well-satisfied with my experience."
J.D., Blackey, Kentucky
"StringWorks was recommended to me by another customer. You can trust that I'll spread the good word, too. I am very much satisfied with the [Joh. Krausch] bow. After playing with a student-level bow for something like fifteen years, my cello sounds like a whole new instrument!"
"I highly recommend checking out StringWorks. Their customer service is ''Stradivarius'' quality and we will consider StringWorks again when looking for a fine stringed instrument."
C.R., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"Recently I purchased a bow trial from SharMusic.com. The company sends four bows, your choice, to try for a week. If you like one, you keep it and send the others back. All of the bows were in the $400 - $500 range, and two of the four bows were nice. However, I didn't think any of them justified $500 by comparison to my $49.00 Stringworks CB101 bow I got with my SW Maestro cello. "
D.P., Phoenix, Arizona
"I listened to the [CodaBow Diamond NX] through face time and finally live and it's a dream. My son loves it and there is no way we'll return it, it's awesome!"
F.C. Harlingen, Texas
"Returned from Appleton this morning. Of course the first thing I did was get my new [Soloist] viola out and have been playing all afternoon. After a three year hiatus I am amazed how easily it is all coming back. I definitely made the right choice in the Soloist. The sound is nothing short of WOW. Thank you and Stringworks for my start in the viola world and making it easy to continue!"
S.T., Lindenhurst, Illinois
"That [Artist Cello] is MAGICAL. I have never played such a responsive instrument before, it's just a joy to play. I played for an hour immediately after I pulled it out of the box; then another hour later that evening. The tone is incredible, the set up is so ridiculously perfect, and the strings are great. I expected there would be a 50% chance I would need to send the instrument back, but the MINUTE I started playing it I knew there was no way I was going to part with it. Until I upgrade, of course. ; ) I am so incredibly impressed, I did not expect half the instrument for this price point, especially ordered over the internet, sight unseen. The most amazing thing of all is that as rusty as I am, that cello is SO forgiving, and makes me sound better than I really am. I can't say enough good things about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. : ) I know some of the previous reviews I saw gave me confidence... along with the 14 day in home trial, and the trade in program. Those both show your company stands behind its instruments, and isn't looking just to sell them for money, but believes in what they sell and in their relationships with their customers. The last thing that solidified my decision was the statement that StringWorks wasn't an online company, but a real company in Wisconsin that happened to have a website with online sales. That is such a powerful statement, even to someone like me who does 90% of my shopping online. I just can't say enough good things about StringWorks. :) "
S.B., Oakland, California
"Now that we've had the Virtuoso Violin for a few weeks, I thought I should pass along our (and especially our son's) delight with the instrument. It arrived about 3 hours before Brian and I were headed out to a quick weekend at Disneyland, but he did give it a go that night. We all thought it sounded significantly better than his rented, student Yamaha, but what do we know. He used it for about a week after we got back, before his instructor had a chance to try it out. We'd had a bit of snow (22 inches), which kept getting the lesson delayed. She tried out and gave it a once over, after which she figured the violin/bow combo were worth close to $1,500. Good, we paid just over $1,000. :) They continued with the less, at which point, I had to run an errand, but my wife later told me that after the lesson was over, Brian's instructor wanted to play something on the new violin and she apparently went to town. (I wish I'd been there.) After finishing her piece, she emphatically said "I like this violin!" She wasn't quite as enthralled with the bow (too bouncy she felt), but she also indicated how that is really a personal preference and not really a indication of anything wrong. So, I think you guys helped us pick out a good one, that should keep our son happy for a while, and the Yamaha is now back at the rental store. :)" "
T.S., Fort Collins, Colorado
"Dear Todd, I don't know if you remember me, but some months ago I had some trouble with the finish on a viola I got from StringWorks, I had to try a couple different violas and didn't find either one satisfactory. I was very disappointed in StringWorks as I have gotten three instruments from your company. I searched and searched for a new instrument and couldn't find anything of value in a decent price range. I came back to StringWorks to try my luck one more time. I ordered the 16.5 inch virtuoso with boxwood fittings and xyex strings. The instrument arrived a little delayed as the luthier was changing out fittings and strings. When I received my viola I was shocked as the instrument was just beyond beautiful, the fittings were beautiful boxwood and had great grain. I have been playing on this viola for close to six months now and marvel how everyday it sounds better and better. My technique is getting a little better too but not as fast as the sound is improving. I enjoy playing and looking at my viola and love to hear people say what brand is that? They remark at the evenness of the tone on all the strings, and the unique and beautiful finish of the viola itself. I wanted to let you know first hand that I am so glad I came back to StringWorks. I have a viola I will be keeping for a good while and really am enjoying getting to know this instrument, it has become a companion I could not do without. Thank you very much for being patient with me. I appreciate you all."
R.G., New Mexico
"Thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. I wanted to send my appreciation for your response to my question, and to let you know that the viola still sounds as beautiful as ever. It's a fantastic instrument, and I am a big fan of StringWorks."
T.K., South Dakota
"It's such a wonderful online shopping experience. StringWorks showed me what is excellent customer service about that creates raving fans. Looking forward to my next purchase!"
"I have absolutely loved the viola you guys sent me, it was a major upgrade from what I had (some Chinese viola), and your service the last time was probably the best from any company I have dealt with for online purchases."
R.L., Franklin, Tennessee
"I have waited three years to comment on the Virtuoso cello I bought. The reason for the wait is that only time will tell. And what time has told me is that I made the right choice. The cello began great and just keeps getting better. I´ll upgrade someday, and I´ll be shopping with StringWorks. Thank you!"
J.S., Price, Utah
"Well Pat, I just finished my first lesson! Love at first sound! OMG, Molly sounds wonderful. I told my teacher to play the cello first because I wanted to hear it being played by an accomplished muscian. He had a hard time getting enough rosin on the bow the very first time. When he finally did, I could not believe that was MY cello he was playing. Molly sounded warm and powerful/loud if that is possible. When I brought her out, the first word out of his mouth was "WOW". I told him how much I paid and he said "is that all, it looks and sounds amazing". He commented on the set up and said "that´s awesome". He was just as impressed as I was. All in all, it was a very enjoyable lesson, but alas, I will be doing pizacato (sp?) for a few days and just getting aquainted with Molly.
"I am very happy with my new cello, it sounds and looks beautiful. You said that you will get me a "special cello", well Pat and everybody at StringWorks, you did just that. My next lesson is in two weeks, I should have this plucking down by then! ;-) I will keep you up to date on Molly and my progress."
- G.N., Japan
"What a gorgeous cello! Pat, just wanted to thank you for the upgrade to the Virtuoso. I surprised Shawn with it Friday night when he got home from a work trip. He was floored! I don´t think I´ve ever seen him enjoy any gift more. He started playing right away and Olivia loves it. He went to a music store the next day to get some essentials and practiced again this morning. Thanks so much for your kindness.
-C.Z., Glendale, California "
I am so happy with the cello. It is not only beautiful to look at, it plays beautifully as well. Beautiful hardly describes it well enough. I haven´t had a cello in about 37 years, and only played a few years as a child. This cello meets and exceeds the fond memories I had of playing the cello from before, something that has kept me from really getting too into any other instrument since. No matter how hard I tried to find another more portable instrument, the cello is in my soul and this one is fabulous! I remember loving to look at the flaming and shapes of my cello when a child while waiting to play, admiring its beauty and layers of sheen and depth of visual beauty. The resonance on this cello is so much more full than I remember, which is only one of the things I appreciate about this fine instrument. The sound is so full and rich that I am heartily enjoying the tones of just bowing the open strings in long whole notes. This cello makes practicing even the most simple things a total joy to the senses. While waiting for my cello to arrive I came across another cello on sale on Craigslist, which is quite rare here, so I had to check it out even though I was fairly certain that I still wanted this one. It was great to be able to hold and play a cello again after all these years, but that cello was definitely not the one for me. It was in perfect condition, but seemed to be a laminate as the wood grain patterns on the back were in the wrong direction and there was no flaming. It was nice looking, as it was a cello and has a surprisingly good sound anyway, but it was missing something there and with the whole experience. I could tell that I would not be happy with that cello for long, even though I was eager to get back to playing the cello. I knew it was better to wait for a good cello than just get what was available and reluctantly continued to wait for your cello to arrive. It takes much longer for things to get here so I knew it would be quite a wait, but I was willing to wait for the "real" thing. I was not disappointed in the least when it arrived. This cello is well worth the wait. This sweet Artist cello may very well have found its home sweet home. Practicality tells me that I should give it a month or two and continue to rent it to verify that I will stick with it, but my heart tells me that this cello belongs with me, forever. Love at first sight, seconded by sound, feel, and more! :) Thank you! :) "
-S.S., Kilauea, Hawaii
"I just wanted to let you know that my daughter was very excited when her violin arrived Saturday, and she loves it. I´m very glad I chose the boxwood fittings - they really look nice on it."
-K.K., Waterford, Connecticut
"My daughter and I thank you all for the violin we received last Thursday. It is beautiful and, more importantly, sounds great. My daughter is very happy with her new violin and plays every day. I didn´t write immediately after we got it because I wanted my daughter´s teacher to try the instrument. She did it today and was impressed. So, everybody is happy! Thank you again, have a great weekend."
-E.L., Fair Lawn, New Jersey
"I wanted to share with you that Luke has begun lessons with Steve Palincsar - www.Palincsar.com. His first lesson was yesterday and after hearing Luke play, Steve took Luke´s violin and said - Isn´t it amazing the sound that can come from this little violin? I replied, "It is a Stringworks violin, Appleton, WI. I went to school with Todd, Todd French, the owner." "Ah, yes" Steve said. "I am familiar with them"."
-H.B., Chicago, Illinois
"I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I am in love with my MTII violin. I have played several other violins since I bought it, and so far, I haven´t liked anything else. Thanks for all the work you put into getting it squared away."
-H.D., Kaneohe, Hawaii
"I am so very pleased with my new violin. It arrived last Friday in perfect condition. It is a beautiful instrument with a wonderful round sound. Thank you so much for helping me with the selection"
-C.R., Sequim, Washington
"I have been meaning to drop you a note for the past month and tell you how much my daughter loves her new viola. It made it here all right – just in time for her Christmas concert! Her teacher was pleased with the sound, and felt it was a good purchase for the size. She is playing it all the time, and doesn’t have the back or arm pains – only her hand hurts when she plays too much. She is so excited! We are looking forward to the Joh. Krausch bow trade when you get them in. Thanks again for your consideration in finding an instrument that works well for her! "
-D.N., Lindon, Utah
"I had pretty much decided against another Chinese instrument. I´ve never bought a violin without playing it first, so I was reluctant to buy one off the internet even though I buy nearly everything else from the internet. However, I live in a rural area, a long way from the nearest violin shop. What it came down to was this: I needed to buy from a shop that I felt I could really trust and that had a return policy. I am very well-acquainted with Shar and have done business with them since about 1968 and trust them. However, they are a rather large business these days and deal in many more products than just instruments. Since StringWorks deals only in instruments, that, to me, was a sign that you have to keep those instrument buyers happy, month after month and year after year in order to stay in business. (I have my own business, too, started from scratch, and I know that every cent I make is related to keeping steady, returning customers happy.) I think I have read in detail everything on the internet about StringWorks. I also like it that you guys are actually string players."
"You have an excellent website, and there are many positive references to you in various violinist blogs. When I emailed Todd with questions, I was very impressed with the quick reply. I make decisions thoughtfully, but once made, I like to act quickly. I hope I love the violin I have ordered and then to do business with you in the future when I can afford a better instrument. So, in essence, I chose StringWorks as a good company to do business with first and then decided on which StringWorks instrument to purchase."
- P.P., Sandia, Texas
"It´s late in coming, but I wanted to write and tell you how happy I have been with my Maestro violin. I bought it back in February and have been loving it since. The entire process was very simple and I even got my 4 fine tuners as requested. I appreciate the wonderful service provided by Eric in answering my questions and for suggesting the ebony fittings, which I agree are a beautiful match against the rich darkness of the wood. I like my Coda Bow and the luxurious case as well. Everything was packaged very well and arrived in perfect condition. I will definitely be coming back to StringWorks in the future if I decide to upgrade to a higher model. I am also pleased to be supporting a great Wisconsin company and can only hope everyone else learns about your quality instruments and customer service!"
- N.X., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"Oh Pat, she called me and we talked briefly, she said it was the most special gift she has ever received, she said that she was going to get lessons now...she was moved, she called her mother immediately!!! And, she loved the card. Thank you Pat, you made it all possible- I also told her: "Pat said you would never need another cello if you have the Virtuoso - she said she just burst out crying at work- in front of everyone. Like I said, you made it all possible. Thank you"
- B.K., Portland, Oregon
"I ordered the Artist cello about 2 years ago. I love it so much that I told my mom that when I get a new cello, I am going to keep the cello. I think it is one of the best cellos I have ever played in my life so far. Everyone says I have a very beautiful tone on it. I Play in the Naples Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra and everyone loves the cello. I also will be auditioning for the yearly concerto competition with this cello. Thank you String works. This cello is really a winner."
"Thanks again for shipping the violin when you did. I wanted to let you know that we actually received the violin outfit on Christmas Eve. Our mail room stays open late on the 24th and we picked it up just before they closed. My wife loves the violin and everything and she had her first post-holiday class last week. Her teacher likes the violin and agreed it was a very big step up from her first violin (the purple one). Her teacher said the strings were not the best, but adequate and she LOVES the bow, so you were right (of course) that she´ll probably never need to get another bow. I appreciate Erik´s recommendation for the bow upgrade. She would probably still be considered a beginner, but I could tell the difference in sound quality as soon as she played something on it on Christmas Day. Thank you again for everything from the excellent service to the high quality of the instrument and equipment."
"Bravo to you for reducing prices on instrument rental. If the rest of the country would follow suit, we´d whip this economy into shape in no time. But 99 percent of the world is focused on greed, not need. Congrats for being the elite 1 percent group!"
"I ordered my Kallo Bartok violin on a Saturday. On Friday it arrived in Wyoming, complete with boxwood fittings and 4 fine tuners! What a beautiful rich sound already. the instrument itself is beautiful, what a pleasure to play... I can barely put it down. I´ve had it for only 24 hours and it has me under its spell! Thank you for a gorgeous instrument and spectacular service!"
- L.A., Lander, Wyoming
"By the way, I read your blog about Passion vs. Profit. I hope that StringWorks does stay to its "mom and pop" roots instead of the profit route by expanding. It is the customer service and comments I´ve read about your company that attracted me to this web site. Having received my MBA and studied many companies, I´ve seen too often that companies go for short term profit and expansion at the expense of customer service. That is why I no longer buy at chain stores like Sam Ash, Guitar Center, etc. for my musical instruments. Prices may be slightly lower, but their sales staff no NOTHING about instruments. They work there for the employee discounts, from what I´ve observed. I´d rather pay a little more for the individual attention and specialized knowledge. The enjoyment of a good instrument lasts far longer than the temporary pain in the wallet for such a purchase."
"Just thought I would drop you a note to say that my violin came in last Friday, I took it to my 4th lesson Tuesday last, and my instructor was very impressed with it. He has been playing the violin for 24 years and is in college now working on a major in music, and hoping to become a professional soloist. He said he said on several occasions he had been down to Chicago to play some high end violins at several dealers on Dearborn St. One of the instruments he was able to play was an 18th century violin priced at over $300,000 and came with a bow that cost $12,000. I asked him what he thought I paid for my Marius Gyorke and he estimated $7,000 to $8,000. Needless to say I was very happy to have a second opinion that my novice purchase was not just beautiful, but a good one, a very good one."
- G.B, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
"Said simply, I love the Kallo Bartok and will be keeping it! The sound from the KB is noticeably more complex than that of my Eastman 905. And for now I will be playing both. Don´t get me wrong, I believe that the 905 is comparable, but not as pleasing to my ear (especially the lower strings). I find it hard to believe the tonal changes that have taken place after only two weeks. I play for about two hrs. per day and alternate between the two violins. The KB 9 out 10 times is the favorite. As for the future, I will probably sell my 905 and then seek your advice on the selection of a Man Claudiu."
- L.B., Moscow, Pennsylvania
"To the good people at StringWorks: I sent some comments earlier, but I also wanted to say that (compared to my last bow) this Joh. Krausch bow makes transitioning from one string to another, slurring, etc. much easier. I actually don´t mind doing scales, now that I have a decent bow. it really DOES make a difference to have a good bow - I can´t believe I waited this long. I enjoy playing so much more now. Did I mention, I love my new bow? Thank you! Also, and I´m not sure when, I´m interested in MAYBE upgrading my instrument. I´m not sure yet because I really enjoy my Soloist and I can´t imagine finding anything else that sounds better."
- Y.L., Annandale, Virginia
"Hi, I bought the Maestro cello a couple months ago and I could not be happier with it. The sound is amazing and so is the price. The service I received was fantastic and I hope to do much more business with you in the future."
"I just received my Maestro Violin with the Coda Bow Conservatoryand I must admit I´ve never been so impressed in my life with a musical instrument package. The case was of superb quality and the violin and bow sound absolutely amazing together. I´m still trying to get over the nice strong tone and accuracy of the violin. Like so many others, I have been researching a violin purchase for over two months and decided to spend extra to obtain a quality instrument and bow and I have not been let down. Thank you again for your prompt service and amazing products. I appreciate your willingness to go the extra mile for the customer to provide such excellent products. I will definitely recommend String Works to any colleagues that may be looking for a nice string instrument or bow."
- J.A., Eagle Mountain, Utah
"Yesterday I visited StringWorks to test out Kallo Bartok cellos, in hopes I would find my dream instrument. I purchased a CodaBow Classic from the store in January, and have friends who have bought instruments from there over the past year, and we have all been very pleased with their service and the quality of their products. As a cello performance major, I desperately needed to upgrade my instrument, and Erik assured me that the Bartok would suit my needs. After trying the first of the five they had available, my first thoughts were "Maybe these cellos aren´t for me". They all sounded nice, but none of them grabbed me from the start. After painstakingly narrowing down to 2 instruments, I finally decided on 1 to take home to try. I have been playing it nonstop since yesterday, even carrying it with me around the house. just so that I could play wherever I went. I just don´t want to be without it! I firmly believe that these instruments have so much character within them, that it can be the only explanation for why I was unsure of them at the start. They have so much power, and when I stare at mine, it appears as if it has a secret. The secret is its amazing sound and personality. It has so much that it seemed to laugh at me when I first played it, as if to say that it was too good for me. Already since yesterday, this beautiful cello has begun to open, and I can´t even imagine what it will sound like in only a year. Thank you StringWorks, for this beautiful instrument. I would not part with it for anything. I definitely found my dream cello. "
"My apologies for this very late reaction! I have been quite ill and have had some troubles. I want to thank you very very much for the beautiful Soloist! I received it in incredibly perfect condition. It arrived quickly, and I was absolutely amazed how well it was packed and how perfect it had made its journey. It looked and smelled gorgeous. The bridge was up and all the strings on, wonderful!
It is a beautiful cello, and when I played it I was amazed at its sound: creamy, smooth, dark but not dark in the upper registers, just as I hoped. My cello-teacher had been very curious, and had advised against it from the start. She was totally taken aback, first with its looks (she said it´s one of the loveliest celli she has seen, and she has seen some) and after that, with its sound. I had feared she might think it too soft or too dark etc, and was a bit worried about the c-string, but she said: "absolutely not, it has a gorgeous tone, and its easy to play, there must be some minus points somewhere, but I can´t find them! There´s absolutely nothing wrong with it, on the contrary: you´ll never have to replace it, you found your buddy." When I told her how much it had cost, she was even more amazed: said that a similar quality cello here in the Netherlands costs easily two-and-a-half to three times as much. She doesn´t have internet, but took down the StringWorks website anyway, intrigued as she was. I have had many compliments for my new cello, and I am enjoying getting to know it. I had bought the larsen-soloist G-string some time ago (also from the USA) seeing that Jim, from the StringWorks forum, had replaced his g-string larsen with a larsen-soloist, and even though the difference is minor, it was the right thing to do. In fact my teacher said at first that the g-string had something she couldn´t quite place, and asked me to play it again, but after that she said: no, it´s fine, nothing wrong with it. Funny that this was the only titbit she had, and I had already bought the other string. We were also very impressed with the cello-case, it is fantastic. The coda-classic is also wonderful, and I´m very happy with it, it seems to go well with the Soloist. My cello-teacher had never heard or seen a carbon-fibre bow, and was skeptical, but was impressed with it. It feels very nice and the sound does make a difference on the Soloist, although not so much on her cello. One question: the registration-form did not come with the bow. Did you register it, or does this still have to happen? What was also a very nice surprise, was your StringWorks bow!! I couldn´t believe the quality of it, when you look at how little it costs. My teacher couldn´t believe it. "It´s straight too!" she said in awe. It sounds great too. This all sounds very gushy, but I can´t express it any other way. The whole purchase has surpassed my wildest fantasies and I am very grateful! You have a most wonderful business. And in the future I´ll come back for the Bartok or the M.C. ! Thank you again, and sorry it took so long for you to hear this. I hope you all keep well and that you have this success for many more years to come."
"I have to admit I was very skeptical, first of all, about buying a new violin. Second, I was extremely hesitant to buy a violin online, even with a trial period. I read other peoples´ testimonials with curiosity, but was somewhat skeptical and dismissive of their comments. I spent a couple of months looking for violin within a very limited budget (under $4000), and I wanted a very high-quality violin with a full yet lyrical sound, as I am an advanced player who has had top-notch professional musicians for instructors. However, after testing a couple dozen violins (which were all more expensive than the Kallo Bartok), I decided to give StringWorks a try. The staff were extremely helpful and patient on the phone, and assured me that they wanted me to find the best violin for my needs right now, whether or not it came from StringWorks. That showed me that the staff is made of wonderful people with a lot of integrity. I decided to give the Kallo Bartok violin a try. Everything about it was true to the testimonials and the staff´s opinions.
The lower strings are full and rich, the upper strings are sweet and lyrical, the harmonics are gorgeous, and the overall sound is open and clear, not muffled or murky. I am very happy with my violin and the service I got from StringWorks, and I too will join the ranks of other happy customers and recommend that even the greatest skeptic ought to give them a try! It´s amazing that such a high quality violin cost so little."
"Just returned from my cello lesson with Anne Boyd, and heard her new Kallo Bartok. What a beautiful sound! She is very pleased. Once again, compliments on your excellent business and wonderful instruments. Guess I started quite a trend. Between Phillip and two of Anne´s other students, that makes a total of 3 Soloists and 1 Kallo Bartok. She mentioned yet another student who is saving money to place an order. Pretty soon, Ottawa will not only be the Capital of Canada, but the Stringworks cello capital. Keep those celli coming!!"
"Well, once again I am here to praise StringWorks for their wonderful service. A few months ago, I decided that it was time to invest in a decent viola, and since I had a positive experience with my Soloist violin; I figured that I might as well become a repeat customer. I was set on getting the Michael Todd viola, however, they were out of stock, and they had a Bartok in stock, so I took it, (due to severe anxiety). When it arrived a couple of days later, I just stared at it for about 10 minutes, and then I played Hindemith Der Schwanendreher. You can just imagine my delight when I heard every double and triple stop come out clearly, with such a wonderful sonorous and resonant sound. I am SO happy that I got the Kallo Bartok viola; it is such a rich, warm, brilliant instrument. Again, thank you StringWorks for being a diamond in the rough!!!"
"Pat, just wanted to update you. Remember us in FL? Bought 2 maestros from you-- 1 violin & 1 viola. Oldest daughter, Caitlyn, stricken with lupus last August. Nearly killed her. 9 days in hospital. Got into skin, joints, kidneys & even brain. Fought back hard! Proud to say off to Univ of S. Calif in August!! Has thing in remission. Maestro is going with her; intends to play in Concert Orchestra & study aerospace. Little Briana & rest of us moving back to Chicagoland. Had enough of crap down here. Briana auditioned for Chicago Youth Orchestra- waiting on word. As with Caitlyn, the Maestro is holding up well. The girls´ teacher down here, Sylvia Kim, who really loved YOUR instruments even with her own family making them for years, is off to Curtis School of Music on a full ride. Told ya you make good stuff! Anyhow, thought of you today, & just wanted to give you an update, you touched our lives in a meaningful way & just wanted to touch base. Hope this finds you well & happy!"
"I´ve had my new Kallo Bartok violin for about three weeks now and just couldn´t resist the impulse to let you know how much I like it, even though it´s very unusual for me to write letters of praise unless I´m VERY pleased. I should have known from the excellent service that Pat and Erik and Edmund gave me over the telephone that I was dealing with a company that truly cared about placing fine instruments into musicians´ hands, but still, being the wary sort, I was only convinced to try it out because of the two week trial period. The first thing I noticed when I took the violin out of the box was how "substantial" it felt, much different from the cheaper and lighter Chinese-made violin I´d been playing. It also looked beautifully antique-- not too much different from my teacher´s violin, which was made in the 1800´s. I put rosin on the Coda Conservatory bow (also an EXCELLENT product, with superb balance and a lovely feel) and began to play-- what a SWEET sound! I send my heartfelt thanks to Edmund, the violinist there at StringWorks who took note of what I wanted and how I planned to use the violin and chose the instrument out of the shipment of ten that had just arrived. The sound was exactly as I´d wanted, and I couldn´t be happier. It was especially important to me that the sound be even across all strings, since I plan to use this as a soloist instrument in the future. Now that I´ve been playing it for three weeks, the sound has begun to open up even more, resonating better and better all the time. I can only imagine what it´ll be like six months from now. Yum. When I took the instrument with me to a lesson yesterday, my teacher was truly impressed. He said it was definitely worth more than I´d paid, and that he was surprised at the quality and richness of sound, then said that this instrument would serve me well for a long time to come. He liked the CodaBow and he really liked the Deluxe case-- he wanted one, since it was so much nicer than what he had! The best part of having the new equipment is how much better I´m enjoying practice. I can´t seem to put that violin down for very long at all! I sound better than I could have believed possible. Having the better bow has made a HUGE difference as well, making me wish I´d invested in a good bow long before now. I think I would have advanced more quickly and enjoyed playing more.
Thanks again for offering such a good product at a reasonable cost. I´m very pleased and plan to recommend your company to my friends."
"After two anxious days awaiting delivery, I received the Crescendo Violin. The packaging was perfect, and the instrument-- Oh, My! -- what a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. My wife exclaimed, "Why didn´t you rent one for me?" I´m looking forward to my first lessons and the joy of making music on such a fine instrument. I´m confident that my relationship with String Works will be long and fruitful. Special thanks to Eric for providing me with the guidance and expertise I needed to make the right decision at this time of my life."
"I bought a Virtuoso Violin about five months ago. And I love it! It has a wonderful sound, a lot better than my other violin. I showed it to my lesson teacher and she can´t believe what I paid for it. She is amazed at the quality I received for the price I paid. I am so happy that I stumbled upon this web site!! "
"I just bought a Soloist for my daughter, this is my first dealing with StringWorks. And I was pleased with all the help on my selection. On to the Soloist.. The package arrived in pristine shop and packaged very well for transport. When I opened it I was amazed at it´s beauty. The website photos do no justice. I gave it to my daughter and she was very impressed and couldn´t wait to play it. Knowing that I had 14 days to decide also was a deciding factor to order from StringWorks. At my daughters´ next lesson her teacher went over it with a "fine tooth comb" and was very impressed. She explained every aspect as she looked over the violin, from the matching grain of the sides to the back, and how they were able to closely match the front with the back then the pegs, strings and bow. She was VERY impressed and wants to know much more about StringWorks. She ended up playing it, giving it a thorough workout for my daughters´ entire lesson, so much that we had to make up the time another day. Her teacher is a skilled violinist, being concert mistress for many years and her students travel from all over Northern Ohio to receive lessons, so her assurance on the quality made me very comfortable with my purchase. Even yesterday during the makeup lesson she repeated again on how much she was impressed.....after she played it again for some time."
- W.K. (taken from the Discussion Forums)
"Your Virtuoso violin is absolutely stunning. For anyone considering the virtuoso I must say that it surprisingly beautiful, like a work of art. I am an adult beginner and everything from the finish to the smell and most importantly the gorgeous warm and resonant voice this instrument produces has made me very happy I purchased from StringWorks. I rarely send comments on products, even when I am happy with them, but people should know what wonderful instruments StringWorks produces. For over two years I browsed the StringWorks site. If you are on the fence like I was, go ahead and make the purchase. I believe you will be quite pleased. "
"As the parent of a string player, as one who plays both violin and viola, as a computer science professor, and as a web designer, I was exceedingly impressed with StringWorks web presence. Of all the music store web sites, yours has the best mix of information and seems the most human. Indeed, the discussion board is amazing, reminiscent of the farmers gathering around the stove in the general store, friend talking to friend."
"Pat, Erik, the Soloist cello arrived today (a day earlier than promised- Thank You StringWorks; thank you FedEX!). It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, both visually and in sound. It is an utterly responsive instrument that is going to all me to challenge music that I thought I would have to by-pass. I am completely thrilled with it. I can only say that if this instrument matures the way that the Virtuoso is maturing, it will be a marvelous instrument! I am also more than thrilled with the Krausch Select bows. I knew that the Ivory frog was impressive (from your website photos), but had no idea how beautiful the mother of pearl accents are. They are wonderfully balanced, and seem to be just the perfect weight (83 and 85 g). I really appreciate the effort that all your staff placed in getting my order just right; the neck of the cello is shallow and narrow, just as I asked; and as I said, the bows are perfect. I have rarely been treated with such kindness and respect by the representatives of any company I have ever dealt with. You are considerate and caring for your customers, and show a great deal of pride in the instrument that you sell. Thank you all again and again, from the very bottom of my heart!! I have, and will continue to recommend your company to every string player who asks about instruments. You are all true jewels! Thank you! "
" I ordered my Bartok late Monday afternoon and it arrive Wednesday afternoon. When I opened it up I was so excited, the instrument was beautiful (the case as well). When I began to play I couldn´t put it down! I played Rachimaninov´s Vocalise and the instrument was so warm, rich and responsive. Erik was so helpful in his advice in helping me to chose the Bartok rather than the Todd and I am more than happy with this violin, I recommend it to anyone who is considering it! Thank-you StringWorks!"
"I´m an adult who´s been learning to play the violin for a little more than a year. I love it, but it´s slow, and one of the hard parts is finding time to practice. So I´ve been looking for a good, sound violin to keep at my girlfriend´s house so I can double my chances of having both time and circumstance to practice. The first few violins I bought (and returned) were disasters: the cheap assembly made violins sound cheap and feel worse, even to my amateur senses. (My ´first´ violin is a beautiful and lucky acquisition, French from the ´20s, so junky fiddles sound junky next to it.) So then I found you all, and both your philosophy and your violins looked much more hopeful, and the comments from your customers bordered on the psychedelic. So I ordered- on, I think, Monday of this week-- a pre-owned Crescendo that had just come in from someone moving up. It arrived-- flawlessly packed, I must point out -- yesterday, and in 60 seconds, I was, literally, floored. What a fine feeling and sounding violin! I practiced last night on it for about an hour, stopping every once in a while to look it over under a good light. It feels good, sounds lovely, and plays far far better than I do. What an amazing process this was-- there are, as you know, literally 1000s of fiddles out there, and there is no way, really, to tell much without playing. (And price is not an automatic indication: I ordered a $599 violin outfit from a very prominent vendor, and it was not much better than the $125 one I first ordered.) What a tremendous service you are doing for those who buy a violin like this from you, and the lives you must touch by selling such a product, in such a crisp and efficient fashion, must, I believe, make you feel great at the end of the day. This is a marvel. I´d like to say that I´ll someday outgrow this violin and trade up, but if you heard me play, you´d know I was lying. I can say that I look forward to playing this violin with as much anticipation as I had last year when I began to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning. Thank you very much for selling me this violin, for shipping it so carefully, and for providing that crystalline moment yesterday afternoon when I first drew bow across string."
"I received my Virtuoso violin outfit today, and it is beautiful and the Ultra case is very plush. I love the whole package. The tone of the violin is very rich and pure. Thanks to Erik, who was very helpful and professional. I will be giving you many referrals from Texas. Thanks again for providing such quality instruments and service!!!"
"I had the opportunity to visit the StringWorks show this past weekend and play the Man Claudiu cello. In a word, it is fantastic! It is a definite "step up" in the StringWorks line of instruments. I played it for about an hour. I tested it playing 4 octave scales and triads, the Brahms´ E Minor cello sonata, the Bach G Major Prelude and Faure´s Apres Une Reve. Four octave scales were clear and full all the way to the top. The tone was steady and strong even when pushed in the fourth octaves. The Brahms demands a cello that can produce a rich lower register sound. (I personally find that producing varying tone colors in the neck positions on the "C" and "G" strings a challenge.) The Man Claudiu did so with ease. Dynamic variations were also easy to achieve. The upper register passages were clear and powerfully projected while maintaining a full tone. Achieving a powerful crescendo in the ascending passages was easy (and fun). I chose the Faure piece to test the upper registers of the A and D strings. The cello played beautifully above the octave harmonic with a rich sonority- a very warm and full tone. Finally, I played several movements from the G Major Cello suite. I think that the Prelude is a good test of an instrument´s openness and resonance. The arpeggios rang out beautifully. The "G" string was a beautiful complement to the upper register melodies. In short, this in an amazing instrument! I have no doubt it will serve the needs of the advanced high school student to that of many professionals. It clearly fills the $5K-$15K "dead zone" with a beautifully playing, looking and sounding instrument."
"I played cello in grade and high school and, now, after 45 years of not playing, I´m taking lessons and planning on buying a cello. I searched the net before starting my lessons and almost chose a StringWorks instrument but then decided to take lessons and get some advice from my instructor. Guess what? She has a StringWorks cello!"
"I have owned 2 SW violins so far. My first was the Crescendo on which I began to take lessons 2 years ago. About 1 1/2 years ago I upgraded to the Soloist, which is a great instrument. I guess I get antsy every year or two, since I just submitted my order to an MTII! I´m very pleased with the instruments and with the service. I live in Seoul, Korea and there is a very large musical instruments market here with many violins in many shops. I went over there this past weekend to just wander and play violins, just to see what was out there. Well, needless to say, I came home and called SW to order the MTII!! "
- M.L. (from the Discussion Forums)
"Thank you very much for getting back with me. I already have my new Artist cello and it´s wonderful. My teacher is also very impressed. She had several students with StringWorks instruments. As always it is a pleasure dealing with your company. Erik is always extremely helpful."
"I own a Virtuoso violin for about 3 months and I love it. It looks great and sounds sweet. No comparison to my ebay violin. Virtuoso sounds more fuller and richer, not to mention very playable and well setup."
- G.V. (taken from the Discussion Forums)
"The MTII cello arrived Friday and it is BEAUTIFUL! I find it´s tone equally appealing but I needed to wait for my cello lesson last night to get a more qualified opinion before deciding to keep it. For weeks my teacher had been telling me that I won´t be able to find a decent instrument in my price range, so I held my breath as she started the MTII on a test run. Simple pieces were quickly replaced by much more complex works- up and down the neck. Stopping now and then ... repeating a phrase or two listening intently - never giving a hint as to how things were going. Finally she stopped and (after checking out the label) announced " this is a VERY GOOD cello and will only improve with time". Huge sigh of relief."
"Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I have shipped my Virtuoso viola back to StringWorks in Appleton, WI (trade-in). I absolutely adore my new MTII viola! Visually it is spectacular, and tonally it is gorgeous. I love it, my housemate loves it, my teacher loves it...... my neighbors don´t though! Thank you again for the beautiful instrument."
"I´m still loving my MTII! And it´s continuing to save me money! Today when I went to my violin lesson, my teacher actually asked me if she could borrow my violin for a recording that she´s doing! So, pretty soon my MTII will be on a semi-professional CD. :-D The reason I said it´s still saving me money is that in exchange for letting her borrow it, she´s giving me a month of free lessons, a copy of the CD and a ticket to one of her concerts. :-D If you want, when I get the CD I´ll make one of the tracks into a .mp3 for you so you can hear it. And who knows, maybe after she plays it this week, she´ll end up buying one of her own! (She´s in the market for a new violin because her old violin is cracked in two places and pretty crappy in general, (not worth fixing), hence her borrowing mine.) Anyway, I just thought you might like to hear that she "changed her tune." (This is the teacher that was against buying a violin "over the internet," and now she´s borrowing my violin.. lol.. )"
"I am VERY impressed with my MTII (Michael Todd violin)! When I first opened up the case, I was just amazed at how beautiful it was. (Both the case and the violin!) The pictures on the website just do not do it justice! (It even smells great! LOL!) More importantly, it sounds WONDERFUL! I can´t explain the joy that comes from playing a great violin after only ever using a horrible $99 eBay violin! "
"(regarding Kallo Bartok violin) For me, this was the perfect violin. I was at a loss in seeking a new instrument at a violin shop without the guidance of an experienced teacher. Your web site and staff were both very helpful in this search. The KB represents everything that I wanted in a violin. I will certainly enjoy playing this instrument for many years to come. Thanks again."
"I am a beginning adult viola student. Today was the first day I took my new StringWorks (Crescendo) rental to my lesson. The instructor was very impressed with look, feel and sound of the viola, and said it was far higher quality than the rentals most students have, and she was definitely shocked to find out how low my rental fee was. Thank you StringWorks!"
"I don´t know how to start this, but, last Friday around 5:08 pm an UPS truck pulled up to my front door. My heart started to thud because I knew what it was because I had been tracking it every hour of it´s trip to little old South Carolina. I hurriedly open up my door to pick up the large package. As I pick it up to carry it inside I´m surprised at the low weight. By then I had rushed the package to the living room of my house and get the scissors out to cut the binds that kept my precious trapped in that box. I begin to scoop the seemingly endless packing peanuts to the side to revel a dark blue Cello case and a draw bag marked, "CodaBow Colours". I pick up the case and the bow and set it on the floor immediately. I open up both to reveal works of art in their own respects. I pick up the bow and I was immediately impressed by the speckled look of the finish on the bow and as I pass it under a lamp it goes from red to green to gold. I´m in awe by the weight of the bow as it is perfect. Next, I open up the case to display what is comparable to the works of the finest painters and the greatest sculptors. I see my new beautiful Soloist cello. The pictures of the website don´t do the cello justice for it is beautifully antiqued, and the color is to die for. The quality of the wood used is amazing and is easily noticeable. After sitting there looking at this work of art I decide to pull up a chair and start to play Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. The only thing that can beat the beauty of the Soloist is the brilliant sounds that are produced by this superior instrument. I am in awe over the vast improvements over many of the cellos I have heard (including the $10,000 dollar cello of our principal cellist) and it is the difference between night and day between my trusty old plywood cello that lasted me the many harsh years of middle school and the first part of high school. I am positive this cello will last me throughout college. Thank-you StringWorks for providing me with a cello that has exceeded all expectations. I look forward to showing this to my orchestra conductor and showing it off to all my other cellists. I was definitely weary at first about ordering off the internet, but you put all my fears to rest. Thank-you Erik for all your help and giving me updates about the shipments coming in. I want to thank everyone that set up the cello and made it as beautiful as it is. Thank-you so much StringWorks!" - E.B.
"I ordered my daughter´s Artist violin on Monday after talking with Erik. He very professionally answered all my questions. The violin arrived on Tuesday! We were amazed how beautiful it looks and the tone is wonderful. It´s more than we expected! My daughter took it to school today for her orchestra class. All her peers commented on what a beautiful instrument it is and the sound quality. Several of her friends asked where we purchased it from and of coarse she said "StringWorks" Her teacher was shocked we received a quality violin over the internet. Thanks again Erik for your help. When we´re ready to trade up, we will visit your store for sure!"
"...everything about StringWorks has been more than I´ve expected...a cello worth more in sound and look than I purchased it for (at least worth 3 times as much)...and customer service that was more like dealing with family than a company. Thanks StringWorks! You´ve delivered me the cello of my dreams."
"It´s been about a year since you sent the three violins. One 1/2 size and two 4/4. They have been played a great deal nearly every day throughout the year and have been praised by many instructors and professionals alike for their exceptional value. I therefore must thank you, and especially the person(s) who picked and setup these instruments, especially for the 1/2 size. It it quite remarkable considering it´s cost. I will certainly recommend StringWorks to others."
"I am VERY pleased with my [Michael Todd II] violin. When I presented it to my instructor she praised the full sound coming without placing a lot of pressure on the bow. The beauty of the instrument only enhances the pride I have when I show it to my friends and associates. Please bill my credit card for the balance since I will be keeping the instrument and accessories. A big thank you to your sales staff. When I picked up the violin on 11/7, I had about two weeks experience on the violin. Although I have played cello for two years this was a different animal completely. I was treated with the respect many companies have forgotten their customers deserve even when asking "dumb" questions. I will have no problem recommending your establishment to anyone looking for an instrument. Thanks again for your help, understanding and encouragement."
"Just wanted to let you know that the viola arrived safely on Wednesday, November 5th. Terrific shipping time considering it came half way around the world to Cyprus! The customs document was stamped October 29th indicating the day it was mailed. Anyway, it is truly a beautiful looking instrument and my son said he wished he had a camera to get a picture of his teacher´s face when she saw it. She was very impressed and commented that it was even nicer than hers. This is only the Artist viola so I can just imagine what the others are like! We are also impressed with the case, bow and entire package. I´m glad I found StringWorks on the internet. Thanks very much for all your help. I´ll be sure to pass your card on to any others who are looking for instruments."
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