Hear what others have to say about "The Gayford Carbon Strad."

I am one very extremely satisfied customer!

June 2020

I am compelled to tell you this: I am IN LOVE with Nicholai. Absolutely IN LOVE. Hands down the most amazing instrument I have ever touched! I am so happy I made the wise life choice to purchase him from you. I feel bad, but I don’t even want to touch Raúl, my regular violin, now. I kinda feel like I’m cheating on him, Hahahaha! I’m even considering just selling Raúl and having Nicholai be my only instrument.

Your instrument is so light, clear, precise, and downright sexy! I just can’t say enough good things about it! My banker asked me about it yesterday, because he had to do the wire transfer (and, small towns, everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone). He said, “How do you like your new violin?” And I said, “Oh my gosh! It’s more amazing than I could imagine! And it’s sexy as hell!” And they all thought it was hilarious. So I showed them a picture and they agreed, that it is indeed a beautiful instrument.

I am one very extremely satisfied customer!

Thank you so much!! I couldn’t be happier with your creation and art! I’m so very happy I accidentally stumbled upon your website.

In peace and unity,

August 2020

Still so so happy with my Nicholai. It’s the most amazing instrument I have ever laid hands on. I’ve actually put my traditional violin up for sale, because I don’t even touch it anymore! I’m saving and working towards buying a house and I was like, well… I may as well sell that thing and get a big chunk of change toward the house! I don’t need it, I’ve got Nicholai!

...a substantial cut above the competition...

July 2020

I first encountered the Carbon Strad three years ago at a violin shop in Nashville. A friend was in the market for an instrument, and while I was not, I came to lend a supportive ear. It was with much skepticism that he took it off the wall, and began to play; words can not describe what I heard, and how quickly I went from skeptic to admirer. In less than a minute I told him, “you better buy that, or I’m going to.” However, I wasn’t sure what strings I would need to pull with my finances to make this happen. The sound was just huge, the bass booming, and the Carbon Strad never ran out of power; it was like living inside of a dream for me, and other fellow musicians we had brought along on the trip agreed. My friend was looking for a budget conscious instrument, and had not prepared his finances to cover the cost of the Carbon Strad, but after playing it, he agreed that he was spoiled by the experience, and other offerings simply did not compare, thus we all left empty-handed. The experience haunted me for three days, and I made the decision to call the shop up and make a purchase, however, much to my chagrin, the instrument had already sold. My friends and I spent the next three years talking about, and remembering that instrument, and while I was content with a four-string I had played for sixteen years, and a five string which I had performed on for nearly five years, the Carbon Strad haunted me. This led me to contact Fred, and discuss commissioning an instrument. I have never dealt with a more honest and upstanding luthier, and this was not my first venture into commissioning a build; Fred is a humble man, who’s concern is your satisfaction with his instrument, and he goes out of his way to answer any questions, and keep you well informed of the process. Once an instrument arrives, he is quick to remind you that you have a trial period, and that he wants you to be sure that the instrument is all you want it to be. You are not just buying an instrument from him, but you are gaining an incredibly knowledgeable friend, who does exactly what he says he’ll do.

Once my instrument arrived, I set about testing it against the other two which I had played on for so long. The Carbon Strad was hands-down victorious in this battle, so much so that I sold off my two other instruments. I am particular about set up work, and playability, in addition to the sound of course, and decided I really wanted my luthier to take a look at this instrument, and play it, just to get his opinion. He is a fellow who has built many instruments, in addition to re-graduating an astounding number of violins; furthermore, he is an excellent musician, and is one of those guys who is always critical of instruments. Even when evaluating his own work, the best compliment I have ever heard him say is “it is okay” or, “it will get the job done.” However, he took out the Carbon Strad, played it for a few minutes, and exclaimed “wow, that thing is good, and powerful”! He went on to describe the excellent set up, how great the neck feels, how the instrument hardly weighs anything, and how fun it is to play. All of my professional life has been spent as a traveling/ session musician, audio engineer and producer, and I am fairly confident in my abilities to understand great tone, volume, and playability; the Carbon Strad has all of these factors, and when compared to other carbon fiber violins, the tone and volume are a substantial cut above the competition. As I write this, I am just off of a recording session for the Day-Star Television Network, and the audio engineer there was astounded by this instrument, and stated that it was the richest and most refined sounding violin he has ever recorded. But don’t just take my word, if you try one of these, and play it for a day or two, and then go back to the instrument you had been playing, your ear will tell you worlds more than I could.

Shawn Brock

Gary Wahl shares his thoughts on "The Gayford Carbon Strad."  February 1, 2017

Billy McClaran and Fred Carpenter play the "Gayford Carbon Strad" at The Violin Shop in Nashville, TN.