We went to this shop to try out 4/4 violins while on vacation in Boston in June 2013. Mr. Rutman was very helpful and passionate about matching my 12 yr old with an instrument that he liked. He also helped him find a bow that was most comfortable and effective in his playing. There was never any sales pressure, nor any pushing on his merchandise. We tried on several instruments including his 2013 Rutman made  violin. Actually, the one he made sounded very good, however, we liked another instrument a little bit more. Mr. Rutman followed through with all the necessary repair of the instrument and made sure what we got was in great condition. The repair work on the peg box is superb. He also made the violin project more. The rosin the shop carries is dust-free and really great. My son also got a little tips on his playing that really made a difference. We wish the shop were in California where we reside. Where else can you find a luthier who is a violinist himself to give you sound advice on your instrument? This is the one! Now my son found his voice in a reasonably priced great instrument. Many thanks to Mr. Rutman’s help. We’re very pleased with the service and the purchase. His wife is also very nice and his dog is really lovely, too bad we couldn’t ship his dog home 😛

Cecilia W.
Cupertino, CA

Rutman’s is an excellent company run by a former concert violinist- so he is extremely knowledgable, not only about the pieces themselves but about playability.  He listened to me play while I was searching for a bow and gave honest, direct, and ultimately correct advice!  I ended up borrowing a few bows to try over a weekend through a convenient trial arrangement, and I bought a fiddle bow from him and it plays very well.  A few months later, I had a slight problem with the bow-it is delicate because its very light, and it needed tending to- he fixed it and sent it back within a couple of days.

Don’t be deterred by the smaller selection- its quality- and most people who walk into a violin or viola shop intend to buy one instrument, maybe a couple of pieces, but not the entire store, so I think you’ve got a really good chance of finding what you’re looking for.

Julia K.
Charlottesville, VA

We were just in Rutman’s today looking for a new cello for our daughter.  I was a bit hesitant because I just didn’t know what to expect. The Rutmans were kind, very kind and patient.  Mr. Rutman played three cellos for us — despite not being a cellist — and managed to make one sing.  This was the most expensive one but he did NOT pressure us into a purchase of any kind.  He was clear about his store’s policy, which I appreciated, and gave us a few options to consider.   He also provided good advice.  I plan to return to this store.

Brigette B.
Andover, MA

This is a small family-owned shop in a strip mall next to a bigbox pharmacy chain.   The proprietor was knowledgeable, careful, and very direct.  Not rude, just …. direct.

While the selection is small, the instruments are all top quality and the owner was proud to point out that he hand-selects every instrument in the shop and plays them individually before buying them from the vendors he works with.

This is a great place to come if you know your budget and know what you want, but not such a great place to browse and try out new things.

Jed W.
Oakland, CA

Mr. Rutman is very nice, not arrogant or short-tempered at all, contrary to one previous post. He figured out what was wrong with a long-neglected viola in about 5 minutes (the bridge had been put on backwards somehow, and the soundpost was too short and had fallen down).

He explained all everything to me, and wasn’t pushy at all. He reset my soundpost & bridge, and sent me on my way. He recommended that I get a properly-sized soundpost when it eventually becomes necessary, and I’m confident that when I do, this place will do an excellent job.

Side note: The store is not located up by MIT, as Google Maps would have you believe. It’s actually on the other side of the river, near the Symphony T stop. Check their website for better directions.

Karen M.
Woburn, MA

The Rutmans are a great, helpful couple and guided me expertly through the buying of my second violin. And I must say Mr. Rutman is an amazing violinist! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him play, and he even gave me a bit of bowing advice.

They work with your budget (although they don’t cary any instruments below $500). My only complaint is that the prices of rosins, shoulder rests, cases, and such are a bit more expensive than other stores. So you should buy your instrument and bow here but other novelties at other places.

This is also a great place to go if you have any problems with your instrument. My pegs were stiff as were my fine tuners so I handed over my violin, came back a couples hours later, and they solved the problem for me no problema.

Randomness: The first time I went, they had a gorgeous, albeit growling and itimidating German Shepherd lying around. The second time I went, she wasn’t there and I miss her scary, growling self.

Alice S.
Boston, MA

I was a bit hesitant to visit a violin shop near symphony hall since i’m a newbie, but the experience was not bad at all. The prices are pretty expensive but it is after all Boston. I knew going in after a few emails with Mr. Rutman, that if i got anything it would be their starter violin and I’d have to be approved for credit to afford that. he was happy to let me try out the violin. It sounded really nice, although i had tried out a similarly priced violin at Wood and string the other day which sounded just as nice, and there I could do a rent to own deal. I think this is a nice shop for students and musicians in the symphony hall area, and probably great for repairs, but for me I can do better closer to Cambridge. They are very attentive here though and happy to help.

Su R. 
Westwood, NJ

So, I kinda want the Rutmans to adopt me.

I bought a used violin [from someone else] with the health equivalent of a pneumatic stepchild. I got bridge work done here, a couple snazzy strings, and a practice mute. Mr. Rutman is always so nice when I come in and he runs through the logistics of the instrument since I’m a violin newbie.

He also gives me options that span different price ranges. He doesn’t shove the most expensive products in my face. Here’s a list of services they provide:







They’re nice folks, Mr. and Mrs. Rutman. They have an email address, too:

Check ’em out. There are tons of music shops in Boston / Cambridge, but it’s always nice to go to a shop where the people know what they’re doing.

Rayshauna G.
Cambridge, MA


I purchased my most recent violin from Rutman’s back in June. Overall, I was definitely happy with my visit–this is a small, intimate shop, and Ilya and his wife are very sweet. They took great care to make sure that I selected an instrument that was a good fit for me, and at no time did I feel rushed or pressured to make a purchase.

After I told him my price range, Ilya brought out five instruments and several bows for me to try (which was appreciated, but also kind of embarrassing–I was pretty rusty!) After I jammed out for a while on each of my options, he then did a blind playing test for me so that I could rate the sound of the instruments as a listener rather than a player.

After spending a few days deliberating my purchase, I ended up going back and buying a great instrument (I’m constantly getting compliments on its tone), a new bow, a shoulder rest, rosin, and a case that could probably withstand several tons of pressure. All of this, of course, was not cheap, but the prices (especially for the quality of my violin) were extremely reasonable, and my experience, on the whole, was really satisfying.

Cleopatra P. 
Allston, MA

Love these guys…no matter what i need they have it or they’ll get it.  I’ve been playing the violin since i was 8 and no matter how basic or technical my need was, they fulfilled it.  new bridge?  no problem, exchanged while i waited.  mute so that i stop driving my neighbors crazy?  5 options.  brand new violin?  well, i never bought one from them but their small, intimate selection was superb.  i was treated to a small sampling while i waited for the bridge.  great place, great staff.

Danielle m.
Seattle, WA