Well, I'll go first but I'm sure there are lots of us out there!
So, in the end after much deliberation I bought the German violin. It's absolutely amazing.
The sound is so rich and clear and it's hard to describe but it's so easy to play it because the strings are so effortless to press down? It's my first proper, grown up violin that didnt come as part of an outfit and it feels very individual. I named it George - no idea why It's an orangey-brown, and the flaming is pretty subtle but it's a bit shimmery in the light and the ribs are beautiful.
At the moment it has a horribly shiny plastic chinrest (it's really comfortable actually, but the violin deserves better) and a black metal tailpiece (ewww - I know they're good for tuning but I'd rather get a wooden one).
I'm thinking of changing the pegs and tailpiece etc to boxwood, but need to find a workshop who will do it for a reasonable price first I really like these pegs etc: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...T#ht_500wt_1156
Who else wants to share their excitement of a new instrument?