This is a fantastic musical instrument!
First my background -- I'm married to a wonderful professional violinist who indulges my hobby as a violinist with great support. I'm principally a trumpeter and teach all the woodwinds and brass instruments along with guitar and drums but have been playing violin for the past 4 years, mainly playing fiddle tunes although I've worked my way through Suzuki book 1 and into book 2. I've been playing on a 70-80 year old German violin which had belonged to my wife's father. I do play some classical music but not in any ensemble outside of a music camp where I conduct the camp orchestra at the end of June each year.
As we all know wooden instruments have quite a few restrictions regarding care, storing, where they can be played. So I started looking into the carbon-fiber violin marketplace and found that there are two tiers -- the very expensive level which I would never be able to justify, and then I discovered this Glasser, which was exactly what I was looking for. I've always been intrigued by the thought of a 5-string violin, both for the possibilities in improvising but also for those times when there isn't a violist around. Amplification is always a challenge with a violin, whether using mics or a pickup -- we have a Fishman bridge pickup for my wife's violin which works adequately but brings the need for a pre-amp. I will not be afraid to play this instrument out in the sun, I won't worry if it begins to sprinkle, I won't worry about things dripping from trees, all of which would preclude using a wooden instrument outdoors.
I am overjoyed at what a great instrument this Glasser 5-string acoustic-electric violin is. The amplified sound is clean, accurate and strong with the built-in pre-amp - no need for anything other than the fiddle, a cable and an amplifier. (And if you already own a wireless instrument hookup or if you also purchase a Boss wireless guitar WL-20L you don't need to be tethered with a cable to use this instrument electrically.)
Musically this violin is excellent -- I had been afraid that a carbon-fiber violin might be much lower in volume than a wooden violin, but this Glasser puts out a lot of sound when played without being plugged in, just as much as I get from my wooden instrument. Fingering is easy on the neck, the bridge is cut beautifully to fit the 5 strings and the neck is shaped perfectly to finger all 5 strings easily. Some 5-string instruments squeeze the 5 strings into a 4-string-width neck, but the Glasser is designed intelligently and allows good spacing between the 5 strings for good clear fingering. The Planetary tuning pegs are excellent and make tuning a breeze even without using the included fine tuners on the tailpiece. But those fine tuners are a welcome addition for those moments when you're playing and need to make a very minute and quick tuning adjustment.
The Larsen strings are a fine match for this Glasser -- I will be trying other sets on it as the months go by, but I'm very happy with the sound of these Larsen strings.
Visually this is a very stunning instrument -- I bought the green one and what I had read online about the colors of these instruments was not true. I had read that the color just barely showed through -- totally wrong. The color shows very nicely. It isn't a bright sort of "in your face" color -- but it's obvious that it's a green instrument. Subdued enough not to be the main focus of people's attention, but colorful enough to show. I'm very happy with this color.
Structurally this is a very well-built instrument. The seams are all solid, it feels very good in the hands, it balances nicely, and under the chin it the weight of the pre-amp in the chin-rest isn't noticeable. And there's no extra weight out towards the scroll so it is as comfortable to hold as my wooden instrument.
This instrument was all that I was hoping it would be.
Now for comments on the service here at Fiddlerman -- it is superb! The people are very helpful, when I called with questions before I made the purchase they took the time to talk with me and they knew what they were talking about. Now that I have the instrument in my hands it's obvious that they were not just trying to make a quick sale, but were willing to help me feel comfortable with the items I was purchasing. They processed my order quickly and efficiently and their prices are great. I will definitely be buying more things from them in the future.