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Rosamund van der Westhuizen:
Professional Cellist : Winterthur, Switzerland.

"Both the celli I've owned have been sold to me by Johan, both times with professionalism and grace beyond the call of the marketplace. The first was a modern French instrument by Charles Caplet which was my trustworthy companion throughout my bachelor studies, and my current - a late 18th century German cello I tested for him and absolutely adored from the first bow stroke. He has also done astounding work with my instruments' setup - a true gift for sounding out and tapping potential.
Johan takes genuine pride in his business and is a joy to work with, his knowledge matched only by his zeal. He handles the often tricky transaction of instrument buying with admirable aplomb and obvious experience, allowing both parties enough space and freedom to be sure in their choice.
I have also played on a few of the celli he has had in his possession and have always been surprised by his real curiosity in the player's experience of each instrument, and in discovering the character of that instrument. Johan looks beyond labels (about which he knows more than anyone else I've met) to find the practical potential of each instrument. He doesn't shy away from honest assessment, nor does he inflate beyond merit. This is a rare characteristic in a salesman; one doubtlessly born from his innate musicianship. String players in South Africa couldn't be in better hands."

F.P.A. (Name withheld by request):
Professional Violinist : Praestoe, Denmark.

"Hi Johan,
I just wanted to give you an update on the Michael Vann bow that I bought from you. I have now had it straightened and it has turned into an absolutely outstanding bow! Vann is undoubtedly a top bow maker. The sound is really full and at the same time creamy and beautiful. The balance is perfect and I have never tried a bow that has such a good spiccato. It is now my favourite bow.
Hope all is well with you.

Jessica Reim:
Violinist : Hillcrest near Durban South Africa.

"A huge vote of thanks to Johan Grobbelaar for the care and professionalism with which he handled what could have been a disaster.
I fell in love with and bought from Johan a gorgeous 200 year old violin, along with a most exquisite bow. Not even two weeks after the instrument changed hands, I was sitting tuning it and the violin seemed to explode under my chin! The glue had failed, and the whole violin pretty much collapsed. I immediately took photos, sent them to Johan.
The very next day, Johan personally took the violin up to Gauteng to consult with an expert luthier, and after much forensic inspection, they concluded that somewhere back in the life of the instrument, inexpert repairs had been carried out, where new glue had been used over old. This is where the weakness lay, and fortunately no wood had been significantly damaged at all in this failure. They were able to repair the instrument (correctly this time!) and happily the "honey violin" as I call her, now plays as beautifully as ever.
All credit to Johan for his fairness- he said later that the instrument was a time bomb, which would have gone off at some point, and did not even hint at holding me responsible for what had transpired. He absorbed all the repair costs-which was beyond what I would have expected from any dealer- and lent me another beautiful instrument to use in the interim. I was kept in the loop every step of the repair process, with photos WhatsApped to me of the progress.
I cannot heap sufficient praise on Johan: he is hugely knowledgeable and scrupulously fair. What a pleasure, in this day and age, to do business with such a gentleman! "

Keith Moss:
Cellist & Conductor : Pretoria, South Africa.

"After making the difficult decision to part ways with my instrument, it was obvious to contact Johan Grobbelaar first. His credentials regarding the sale of high-end instruments by reputation precedes him. After contacting Johan the procedure was made very simple. He offered to collect my instrument and introduce it to a few potential purchasers long before taking his trademark up-close-and-personal photographs of the instrument and offering it online.
Johan’s enthusiasm for his work and the instruments with which he deals ensured a smooth transition from seller to buyer and within a few short weeks all was done and the transaction settled. The manner in which he dealt with both parties is a testament to his love for stringed instruments and all of us, the buyers and sellers as well as the instrument were treated with respect and consideration. "

Waldo Alexander:
Professional violinist/violist: Johannesburg

"The viola is wonderful. I can't begin to explain how happy I am with the instrument, and I am really enjoying playing it. Thank you for providing me with such an incredible viola."

Gareth Lubbe:
Soloist & Principal Viola: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Germany

"Thanks to Johan Grobbelaar and his violin dealership, this beautiful old viola (unknown maker around 1750) has found it's way back to Germany and in the two positions it was at, more than a century ago"

(Commenting on his acquisition of the instrument which once belonged to Karl Hermann, a friend of Wagner's and principal viola of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in the late 19th century, and violist in the famous Gewandhaus String Quartette.)

Nicolette Solomon van Wyk:
Violinist & Teacher: Texas, USA
(On the purchase of a superb violin by Ch. J. B. Collin-Mézin père, 1886.)

"Dear Johan,
Thank you for making this violin purchase such an exciting and easy transaction.
With my best wishes,

Anzél Gerber, Ph.D:
International Concert Cellist & Recitalist
Senior Lecturer in Cello : University of Pretoria

"Johan has a special touch to match an instrument to the customer. He is an asset to string performers in South African and abreast of good instruments in the market. I was very satisfied with the professional manner in which my cello was sold ."

Professor Fanie Jooste:
Voormalige Hoof: Musiekdepartement, Universiteit van Potchefstroom
Dirigent & Musiekopvoedkundige

"Om mense te verkul het in ons tyd ‘n wetenskap geword. Daar loop so baie skelms rond wat op oneerlike maniere probeer geld maak. Op die gebied van strykinstrumente wemel dit van 'ou' instrumente wat teen 'aantreklike' pryse beskikbaar gestel word. En hoe sal gewone mense, soos ek, weet?
Daarvoor is daar kenners, waarvan Johan Grobbelaar een is. Hy is nie net ‘n baie bekwame violis nie, maar hy het ook ‘n diep insig en wye wetenskaplike kennis van die bou en gehalte van strykinstrumente. Dit stel hom in staat om allerlei soorte en tipes instrumente (en vervaardigers) grondig te evalueer. Daarby het hy ook vele verbintenisse met kenners oorsee. By Johan kan mens dus op hierdie gebied grondige en betroubare evaluerings kry, en kan jy met gerustheid goeie instrumente koop."

Boris Kerimov:
Concert Cellist & Recitalist
Principal Cellist: KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Durban
Cellist in the Kerimov Trio

"Back in 1999 my family and myself landed in Durban and it was Johan who met us and made us welcome. In fact, because of him and his efforts as Manager of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra at that time, the whole trip from Russia to South Africa became possible. Since then we've been friends and it is not surprising that it was through Johan that I acquired my new "voice"- beautiful cello arguably made by Antonius and Hieronymus Amati in 1580 which I could only dream of. Every time we meet I found out some interesting facts about string instruments and makers. His professionalism and love for string instruments make Johan very special. Well done Johan!!!"

Professor Walter Mony (1929-2009):
Emeritus Professor in Violin & Viola, University of the Witwatersrand
International Concert Violinist, Violist, Conductor & Recording Artist

(Now deceased)

"This violin site is an auspicious enterprise, particularly at this historical juncture when music is an endangered species. Mr. Grobbelaar is unique as a dealer in that he is also a talented violinist and has personal insight into the qualities of instruments. Bravo and good matchmaking of instruments and players."

Professor John Wille:
Professor in Viola at the Odeion, University of the Orange Free State.
Concert Soloist & Violist in the Odeion String Quartet

(Now deceased)

"It has been my pleasure to be acquainted with Johan Grobbelaar over a great span of years - since we were both taking lessons from Prof. Walter Mony.
Johan is a very musically sensitive and informed member of the music fraternity and a gifted string player. With his background he is well set up for the handling of stringed instruments and the assessment of their respective qualities and values. I know him as a man of integrity and fine judgement, and it is a pleasure to deal with him. He enjoys the activity of dealing with stringed instruments immensely and is constantly challenged by their beauty and craftsmanship; he also shows great sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of those with whom he deals."

Professor Dereck Ochse:
Professor in Violin, University of the Orange Free State.
Concert Violinist & Conductor
Ex-Concert Master of the Free State Symphony Orchestra

(Now retired)

"Johan has recently helped me sell two of my violins – a fine old Staininger of 1776 and a good-quality German student instrument. In both cases I found him well-informed as to the quality of these instruments and his recommended prices were carefully researched.
I have known Johan since his early student years when he was Concert Master of the National Youth Orchestra. In later years I was happy to work with him in his position as Studio Producer for Serious Music in the SABC, both for Radio and Television. I can vouch for his seriousness and professionalism in whatever he undertakes and am happy to see his love for music and particularly for the violin, leading him also in this direction.
As Professor in Violin for many years, I know the difficulties of obtaining good quality instruments for students, both for beginners, upgrades and professional levels. Johan has established an effective database of some of the available instruments in the country, which should provide the entire violin community in South Africa with a much wider choice."

Prof. Piet Koornhof:
Professor in Violin, Music Department, University of Potchefstroom.
Concert Violinist & Recording Artist

"Would you like expertise, enthusiasm and integrity as resources when buying or selling a string instrument? Johan Grobbelaar provides it all in abundance! Like many other satisfied customers, my students and I have benefitted greatly from Johan's knowledge and experience."

Dorothy van de Geest:
Executive Director: SA National Youth Orchestra Foundation.
(Now deceased)

"I have known Johan since his days as Concert Master of the National Youth Orchestra. In recent times he has shared with me his great love for stringed instruments and bows and I believe that his creation of this unusual marketplace provides a rare opportunity for buying and selling instruments, backed by his genuine sincerity and great enthusiasm."

Annemarie Schulenburg
Voormalige Senior Viooldosent, Musiek Departement, Universiteit van Potchefstroom.
(In 2015 afgestorwe)

"Johan Grobbelaar is 'n uitstekende violis wat sorgvuldige aandag gee aan die instrumente wat hy te koop aanbied. Hy is eerbaar en internasionaal sowel as nasionaal op hoogte van die behoeftes rakende die vioolbedryf. Ek is self 'n violis en het heelwat viole vir my gevorderde studente deur middel van Johan aangekoop.
Johan doen besonder baie moeite om in sy kliënte se behoeftes te voorsien. Hy demonstreer fisies elke instrument wat hy te koop aanbied. Dit is 'n baie belangrike aspek van 'n transaksie. Ek vertrou volkome op Johan Grobbelaar se kundigheid en was nog nooit teleurgestel nie."

Marie-Jean Kotze:
Senior Lecturer in Violin, Free State Music Conservatory in Welkom.

"As violin teacher I have students of various grades and often need to help them upgrade to better instruments. I have acquired a number of excellent violins and bows from Johan Grobbelaar - in almost every instance we acquired a fine hand-made instrument, very reasonably priced if one considers the large volume of cheap factory instruments that have flooded the country. Johan consistently provided a wide selection of instruments to choose from. His advice concerning individual students and suitable instruments for them, has been invaluable. My studens are very satisfied."

Michael Mayer:
Father of Jonathan Mayer : an exceptionally gifted young violinist
Johannesburg, South Africa

"When I first heard that a dealer was selling a very good violin I was circumspect. We were making a next level decision in the future of a talented young musician and this talent was our son, Jonathan.
The music industry and particularly the classical component is notoriously tough to make a living from. We have always been guided by his teachers - carefully selected and in whose hands we place the future of this talent.
I was very aware of Johan Grobbelaar's approach and attitude to this generally unknown talent engaging with the violins presented. I could not help recognising that Johan was not a salesman plying his trade regardless. On the contrary he encouraged the teacher and the parents/ benefactors and the young musician to discuss openly their reservations and endorsements as each violin was appraised, allowing for a thorough and engaging conversation in which Johan gladly participated by offering historical information on each violin that effectively created characters of the instruments.
It was difficult not to be influenced by the status of one particular Italian violin, nonetheless applying ourselves to the quality of the various sounds it became increasingly obvious that this violin was not only pedigree, but a truly beautiful instrument to listen to as Jonathan moved over the strings with knowing fingers and interpretive bow.
It eventually came down to a decision between two violins, one with harmonized synergy the other impressive but somewhat wild. Johan took the leap when asked to interpret my findings: I have no hesitation in proposing that this violin - pointing to Italian instrument and referring to Jonathan - is now in the right hands.
Although the price difference was an intimidating 30% higher, a fact realised by all, agreement was nonetheless unhesitating and total. The deal was done. The violin had a new master!
Johan Grobbelaar is way more than a dealer, he understands the art and intuitively the artist. I would not hesitate to include Johan in any further violin acquisitions even if only to get his recommendation in a private purchase.
Michael Mayer ."

Sandy Banks:
Violinist : Maine, USA.

"I first contacted Johan Grobbelaar though his wonderful website, The Violin Connection of Southern Africa. I was searching for a new violin bow and I found one by the same maker as a friend's lovely bow, through an internet search. Johan's website and his excellent photos allowed an easy comparison to my friend's bow. I was able to confirm that the bow appeared to be the same maker, made around the same time period.
Johan was extremely helpful during the entire purchase process. While I knew there were no international auditions of instruments, I felt very comfortable knowing Johan would accept the instrument back if I was not satisfied. Johan guided me through the entire process of an international transaction. We conducted all our business online. It was very easy and straightforward. I would encourage anyone considering a purchase from Johan, to do so without hesitation."

Bob Kadarauch:
Violinist : North Carolina, USA.

"I recently purchased a violin from Johan, sight unseen. It arrived in shop-condition, having travelled over 5000 miles by post. Best of all, Johan's description and photos of the violin he sent during our correspondence reflected the instrument exactly. Although he offered a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, this proved unnecesary. It even sounded as he described! I would recommend Johan to anyone looking for a violin."

Marius Brundyn:
Ouer van 'n talentvolle kind : Nelspruit

"Ons wou graag 'n goeie viool vir ons 12 jarige dogter koop. Sy is 'n ernstige jong violis en ons wou graag iets hê wat haar deur haar hoërskool loopbaan en universiteit sal dra. Boonop moes dit bekostigbaar wees.
Johan het van die begin af geweldig baie moeite gedoen. Hy het goed geluister na ons behoeftes en tientalle vrae. Hy het 'n verskeidenheid viole bymekaar gekry en al die pad Nelspruit toe gery.Ons het 'n middag saam spandeer met minstens sewe viole en 'n verskeidenheid strykstokke. Daar was nie druk of haas van sy kant af nie. Johan het agterna nog kenruste ook gepos waarvan ons kon kies en baie waardevolle advies gegee. Ons het meer as goeie diens gekry.
Ons kan Johan met vrymoedigheid aanbeveel."

Andrew Fisher:
Parent of a talented young cellist : Western Cape

"Thank you for your help in finding a cello for my daughter. She loves it and it really is a perfect instrument to take her playing forward.
This German-made instrument is a really compelling option in terms of quality and value compared with the generally Chinese cellos available in South Africa.
Thanks again for going the extra mile, bringing the instrument for various teachers to try out too.
Best regards,
Andrew "

And later:

"My daughter was awarded a music scholarship to high school yesterday! She played the audition about a week after getting the new cello!

Annalene Kemp:
Parent of a talented young cellist : Stellenbosch, South Africa

"Om 'n goeie tjello te kry is om na 'n naald in 'n hooimied te soek! Na navrae by verskeie goeie tjelliste, soektogte op die internet en 'n paar Sjinese tjellos, het ons op Johan se webwerf afgekom. Ons het kontak gemaak toe ons sien dat hy bereid was om Kaap toe te kom met instrumente. Dit was 'n voorreg om met so 'n bekwame, entoesiastiese strykinstrumentkenner besigheid te doen.
Die Montagnana-model tjello wat hy uit Duitsland ingevoer het, is 'n pragtige instrument met 'n besondere klank. Johan is net tevrede met die beste. Hy en die diens wat hy lewer is enig in sy soort. Ons beveel hom graag aan as tjelloverskaffer. "

Ralf Wieser:
Parent of a talented student : Toronto, Canada

"I came to know Johan late in 2011 as I was looking for a better bow for my then 15 year old daughter, who is very picky and critical of any and all bows we have tried - even very expensive ones. I was scouring the local shops and the internet for information and came upon Johan's website. I was immediately interested in some of his bows. His photos were clear and intended to be revealing - the bad and the good - and the descriptions were clear and informative.

I made contact by email but quickly agreed that it was going to be too difficult to make any sort of transaction as I was in Canada and he was in South Africa - so we left it at that. At some point soon thereafter, I re-connected with him as my search was not going well. I asked Johan if he would provide me with guidance on a few of his bows in the context of investment and playability - considering my circumstance, what I should look for in a bow. Very few string shop owners would venture down this rabbit hole except at a high level - and that is what I expected from Johan. Instead, he wrote a detailed response even though I was unlikely to make any sort of purchase. Johan understood my dilemma and he was genuinely interested in my situation and wanted to help. We continued our dialog for a few months. Never once did Johan pressure me to do anything - he was patient but at the same time, he shared his knowledge, expertise and he challenged any misconceptions I had acquired during my search and conversations with others.

We did end up doing a trial and we worked through a number of problems. During this phase of our work together, Johan was patient and he helped me understand things about bows and violins - things that shop owners generally never share with their clients. He even offered to come to Canada, at his own expense, to help me resolve an issue that was an environmental in nature - not an issue with his product. In the end, I did purchase a bow based on his recommendations and his playing experience. It was all handled with patience and guidance from a man who is also very critical of violins and bows - and my daughter agreed with him - she is very happy with it.

There are many reasons I am happy to have come to know Johan. First, he helped me find the right bow for my daughter - a bow that was reasonably priced, is in perfect condition, is beautifully balanced, has no playability limitations and will appreciate over time. Second, he just wants to help people. Even if we had found the bow elsewhere, I know Johan would have been satisfied knowing that my daughter was happy with it. Third, it is always a pleasure to meet a genuinely good person, someone who is honest and who is ethical in his professional and personal dealings. I hope at some point I will be able to meet Johan in person."

Håvard Holder:
Violinist : Bergen, Norway

"I first was in contact with Johan and his website about two years ago. At the time I was considering a beautiful Hill bow with ivory frog. I couldn't decide on a purchase at that time, but his website always stayed in my mind. So from time to time I came back to visit his site. Then recently I decided to do my first major bow acquisition through the internet, and Johan's site was first in line.
I decided on two bows; a Nürnberger and a H. R. Pfretzschner. They are both spectacular playing sticks and create a beautiful sound, although very different compared to each other. (…) During the time I was in contact with Johan, he gave me excellent advice and answered every question I had. The eventual delivery by courier was fast and effective.
I can truly recommend Johan's dealership and his bows in particular. Considering the fair prices, this is a musical goldmine. For my part Johan's site will be first in line, should I consider a new acquisition."

Darryl Myrick:
Academic: Pretoria

"I am writing this to attest to the quality service, honesty and dependability of Johan Grobbelaar. I had consigned a violin to Johan to sell on my behalf. I packaged and sent the violin to him and had not one bit of fear that he might not deliver on his word to sell my violin. It took some time, but he was always in contact with me - either by email or by phone.

One should have absolutely no fear or reluctance in consigning an instrument for him to list on his website and sell on your behalf. And upon selling the instrument, rest assured that payment to you will be made. And finally, he is just a down to earth nice person which makes doing business with him that much easier. "

Lance Allam:
Specialist violinist: Bluegrass and Traditional Roots Music.
Violinist for the group Blacksmith (Cape Town)

"Dear Johan,
Thank you for the superb advice and service you gave me in the purchase of a very special violin and bow. The purchase of a musical instrument is a very difficult decision. It becomes increasingly difficult when one is serious about playing and wishes to buy a premium priced instrument of superior tonal and build quality. (…) After explaining to you what my requirements were, you gave me superb advice and a spot-on recommendation. What was indeed surprising to me was your absolute reliability in calling me back, on a Sunday, to confirm to me that the instrument we had negotiated on, was in fact available.
The violin was in my hands the following Thursday morning and it was properly packed and arrived in mint condition. The sound of the instrument, as you promised, is absolutely perfect for the playing that I do in a local Bluegrass and Traditional Roots Music Band called Blacksmith.
(…) I am acutely aware of what good service entails. You most definitely exceeded my expectations! As both my son and daughter also play the violin, I expect to do future business with you and would highly recommend you to anybody interested in the purchase of stringed instruments.
Lance Allam "

Bernhard Klein:
Professional Cellist: Pretoria.

"It is very easy to see South Africa's negative aspects with regards to service and information. It is very liberating to discover that there is still passion in what people do that is reflected by their knowledge, service and devotion. Thank you for the excellent service and for sharing your knowledge and expertise."

Jakoo de Villiers:
Violis, Suid-Afrika.

"Dit is selde dat 'n mens in die hedendaagse besigheidswêreld 'n onderwerpspesialis teenkom wat met soveel entoesiasme bereid is om onvoorwaardelik sy kennis en ervaring in die belang van sy klient aan te wend. Deur middel van sy wye ervaringsveld en uitsonderlike kontak met kenners in die strykinstrumentbedryf regoor die wereld, het Johan daarin geslaag om besondere insteresante en waardevolle inligting op te spoor met betrekkling tot die oorsprong van die viool en altviool in my besit. Geen ander kenner kon tydens die 25 jaar wat die instrumente in my besit is, vasstel wat die oorsprong daarvan is nie.

Ek wil Johan ook graag bedank vir die meesterlike wyse waarop hy my viool se opstelling hanteer en verbeter het. Na voltooing van die werk, het ek met groot verwagting die viool uitprobeer. My verwagtinge is oortref - dit was of die instrument vir die eerste keer werklik gelewe het. Soos ek hom leer ken het, was Johan se musikale oor as violis, sy kennis van die korrekte opstel tegnieke, liefde vir en trots op sy werk en 'n ryke bron van ervaring ongetwyfeld die bestandele vir hierdie goeie resultaat.

Dit is voorwaar 'n voorreg om toegang te hê tot Johan se dienste en ek sal hom enige tyd aanbeveel."

Tony Fisher:
Violinist in the International Irish Folk Group, "The Blarney Brothers".
Violin Collector and Recording Artist

"I have been a serious violin collector for the past 30 years. About 10 years ago I met Johan Grobbelaar and we began talking violins. At the time he was starting his violin dealership and I asked him to sell some of my violins. Since that time Johan and I have become friends and he has sold more than a dozen of my finest instruments for me. I have found his service fully professional at all times, and honest. In my professional opinion Johan is one of a handful of people in South Africa who can claim the title “Violin Expert” and I would highly recommend Johan’s services to anyone."

Evert van Niekerk:
Professional Violinist & Recording Artist: Gauteng

“I have recently had the pleasure of dealing with Johan regarding the sale of my H. Derazey violin. I was satisfied that the entire transaction was handled in a very honest and transparent manner, and I will gladly do business with him again.
What is impressive is his extensive knowledge of his subject, and I would most certainly therefore recommend him highly to anyone looking for a quality string instrument or bow.

Yours truly,
Evert van Niekerk”

Albertus Bekker:
Violinmaker, Johannesburg

"Johan's website is one of a few in existence where you can buy a professional quality instrument over the internet with complete peace of mind. My passion is the making of stringed instruments and, with the service Johan offers, I can focus on my instruments. In my dealings with him, he was always knowledgeable, professional and courteous."

Tersia Murray:
Parent of a small child, Somerset West, Western Cape

“After listening for a whole year to the awful sound of my daughter’s ¼ size violin I was ready to buy a high quality instrument. Johan was most helpful when I contacted him. He answered all my questions and gave me valuable advice. Johan selected and prepared a ½-size violin, reworked the bridge and sound post and did the set up. I was pleasantly surprised when I played the violin for the first time. Smaller violins usually have a weak, one dimentional sound but not this one. It had a lovely, full sound, pleasing to the ear. My daughter is thrilled with her new instrument!"

Jeanne Visser:
Violin buyer, Wellington, Western Cape

"Consulting Johan Grobbelaar when I needed help finding a violin was one of the most positive experiences I have had as a beginner violin player. My sister bought a violin from Johan a few years ago and advised me to do the same. I was actually quite astonished at his helpfulness and patience, not to mention the dedication with which he tries to help you find the right instrument or bow. He makes the process so easy and uncomplicated. In fact, I could have been inclined to continue looking at violins for who knows how long, as the experience was so enjoyable. Now that I have found my violin, think I am going to miss this interaction which was positively uplifting. I would suggest anybody buying (or selling) a string instrument, or needing advice, should make The Violin Connection their first stop. Johan is busy, but he makes time for people."

Janine Patrick
Seller: Sandton

“For well over twenty years I kept two violins, which had been played by my father as a young man. Last year I wanted to find out more about the instruments and wanted to investigate the possibility of selling them. I was recommended to contact Johan Grobbelaar by a music shop owner in Johannesburg. From our very first conversation Johan was very sympathetic, interested and patient. He came up to Johannesburg to photograph the violins and later took them home. I completely trusted his evaluation and honest opinion of both instruments.
Not only did he get both violins into tip top condition but he found buyers for both instruments and I was happy to know that they were sold to students who would cherish and appreciate them. Johan has a great passion for stringed instruments and it has been incredibly interesting to hear about his career.
It has been a privilege to get to know Johan. He makes time to get to know his clients and goes out of his way to satisfy both seller and buyer.
Thank you Johan."

Cathy Owens
Music Teacher & Cellist: Polokwane

“When I first met Johan, I was immediately struck by his intense passion for violins and his extensive knowledge of the history of violins and violin makers throughout the world. Having had several dealings with him, I can add that he has been willing to share that knowledge freely and generously, and all the advice he has given has been beneficial to me. He has not only been prepared to go the extra mile when sourcing, setting up or repairing instruments, but has also delivered them personally to Polokwane.
I trust entirely his honesty, judgment and evaluation of instruments, and I do not hesitate to recommend him to others.”

A later communication:

"Hi Johan,
I'm home now and have had time to play quite a bit. I'm delighted with the way the cello is sounding and responding. What strikes me most is the evenness of tone throughout the length of the strings. Previously the tone became "breathy" in higher positions. I find the D string much easier now that you've changed the bridge and curvature of the bridge. The response is also amazing - even playing on the C string seems almost effortless. Many thanks for all your advice and the time you spent on the bridge. I'm thoroughly enjoying the fruits of this effort!"

Dr Arno Greyling (M.D.)
Violis en Musiekliefhebber : Polokwane

“Ek het onlangs 'n Italiaanse viool van Alfredo Galea en 'n strykstok van Adolph C. Schuster by Johan gekoop. Ek is uiters in my skik met beide die viool en die strykstok. Ek het tevore, in 2006, ook 'n viool by hom gekoop en was weereens beindruk met sy kennis van elke instrument wat hy aanbied, sy professionele hantering en moeite wat hy doen met die opstel van die viool. Sy passie vir die instrumente is baie duidelik. Ek wil hom sterk aanbeveel.”

Arno L. Marais
Violinist : Nelspruit

“I am very proud to be associated with Johan. His professional yet relaxed ways convinced me that I was in good hands while searching for an instrument. It was clear from our first conversation that he wanted to match owner and instrument, and not try to make a quick deal. He has an excellent ear for great sounding violins, and I am very satisfied with my violin's sound. His knowledge and experience makes him a highly recommended dealer in my eyes.”

Trevor Walton
Seller : Port Elizabeth

“Johan Grobbelaar of The Violin Connection of Southern Africa was given some valuable stringed instruments on trust to sell on my behalf. The one violin was in excess of 300 years old, purported to be one of only two surviving examples of a certain old English maker.
I had complete confidence in his ability to handle and market the instruments and bows and in time he managed to sell all at acceptable prices.
Had I any more to sell I would certainly use his expertise and services.”

Anneke du Toit:

“I recently decided to sell my violin which I bought in Amsterdam many years ago. Not familiar with the market in South Africa I searched in telephone directories, yellow pages and the internet for professional dealers. I only found two such dealers – one did not respond, the other was Johan Grobbelaar. Thanks to the Post Office’s Speed Services my violin safely reached Johan in a day. Johan assessed the instrument and had it ready for the market in less than a week. He explained that the market was slow and that patience was needed. To my surprise the violin was sold in less than one month and for a good price.
The advice and service I received from Johan was clear, efficient, professional and friendly. Based on my experience I can highly recommend Johan Grobbelaar.
Anneke du Toit
Cape Town”

Marionette Zevenster:
Violis : Nelspruit

“Vir ‘n geruime tyd het ek navorsing gedoen aangesien ek graag my studente-viool wou vervang met ‘n instrument van beter gehalte. Ek was egter baie skepties en huiwerig om met persone besigheid via die Internet te doen, aangesien ek uit ondervinding geleer het dat dit wemel van opportuniste en oneerlike mense. Ek het Johan Grobbelaar gedurende Februarie 2009 per e-pos gekontak vir meer inligting oor beskikbare viole en hy het my die volgende dag geskakel om presies vas te stel wat my behoefte en voorkeure is. Ek was so gelukkig dat hy feitlik dadelik ‘n instrument kon voorstel wat in al my behoeftes sou voorsien. Hy het baie moeite gedoen om die viool na my te stuur en het my die geleentheid gebied om vir ‘n geruime tyd die instrument uit te toets en kenners se raad in te win voor ek die finale besluit geneem het. Van dag een af was ek egter hoogs in my skik met die viool en die transaksie het sonder enige probleem of voorval verloop. My ervaring was dat Johan baie professioneel, bekwaam en eerlik is en my onderhandelinge met hom was net ‘n plesier. Ek kan hom met die grootste vrymoedigheid aanbeveel.
Marionette Zevenster”

Leora Bellico:
Violinist: Tel Aviv, Israel.

"After searching for a suitable handmade for years, I was relieved to come across Johan's website. I was impressed at the wide range of violins he had to offer. We exchanged a few emails and when I arrived in SA , Johan diligently kept in touch with me and informed me of my various options.
It was a pleasure to finally meet him after our correspondence. I found Johan to be exceptionally reliable. His research is always thorough and comprehensive and his facts always accurate. Johan is well organized, efficient and extremely competent.
I am thrilled beyond words with my handmade Ralph Palmer violin. I think very highly of Johan and I recommend him to those seeking a string instrument. His combination of intelligence, commitment, perseverance, creativity and compassionate character will take him a long way.
Thank you, Johan.

Shelley Roberts:
Television Producer, Johannesburg.

“When I decided to fulfil my lifelong dream of learning the violin, I checked the internet and found Johan's site. I contacted him and he quickly arranged to meet me and show me some of his violins. He helped me choose a beautiful instrument which I am completely in love with. He also helped me to find a teacher and get started. He was very professional, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about these beautiful instruments.

Buying my violin was altogether one of the nicest experiences I've had so far this year.

Thanks Johan”

Vanessa Irion-Kraf M.A., MFCC:
Violinist and Teacher, Southern California, USA.

"I would highly recommend Johan’s service, if you’re looking for a violin. In a deal between myself in the USA and Johan in South Africa, I found his business dealings above reproach – he is reliable and does precisely what he says he will. The violin I bought is exactly as he described it to the last nuance and detail, with no hidden surprises. Throughout he was clear, helpful and kind.

I did extensive research in the United States for a professional quality Violin. In the American Violin market I could have afforded a factory-made instrument suited to the intermediate student. From Johan Grobbelaar, I was able to purchase a uniquely beautiful, hand-made, Italian violin well-suited for professional use."

Dr Dave Walwyn:
Buyer, Johannesburg

"It was a pleasure to deal with Johan Grobbelaar of ‘The Violin Connection of South Africa’. His advice was clear and unconditional, and he made every effort to ensure that I got an instrument which met my needs in terms of quality and price.

Many of the older violins on the market are unlabelled and of mostly unknown origin and pedigree. Although the ultimate test of quality is how the instruments sounds and performs, it is still important to know the genre of an instrument, and how its quality or value could change over time.

I found that Johan was able to give good advice on violins which helped me to make my own decisions. Moreover, in addition to selling me a good violin in my price range, he also sold the old instrument within a very short period. Thank you Johan.”

Margaret Young:
Viola Player, Cape Town

"I recently bought a viola from Johan, which I am very pleased with. Buying an instrument was, for me, quite a stressful experience, and I'm really glad I did it through Johan. I didn't have to look at many instruments myself because Johan does that for you. Eventually he found one he felt was up to standard and sent it to Cape Town. After a period given to me to try the instrument out, I decided it was the one I wanted and that was that. It was a simple transaction, and I am enjoying getting to know my new viola.

I think it is great that there is at least one reliable site dealing in violins in South Africa...It is pleasing to find such professionalism as was the case in dealing with Johan! Everything was handled professionally and with a sense of integrity.

I hope to see Johan continue his work and maintain the high standard he already has. Johan's enthusiasm for instruments surely borders on obsession, and it has been great to deal with someone with such a passion for his work!"

Lizel Bekker:
Altviolis, Randburg

"Ek het onlangs `n altviool by Johan Grobbelaar gekoop. Hy het `n baie professionele diens gelewer en dit was lekker om besigheid met hom te doen. Hy is duidelik `n kenner van die tipe instrument en het baie moeite vir my gedoen. Ek is baie in my skik met my instrument en sy mooi klank."

Winston Wolff:
Professional Violinist (Now retired)
Formerly a Concert Soloist and Orchestral Musician

"Dear Johan,
Thank you for disposing of my violin and two bows. I have been really impressed with the professional and straightforward way in which you have handled this matter. You evaluated and advertised my violin in a true and accurate manner which was sincerely appreciated. That you have disposed of my equipment in a short space of time and at the prices agreed upon is tribute to your integrity and knowledge of your subject. Once again my sincere thanks.
Yours sincerely,
Winston Wolff"

Christine Meintjes:
M. D. & Amateur String Orchestra Violinist, Swakopmund, Namibia.

"After searching for a new violin for long time, I discovered Johan's website in which he offers string instruments of wide range of quality. I was pleasantly surprised at the large selection and affordable prices, and the professional way in which the instruments are presented. He not only has an amazing knowledge of each instrument (being an excellent violinist himself), but also of the background of the instruments and their makers.

He goes to an enormous amount of effort to satisfy his customers and their different tastes and needs. His service is very professional and beyond reproach at all times. I can highly recommend him to anyone who might be wanting to sell or buy a violin."

Cliff Goodrich:
Violinist / violist, California, USA.

"I recently bought of beautiful Hill bow from Johan Grobbelaar. The transaction went very well. Johan kept in communication with me at every step of the way until the bow finally reached me here in California. I found the bow to be of excellent quality, typical, I imagine, of the instruments in his collection. Thank you, Johan, for your quality instruments and reasonable prices.
Sincerely, C. G."

Norman Slinger:
Violin Student, Stellenbosch.

"I recently purchased a violin from Johan, and I am very pleased with the violin. After dealing with him, I found that he was very professional, helpful and friendly throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend his assistance to any person who is seriously looking for a violin. Regards, N. S."


Alma Potgieter:
Vioolstudent, Pretoria.

"Ek het Johan Grobbelaar onlangs gekontak om navraag te doen oor beskikbare viole. Alhoewel hy nie onmiddelik iets vir my gehad het nie, het hy binne 'n baie kort tydperk 'n viool wat voldoen aan my spesifikasies opgespoor. Ek het die instrument gekoop en is uiters in my skik daarmee – dit is presies waarna ek op soek was en was boonop binne my begroting. Ek sal sy dienste sonder enige twyfel aanbeveel.

Barbara Raubenheimer (13):
Cello Student, Potchefstroom.

"I would like to thank Mr Johan Grobbelaar very much for my cello. It sounds incredible. I would highly like to recommend Mr Grobbelaar because he gave us a very good price, he's very friendly, he lets you try out the instrument for a while and his instruments are also in a good condition. My best wishes, B.R."


This rest of this section is currently still under construction, and more references will soon be presented.

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