Karine Bouyssonie, Guinée équatoriale

I would like to tell you the story of my Neolin ! Everything began last year. Believe me, at that time I saw a violin for real for the first time in my life. I mean, not like in a concert or in a violin maker’s shop window. But I saw, touched and tried to play the violin of one of my girlfriends, and this was really marvellous. I have always loved the sound of this instrument without thinking that I would be able to play it one day. However, as soon as I held it in my hand I was sure that I wanted to learn playing and I knew that I was able to do so! It is not easy to have such an objective when you are 26 years old, have no practice in music and live at the end of the world (well in Equatorial Guinea, but this is almost the same)!

I started on my girlfriend’s violin and she was ready to teach me. But I needed my own instrument and started to look on the Internet what I could buy. Here I accidentally came across Bodo’s website and saw the Neolin. I was at once passionate about this instrument and the frets… When you never before had played an instrument and then start with it rather late it is just a dream, even if you try to find an easy solution! But why make life more complicated than it is anyway?

I contacted Bodo just to say him that I was crazy about the Neolin’s charm and that I wish to be able to play it one day, even if this would be later. Actually I had planned to buy a cheap violin for beginners, i.e. one of these Chinese violins you find in the market, and to afford a good instrument later.

But Bodo convinced me. Why should I wait for buying a beautiful good instrument if I could have it now and in addition one that promised me faster progress thanks to its frets? And why should I buy a violin of inferior quality which did not sound good! I did not hesitate any longer and ordered a black Neolin. Some weeks later it was ready, excellent, with a powerful warm sound… and I immediately ‘fell in love’ with my Neolin no. 6, series 3.

I received it in January 2009 and immediately continued learning on this instrument. Very soon I had less difficulties in placing the fingers of my left hand (precisely!) thanks to the frets. The finish was impeccable, the look incrediblewith its brilliant black colour, its asymmetric shape, its pipe-like head and the silver-coloured frets.

Well, of course at the beginning it is more or less the same whether you learn playing the violin or the Neolin… It is difficult. Three steps forward, one step backward, pleasure, frustration, discoveries, discouragements… But I am still motivated and also happy with it! Above all regarding the progress I make!

After one month I had a little problem. My fingers left traces in the varnishdespite the care I took with my Neolin. It seemed as if the varnishhad not well dried. I contacted Bodo and although the problem only referred to aesthetics and did in no way affect the sound of the instrument Bodo accepted to have a look at it. Fortunately I had to go to a place near Toulouse in February. The visit to ‘doctor’ Bodo turned out to my advantage and as it was a problem of the varnishand not of handling Bodo accepted to repair the deficiency and two weeks later I found my Neolin with a new coat of varnish (and together with a little bottle of polish, just in case…).

So far the varnish has not changed apart from two or three little chips that appeared because of my intensive training!

Back to Equatorial Guinea I have found that everything is O.K. I make good progress and would on no account replace this instrument. Currently I use my Neolin only in the violin mode, and I know that I could make much more of it than I actually do. But I progress step by step, I have got the time to discover the play with the plectrum, I am not in a hurry!

Recently I tried to play my girlfriend’s violin for curiosity and I realised that I did not need the frets any longer. It is really unbelievable, my fingers went correctly and instinctively to the right spot. However, when I have to play a new piece or new notes it is very practical to keep the frets in order to find the right note easier. Anyway I am now able to play a classic violin without any transition problem but I still prefer my Neolin. The sound of the acoustic violin I had played was softer, rounder and less powerful compared with that of my Neolin… and for playing traditional Irish music (my great passion) the Neolin is still unequalled!

I do not at all regret my decision to start playing this instrument and I can recommend to all of you to do the same – it is a good investment!

Karine Bouyssonie, Equatorial Guinea

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