Ming Jiang Zhu 903 Violin Review
The Ming Jiang Zhu 903 violins are made at the Noble Heart workshop in Guangzhou China. This world class workshop has won many Violin Society of America awards. These violins are very powerful, clear, and generally have a very dark tone. Every violin is carved from beautifully flamed asian maple for the back and sides, and a spruce top with a beautiful antique oil finish.
Bridge: Professional level Despiau or Aubert bridge
Strings: Thomastik Vision Violin String Set. The strings chosen might differ depending on the characteristics of each instruments. For any string preference, please leave add a comment to your order.
Dimensions of 7/8: Body length approx. 344mm
Overall length approx. 570mm
This violin will arrive completely set up and thoroughly tested/tuned/adjusted at Fiddlershop before shipment. We spend an average of 3 hours on each violin.
I just received
I just received the MJZ 903 and 2 other violins on FiddlerShop this morning for trial. The MJZ 903 sounds good. It feels nice and easy to play. Notes on the G and D strings are very mellow and warm. Notes on A and E may not have great clarity but it is well balanced. Overall, it has decent projection and the tones are complex with rich colors. I like it a lot and feels great to play. The appearance is impressive, the flamed maple is pronounced and beautiful. The varnish finish work is of high quality. It is a handsome violin that I would be proud to show off. I have a Jay Haide l'ancient from another shop for trial. While the Jay Haide has better projection and clarity, I have to say this MJZ903 is a close rival. Each violin is different, this one I received has a lovely warm voice which gave me a very hard time to choose between it and the Jay Haide brighter voice). In addition, the 903 is almost half the price of the Jay Haide. I haven't made up my mind between the 2 but the 903 certainly is no doubt a lovely violin with excellent value.
The experience was the best. I was a little apprehensive with the idea of me going to buy a violin by myself because I've only been playing violin for a couple of years and I'm not experienced about choosing a violin but they make it very pleasant and relaxed. First, since I live in South Florida, we talked on the phone to set up an appointment and tell them the price range I was looking for. When I arrived there, they had already arranged 3 options of violins. Pierre himself played them for me and answered all my questions. Then they let me play the violins for as much time as I wanted in a separated room. They 3 violins were great, they all sounded beautiful and I was surprised with how easier it is to play a good violin. The quality was A1. Any of the three violins would've been a great choice. I just choose the one that felt right to me. When I made up my mind they came back and help me choose a violin case. I only have good things to say about the staff of Fiddlershop. They are very friendly. I certainly recommend buying from them. You can't go wrong.
Perfect violin for me
I am a violist who was asked to pinch hit for second violin parts on occasion in my small community string ensemble. I have a Fiddlerman OB1, which is as good if not better than many of the instruments in my group, but I thought if I was going to try and actually learn the violin as its own instrument I should have something I could grow into. With the help of the always amazing folks at Fiddlershop, who tried out a few instruments after hearing what I was looking for, I decided on the 903-- I wanted something that would sound warm and dark (because violist, of course) and would blend with an ensemble well while allowing me room to grow as I...um...fiddle around on the violin. (Bad dad joke.) The 903 I received is a Guarneri template, as I learned from Clare, so it's a tiny bit smaller feeling than a Strad template. This is fine for me, even coming from a large viola-- it really helps me focus on instrument-specific technique when I play and I doubt anyone who plays violin as their primary instrument would have marveled at the smallness. (I would have marveled at the smallness of any violin, I think!) From what I understand, this size is what helps the violin sound so rich and dark. And it does! My ensemble director (who's got her doctorate in violin performance so is a great person to consult) and our most seasoned violinist were really impressed with the sound and quality, and kind of didn't believe me when I told them I hadn't paid more than I did for it. It shipped with Evah Greens, which sound great, but feel a little delicate under my fat violist's fingers, so I might test out other options when this set wears out in the coming months. I might try my favorite viola strings, Viision Solos, since I've heard they can have a similar overall sound and projection to the Evahs but have that Thomastik "fatness" I seem to like. At the same time, I'm no luthier, and I trust the experts at Fiddlershop to pair strings and instruments. There's a reason everyone thinks this violin sounds good despite my being the one to play it, after all! I paired the 903 with the two-star Holstein pernambuco bow since I didn't feel like I could justify a three-star bow, being a non-specialist, but the two-star bow feels great and plays well. I haven't even had too much adjusting to do, despite it being shorter and lighter than my viola bows. My director was also impressed. As always, everything was shipped promptly, packed perfectly (I didn't even order a case this time and the violin arrived in pristine condition) and exceeded expectations. Fiddlershop's only problem is that it isn't in walking distance to me so I can visit it regularly!
Love my new 903!
I had been looking at several different Violins from Fiddlershop for a couple years now. When I first discovered Fiddlershop I had a lot of interest in the traditional Cannone as well as the Lord Wilton. Then I discovered the Ming-Jiang Zhu 903 ( Guarneri template) I kept listening to it on the YouTube channel, admiring its dark tone. I am a clarinetist and I have have been playing violin for about 6 years now. Even as a clarinetist my ears have always gravitated towards the darker richer sounds. I fell In love with strings 6 year ago and currently teach middle school orchestra ( and a couple of beginning band classes) in Orlando Florida. I did try some of my excellent local violin shops here in Orlando but I just could not find the instrument my ear craved. I needed an instrument that would inspire me to practice more. I called Fiddlershop and set up an appointment and got to work with Gibbles himself ( Michael O’Giebyln ) He was so friendly and helpful. He even gave me a blind hearing test because I truly wanted to pick an instrument mostly because of its sound ( and of course it had to feel right too) As soon as I heard the 903 I knew it was the one. And after an hour of trying out instruments and bows and listening to Micheal play for me I finally had found my new violin! I also got the Holstein 1 star Pernambuco bow. Michael even took us on a tour of the entire Fiddlershop building. I absolutely love my new 903 Ming-Jiang Zhu. I ended up lowering the string height and I wasn’t happy with the Thomastik Pi strings ( I tried to give them a chance but I hated them) so Fiddlershop kindly sent me the strings I usually play on. Now I love her even more and I cannot seem to put her down! Mission Accomplished! I named my new violin Máiréad because she had all these pearl accents and I wanted To know the Irish word for pearl was. Turns out Máiréad is also the Irish name for Margaret, which was my Irish grandmothers name :) so it was meant to be. I will most likely return to Fiddlershop if I ever decide to upgrade again and would highly recommend them. Excellent instruments and customer service.
Fiddlershop is a small family-owned business located in South Florida. Since 2012 we have been serving the string community with quality instruments and accessories. We believe that music and instruments should be accessible to everyone at a price they can afford.