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MJZ 905 - Guarneri + Holstein 2-star Pernambuco bow
reviewing my instrument and bow after playing for 1 month
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New member
December 4, 2016 - 11:21 am
Member Since: December 4, 2016
Forum Posts: 1
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I am writing this review for people who are considering the purchase of a MJZ 905 (Guarneri).

First of all I need to say that I am a beginner - I have only been playing for 2 months. I am 37 years old and I have been listening to violin music since the age of 9, I must have listened to thousands of recordings and I have watched numerous people play both classical and modern pieces. Although I have only recently started my journey with my instrument - I honestly don't feel like a beginner when it comes to the sound of the violin.

From the very first moment that I started violin lessons, I knew that I wanted a good instrument, that I would enjoy playing for the first few years. I didn't want an instrument I would get bored of after the first year. I was immediately impressed by two brands -  MJZ and Holstein.  I watched a lot of videos on You Tube made by Pierre - comparing instruments from both brands in the same price range. The quality of the sound on the MJZ 905 impressed me the most. I like the quality of the more expensive Holstein violins even more - but unfortunately they are out of my prince range at this moment.

I asked Pierre to pick out a dark sounding MJZ 905 Guarneri pattern. The instrument was delivered in perfect condition - traveling from Florida to Belgium - I was really surprised. When I first played - I knew right away that the set-up of the instrument was near to perfect - string changes are so easy - the sound on every string is very stable - the bridge is set so perfectly - it feels like it is glued to the violin.  This instrument is much easier to play than the Scott Cao STV-17 that I have on loan. 

It is a very beautiful instrument - without flaws - I like the colour of the varnish a lot - it is much nicer than the pictures.

I have to be honest there was one minor problem - the peg on the D-string was a bit stiff - it was nearly impossible to tune it with my left hand while bowing. A little bit of peg soap solved the problem immediately.

Although I asked for a dark sounding instrument - I found the instrument to be too dark sounding with the Vision strings that were put on the instrument, especially the G string.  I changed the strings to a complete set of Obligato's first - which made an incredible difference on the G and E string - that's when I noticed that the bridge was set-up perfectly - it stayed in place perfectly during the string change. The Obligato A and D sounded very loud, to the point that it was very disturbing to my ears. About 2 weeks ago I changed them for Infeld Blue A and D strings - these strings are lower tension and produce a more brilliant and softer sound.  This information may seem redundant, but I was amazed that a change of strings drastically changed the sound of my instrument. So if you have purchased on instrument and you are disappointed about the sound it produces - I strongly advise to experiment with string changes first.

I have never had any doubt of the quality of this instrument, even though at the beginning the sound wasn't exactly to my liking. When playing on all strings - even as a beginner - I never managed to produce any squeaking or bad sound - and my teacher is truly impressed.

From the first time I played, the way she sounds has also changed but in a positive way - after about 7 days of playing there was 1 day that she sounded very strange, it felt as if she had been completely submerged in water - it was a very humid and cold day  - and I played for about 2 hours - the weird sound stayed, whatever I did. She was perfectly fine the next day, but I feel as if this was the day that there was a change in the wood and she started to open up from that day onwards.  And I love her sound ever since that day.

I also ordered the Holstein 2-Star Pernambuco bow - I strongly recommend this bow as well - it is very light, very stable and easy to play over the complete length of the bow. I struggled a lot with the inexpensive bows I own on my Scott Cao. Since I own the Holstein bow, I haven't picked up my other bows once.

My practicing hours have gone up from 30 minutes to about 3 hours a day. I simply cannot put her down - and practice till my arms are hurting. I always dreamt of playing - but I didn't know that a good quality instrument would stimulate me to such extend. I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend this combination to every person.

If you are more into brilliant sounding instruments - you should definitely ask Pierre for advise when considering this model.


MyMing from Belgium

my own little world

December 4, 2016 - 12:36 pm
Member Since: July 23, 2015
Forum Posts: 2113
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Welcome to the forum :) I too own a MJZ 905 purchased from Fiddlershop, and I love it! Glad you are just as happy with yours :)  

World's Okayest Fiddler
☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨* •☆•*¨*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆

Fort Lauderdale
December 5, 2016 - 8:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16356

MyMing, thanks so much for the kind words and promotion.

I'm grateful that you took so much time out of your schedule to share your opinion about the instrument and our service.  Guys like you help us succeed and are the reason we go the extra mile.

It's obvious that you do a lot of experimenting and searching to achieve improvement and that is a characteristic that will get you far in your violin learning journey. Same in regards to technique, repertoire, phrasing, color, dynamics ...... The list goes on and on. You try something, it doesn't work, you try something else, it works..... Learning made easier. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

California, the place of my heart
December 6, 2016 - 3:21 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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What a great review!  I too love my Ming 905.  I bought it also from Fiddlershop.

I am now looking at bows.   2017 will find me with a new "decent" bow I hope.   Or if I decide to stay the same I will get another FM Carbon Fiber. 

I will give a thought to the bow you recommend.  @MyMing 

Again, thanks for sharing your story.


Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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