Our Customer Service

Martin Swan Violins online violin shop

We're here to help you

Our first priority with any customer is to find the instrument that would best suit their playing style. So feel free to chat with Martin in detail by email or phone about your requirements. The best violin for you won't always be the most expensive within your budget, since the pricing of violins has more to do with the antique value commanded by certain makers than with any given violin’s suitability as a tool for making music.

It’s worth bearing in mind that upgrading a bow can help players to reach new levels as much as buying a new instrument. We can help you find a bow which will suit your instrument and your way of playing.

Because we prefer to help and advise customers in their choices we don’t operate a shopping cart on our website. But if you know what you want and don’t wish to discuss it, that’s fine too.

Sound samples

We have strong feelings about website sound samples - we think they are generally unhelpful for people trying to compare violins and are often downright misleading. However, we are happy to do comparative recordings for individual customers – these will be done without corrective equalization, flattering reverb or level adjustment!

14 day trial period

Wherever you are based, all items bought via our website are sold in accordance with the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which means that you have a 14 day period in which to decide whether to keep or return an item. This 14 day period starts upon receipt of the item, and you may return an item for any reason, without challenge.

Should you wish to return the item, all shipping and insurance expenses will be covered by you, and the item must be returned in its original packaging. Within the British Isles we will arrange for returning items to be collected.

Please get in touch to discuss details before returning an item. For instance, returned items must be clearly marked as 'return' for customs purposes.


If you buy a violin, viola or cello from us it will normally be sent with the bridge down, and the soundpost put down if requested. Often the soundpost will drop in transit, but any luthier or violin shop should be able to put a soundpost back up in minutes. All instruments will be expertly packed using either old violin cases and double-walled cardboard boxes or a 2-box plywood-reinforced system.

Postage costs & Insurance

We are experienced in sending musical instruments worldwide. Typical costs for sending a violin are:

  • within the UK: £15
  • elsewhere in Europe: £25
  • USA: £45
  • Asia: £65

Please ask us about rates for other instruments and countries or if you have concerns about customs and taxes.

We use major courier companies for all postage, mainly UPS. All items are sent with comprehensive insurance which explicitly covers musical instruments on trial against loss or damage. In the event of any damage occurring in transit, we will refund you immediately and then make a claim to the couriers.

Paying for an item

You can pay for anything on this site by PayPal, credit card, or by direct bank transfer.

If you choose to pay by PayPal we will send you a PayPal invoice, and your purchase will be covered by PayPal buyer protection. If you are paying in a currency other than GBP, PayPal will automatically do the currency conversion and this will appear on the invoice.

If you choose to pay by international bank transfer or Bankers Draft we will ask you to pay any bank charges.

PayPal and credit card purchases will normally be dispatched next day – if you pay by bank transfer, we will send your item as soon as the payment has cleared.

Company information & VAT

Martin Swan Violins is the trading name of Ashmole & Swan Ltd, registered in Scotland, company No. 479345. Registered office 68 Rosetta Road, Peebles, EH45 8HQ. (Note that this is not the workshop address.)

We are registered for VAT and use the VAT margin schemes for antiques and for artisan products. Any VAT element is included in the sale prices we quote and in most cases the VAT can't be reclaimed. Our VAT number is GB 119 2104 48.

Martin Swan Violins - the Safe Place to Buy a Violin Online

Scotland, London and Online

Professional advice • Transparent pricing • 14 day trial period

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