I played on the MV650 today and was not entirely happy with it. First of all, I had trouble getting a sound out of it so I checked inside to see the condition of the sound-post. It was SUPER crooked and had almost fallen down plus the top of the sound-post was not under the right foot of the bridge so I had to straighten that out, which improved the sound greatly. This is not Cecilio’s fault. Impossible to send out an instrument and guarantee that it will arrive the same way.
When I moved the sound-post to the correct position the post appears to be too tight. This is not strange or necessarily wrong since violins change with time and the posts need to be replaced after a period depending on how dry or what kind of wood is being used. The post actually causes the top to rise slightly in that spot. The counter pressure of the bridge should keep it from forming too much but not entirely. Having the sound-post too tight will actually dampen vibrations causing problems in achieving the optimal sound. Moving the post more towards the middle to lessen pressure would put this post too far from the bridge foot. To add to this dilemma Cecilio uses steel strings on these instruments which gives more pressure and a brighter sound. With time I am convinced that this post will fit perfectly but not now with steel strings.
When playing the Mendini I am forced to press too hard to get a good sound but this could easily be rectified by changing strings, sound-post, or waiting till the violin shapes, and will surely differ from violin to violin.
Having said that, the instrument has an extremely good look for being new and almost resembles an old antique violin. The back is made from one piece and the flames are very attractive. The pegs, tailpiece and end-pin are of good quality and condition especially for the money.
All in all you get an extremely great value at $200
Since the CVN-500 is very close to the same price I decided to make a comparison. This violin is in my opinion more attractive than the Mendini, however, I asked a few people in my family that felt the Mendini was more attractive. This is obviously a question of taste.
The case that comes with the Mendini is slightly more attractive but seems to be the exact same quality. I prefer the blue interior of the Mendini’s case and the light color of the CVN500 is bound to get dirty over time.
I was very happy with the sound that came from the CVN-500 right from the start. Easy to play and very open. Surely differs from violin to violin but this particular instrument was a hit for $20 less than the Mendini.
Bare in mind that changes made to the violin such as high quality perlon strings will affect the sound tremendously and may even put the sound of the Mendini over the CVN-500 but this would require an investment of 40-50 dollars. Also, a better fitted sound-post and bridge could affect both instruments tremendously but could easily run you over $100.
Of these two similarly priced violins I would recommend the CVN-500.
Buy this violin: CVN-500