As a newbie, I started with a Cremona – 175 package from Amazon. I happened to run into Superior Violins web site and purchased a couple of accessories from Mark. In the process, we talked several times over the chat function. Mark offered to send a couple of violins to try, to show that there really is a readily heard difference. While I did not take him up on that offer, he did convince me to purchase a Vitale violin, a Chinese-made violin. I tried to google information about the Vitale, but couldn’t find anything other than pages from Superior Violin. Mark has been so easy to work with, and has been so willing to have me try out things before buying, that I took a chance on the Vitale. I am very glad that I did! Even as a newbie, I can clearly hear how much better the Vitale sounds. Paired with the Carmela Pietro bow, which he also recommended – I am thrilled at the combination and I know that my learning will be sped up significantly. The Vitale is easier to play and sounds better! The Pietro bow is light and maneuverable, and further accentuates the sound from the Vitale. I am a new fan of Chinese violins!