I purchased a viola tailpiece and chin rest from A Cavallo Violins on eBay. I sent a message and asked that they be matched as boxwood fittings tend to vary in color. I was very pleased with what I received. I later found some carved pegs and asked if they could be matched to the fittings I had. Buy looking at a photo of my viola they were able to match my fittings dead on perfect. These folks go way beyond the call of duty to please their customers! I will absolutely buy from them again!
David - Violist
The cello just arrived safely, thanks. You guys seem very competent to get it packed nicely and shipped so fast. Keep me in mind for cellos and better violins, and let me know if you have needs as I do a fair bit of wholesale myself,
Andrew, Dealer and Luthier
Thank you so much for your professional expertise in helping me with my viola.
I love the bow and the chinrest is perfect!
The new rosin and c string solved the rest of my problems.
Catherine - professional violist
Thanks so much for the message! I am loving the violin - it's opening up more as I play it - and has quite a powerful sound in addition to its warmth. It was a great choice to restart my musical journey with - I can't thank you enough for your help. If I decide to trade up in the future, I will certainly reach out to you!
Jon - Amateur Player in Dallas
I would like to thank your personnel for the excellent service I received on my violin on Saturday. They answered all my questions. On examining my violin the gentleman said I needed to lower my strings caused by the the bridge being too high. A few weeks prior my violin teacher said she thought my string were high causing a ping when I released them. Your staff replaced my strings and my bow (warped and horse hair badly worn). After practicing several hours since then it is like having a new violin. I knew it didn't sound quite right before the visit and could easily have quit the instrument. Now I really am enjoying the new sound and the lowered strings (no ping and less pressure. Please convey my thanks to all the staff working Sat. midday.
Wade - Amatuer
The concert celebrating the grand opening of your new store was a rare treat. I'd almost forgotten how exhilarating it is to listen to great chamber music, played by talented musicians in a setting much like that in which it was meant to be played. It was delightful to hear. And it looked like those who were playing were having a great time, too. I could see that my first grader, who is a cello student, really got a lot out of the experience. It was as if music started to become real to him: an "Ah-hah!" moment. "So this is why my mom makes me practice! Maybe it is important to play in tune..."
After a hectic day, the evening helped us calm down and go slower for a couple of hours. We look forward to your next event!
Carolyn, Omaha Mom
Just want to drop a quick note to let you know that I really appreciate your service when purchasing my new cello. A few weeks in now and everything's been going well. I heard from the cello teacher, I will be following up with him soon. I really appreciate your thorough support and look forward to working with you in the future.
Reb - Amateur Cellist
Things are going very well with the viola! ...I think she spent about 5 minutes crying in happiness and disbelief! She is quickly adapting her playing style to fit the instrument, and has said to me that she feels like the viola has it's own soul and personality that is felt when she plays. I am so glad we were able to find something that is such a good fit for her and inspires her to practice, grow and develop to her fullest potential as a musician.
Lisa - Saint Louis Mom
I am delighted to have Dirk making a violin for me! As a long time customer, it has been amazing to watch him master his craft throughout his tenure at A Cavallo. Over those years, hundreds (if not thousands) of instrument set-ups, repairs, and dozens of his own instruments, Dirk's deep, intuitive sense of what makes a violin sound great has proven itself again and again. I am looking forward to watching him create my next instrument, and I also enjoy choosing the model, wood and finish on what I like to think will be his best violin to date. Thanks, Dirk!
Chris - Professional Concertmaster
I am having a great time playing the violin! I think it has already opened up some more (or else I am just getting better on it). I start every session with single string two octave scales to help it sing on all notes in all positions. (Actually, I usually do more of these on the G and D strings, as the A and E already seem pretty open.) It is been really fun to play through old favorites, like the Bach Double Concerto, because I hear different things that I could never bring out on the old violin.
Amy - Serious Amateur (violin by Dirk Henry)- California
Her violin was Anabelle's favorite birthday gift. She has her first lesson with William today and is incredibly excited.
Meg - Omaha Mom
Thanks for your help in finding me a violin that I truly love :)
Charlotte - professional violinist
All items have arrived in good order.
My violinmaker (and I) remain pleased with the quality of the fittings.
Anyway, I appreciate your extra efforts in assembling the order. I'm not sure exactly when I will be ordering next, but I'm bound to need something fairly soon.
Michael - Professional violinist
Great job with the bow. Maybe it's my imagination, but the sound seems much better than when I got other rehairs. Any special hair being used?
Bruce - Freelance Violinist
This morning was absolutely terrific.
Chris was most generous with his time. He should make videos!
We sent him a thank you card, but I wanted to tell you how first rate he was. The students asked a ton of questions, and were very inspired. The art of making instruments is very interdisciplinary, and many students really dug that.
Thank you for providing this opportunity.
Patty - High School Orchestra Director
Hi Alex....got the bow. Love it! Used it Orchestra rehearsal this morning, and it'll get used for a recording session this afternoon. Thank-you so very much!
Cindy - Professional Player
My name is Beth Lang and I am the school counselor who came to you with my grandfather’s violin in the fall, and bought a new bow for it, too. I was referred to you by our music teacher here. I love my instrument again. I love the bow I picked out. It is perfect. I love that I found music again – and I did join the 5th grade orchestra here! I love it! The kids love having me in it too. So much fun. Thank you for spending some time with me, educating me about my instrument, and being patient with my two children who wanted to see everything in your shop!
Beth - School Councilor
I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful, amusing and productive experience Ive had in my nation wide search for a professional viola. I've played some excellent instruments this past month and can not express the love I have for my new Denis Cormier viola.
Significantly more beautiful than I expected and so easy to play. An A string that is as warm and tender sounding as the C, this viola has depth of emotion without vibrato. Giving up my viola of 30 years was hard, but this makes up for it.
Cathy - professional violist
The Sitka spruce that I purchased from you at A. Cavallo Violins was used in the making of a violin that won a gold medal for" first in tone" October 2013 Violin Maker's Association of Arizona, International. I will definitely consider using your Sitka again after having such good results.
Violinmaker Mark Wilcox
Dear A Cavallo staff,
We purchased a viola from you last summer, I think. But I had never heard of you as a string instrument alternative in Eastern Nebraska. Which makes me wonder how many other folks haven't heard of you....We love the viola purchased for our son. It sounds very nice and the case has kept it very safe.
Anne - Mom
Alex & All,
These are nice setup materials. Nice looking cello tailpiece & pegs & endpin!
I am writing to thank you for providing a fourth intermediate-level student of mine with a Master Art violin.
I heard both it and the other Master Art instrument you sent him last week on consignment at his Skype lesson yesterday, and the tone of both of the violins was so full that I had to turn down the volume. My student is loving the instrument, and as a nice extra touch, both of the instruments you sent him to try out had single-piece backs.
As with the three other Master Art violins that you have provided for other students in the past two years, these specimens were all meticulously crafted, well adjusted, and even throughout their ranges. They are an excellent value, and each has inspired the student to practice more.
I like to tell my students that a good violin rewards their playing in tune with a full range of overtones, so the violin essentially can help to teach the student learn to play in tune if he or she knows how to listen to it. Your Master Art instruments exemplify this process - all the more remarkable because they were all new instruments. Thank you once again for providing a quality product at a fair price.
Richard, teacher in California
Hi Alex. The bows arrived today, safe and sound. Wow the Kittel looks fantastic. What a great job he did! Very nice work. Thank you for facilitating the repair. I shall go practice!
The Eastman viola arrived today and my older daughter (whom also is primarily a violinist) loved it so much she is keeping it now - though it was intended for her sister who is the official violist. Such rich tone thank you!
I wanted to let you know that the violin arrived safely. She is absolutely beautiful and the sound she makes while being plucked is amazing - what full and lyrical tone. I can’t wait to get it home (where I have my bows)! And the case is great; thank you for recommending it.
Sandra - Serious amateur player
I'm thrilled with the Cormier and so grateful that you were so patient and helpful. It's been a real pleasure working with you on this.
Judy -Professional Violinist and Teacher
Thanks for calling this morning and your professionalism in dealing with this......Thanks again for your help!
Betsy, Online Customer, Oregon
At the moment I am camping in a remote Costa Rican rain forest. I have already seen two species of monkey, a sloth, scarlet macaws, and a huge boa constrictor, among others. This in just one day.
Despite all this wonder around me, I cannot help but think of my time with you in Omaha at your shop. I just wanted to thank you again for all of your help selecting and buying a violin I love playing.
You have made my very fortunate life that much richer. Please say hi to Mark and Dean for me and thanks again.
Alan - Biologist-researcher
I am writing to express my great appreciation for the sensitivity and professionalism of the service I received when purchasing a violin from your Bryn Mawr shop. It was a fantastic, positive experience and I particularly want to commend the work of Alan Petermann in making it happen.
I have been casually looking for an instrument upgrade for the past 5 years, checking in with local dealers about once a year. So when I drove by the Bryn Mawr location in May and saw the window reading "Violin Shop", I approached with reserved excitement.
From the first day, though, I had an extremely positive experience with the shop. It was bright and airy and the wood floors and picture window really made the space feel open. When I took out my bow, Alan immediately exclaimed, "Oh, a Durschmidtt!" with some excitement and warmth upon seeing the violin inside. It was impressive that he recognized the instrument without handling it or even seeing it out of the case, but more importantly I was struck by the friendly and familiar way in which he identified the fiddle. It's like when you meet someone for the first time and they are welcoming and respectful to your children - it puts you at ease and makes you comfortable. The way Alan greeted the violin I had played for 20+ years was in exactly that manner; it was like he understood and respected that the Durschmidtt was essentially a "child" of mine, though one that I might be giving up.
As Alan pulled out violins and let me play in that beautiful open space, he hit just the right tone of helping and reflecting back what he heard while giving me time to test out the violins. He listened carefully to what I was responding to in each instrument and brought out fiddles to accommodate my tastes. Although I found one or two that day that I favored, he recommended coming back when he could get some other fiddles from Omaha shipped in. Again, I appreciated his attention and service: I made no promises to purchase from the shop, yet he graciously offered a greater selection in a week's time while also not applying any pressure to purchase.
When I returned a few weeks later, there were more fiddles to try, and I narrowed my choice to two instruments after ~2 hours in the shop. Again, Alan mostly left me to myself, but as I was getting more focused, played the two finalists for me as I stood at the back of the shop. After a question about strings, he didn't hesitate to change the strings on one of the instruments so that they both had matching Vision Titaniums. With every question I asked about the instruments, Alan was straightforward, well informed, and took the time to explain. He handled questions about pricing reasonably and with sensitivity, treating me like a musician looking for an instrument with a budget, not just a budget.
I am wholly pleased with every aspect of my business with the shop. Here's what was missing, but not missed: The pressure to make a sale, the alienating loftiness that the buyer must prove themselves worthy of the instrument, the elitism of "if you have to ask, then you can't afford/have". I was very pleasantly surprised by the diversity and quality of violins in my price range. Most importantly, though, was the exceptional service that Alan delivered. He is clearly knowledgeable about instruments, and seemed to have a personal enthusiasm that invested him in getting the process and match right. He showed great respect for both myself and the instruments in the shop. In the end, I could not be happier. I thought it would be so difficult to give up my 20+ year baby, the old Wilhelm Durschmidt - my voice, my left arm of two decades. But once I was matched with my new 2007 Ulbricht, I only had eyes and ears for my new violin. A 100% successful sale!
I will admit that I asked myself initially, "Does the Philadelphia area really warrant another violin shop?" We are blessed with many outfits within an hour's drive from Philly. But I think that what A. Cavallo is offering is really something unique in this area - welcoming, respectful, low-key but professional service and a diverse selection of great instruments. I am happily recommending the shop equally for long-time playing musician friends or families with kids just starting out, and am thrilled to have such a treasure in our neighborhood now.
Melinda - Philadelphia Area Violinist
It was great meeting you today! Thank you so much for all of your time and conversation. I have already recommended that a student call you! I was very impressed with the quality of the instruments and your expertise. I also thought you were really easy to talk to and a really nice person! I know my students would feel very comfortable working with you.
Thanks again for everything!
Louise - Professional Violinist and Teacher
And thank you by the way, for suggesting this violin to me. It is better than I expected, and exactly what we needed. You rock!
Lisa - Mother of 5th Grader
My beloved Ferd is finally fully restored (you can see this wonderful fiddle on my Hot Boots Heather page). While I was at the shop in Omaha (A Cavallo Violins), I picked up another unique violin that was inlaid. I asked what the story was on that one. I was told, "Oh, that? It's $120,000!" with a smile on his face. What?!!! Did I very carefully put it down? Nope! I hollered, "Well, hand me a bow!" It had a nice sound and I was told it was the best one this maker had ever made. But...I still think my favorite one (from Italy) that is a fraction of that price has a much better sound. We really are in the renaissance of violin making!
Heather - Violin teacher and performer
Thank you for your patience and advice through this process, we are very happy to purchase the Meyer for our Daughter!
Thomas, M.D., Father of serious college student
Recently, I went on a quest for a professional level cello. I was in need of a cello that would blend with my colleagues' fine instruments. There was also a need for me to find a cello that ran slightly smaller than normal due to my hand size. I came across the Cavallo Violin Shop web site and saw several promising cellos being offered. I called first. Alex answered the phone and I asked him about his professional cellos. I was delighted to hear him describe a cello that fit my needs in an affordable price range. I am so glad I made the drive to Omaha to investigate the Szlachtowski cello.
Jan Szlachtowski was a new name to me, but the sound produced by his cello was the preference of every musician that I recruited for opinions when I was comparing cellos. I knew the cello was my match when I played it in a large performance room for the first time. The other members of the quartet agreed: it filled the room with a sweet rich sound. Our rehearsals are even more satisfying and I look forward to our next concert (and many more!) with great pleasure.
From the first phone conversation to the final purchase, the Cavallo Violin Shop has been helpful, friendly, and a delight to work with. I am so very happy with my new cello! Thanks So Much!
Elizabeth, professional cellist and chamber musician
I had my first lesson last night....He's pretty good as a bluegrass teacher, and after one hour I had lots of confidence in myself.
Most importantly, when he saw my Stopka, he was quite impressed. He had never heard of Stopka before so it was new to him. He played it a little and said "this is a very expensive violin." I said, yeah, it's an investment. Then he played it again, made more remarks about how nice it sounded. At the end of the hour... well, you know that look that Roy Scheider had on his face when he saw Jaws for the first time, and looked at the Captain of the boat, and said "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"
He then took his 1873 well-played violin and played Ashokan Farewell for me, told me to listen to the difference. It was warm and sweet. He played the tune again on the Stopka, and asked me if I heard the difference. It had depth, soul. He put the violin back in it's case and said "you're gonna need a better case."
Then I wiped the drool off.
I'm happy, it's an investment I will enjoy many years.
Marcia, Collector and Amateur Player
I often smile as I think back to the moment when a UPS driver came to pick up the several instruments I was shipping to this mysterious enterprise, A. Cavallo Violins, in anticipation of my move to Omaha. Recalling my arrival at A. Cavallo Violins to reclaim my fiddles brings an even broader grin as I remember the "Little Shop On The Prairie". You've come a long way since that moment, and I have enjoyed watching the developments over the years. Little could either of us have anticipated back then an event such as Saturday evening's, let alone a shop large enough to accommodate 120 extra fiddles!
It is unusual to meet such a vast array of instruments by modern makers all at one time, so that one is able to judge differences across a wide spectrum of sound and structure. Hearing them played is a lot of fun, playing them myself is a rare treat. I was fascinated by the information Kevin imparted to the audience, regarding the influence the wood exerts over the maker's intentions - who would have imagined that?
Karl, Physician and Collector