‘After leaving Ely, my wife and I enjoyed walking around Cambridge, talking about how we were lucky to meet you and Robin. I had been searching for my instrument for years, visited many dealers in Japan and UK, and I felt full trust in you from the very first moment, which I had not had with any other dealers. You and Robin were so sincere and candid, and I could feel your love for cellos!
Also we talked about your kindness to arrange a lunch with the seller. I could understand that leaving the cello would be very harsh moment for her, and your beautiful caring would heal it very much. It was also wonderful for us to know the history of the cello. Now I can feel connected with her. After returning home to Tokyo, we managed to find some time to have a party with my family. We all were fascinated by the rich and colorful tone of the cello, that was really magical.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us to buy such a beautiful instrument, and I really thank you for enormous help to make it possible. I believe we can have a very rich musical life for the future, with this exceptional cello. Thank you Sarah, thank you Robin. Hope to see you again someday and report to you how we are happy with the cello.’
‘I loved everything about your home and your cello room and I just wish I lived in the UK and could visit you more often. You are a ‘Mecca’ for cellists!’
‘Thank you for everything! you are certainly among the most ethical, professional, intelligent dealers I have ever dealt with.’
‘Thank you so much for all of your hard work over the past 18 months. I am so pleased that you have successfully sold my cello. With your contacts it seemed to be constantly out on approval or had someone coming to view it. If asked by a fellow musician where to sell their cello, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you. I find you both extremely kind and friendly and also professional.’
‘I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to buy this wonderful cello from you. As well as providing great inspiration for me, it is also attracting envious looks from my fellow players in our local orchestra.’
‘This cello has been a delightful and important addition to our life. Thank you both for your help and encouragement in making it possible.’
‘Thank you very much for all your help in finding a new cello and bow. I couldn’t have asked for a better ‘service’ in terms of expertise and patience. I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to Ely, so too did my daughters! The new cello and bow are fantastic and I think have made a big difference to my playing.’
‘Thanks very much for your news. It’s good to hear of people appreciating both cello and bow.’
‘I thank you very much for all your explanations and your sincere interest in selling cellos in as good condition and as well adapted to the customer as possible. I very much appreciated your straightforward answers to my questions.’
‘When I first saw the Cello Exchange online, I was very interested in one of the cellos advertised, but I had to travel to Ely in order to try the cello. Ely? A nice town situated 15 minutes by train from Cambridge, 65 minutes from London King’s Cross. Over 500 minutes from Germany where I live. I arrived a few days later to see the cello I was interested in and received a very warm welcome. Everything went very smoothly and after trying a few strings – a house speciality – and searched for a good set up with Robin the cello showed me his best. I tested the cello and decided a few days later to buy it. That’s where the Cello Exchange differs from a standard consignment: I knew before that the commission would be 10%, and that I would know the owner’s name in order to pay him the price directly.
Once I decided to buy the cello, I also decided to leave my instrument to be sold through the Cello Exchange. How surprised I was to hear about ten days later it was sold! Such a smooth double transaction was really unexpected! Thanks to the big energy you both put in your workshop – it really became an Exchange for me. I couldn’t be more satisfied by the amazing energy you put into both situations and can’t express how comforting it is for me to see my bank account refilled so soon!’
‘Just a quick note to thank you both so much for selling my cello. I can’t believe you’ve sold it so quickly.’
‘I enclose the promised cheques. I actually enjoyed writing them!!! Please tell the owner how very thrilled I am to be taking custody of what I am sure was a beloved instrument to her, and that I will endeavour to continue her good work and be worthy of what it has to offer.’
‘Thank you for selling the bow for me. I am so happy that I could ask you to sell it because I know that you would do it fairly and in the best circumstance for the buyer.’
‘Thank you both again for your generous help and advice – I can’t tell you how happy I am to have finally found a bow I love!’
‘Thank you so much for the work you have done in selling my cello. I am delighted with the outcome.’
‘Thank you for such an interesting afternoon and for all the help you gave Oliver in choosing his new bow. I’m sure he will have many happy years playing it.’
‘Thank you so much for all your work which you put into selling the cello. I’m glad it’s gone to a good home and I’ll have no hesitation in recommending you to other colleagues.’
‘Wonderful news all round! Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to Robin for his hard work. It’s been wonderful to get to know you both a little more during this whole process and I do hope that we stay in contact.’
‘Many thanks. I am so glad my cello has gone to a new home.’
‘Thanks so much for all the attention to our wellbeing (green tea, seed flapjack treats) besides adjustments to the cello for comfort. We very much enjoyed our visit to you and Ely.’
‘Please pass on this cheque to the cello’s owner with our best wishes and the knowledge that we will love and care for this beautiful instrument as she has done. John is thrilled to bits and clearly feels an enormous affinity with it already.’
‘Thank you for your attention. We’re now one step closer to our dream retirement in the Yorkshire Dales!’
‘Thank you very much for selling the Lockey Hill and that it has gone to a good home. I hope we will meet again one day.’
‘Just a note to express my gratitude and appreciation not simply for helping my son find his cello but for all the encouragement and respect you have shown him throughout. It has made a huge impact on him.’
‘Thank you very much for helping my student acquire her wonderful cello. It is beautiful and she is of course a very lucky girl. I have only taught her since the beginning of this term but already feel confident that she deserves it. I can’t tell you what a treat it is to hear it towards the end of a teaching day!’
‘Thank you so much for all you did making my cello in better condition and suitable to be sold. I am so pleased to hear that a girl called Alice has it and is happy with it and I do hope it helps her playing and I am sure she will love it as much as I did. With many thanks to you both and all best wishes.’
‘John and I think you’re a bit of a genius – with a little bit of manoeuvring you have ended up with two happy clients – and for your part a very small commission. Considering the demands some dealers make for their services, I think you are modest in the extreme. Added to which, it is always such a pleasure being in contact with you and Robin. So, thank you very much for everything.’
‘Many thanks for all the hard work and effort, and congratulations on the outcome.’
‘Many thanks for a very pleasant association!’
‘Thank you very much for the opportunity to try so many bows. It was a very rewarding experience. And I’m absolutely glad I made the right choice with the Stephen Salchow bow. It is doing wonders to both of my cellos already.’
‘Many thanks for all your work.’
‘A very big Thank You for helping me find such a lovely cello and bow.’
‘It has been such a pleasure dealing with you and Robin over the sale of my instruments – what could have been a rather miserable experience has been most enjoyable. I am so grateful to you both.’
‘I’d like to say thank you for all of your assistance in selling the Cello. I will definitely recommend you to people and should you ever wish for me to provide you with a testimonial for future customers I would be more than happy to do so.
‘Thank you both so very much for all your hard work to restore the Banks cello and in finding a buyer. I am so pleased that such a good cellist has been able to buy it.’
‘I am really looking forward to playing the cello and I really appreciate your patience, your assistance, answering innumerable questions, and your kindness. I hope I can do you the honor of referring you to others some day.’
‘I would like to thank you so much for you help and your patience. It was such a pleasure to meet you. I especially wanted to thank you for not pressuring me in any way with my decision. The cello got a stamp of approval from my teacher and she’s so impressed by the setup she’s sending hers in to have some modifications made. I would happily recommend you to anyone travelling over to the UK from Australia and seeking an instrument.’
‘I thank you very much for your pleasant, professional advice and for sharing your knowledge with me without thinking of profit first. Every time I am with you I learn something. You make me a happy customer and of course I will return. Thanks for being not only super-professional cello and bow dealers but real friends.’
‘Thank you so much for opening your home to us – we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Ely and had a walk around the lovely city (it was Apple Day!) and visited the cathedral. What a lovely place Ely is!’
‘I’m so happy about the cello. It’s great in the orchestra and especially playing Bach on it, is special. With warm thanks.’
‘I was in London yesterday, where I took up a long standing invitation from the buyer of my old cello to pay her a visit to see her “new” cello and to play it to her. I was captivated by her charm and enthusiasm, and impressed by the dedication with which she was applying herself to her new study. We spent a couple of happy hours talking about music, the cello, and adult learning. I played some Bach and some Fauré to her, after which she was persuaded to play to me; so it ended up with a bit of a cello lesson! I was delighted to find what a good job you have made of restoring the instrument. It sounded better than it ever did when I had it – more resonant, and more even throughout the range, with a more open sound at the top. And you have improved its appearance too, the cracks hardly noticeable and the varnish much more even. So once again may I thank you for the trouble you have taken over this sale. I hope we will be able to meet again one day.’
‘Many thanks for the refund which has arrived in my account. My husband reckons it was a Freudian slip on my part owing to the fantastic and efficient service we have had from you.’
‘Thank you so much for your kindness, it has been a pleasure doing business with you, you were efficient, pleasant, kept us fully informed at all times and were extremely helpful. We would not hesitate to contact you in the future.’
Thank you so much for two exciting days and especially for your hospitality, help and kindness yesterday. I rushed home and couldn’t believe I was playing such a beautiful cello with equally wonderful bows! It’s going to be difficult to get any work done – I want to play all day!
‘Now that I am fed, rested, and showered, I wanted to drop you a note thanking you again for all of your help with accommodation, travel plans, etc. It was super to get to know you. The cello has arrived safely at home. My cello teacher was thrilled to hear it had arrived safely. Thank you again for the birthday luncheon. I can honestly say I have never had better. I wish you and yours my very best from Texas, USA. If you are ever in the neigbourhood, please look me up.’
‘Thanks again for all your help, encouragement and understanding in this matter.’
‘Thanks again for processing this sale so elegantly.’
‘We are more than grateful for the way in which you have handled the sale of my cello and the 3 bows. We shall keep in touch and wish you great success in the future.’
‘I have been looking for a replacement cello for about three years, but not finding anything that I had really liked. Visiting Ely was the turning point. I was very impressed how you had understood what I was searching for, and then had been able to adjust the setup of the cello that I quite liked, and turn it into a cello with a sound that I very much like.’
‘Thank you so much for all your hard work (which I sense has been considerable) in selling my cello. I feel really delighted with the result.’
I think that completes everything to do with the purchase, and so it is just left for me to say “thank you” for making the whole process of trying and buying the cello and bow ultimately so easy. I won’t hesitate to visit you again whenever I have a need in the future, and I will certainly recommend you to my cellist colleagues. Thank you very much, it has been a real pleasure dealing with you, P.S. I am looking forward to playing the cello every evening next week in a local production of ‘Oliver’ – its mellow sound is blending so easily with everybody else.
‘I have formed the highest opinion of your service which I would recommend to others as personal, efficient and friendly. Thank you for finding a new home for my ‘cello so quickly. I am not a gambling man on principle but in this instance I am glad to have “placed my Betts” (Oh dear, my jokes do not improve!).’
‘I would like to thank you for all your help and how very nice it was to have a glimpse of the wonderful world of the cello. I will miss my contact with you both – and have admired your skill, integrity and humour. With affection, C.’
‘I just want to say a really big and heartfelt thank you for such a wonderful day of trying cellos and bows yesterday! It was a fantastic first step on my way to finding a cello and to try such a wide range was so great. Also, it was such a privilege to try Robin’s latest cello, which I thoroughly enjoyed playing, so thank you!’
‘Many thanks for your time yesterday, I was truly impressed by your workshop, your amazing knowledge and kindness. I have just got back home from putting the cello through its paces in Tchaik 4 and I am just amazed how much of a difference a good set-up at the right size can make.’
‘Thank you very much. We, too, are delighted that the cello has gone to a loving home. Thank you very much for all your help and guidance in this.’
‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and Robin for all your efforts on my behalf. Sad though I am to part with Benji you made it so much easier than it might have been. It was a great pleasure to meet you both and I am so pleased that our paths crossed at just the right time. I would not hesitate for one moment in reccommending you to any of my friends/colleagues needing helping selling their ‘cellos. Yes please – I will certainly stay in touch (I will have another ‘cello to sell eventually-but I can’t be completely ‘cello-less’ just yet!!) I will be following the buyer’s career with great interest and hope to hear Benji being played publicly one of these days. Thank you and Robin once again for all your kindness and efficiency and I wish you all the very best for continued success in your business. Your honesty and integrity should ensure this!’ (seller of a Benjamin Banks cello)
‘I am so looking forward to playing with my new bow for many decades to come. I think it matches my cello very well and it is a great privilege to have the funds to buy such an object of desire. Maybe one day I’ll be back for more – I could see how one could develop a bow collecting habit.’
‘I suppose I’ll have to stop checking your “Cello Exchange” page every day now, but it is an awfully nice page to visit!’ (Cellist who bought an English cello through the Cello Exchange).
‘Thank you both very much for all your help in sorting me out with a new cello! I appreciated the chance to try out various cellos in peace and quiet and for your helpful comments and advice. ‘
‘It has, as always, been a pleasure interacting with you.’
‘It was very good to know you and also to get to know this beautiful city Ely! We appreciated very much the days we spent there, and of course the time with the cello! I will never forget the hours I played in Prior Crauden’s Chapel.’
‘Thank you both for all your efforts on my behalf! I am sorry that I didn’t get to hear the cello with Robin’s bridge and adjustments, it obviously did the trick and I am thrilled that it has gone on to a good home.’
‘Thanks so much for all your help and good advice to the buyers. I know you always try and match the bow/instrument to the person which is a rare and fantastic service.’
‘Thank you for all your work in preparing my Rubio cello for sale and having been so
efficient after the successful sale (hence this celebration card!) I am most appreciative of your considerable care in all ways, and consider myself lucky to be dealing with you. Thank you for having found a happy home for the cello.’
‘Thankyou very much for helping me to find my cello. I am absolutely delighted with it. See you again soon.’
‘Thank you for your patience in waiting for the right buyer. I am so delighted that the cello has gone to a young person who I’m sure will enjoy playing it. Thank you for your skills, Robin, and for steering it all through, Sarah, I could not have been in more expert hands.’
‘Dear Sarah, I have just transferred the funds for the Salchow bow. Many thanks for such a high quality service – I’m so pleased to have found such a good fit for me and my cello so effortlessly!’
‘I am writing to thank you for your kindness and skilful sensitive help yesterday and to say that the Finkel bow is currently the one I (and we) much prefer. I shall take it to my teacher this week, and settle all with you straight away thereafter.’
Thank you so much for your patience, understanding and wonderful advice on choosing a suitable bow. I am over the moon with my Etzler bow and can’t wait to show it to my parents over the weekend. You have been fabulous to me and I will recommend yourselves to other musicians who are looking for bows or instruments. Let’s hope our paths do cross in the future.’
‘Here, with MANY thanks, is the cheque for the cello. I am a very happy cellist… it feels like coming home!’
‘Just to let you know that I was playing with the Etzler bow yesterday and it’s wonderful. It feels like a natural extension of my arm, which is of course how it should be. I am 100% happy with my choice of this bow!
Many thanks again to you and Robin for all your help, and for having such an array of bows to choose from. You really do provide a valuable service to cellists by keeping a stock of high quality bows and cellos available to try.’
‘I am really pleased that it has worked out buying the bow from you. I’m really impressed at how detailed, fair and transparent you managed the whole process. I haven’t all that much experience with buying musical instruments, but the feeling I get is that the quality of service one generally receives is well below what you offer. Therefore: Congratulations!’
‘As a demanding professional cellist in search of rare equipment not available in the United States, I contacted Sarah Mnatzaganian by email and was greeted with surprisingly detailed responses with extremely polite and welcoming feel. During our month-long cross-continent business transaction Sarah made many of my unrealistic wishes come true. She truly goes out of her way to fully satisfy the demands of her customer all the while remaining a clear communicator. She is always friendly and thoughtful, preparing all goods and documents with the utmost attention to details.
LIchtenstein cellist by Michael Edwards
The awesome personalized service Sarah Mnatzaganian provided redefines customer service and dedication to whole another level that I have yet to encounter in the field of violin and musical instrument shops. Throughout our exchanges of pleasant conversations, it became evident the reason why the shop’s website is so enjoyable to reference over and over. I could only imagine the day I personally visit Aitchison & Mnatzaganian’s cello shop in Ely, UK, as I’m sure it will be an incredible experience.
I wholeheartedly recommend Sarah Mnatzaganian for her strong background in writing and communication, and the wealth of knowledgeable cello experience including her network to many world-renowned makers and luthiers.’ Jeffrey Wang, concert cellist and music educator, Seattle.
Many thanks for your advice and help with the purchase of the William Owen cello. When we first started ‘The Search For The Cello’ and tried the first one, we discovered that we were fairly uninformed. We researched everything we could about tone woods, acoustics, makers, schools of making, different countries of origin, blocks, glue, neck angles, varnishes etc… and tried about 30 cellos. During our visits and conversations with you, we felt that you understood perfectly what we were looking for, what elements were most important to us. When you suggested I try the Owen cello, I knew quite quickly that it was a fine fit in many ways. I am delighted to have a cello that is beautifully crafted, with a great voice and impressive provenance. I already feel a strong affinity with it and am certain, as Robin suggested, that the cello will help me blossom. It will be played frequently and I shall enjoy playing it tremendously. With warmest best wishes, Cathy and Leo.