February 2013
Knowing that I would soon need a better violin for my young daughter, I had put Martin Swan on my shortlist of violin dealers because the ethos conveyed by his web site is so refreshingly unstuffy and straightforward. He tells you his credentials; he’s willing to publish his prices; and he’ll stick his neck out and say how he thinks each instrument plays. To my surprise, I don’t think I came across another dealer that did all three of these things upfront.

I had a specific requirement for an unusually small full-sized violin, so I was delighted when Martin listed one at a price which didn’t make the instrument too scary to place in the hands of a primary school child! He said in an email to me, ‘I’m always keen to help parents’ and, although this was only quite a modest purchase, he clearly meant it. He provided comprehensive and informative answers to queries raised by my daughter’s teacher, and he went to considerable trouble having the instrument set up the way the teacher wanted it. He could not have been more patient, and he was equally helpful in the selection of a bow.

Consequently my daughter is now the very proud owner of a lovely antique violin and bow which should take her a long way. Now all that stands between her and her hoped-for music school audition is a great deal of hard work!
John Parkin, UK