Prima sonoro carbon fiber violins?

Edited: May 4, 2020, 2:12 PM · has anyone tried the prima sonoro violins? I purchased a prima sonoro carbon fiber violin that will be shipping the end of this month. I got it in a deal where the next 6 they sold would go for 1,200 dollars. On their website the violins go for 5,700 dollars. However im a bit wary this may be a marketing tactic as it seems they run this kind if deal on their violins and cellos about twice a year. Im suspicious that maybe the value is really around their sale price and maybe they can only really produce 12 of each or so a year and then run them on sale while listing them at 5700 to make it look like a steal. It would be a strange tactic but idk. How would they compare to other carbon fibers in the 5000 dollar range? Either way i needed a violin to bring camping so it will be nice to have. Im just wondering if i got a real good deal.

Replies (28)

May 4, 2020, 6:18 PM · I do not get the PR photography in murky waters.
I would not float my instrument with wooden parts in the sea.
People holding instruments in the PR photos are not musicians...

Strange way to enter an extremely traditionalist and snobish business of violin making.
5.7K is also quite a steep price for a CF instrument. I understand Mezzoforte charging that much for an instrument that wins classic luthier’s competitions...

But what do I know. I have never played a CF violin, so this is just useless banter.

May 5, 2020, 2:03 AM · That’s about the same price as a Mezzoforte Evo; I saw the Primo Sonora’s the last time they ran that promotion about 3 months ago, but since there are no objective reviews of them and no sound samples that I could find, I passed on the “deal”. I doubt they’ve ever sold one for $5700 personally.

@Tony - the ocean shot theme is a take off of a Russian music video from Silenzium, which is basically the Russian version of Bond.

May 5, 2020, 3:32 AM · @Richard - that explains the murkiness of the water :) Being from Mediterranean I'd find something like this

far sexier :)

May 5, 2020, 3:35 AM · @Kenneth - I'd be thrilled to hear a review when the violin arrives.
May 5, 2020, 10:03 AM · @Richard they posted a video on their website of it being played recently.

@Tony I will try to review it when I get it but i've only been playing violin a year and a half and have no experience with carbon fiber violins so my thoughts might not be worth much.

May 5, 2020, 12:50 PM · @Kenneth - I'd love to see your review too; I saw the sound sample on their website but no way to tell how processed it was, so an objective review would be great, and hope you love it too.

@Tony, I totally agree, love that pic!

Edited: May 7, 2020, 3:16 PM · Tony wrote:
"5.7K is also quite a steep price for a CF instrument. I understand Mezzoforte charging that much for an instrument that wins classic luthier’s competitions...

Huh? What classical luthier's competitions have they won?

May 7, 2020, 3:35 PM · I bought a Mezzoforte violin as picnic/out side instrument. A big mistake. Not only was the sound disagreeable,
it was so riddled with false and wolfe notes I returned it and had to jump through hoops to get my refund.
I'm sure they have their place, it's just somewhere else far away from me.
May 7, 2020, 3:36 PM · I know the top of the line Mezzo-Forte violin won the German Musical Instrument Award for violins about 5 years ago; the first time a non-traditional instrument won a major award. I'm not sure of any others though.
May 7, 2020, 3:38 PM · @Jeff, just curious, was it an Evo or Design Line? I know the Evo feels (and sounds) like they rushed it into production.
May 7, 2020, 3:52 PM · Richard, that's not a classical luthier's competition. It is a German trade show, featuring a competition with everything from German-made violins to to trumpets to clarinets competing.
May 7, 2020, 4:28 PM · @ David, fair point, it's not luthier specific. Nonetheless, its the first time any carbon fiber violin beat wood violins in an award. They may have won other awards / competitions also, Im not sure. I know a few professionals use their violins and the Carbon Klang ones also.
May 7, 2020, 5:28 PM · Luis and Clark cost about that. Not my first choice, but would probably deliver the goods to a different sort of customer.
May 8, 2020, 3:23 PM · Richard, which wooden violins did they beat? Did they beat some "factory" violins made from wood, or did they beat or rival what is produced by excellent, or even semi-good German makers?

And what were the judging criteria? Did they include things like "innovation"? The use of carbon fiber isn't very innovative any more, but some people may not be up to speed on things like that.)

May 8, 2020, 3:48 PM · Profit margins? This was a trade show.
May 8, 2020, 3:58 PM · @David, I don't know, all I know is they were chosen as the best violin at that show. They may or may not have won any other awards / competitions, and of course I wouldn't have a clue what the judging criteria was. I also know from experience that their Evo line is not that good, but the Design line is pretty decent for the price. I haven't played one of their top end instruments so I couldn't comment on them. For me, any carbon fiber violin would be a backup instrument though.
May 8, 2020, 5:32 PM · Richard wrote:
"David, I don't know, all I know is they were chosen as the best violin at that show."

Was it the best violin, or did it only need to be more favored than the squeezeboxes, or the plastic trumpets?

(I did play a plastic trumpet at the Moscow NAMM show, and it wasn't bad, from my middle-school trumpet playing perspective.)

May 8, 2020, 5:35 PM · From the wording, it was chosen as best among all the violins at that particular show that year; it wasn't judged against trumpets or guitars or ukuleles, etc. Of course, that's of limited value without knowing what other violins were there that year. I remember those plastic trumpets too lol.
May 8, 2020, 7:21 PM · Remember plastic violins by Macaferri?
Edited: May 9, 2020, 6:34 PM · I live about 4 hours away from Munich, where Mezzoforte has a dealer.
I bet they can lend me their fiddle for a couple of weeks to test it out.
It’s useless speculating weather they compared their violins to toy trumpets or models of racing cars... trying it out on stage is what will ultimately do the trick.
Calling them out as shameless liars or peddlers of VSOs is pretty low, as they have been around for some time and seemed quite nice and down to earth over the phone.

I will probably do that, but only after I am allowed to go on stage again.

I found this article in The Strad magazine:
the article

I understand “the strad magazine” is probably just a back alley scam “fake news” type website, but still...

Edited: May 10, 2020, 1:50 PM · Tony wrote:
"Calling them out as shameless liars or peddlers of VSOs is pretty low,"

Tony, no need to go into histrionics, since no such thing has occurred in this thread. Nor has The Strad magazine been impugned.

You earlier described the violin has having won a "classic luthier’s competition", so I wanted to make a distinction between a commercial trade fair award, and competitions such as the Cremona Triennale, or the Violin Society of America competitions. I have served as a judge on both of the latter (as well as the China and the Moscow competitions), but would have no interest in being a judge for something resembling a local chili cookoff.

Quoted from The Strad magazine news brief:
"The ‘Design Line’ carbon-fibre violin stood out ‘thanks to the innovative implementation of the basic idea, the very pleasant sound and the excellent value for money offered’, while the Guarneri replica was honoured for its ‘responsiveness and playability’.
The German Music Instrument Awards have been presented annually in different categories since 1991. This year, prizes were also given in the B-flat trumpet category."

Source (your link wouldn't work for me):

The Guarneri replica mentioned was a wooden instrument, made by Andreas Haensel.

May 10, 2020, 2:39 PM · David, I’m not sure it’s fair to compare the German Music Awards to a “local chili cookoff”. I certainly do agree that they aren’t in the same category as the VSA or Cremona competitions you mentioned though. Of course those competitions are really geared to the top 0.001% of instruments that most players couldn’t think of affording too.
Edited: May 10, 2020, 5:22 PM · The VSA accepts all entries, including violins made by amateurs; including those fashioned from carbon fiber, from coconuts, from balsa wood, and from paper mache. Typically, there are about 400 entries, from about 14 countries, with pricing all over the map. (I forgot to ask how much the maker of the coconut-body violin was asking.) :-)
May 10, 2020, 9:01 PM · I’ll defer to your experience in that , though the VSA competition rules seem to say otherwise:

“All instruments and bows that are accepted into the competition must have essential parts that are hand crafted from traditional legal materials. For stringed instruments, essential parts include the top, back, sides and scroll. Synthetic or composite materials are allowed for the fingerboard, fittings and accessories of the instrument such as the tailpiece, pegs, end pin, and chin rest.”

Though when I said the 0.001% I was speaking mostly of the winners, their instruments typically are in the 20K range after a major award, which is out of consideration for the vast majority of players.

Edited: May 11, 2020, 5:48 AM · Richard, I'll call the chairman of the competition committee to see if there has been a change in policy, or how that section is interpreted. My understanding has been that there has always been a requirement that the "essential" parts of the instrument be "hand-made", with the exception of things like pegs, fingerboards, and tailpieces, which can start from a near-finished commercial blank, or be used as is from a supplier.

The Moscow competition included "factory" instruments, the explanation being that so many players there use them (because that's about all they can afford), that competition feedback on that category would be extremely valuable.

Edited: May 11, 2020, 12:31 PM · Paraphrased from my conversation with the Competition Committee Chairman;

In approximately 2018, the Board of Directors and the Competition Committee decided to take steps to maintain the emphasis of the competition on "individually-made", "hand-crafted" instruments and bows. The sentiment was that a manufacturing-like process which could produce an identical item multiple times (such as plastic injected or pressed into a mold) was not consistent with the spirit of this particular competition, so they came out with a loose list of specified materials, and exclusions. There can be exceptions to this list, partly depending on how the materials are utilized, but these would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine if they are consistent with the objectives of the competition. To that end, the rules also state: "Questions about traditional material use may be directed to the Competition Rules Committee before entry."

May 11, 2020, 12:24 PM · Yes that matches what I saw on the current list of rules; thanks for the clarification.. basically it seems the competition is now geared to exclude anything except wood, which is unfortunate.
Edited: May 13, 2020, 3:48 AM · It would be advisable to run the use of an unconventional material by the Competition Committee, since it is my understanding that the intent of the new rule is more to preserve traditional type hand-craftsmanship, than to specifically exclude unconventional materials. So it would depend on how the material is used and fashioned.

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