I entrusted my early 19th century English viola to Paul Parsons of Vernon Violins for extensive restoration and conversion. The work required included a neck graft, converting from the original transitional or Classical neck to the modern, plate re graduation, bass bar renewal, peg box bushing, set-up and voicing.
The quality of the work has been exemplary in all respects, and throughout the process Paul kept me fully informed both verbally and through numerous photographs of the progress of the work. Paul was also assiduous in consulting me on the direction I wished the work to take. Great care was taken to optimise the sound that the instrument could produce, and in this regard the results have been remarkably good. The viola is probably sounding better than it has in its life.
Paul did a fabulous job on a stress fracture to my viola. I was naturally very concerned but he completely reassured me all would be well. And it was! He even changed my bridge and did work on my finger board.
I feel reassured just knowing that he can rectify any issues I may have in the future so have total peace of mind!
After searching for a new cello for several years, it was Paul Parsons who finally found me exactly what I’d been looking for all the time and managed to tick every box on my search list!
I first spoke to Paul when buying strings from his excellent strings express service; we got talking about cellos then, but it was not until a year later having practically given up hope of finding the right instrument, that I contacted him again.
The whole experience of visiting him at his new premises in Devon was so relaxed and inspiring.
He spent a lot of time with me and I really valued his comments, expertise and knowledge about instruments, strings and set up.
I am thrilled with my beautiful cello and so pleased that I could make such a special decision in such special and lovely surroundings with Paul’s reassuring guidance.
Every instrument that I have entrusted to Paul’s care has returned to me sounding bigger, clearer and more expressive.
Since returning to the UK from Germany 16 years ago I have used a number of makers/repairers. For the past 10 years I have consistently called upon Paul’s services. I have never been disappointed.
I have now brought both of my instruments to Paul Parsons at Vernon Violins for serious work and would highly recommend him.
I have found his advice to be informative and on point and the improvements made to my instruments have significantly impacted my playing.
Over the time I have known Paul I’ve bought and sold several bows and instruments. The thing I like most about dealing with Paul is he tells things exactly as he sees them, irrespective of what I wanted to hear or what others think. Always careful to put the other side of an argument and to take each instrument and case very seriously, it’s been fantastic to enjoy his knowledge, honesty and trust.
It is with great pleasure that I recommend D E Vernon Violins, and my personal friend, Mr. Paul Parsons.
I have known Paul for a long time now and have always relied on his vast expertise and friendly advice on all matters regarding violins and its complicated universe.
Paul has both the experience and the great sensitivity to really understand artists’ wishes, and is able to meet their every need, helping the player realise a stronger and deeper connection with their instrument.
I have been a client of Vernon Violins for the past two decades, entrusting them with the care and maintenance of my professional instruments. The owner of Vernon Violins, Paul Parsons – himself a competent player – knows how to bring the best out of my precious violins and bows, some of which I have now exposed to half a century of constant use all over the world. I am entirely content to be guided by Vernon Violins on matters such as insurance and the upkeep of my instruments, and am pleased to recommend students and other professional artists to do likewise.
I have known Paul Parsons for over 20 years and have the highest regard for his expertise and professionalism. He has provided a number fine cellos and bows, each of which has been a sound investment – Paul not only being able to access rare instruments, but also helping me to sell them when the time came.
I also value Paul as a restorer of the first order. He has worked on cellos by John Morrison, Joseph Hill, Thomas Smith and Andrea Castagneri for me, and re-haired numerous fine bows by Sartory, Voirin and Alvey. Paul takes great care to understand what the owner requires in a restoration and provides regular updates on progress.
Paul is also an expert in setting up an instrument – possibly the most elusive and valuable of all skills. His ability to take an instrument which sound woolly, closed in and distinctly unimpressive and turn it into a clear, resonant and pure-sounding joy to own is second to no-one in this country.
I recommend Paul highly.
Paul Parsons, in my opinion, is an expert in his field. My first experience of his work was when I was feeling extremely frustrated with the violin I was playing on but not in a position to purchase a new instrument. He took this violin, which was sounding small, closed and dull and transformed the sound with the work he did.
A couple of years later, when I was in a position to look for a new violin, he found a violin for me that could not have been a more perfect fit. It was within the budget we had discussed, but for me, more importantly, it matched my personality as a player. He knew my playing, and looked for a violin that would match my style of playing.
Paul listens to his client to find out what they are looking for and applies his skills in working towards the solution for them, whether that be work on their existing instrument or searching for a new instrument for them. Not only is he personable, but he is thorough in all the work he undertakes.
I send all my pupils to him when issues arise with their instruments and also when they are looking for their next stage of instrument. I would have no hesitation in recommending Paul Parsons to any violinist at any stage in their career; he is the best at what he does.
On visiting Vernon Violins to see Mr Parsons to rehair my bow, I tried a violin which Paul presented to me as a recent addition to his stock. After trying it, I discussed with Paul my reservations and duly returned the violin to him. Having considered the comments I had made on the violin, Paul contacted me a little time later and presented me with a violin which had none of the negative aspects of the first instrument. Paul had an understanding of what I wanted from a fine violin and was able to source a wonderful Neapolitan violin which I now play professionally with the BBC Philharmonic. I fell in love with this violin instantly and Paul gave me the space and time to ensure that I made the right choice. It’s a great investment in every aspect.
Paul continues to look after my violin, especially after the odd moment of over enthusiastic playing..!
I have been going to David E Vernon for the best part of 20 years. The service, professionalism, and workmanship provided by Paul Parsons is of the highest quality and second to none; I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my violin, viola and bows!
I always buy my accessories from Vernon’s and when choosing strings Paul gives excellent advice on which strings best suit my instruments.
The most notable acquisition is my cherished William Watson violin bow. I came across this wonderful bow as a student at the RNCM and Paul has been rehairing it ever since.
I have been the Director of Music at Xaverian 6th Form College for the last 15 years, I always advise my students to go to Paul Parsons at Vernon Violins for the wonderful service and workmanship he provides.
Simply the best place to go!
As a professional violinist and senior tutor at the RNCM, I always demand the highest standard and care in looking after the tools of the trade for myself and my students. I have always found this from Paul and Vernon violins. I have been a customer for nearly thirty years and Paul’s work has always been outstanding in quality and precision. I am delighted to write this reference for him.
Paul Parsons made us very welcome at his lovely premises in Slapton. The room in which I tried various violins was ideal for playing in, also for having a critical listener (my husband) to help differentiate between the instruments. Paul was on hand to give information about the violins, set up, strings, history etc and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours violins to trial at home. The Queens Arms around the corner served a hearty meal and then a trip to the beach. Apart from Paul’s on hand expertise, it is just a lovely place to visit and play fine violins.
I would wholly recommend Paul Parsons – when I was on the lookout for a fine violin over ten years ago, Paul told me about a beautiful instrument he knew was for sale. Needless to say, I bought it and have been a client of Paul’s ever since.
I have always found him to be professional, reliable, trustworthy and above all extremely knowledgeable. His expertise in string instruments is undoubted and simply put, I wouldn’t use anybody else.