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
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