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Experiences with Sofia violins or Otto E. Fischer violins?


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#1 Stringtoad

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 04:42 PM

I thinking of "moving up" a little in quality for my violin...but my dollars are limited. So, I am wondering if any of you have any opinions regarding two different violins that I am considering:

First is a Guarneri model "Master Art" Otto Ernst Fischer violin from Shar...the tone is described as "dark, sonorous and focused".

The other (and more expensive) violin is the Sofia "Master Art" violin with a tone described as "smooth and mellow, yet clear". Does that mean it's "brighter"??

I prefer a darker sound in violins and like the Guarneri type. The text in the catalog seems to indicate that the Sofia's are individually handmade (and therefore cost more)and so I am assuming they are a higher quality violin.

Also, Shar says that you have 60 days to try the violin and can return it for a refund if it isn't to your liking. Has anyone had any difficulties with Shar? (I've bought some small accessories from them and they were great, but this is a bigger item!).

Any insights or personal experience with either of these two types of violins is appreciated!

Stringtoad


#2 shantinik

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 05:29 PM

You have no idea how much I ADORE my Sofia. I have a Boiko Stoyanov - 2000, but it is a Sofia Grande (might be out of your price range) -- it is Guarneri in shape, has a rich, dark "chocolate" sound on the bottom (my jealous teacher, who owns a violin costing 8 times as much, says it sounds like a viola), and a brilliant top. I tried more than 300 violins up to $5,000, and none touched this one.

I will e-mail you privately about another Sofia that I saw out there, that will likely fit your budget. (I am NOT a dealer.)

Next to my Sofia, the best Otto Fischer (which I tried) is driftwood.


#3 flamenco

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 10:35 PM

I had an OE Fischer master art strad model as one of my first decent violins. It was an ordinary German trade violin. Well built. Pretty. Neck was OK. Sound was very "violin." Relatively little character. Response was adequate. Tone color range adequate. A decent middle-of-the-orchestra violin, very forgiving, but without much character or volume. On the other hand, the lack any faults in response or tone was of great benefit at the time! Many (perhaps most) of the more-responsive violins I've played have excess personality in a few notes here and there, or provide the opportunity for strikingly unattractive noises when a slip or other error occurs.

Steve


#4 boyscoutrd

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 11:10 PM

I have had the opportunity to play on two of my school's instruments, One was the Guarneri model (the regular, not the master art) OEF, it was an ok instrument, I guess. The sound was somewhat tinny at first but it sounded better as it was played into (i was the first to use it), overall it was pretty ordinary. Right now I'm using the sofia master art, (miroslav tsonev '98). It's a vast improvement over the OEF. It didn't have the volume i needed so i changed the strings, but luckily it didn't swallow harmonics like the OEF. Oh one other thing, although the sofia is a full size it was somewhat smaller than other full sizes i have played, if you have large hands you may want to try out a couple different ones in order to get the best fit for you.

#5 kraut

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 11:17 PM

Sofia violins are a great bargain. We are a Sofia Dealer and really happy about it. The instruments are well made, have an oil finish, and sound good. We have had nearly no trouble with them and get great customer service with the Sofia folks if we do. In fact, one customer even dropped his instrument, and Sofia fixed the crack at no charge. Though the "Grande" and "Artista" models are no longer produced, they do make several other models starting at $1900.00. Check out the Sofia page under the "Dealers" section on the Maestronet homepage. I am sure that there is a dealer in your neck of the woods.

kraut


#6 Jeffrey Holmes

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 12:07 AM

quote:


Originally posted by Stringtoad:

Also, Shar says that you have 60 days to try the violin and can return it for a refund if it isn't to your liking. Has anyone had any difficulties with Shar? (I've bought some small accessories from them and they were great, but this is a bigger item!).

Stringtoad


Gee, this is wierd. Can I respond to a post concerning our company as a moderator; at least to say we mean what we say? I guess I did! Well, in any event, you know where you can find one of us "Shar folk".

Jeffrey

[This message has been edited by Jeffrey Holmes (edited 03-14-2001).]


#7 shantinik

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 12:32 AM

quote:


Right now I'm using the sofia master art, (miroslav tsonev '98). It's a vast improvement over the OEF. It didn't have the volume i needed so i changed the strings, but luckily it didn't swallow harmonics like the OEF. Oh one other thing, although the sofia is a full size it was somewhat smaller than other full sizes i have played, if you have large hands you may want to try out a couple different ones in order to get the best fit for you.[/B]

I too tried a Tsonev 1998, it also was a 'small pattern' Strad, but with excellent tone. My Stoyanov is a big hipped, big cheeked Guarneri pattern, with a huge sound, and large palette of colors. It is has so much power, I am thinking of swapping strings to bring down its projection.

[This message has been edited by shantinik (edited 03-15-2001).]


#8 kraut

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 09:50 AM

Sofia instruments cannot be discounted by its dealers, so please support your local violin shop.

[This message has been edited by kraut (edited 03-15-2001).]


#9 shantinik

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 11:07 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by kraut:
[B]Sofia is one line that Shar can't discount, so you might as well go to your local Sofia Dealer. You'll pay the same price and get better service in the long run, as your local dealer will be willing to do you (Mr. Loyal Customer) a favor when you need it.

That's what I did. And my luthier swapped some strings, helped me find the right chinrest (that took several weeks), reset the pegs, and placed a control number against theft inside the violin.



#10 Greta Schmidt

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 06:56 PM

Try a Rudolf Doetsch, at least for comparison purposes on the price. Potters Violins has them and a private dealer I know (if you want to email me). I compared the Doetsch with the low-end Sofias and was glad I did.

-Greta





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