Friday, March 4, 2016

What's Goin on?
Violoncello da Spalla 

Zachary Carrettin, the director of the Boulder Bach Festival, contacted us about a month and a half ago and suggested that we embark on a special project with him. He wanted us to customize a small cello to be played as a "Violoncello da Spalla." Of course we love a challenge, and Jesse and Alex had a great time meeting the challenge.
        (Clark Playing Our New Baby)
The Violoncello da Spalla is a small cello played braced against the shoulder. Many Baroque composers, includingJ. S. Bach, wrote for the instrument. The instrument is available between 3 and 6 strings. The five-string version may have been what Bach had in mind for performing his Cello Suite No. 6. The violoncello da spalla is a very fun challenge when played by violinists, giving a whole new depth of the low register of the cello, but keeping with the hand frame and posture of the violin.
If you wish to have an instrument like this, contact us and we can get the wheels in motion!
Introducing Jesse

Jesse Pherson is our new workshop manager.  Jess has over 15 years experience in restoration and making, having studied at Oberlin and with the Violin Guild of America.
Previously he worked over 7 years for Saint Louis Strings and owned his own shop in Illinois.
Jess loves his Airdale Terriers and buying the finest tools available.
Call us for an appointment at 402.827.9270.  You will be impressed with his skills, from bow rehairs, tonal adjustments and structural restoration!
Buy One, Get
1/2 off!

Bring this coupon in before the end of the month, buy any one item, get 50% off any other item!
(equal or lesser value)

Offer not valid on consignment items or strings
Offer Expires: March 31st 2016

Saturday, November 15, 2014


You are cordially invited to A. Cavallo Violin's afternoon of chamber music on Sunday, November 23rd at 2 pm
We will be featuring Philadelphia's new and acclaimed conductor-less string ensemble, Prometheus, in an intimate concert featuring beloved works in the chamber music repertoire.
Admission is free, with a $10 Suggested Donation, for the chamber concert and following reception. Space is limited so please RSVP no later than November 20th at 610-646-7400 or by responding to this email.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

As a violinmaker I am always looking for ways to improve the sound and level of my instruments, one of them being competitions. I just returned from a violin competition in Tucson Arizona, sponsored by theViolin Makers Association of Arizona International. VMAAI is a non-profit, educational organization founded in 1958, the oldest of its kind in the USA. It was a very rewarding trip for several reasons.  

The first was the presence of the workmanship judge Christopher Germain, former President of the Violin Society of America and a well respected authority in the violin world. It is always great opportunity to have your instrument critiqued in a way that you can learn and grow from, helping you become a better maker.  

The second was that it is an opportunity to meet with your fellow violinmakers and share ideas and information. There were makers there from all over the US and even a few international entries.

The third reason is that we had an opportunity to listen to our instruments being played by professionals and then having the chance to get their feedback on what a musician looks and listens for. This all comes together in the making of better instruments. There are very good instruments being made by living makers today and that should be taken into consideration by the today's players.  

On a related note, I was reminded about the importance of properly humidifying your instruments. The impact it can have when traveling or with winter quickly approaching is dramatic and potentially damaging. When my violin arrived in Tucson, it did not sound like itself and needed time to acclimate to the extreme dry air there. Keeping a humidifier in your arsenal will help protect your instruments from this trauma in the winter months.
-Alex Reza

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Our Treasure Chest

Dear Players, Makers, and Dealers:
We had a great VSA and Fall retail kickoff.  Now we have some choice traded instruments, fittings and tonewood available that will knock your socks off in price!
Look below as this inventory reduction sale will only last until October 20th, 2014!

We Look forward to seeing you!
Alex, Laura, Rachel, Michele, Dirk, Chris and Xander
Cello, Cellos, Cellos
We have over 75 Cellos to offer you.  In the fractionals, we offer 10% per year discount up to 50% on all Academia and Conservatory Models.
In fine makers' instruments we feature  Melanson, Dimitrov, Sumners, Hornsteiner, Kreutzinger, Wultur, Loveri and other older French and German cellos.
In Concert and Master Art cellos we have a vast overstock and will
Master Art Cello
entertain offers!
A Satisfied Customer
Bosnian Maple
Wood You Need Anything?

We beefed up our inventory for the VSA and still have a few really choice pieces available including 1-piece backs for violins and violas, a few heirloom quality cello backs, and hundreds of spruce tops as well as fingerboards and Nebraska Willow blocks and linings.
If you buy a whole set all fittings are 50% off for the first 5 sets.

Some of the wood is old enough and ready to go!
Fiddlers Delight
Or Help us keep violins off the streets!
Now you're askin!  We have over 250 Violins to choose from!  All fractional trade ins are significantly reduced till October 15.
All Purchasers of Master art violins will get a FREE Elite violin case or a $200 discount on the instrument! (By October 15)
We have new arrivals from Peter Bingen, Raymond Melanson, Dirk Henry, Denis Cormier, Arie Werbrouck, Ming-Jiang Zhu, and Douglas Cox.  Come see them!
We also have a few "A. Fischof, Wien" and Mark Henry violins....Make us an offer!

Do We Fit?

All fittings are reduced for quantity orders.  If you order 5 of the same items you will receive a 10% discount.  For every five thereafter, we will increase it by 10% up to 40% off!
Viola by Martin Olteanu
Violas Viola!

All student violas are 10% per year up to 50% off!
We have new violas by Ming-Jiang Zhu, Christopher Jacoby, Dirk Henry, Mark Moreland, Otto Erdesz, Doug Cox, Martin Olteanu, and Samuel Payton.
All new Master Art, Concert and Conservatory violas at the regular price receive a FREE Elite viola case or a $250 discount!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


New VS. Old

The Eternal Question

 Many Strads are 300 - We're 15!

Longevity? Violins are an amazing item in that category.  There are still playable examples of violins being used over four hundred years after they were created.  This subject reminded me of a recent experience.

When I was at VSA (the Violin Society of America) meeting last week, I was asked by Joe Curtin to "blind test" a selection of older makers' and living makers' instruments in a acoustically dead room in the convention hotel.  They put dark glasses on me so I had no visual references, then I played instruments and put them in to categories and rankings as I saw fit. The objective of the project was to study how players respond and make choices in testing instruments.

While I think this process is useful, it is only partial.  Players try instruments in various environments that respond to the violin.  As an example, a dead hotel room will sound totally different to the player than an alive hall or very spacious dead room.  The type of surfaces in each environment can significantly alter the impressions of the player.  So, you might say, "just test all in a dead room so all you hear is the violin, not the room."

Therein lies the problem.  In my 35 years of experience, many instruments sound superior in an isolated environment, but are surprisingly dramatically inferior in actual performing circumstances.
This is the reason we take strings instruments on trial.  Try them under all circumstances and in all possible environments to see how you can live with them.

Also, throw away your prejudices!  It is clear that new violins do not sound or respond significantly worse than old violins.  Chinese violins do not sound "Chinese" and German violins don't sound "German," etc.  Antiqued violins don't sound better that "straight" violins, but the perception of them is often enhanced by the old "feel" of them.  Becoming unbiased is an important part of the process.
Then, lastly, find a violin you love and can be passionate about.  An instrument should inspire and challenge you, not just be a good purchase.  When you find the one, you will know!

Violins have been around for 500 years, but can you believe in October we will have been in business for 15 years? We began as a closet in Alex and Laura Ross' home in 1999.  Our original reason for being was to provide the best violins possible for the Omaha Conservatory of Music students, but we quickly grew beyond those borders.  It couldn't have been possible without you - our loyal customers - so in honor of our 15 year anniversary, we're offering you 15 percent off on everything (excluding consignment items and repairs).  Come in through October 1st to take advantage of this special.  

We look forward to seeing you! -Alex

Friday, August 8, 2014

Eternal Arches

Musings from the Bench
Stability and Striking Sound
by Christopher Jacoby

Your instrument is a changing creature, as everyone knows. The thing that makes the violin the soaring, projecting superhero of sound it is, is the same thing that wears it down: Pressure.

The violin is a masterwork of arches, shaped to allow enormous amounts of pressure to be put onto a delicate little corpus. A violin with full setup weighs around a pound and a half, yet withstands about 36 pounds of pressure when the strings are tuned up to pitch. How? Arches.

The Roman aqueducts stand to this day, as modern roads and works crumble and are replaced by the decay around them. The masonry arches built into their structure are perfection in engineering, and your instrument benefits from the same simple technology. A violin maker's choice of stable wood, carved into strong, flexible arches, will ensure an instrument that can better withstand the pressure of strings and the changing seasons.

Take a look at your instrument. Have the strings suddenly become much too high above the fingerboard, making it difficult to press them down above first position? Is your bridge leaning at an awkward angle? Put bow to string. Does the sound respond instantaneously to your playing?

It's inevitable that pressure causes ill effects in a violin, especially in these days of wild and wooly weather, shifting quickly between blazing hot and humid and then rainy cool spells. Sound posts fall over, seams open, necks fall, bridges warp, and saddles lift up, all from pressure.

Our workshop staff here at A. Cavallo Violins are trained and ready to assess and address any detrimental changes that your stringed buddy has suffered. Like changing the oil in your car, regular upkeep and attention will save you from needing larger, more intrusive repairs further down the line.

"The pressure that a violin or cello is under is going to change how it sounds," Dirk Henry, our shop foreman says, resting at his bench. "If you find the sound you love has gone away, it's time to come in for a setup adjustment. A checkup, if you will!"

Stability may be fleeting, but good sound need not be. Bring your instrument by the shop; we can't wait to see you.


All Intermediate Instruments are on Sale!
Violins $1,500 - 4,500,
now $1,125 - 3,375
Violas $1,800 - 5,000,
now $1350 - 3,750
Cellos $3500 - 8,000,  
now $2625 - 6000

This offer is available from August 8 to August 16, 2014
only non-consignment instruments are eligible
Payment must be cash, credit card or check

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Chinrest Problem

Violin and Viola chinrests are a common subject of discussion. Since the chinrest was invented in the early 19th century there have been an infinite number of variations on the shape and design. There is an additional consideration, the shoulder pad, as the chinrest and shoulder pad work together to help the player position and support the instrument in the most secure and stress free manner.

Another problem the customer does not always understand is that many chinrests have more than one name. For instance the "Berber" and "Ohrenform" are the same. Many "Dresden" chinrests are actually close in design to the "Berlin," and the Guarneri chinrest has at least 5 different designs including "large cup," small cup," " European," "Rounded end" and "Classic."

Brackets vary from standard to Hill and other custom designs. They all affect the acoustics of the instrument and the comfort of the player. Many brackets of inferior products are not straight, so the chinrest is not properly oriented to the instruments and will apply damaging pressure to the violin and not be comfortable to the player.

Basically, Chinrests fit players dependent on their physique and style of play. Jaw shape, prominence of the collarbone, length of the neck, depth of the sub-clavicular space, the shape of the shoulders, and the overall size and reach of the player are factors that influence comfort and fit. This is a very complex topic that should be addressed to the individual. Unfortunately many teachers find what is comfortable for them and then recommend it to their students, when in reality it may only work for 10% of players.

At A. Cavallo Violins, we try to carry a version of all the major chinrests and will fit them to you at purchase at no charge. Because we are a direct buyer, our prices are the lowest in the industry for the quality of chinrests we carry. All of our chinrests have minimized footprints, high enough arches to avoid buzzes with the tailpiece, and comfortable designs with just the right rounded front edges and properly swooped cups.

CR VN Messiah
Chinrest Promotion
Call or come in to our shop in Omaha or Bryn Mawr and get $5.00 off any chinrest!  Fitting is complimentary!
Click on the picture and shop our chinrests on line.

Only one per customer, Offer ends 6/1/2103

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This is it!  The best sale of the year!  All instruments are dramatically marked down for the Memorial Day Weekend.  Prices on many instruments are as low as 50% under our normal price!  This special is only Friday, Saturday and Monday (call for an appointment) of Memorial Weekend.

If you are out of town, these specials are also good.  Just call Alan in Bryn Mawr at 610.646.7400 or Alex in Omaha at 402.827.9270
Student Instrument Mark Downs

Selected student instruments are marked down dramatically!!!
"Academia" violins were $565 NOW AS LOW AS $400.00!!!
"Concert" Violas were $950 are now as low as $700.00 (27% savings)
ALL "Master Art" violins and violas are 50% under list price!!!
Francesco Ligetti Violins were $3200 now $1600, Cellos were $12,000 NOW $6,000!!!
Mark Henry Violins were $4500, Now $3500!!
Dramatically Reduced Master Instruments

We'll Never do this Again! 

Beyond the scope of normal, we have selected master instruments reduced to prices that will never be replicated.

Violins by Sipe, Buccelle, Melanson, Quaranta, Dimitrov, Faruolo and others as much as 50% reduced!

Violas by Olteanu, Damon Gray, Lacek, and others as much as 45% reduced!
Cello by Jan Szlachtowski regularly $13,800 NOW $7000
Cello by Maciej Lacek was $14,000 NOW $7,000
Basses (2) by Calin Wultur so low I cannot publish the price!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Name This Maker

This lovely violin came in to us from an estate that has several fine Italian instruments.  Who do you think made this beauty?

Friday, November 23, 2012

We sold the viola on the far right, second row!!!  It is by Vladamir Logashov.


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