The bow has just arrived and I am delighted with the repair! Many thanks for your excellent service.
I stumbled upon Cardiff Violins by chance when searching online for a Baroque violin many years ago. I was given plenty of helpful advice and details about a couple of instruments in a series of email exchanges and phone calls, but finding time to spend a day in Cardiff was impossible with an intense work, travel and family schedule. Fast-forward to 2021 and the pandemic, when all foreign travel was suspended, and I found more time to practise. Suddenly the time felt right to ‘scratch the Baroque itch’ again, and this time I was keen not to delay. I was buying the instrument with money given to me by my parents, and wanted my father to see and hear the violin before his health deteriorated further. Cécile suggested that rather than waiting for lockdown to end, perhaps I could try a couple of instruments at home. Initially, I was apprehensive about making such a big decision with no help from experts, and unable to seek advice from musician friends in lockdown, but Cécile provided all the guidance and encouragement I needed. The next day, two beautiful Baroque violins and three bows were delivered to my home in the most incredible packaging. I spent hours playing both instruments, and my feelings changed every day. It was so difficult to choose between them, but help from Cécile and Angharad was always only an email or phonecall away, asking probing questions and giving wise advice. When I needed a little extra time to make my decision, they were very accommodating and patient, as were my family and musician friends on the end of Zoom calls listening to endless renditions of Biber! Finally, I chose an Alan Beavitt Baroque violin, so responsive and sweet sounding, yet able to project in a larger space. I can’t wait to play it to my parents as soon as I am able to see them. I am so grateful to Cécile and Angharad for their expertise, generosity of time and patience, and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Cardiff Violins to others – these people make dreams come true!
… Shortly after my purchase, I played for a local youth orchestra in which our concert concluded with Mahler’s 4th Symphony. I played the solo on Don Tatems' Mischa and received many comments about the depth, tone, and quality of such an instrument! Even the Mayor congratulated me on the elegance of my playing, due to the sound I could produce on such a high-quality lovely instrument, and that it had a distinguished sound that had not resembled his expectations of a viola in the past. Now, where ever I go I am known as “that violist with a loud sound"… definitely a good thing!
My Don Tatem viola is a charming and gifted musical personality. Even with possible lingering "jet-lag", Syrena produced a delicious, even, and full sound, with a nuanced timbre that bodes well for future development. I have no doubt that her voice, like that of the best contraltos, has the capacity to easily fill a room full of people, but still send a personal message to each individual listener. She doesn't demand attention, but will get it anyway, one won't be able to resist her!
My Tatem fiddle is an absolute joy to play. It has a beautiful sweet tone, a deep mellow bass and a lovely bright treble register. The balance is perfect for my style of playing, whether it be projecting a slow Welsh air, a mesmeric, “dark” reel from West Clare or a no-holds-barred polka, hanging on to the coat-tails of the musicians of County Kerry… I first acquired my fiddle in the early 1980s, soon after setting out on the fiddling path, and it hasn't left my side since. I would never sell it, despite numerous offers, for it is irreplaceable. I would unreservedly recommend a Tatem instrument to anyone who asked my preference.
I would highly recommend Don Tatem's instruments to any professional musician. I've played on a Tatem viola since 1990, and I absolutely love it. So much so that I've recently bought another Tatem, also a great instrument. I think Don's craftsmanship is second to none, his violas have a powerful, beautiful round tone, and they look stunning. Thank you, Don, for providing me with these two wonderful instruments.
In 2017, when our older son was ready for a full-size cello, we decided on carbon fiber because of how well these instruments stand up to humidity and temperature change. The carbon fiber cello proved to be an excellent choice. It has a beautiful, rich tone and keeps its tuning exceptionally well. It is also wonderful to play, requiring much less pressure on the fingerboard than a traditional cello. Furthermore, the customer service provided by Cardiff Violins was first rate. All of our questions were answered, and the whole process was exciting and fun! Because of the overwhelming success of the carbon fiber cello, when our younger son was ready for a full-size violin in 2020, we again turned to Cardiff Violins to purchase a carbon fiber violin. Once again, the customer service was outstanding, with them even working hard to get our order shipped prior to being forced into lockdown. The carbon fiber violin is exquisite, with gorgeous tonal quality. We could not be happier! Cardiff Violins provide a complete service, which allowed us to purchase everything we needed including instrument cases, bows, rosin and spare strings. We chose carbon fiber bows to complement the carbon fiber instruments and we are extremely pleased with the quality and balance of the bows. Carbon fiber is the ideal material for Bermuda where it is challenging to keep wooden instruments in tune. These beautiful, robust instruments will be treasured by our family for many years to come!
I wanted to upgrade to an intermediate cello, not having anywhere local to visit, then came across Cardiff Violins and decided to buy by mail order. I found the staff extremely helpful, sending me both sound files and images along with opinions on several cellos. I have to say, the outcome is first class. A wonderful cello, expertly set up and safely delivered. Highly recommended. Thanks a bunch.