I recently started playing violin. After a few months of lessons, I knew this was absolutely something I was going to continue to do for the rest of my life. I decided I should turn in my rental and buy a professional quality violin that could potentially outlive me. I couldn't have made a better choice than to buy the Holstein Amati replica.The violin arrived meticulously packed in its case. They use some cardboard and sticks to stabilize and protect the bridge during shipping. I know it sounds cheesy cardboard and sticks?!?!) but it is really quite clever and works really well. This is nice because then I didn't have to worry about setting up the bridge. A little tuning the strings were already quite stable) was necessary but that's expected shipping from Florida to Washington state. Other than that, it was good to go right out of the box.The violin also came with a certificate signed and embossed by Pierre with photos, dimensions, and serial number of my violin. The label inside the violin is signed by Pierre as well. The level of care and attention to detail gives me confidence that I've spent my money wisely and that I'm doing business with somebody who cares about delivering a quality product.The pictures really don't do it justice. The colors are rich and the flames in the wood dance as the light hits it at different angles. The varnish looks aged with built-up and worn down areas. There are faint scratch marks and nicks here and there that look old and under a few layers of varnish. It really looks like an old violin with far more experience than its current owner.I've had it for 6 months now and I've tried a few different sets of strings. My preference is with Pirastro Evah Pirazzi for G, D, and A, and Pirastro No. 1 E string. They are warm, responsive, project well, and really resonate on this fiddle. For example, 4th finger 1st position) on the A string can be hard to tell apart from an open E because the open E vibrates sympathetically. The chorus effect sounds beautiful and it is a joy to play.I bought the Amati for arbitrary reasons. I didn't play it before buying it nor did I wait patiently for a demo video. I could have agonized over the decision for the rest of my life and still never been certain. So I just decided to tell Fiddlerman that I wanted a darker Amati and trusted him to pick a winner. What ever the reason, I'm glad I did it because he definitely picked me a winner.