MJZ 909, Hiroshi Kono, Jay Haide...Opinions?

September 8, 2016 at 04:09 AM · Ming Jiang Zhu 909

Hiroshi Kono

Jay Haide ancienne european

If anyone has one of these violins, what are your thoughts on them? I am looking for a violin to buy next year, and there is no one shop that has all of these violins. So I want to see which shop I want to go to, depending on which violin I want to try. I know I need to go and try them and choose myself, but I want to know what your thoughts on these violins are, so that I dont need to travel to so many different shops looking for each of these violins.

I've heard that there a lot of Hiroshi Kono violins in the House of Weaver, but Potters, which is like 3 mins away, also sells them. So which one should I go to? Both?

Im really trying to not be bias, but I've heard that Joshua Bell owns a Kono violin, so if I decide to choose the Kono, thats a plus.

BTW: I am not a WORSHIPER of Joshua Bell. As a teenage boy, I guess its normal to have an idol and person that I really look up to. Yes, you could agree that I'm obsessed trying to get all the same things he has, but... why not? I know just because I get those things, that I wont become like JB, but it still is pretty cool.

Replies (30)

September 8, 2016 at 04:44 AM · I'm not sure why you continue to ask for advice and then persistently ignore the useful things people tell you. You've now been counseled multiple times that in your price range, brand doesn't matter. Shops have a zillion instruments in your price range. Go to as many shops as you can and play all the violins in your price range.

This is a multi-thousand-dollar purchase of something you're going to use for at least a decade, if not more. I'd visit as many shops as possible before making a decision.

Potter's has moved, by the way. They're now in Takoma Park.

September 8, 2016 at 06:03 AM · David,

Lydia's got the point, the energy You invested here could've been well paid off in already buying the violin. Unless you need to economize for it.

Other than that, I think JB plays a strad or something. Am i wrong?

September 8, 2016 at 08:50 AM · He plays the 'Gibson ex-Huberman' Stradivarius.

September 8, 2016 at 11:11 AM · So does brand not matter at all? Should I just go to potters and just try all the violins in my price range?

September 8, 2016 at 11:29 AM · yes

September 8, 2016 at 01:39 PM · I'll cut-n-paste my response to your other "brand" question from



I'm also looking at similarly priced violins in order to upgrade my current Eastman 305. I've always disliked my violin so the faster I can find a different one, the better. I dread the work it will take because I live far away from stores that are convienent to get to (there is 1, 2h from my home the others are 3+ hours away.) As I've grown accousmed the "Amazon" way of shopping I want to buy a violin as easily as everything else.

There are an abundance of posts that have repeated what others have advised: go look at a bunch and see/hear for yourself. There was always a little voice in the back of my mind of disbelief and doubt. I'm an amature so it won't matter, I'm not professionally trained so I won't hear the difference. I've been taking lessons for 2 years so I won't have the experience to notice the difference. The list of excuses goes on.

I did get the chance to make it to the closest store 2 hour away and try a variety of violins a few months ago from beginner to advanced. An antique and a hand carved 25k one. I purposely just played them and did not take note of brand or price.

I was amazed at the tonal differences. There was no price consistency across the violins. I specifically remember playing this one violin that I thought sounded worse then my 305. When I looked at the tag it was marked 4000. I was pleasantly surprised with a student snow instrument at 1000. I absolutely loved the antique I tried at 5500. The 25k one was beautiful. The tone was smooth and even across all areas, but I didn't think it was easier to play then the antique.

After my trip to the violin shop I completely understood what everyone was talking about. I think at minimum one trip to a decent store should yield a violin in the price range one can be happy with. On the other hand, one can get obsessive about finding their perfect violin and spend many hours searching.

When going to a store it's a good idea to make a list of qualities you must have on your violin and think about how you want it to sound. It will help keep focused so you don't get overwhelmed, loose track, and get distracted from your original goal.

September 8, 2016 at 01:58 PM · Buying a violin is not like buying a car......forget about the brand name ! I dare say that after you have tried a shop full of violins, your favourite will be some unknown instrument that you had never heard of before.

September 8, 2016 at 02:36 PM · Yes. You've been told over and over again not to pay attention to brand.

You've got local shops in the Richmond area that sell student instruments. I'd start there first. Then, if you don't find anything satisfactory locally, I'd suggest Brobst in Alexandria, Potter's in Takoma Park (and possibly Weaver's in Bethesda, though I'm not sure what the Potters/Weavers thing is now that Potter's has moved), and possibly Gailes in College Park and Lashof in Gaithersburg.

Your previous thread, where you really should read all the responses: here.

September 11, 2016 at 03:58 AM · Looks like Lydia knows all he violin shops by heart. I wonder why she never complains about Her violin...... seems like some people are just happy with what they got ;-)

Yes, brand name and the car analogy, it is mystical, but perhaps a less known one is better for your personality, that is, given that you're on a level so the violin is responsive to your emotions :)

September 11, 2016 at 04:36 AM · I'm actually really happy with the violin I bought last year. It'll serve me fine for the rest of my life unless it meets with a horrible accident or I become wealthy enough to own a Strad. :-)

I know all the local shops because I've gone bow-hunting twice, though -- once for an inexpensive spare and once for a fine bow.

September 12, 2016 at 02:28 AM · Lydia, which violin did you buy last year?

September 12, 2016 at 03:18 AM · I bought a JB Vuillaume.

September 30, 2016 at 12:59 AM · Our daughter has been on a 3/4 Kono for about 1 1/2 now and it is hands down the best fractional in its price range including the Haide. A full size sound in a 3/4 size instrument, we receive compliments on its performance and looks all the time.

September 30, 2016 at 02:34 AM · What about the full size?

September 30, 2016 at 06:01 AM · Haven't you been reading the Chinese violin threads? :-)

September 30, 2016 at 08:22 AM · my customer has decided to sell her Ming Jiang Zhu 909, now selling for $3200 and buy an 1881 German antique violin from me for $2000, that she feels sounds a good bit better. That's why I say, as I have said many times before, you should compare antiques and moderns and make up your own mind about which you prefer and not take internet recommendations of this brand or that too seriously.

September 30, 2016 at 11:58 AM · I expect that JB, in common with many professionals and amateurs, owns more than one violin. Perhaps he does indeed have a Kono or whatever as his second (third, fourth?) violin for occasions where he or the insurance company would prefer that the Strad wasn't used.

I don't know much about Kono, but a top of the range Jay Haide, well set up, would in the right hands put up a fairly convincing performance.

Fwiw, I don't use my 18th century violin in an outdoor gig or in a pub folk session, but my Jay Haide, not top of their range, is not a bad substitute and, on the occasions when I've used it in orchestra has never attracted adverse comment (perhaps the reverse).

September 30, 2016 at 01:19 PM · I could say much the same for the antique I'm selling for $2000.

September 30, 2016 at 09:20 PM · Another thread asking which is the best inexpensive and soulless Chinese violin...

Cheers Carlo

September 30, 2016 at 09:20 PM ·

September 30, 2016 at 11:23 PM · @Carlo Your entire argument is that a violin sucks because it wasn't made in the US or Europe by a local maker... Come on that's the most pointless generalization I've ever heard.

October 1, 2016 at 08:49 AM · No, that is not what I am saying. Instruments made on a production line, are products like Bic pens or disposable razors. They serve a purpose but have no soul, in my opinion.

Are they worth debate? Is this site the violin equivalent of Amazon, with its reviews of toasters?

Cheers Carlo

October 1, 2016 at 08:55 AM · There seems to be a great big rush to the bottom when recommending violins on this site, I hardly ever hear people recommending higher quality violins, and if they do, they HAVE to be modern and usually Cremonese or American, is everyone a pauper???

October 1, 2016 at 09:25 AM · I play on 4K hand-made instruments and folks ask me back!

And yes I am a pauper..

October 1, 2016 at 09:29 AM · I asked is everyone a pauper, not are there any paupers, of course there are.

October 1, 2016 at 10:19 AM · I think LT may be a pauper? When I was a pauper I had to make do with old German rubbish ... like in my student days.

October 1, 2016 at 03:44 PM · We have the occasional thread about commissions and modern makers, but I suspect that the people choosing higher-end instruments and bows aren't doing the kind of comparisons that people buying $2k student instruments are. The higher end of the market is mostly going to shops, playing the inventory, and picking something on sound -- not living in the middle of nowhere, trying to guess at what they can mail-order.

The OP is somewhat unusual in that he lives in an area with plenty of violin shops that carry both new and old instruments, but appears to have ignored repeated advice to just go play a ton of violins, rather than trying to buy a violin, to use Carlo's phrase, as if it were a toaster.

October 1, 2016 at 05:02 PM · what's a pauper? I've never heard of that, it's missing from my vocabulary. Bailey's style I understand, yes, but, why not starting to talk about the same ol' thing when starting to talk about Jay Haide. I mean, it's 2k, that's 4k, another is 20k, or whatever, what's that?

I think the OP is about mainly being blind in a strange way. You might live in an area, but fail to see a shop. I think a wise advice would be to get a skateboard, and check the streets :)

October 1, 2016 at 06:29 PM · Lydia, this is an older thread, before I realized that everyone's advice was not to be ignored. So.... I will go to a shop and try more than 10 violins and choose one, same with bows.

October 1, 2016 at 06:31 PM · You might try 10 violins per shop. I tried over 100 violins before buying my current instrument.

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