How honest are violin shops

Edited: August 22, 2017, 3:59 PM · I will be upgrading my current violin, but there are no violin shops near me that sell violins above student quality. I will be buying online from a reputable shop, but I can only trial 2 violins and I'm worried they may just pick out their worst 2 at my price point to send to me. How likely is this to happen? I'd like to think people aren't that underhanded, but it is a business and there is an incentive for them to do that.

Replies (63)

August 22, 2017, 3:53 PM · Depends on the shop!!
August 22, 2017, 3:56 PM · Would it be fair for me to mention the shop?
Edited: August 22, 2017, 4:05 PM · Yes you can mention the shop.

The shop wants to sell you a violin and make a profit. They might want you to be happy enough with your purchase that you'll return to them when you want an upgrade, or they might figure you for a one-timer. You want a violin that seems well-made, responsive, well-set-up, and good-sounding within the context of the price-point that you have set. That evaluation is something that would benefit from the in-person assistance of a professional such as your private teacher. It might be worth spending, say, 5% of the value of the instrument to receive that professional advice.

It is always so with violin-buying.

August 22, 2017, 4:05 PM · The shop is Johnson's Strings.
August 22, 2017, 4:06 PM · In my experience Johnson String Instruments (JSI) is a good shop. They have a good reputation. I have not bought a violin from them but I have bought a case and I think it was a good value.
Edited: August 22, 2017, 4:10 PM · I mention the shop I deal with all the time here (they are also known internationally - Ifshin Violins). Johnson strings also has a fine reputation.

I think you are correct that a lot of funny stuff goes on in the violin trade; I heard that as I was growing up and have seen some evidence of it myself.

As long as you realize that you will pay a dealer twice as much for something as you would be paid for it you would understand the basics of the business.

Also - have someone you trust also assess the instruments your are sent - two opinions are better than one --the more the better.

August 22, 2017, 5:00 PM · I never bought a violin from them but I get my strings from Johnson's and they have always been great as far as customer care goes.
August 22, 2017, 5:10 PM · I agree with Andrew that more opinions are useful, but be ready for the possibility that if you show two people two violins, you can get two very opposite opinions. If you find yourself in that situation you either trust your gut or blindly follow your teacher. After all your teacher has to listen to the damned thing too.
Edited: August 31, 2017, 6:56 AM · As a rule a violin shop is as honest as a used car dealership. Some will be great, others won't be.

Cheers Carlo

Posted under my own full name in accordance with Vcom's rules.

August 22, 2017, 5:30 PM · Mr. Victor, does Ifshin ship violins for trial? I looked their website, I can't seem to find any information about it.
Edited: August 22, 2017, 5:41 PM · Paul, you are concerned if the online shop would send your their worst violins for you to try. What makes you think this is good for business? It's a trial, right? I would think it'll hurt their business if they knowingly send you violins that you won't buy due to the poor quality. My question is how long the trial period you'll get and what is the return policy. You should ask for one month trial and be prepared to pay for the return cost. This way, you can ask your teacher or those who are more experienced to help you with the final decision of purchase.

Also, keep in mind that you need to have some good idea your price range and the kind of violin you will be happy with. Can you tell us which violins you've set your heart on? Have you read about them online? Even if there are no violin shops nearby, see if you can compare a few violins from your friends or your teacher are playing to get a sense what you are looking for. Best of all, ask your teacher to help you to pick one. If you don't have a teacher, then before you upgrade your student violin, find a teacher first. It's cheaper than a new violin that may or may not be the best investment at this point for you.

August 22, 2017, 6:02 PM · As mentioned before, the problem begins once you open your mouth and answer "how much are you willing to spend".
Just like in real-estate, one should strive to buy the least expensive violin in the best sounding violin "neighbourhood".
However, if there are no strings attached and you pay only for shipping, give it a try..... and feel free to return the instruments unless you are 100% happy with the sound (regardless the price).
August 22, 2017, 6:48 PM · Basically all shops will do trials. I think you might be misunderstanding Johnson's trials -- as far as I know, most shops will ship you only two or three fiddles at a time, but you aren't obliged to buy any of them. If you don't like them, you can send back all of them and ask them to send you a new batch of trial instruments.
August 22, 2017, 7:59 PM · Speak to them on the phone, I don't think shops like Johnson's send you their "bad" violins...they will most likely try to send you the right ones. Tell them what you're looking for. And if you don't know what you're looking for, find out ;). Talk about dimensions, sound, playability, etc...you can get closer to what you want by communicating. Still a crap shoot, however... Good luck!
August 22, 2017, 8:13 PM · Paul M. You can contact Ifshin by email, or a link on their website, or telephone. They have an excellent staff (all competent musicians) and a top quality repair shop in their 13,000 sq. ft. solar-powered structure. I Have dealt with them for the more than 20 years I've lived in the SF Bay Area.
August 22, 2017, 8:25 PM · Its in a shop's interest to send the best at any price point that they have to offer in the best setup and playing shape if they want to have a sale. Customer service is a necessity to building a good reputation. Since inventory goes in and out on approval, things that are sent are also what may be available at the moment.

I can't speak for other shops, but at my shop I also try to help clients narrow down the search by knowing my collection very well, and send things out based on client preferences. It helps when the collection is curated carefully by the shop. If customers don't have preferences, I would ask questions about size, tone, feel, make, new/antique, and choose what I feel would suit those preferences. Happy to help as I offer an approval nationwide, and launched the shop website this summer. I would say honesty depends on the individual shop and their own business practices, but I can say that I have a true and genuine interest in getting things right, while helping and serving the music community the best I can. Goodluck on your search!

Sincerely,
Thomas

www.bayfinestrings.com

August 23, 2017, 5:20 AM · I think that Johnson's is reputable. I think Shar is, too.
Edited: August 23, 2017, 5:45 AM · Paul, as long as you're paying for shipping, Johnson/Carriage House will let you try several, two at a time. Even though basically all shops do trials, very few are set up to do long distance trials as well as they are. Our salesperson has been great to work with; their inventory is online and up to date, and shipping is both encouraged and easy to do. A couple of things to be aware of there - they have instruments they own as well as consignments in inventory. When you're trading up, it has to be towards something they own...you have to ask which is which. Also I have the idea that things can get pretty competitive for the staff there, and the high pressure sales thing came out more than I cared for with one person there, so look for a good fit/connection with your salesperson.

Something else to think about - from a practical cost standpoint, it's good if you can do trials with a shop that's within a couple of days ground shipping. Some shops only want to ship overnight air and that can add up quickly especially cross country. We're on the east coast and it's not practical to ship from west coast shops.

August 23, 2017, 8:09 AM · Since Moennig's is long gone, I'll relate that a number of times over decades of playing I requested instruments. And I could swear that the first batch they sent every time was inferior to the second.
I've always been under the impression that, unless you specify a particular instrument, shops are very likely to send, within a given price range, whatever stock is not selling. When I was younger and dealing with Moennig, I didn't know what they had and just said "send me something good for X amount."

But with more experience, when I've looked at violins in the more recent past, I knew which instruments I wanted to try from their internet listings. So it was up to me, not the shop. I will say that some shops have talked me out of instruments they felt to be inferior or not up to being a concertmaster/solo instrument.
Shops can recognize experience and they are probably (if they're smart) not likely to waste an experienced musician's time. I think how you represent yourself to the shop will play a big factor in what they may chose to send you. High school students may get worse instruments and professionals the better ones.

I'm not sure that sending stock that isn't selling is unethical, but it makes perfect business sense and the risk is fairly low (shops seem more and more to be shifting the burden of shipping to the customer). And besides, we all know that what is "good" is a matter of opinion anyway. So if the customer requests anything in the shop for $10,000, and the shop sends their most-ignored violin and the customer likes and buys it, is that bad?

August 23, 2017, 8:55 AM · The comments by Scott Cole reminded me of the violin I bought from Wurlitzer, also gone for many years.

Wurlitzer was the Rolls Royce of violin shops. They sold me a French violin (now worth about $20,000) that had a crooked (very crooked) fingerboard. Their attitude was "well, you bought it." Then I bought a violin bow from someone else who is still in business that had a crack in the tip. It broke.

If you can, bring what you are buying to someone else for an inspection.

If you are not famous or at least known they are not going to offer you their best, unless you reject the first things they show you.

Everything they have is not good quality so someone has to buy the (rejects) lesser quality.

and I wrote this without my full name, so don't listen to me.

August 23, 2017, 9:11 AM · I agree with Scott Cole. My experience with violin and acoustic guitar shops is that the first few instruments they bring out are going to be dogs that they can't sell. As I rejected the first few, they got better and better.

Last year I ordered two Jay Haide L' anciennes from Johnson Strings. They were advertised as new, but the labels inside showed that they were three years old. Both had serious quality control problems and neither one was set up. One of them showed signs of having a repaired open seam. So I guess even mail order will still try to dump their rejects on you.

August 23, 2017, 9:20 AM · You might want to try Fiddlerman. He sends his rejects back to the maker, not to the customer.
and as the rules of this site dictate, this is my full name.
Edited: August 23, 2017, 9:36 AM · I just bought a JonPaul bow from Fiddlerman. They not only matched a competitors price, but beat it! Highly recommended.
August 23, 2017, 10:24 AM · Yeah I'm on board with fiddler man too.
The videos are nice for students and all the violons without exception are good.
Strings are good too and you get a good outfit with the violin.

And plizu ppl xd it's OK use initials you won't get killed for it.... Yet

August 23, 2017, 11:29 AM · Rocky, erm... I don't think I'd like to have for assessment a violin with "no strings attached" ;)
Edited: August 23, 2017, 12:17 PM · Just wanted to chip in one anecdote: I had some good experience with Shar when I purchased/upgraded my daughter's fractional violins (1/4--> 1/2; 1/2--> 3/4) until a few years ago. It was an mail order for both cases and multiple trials/return were involved.
August 23, 2017, 12:54 PM · "If you can, bring what you are buying to someone else for an inspection."

Yes, and again what you end up is a reflection of your experience. If you don't have the experience, utilize someone that does. This can be problematic when you bring in a prospect to your luthier who doesn't want to see you buy your violin elsewhere--totally understandable. I don't want students going to other teachers or piano owners going to other tuners either. Just keep in mind the built-in bias. I'm not saying all luthiers do this, but for many, everything they have is solid gold and everything that comes into the shop is a piece of @#$%. Some will give an honest opinion...and some won't.

I've had students of other teachers come to show me prospective violins just because I've had lots of experience looking at them. You need experience and objectivity. Not easy to find.

August 23, 2017, 1:02 PM · "If you can, bring what you are buying to someone else for an inspection."

Yes, and again what you end up is a reflection of your experience. If you don't have the experience, utilize someone that does. This can be problematic when you bring in a prospect to your luthier who doesn't want to see you buy your violin elsewhere--totally understandable. I don't want students going to other teachers or piano owners going to other tuners either. Just keep in mind the built-in bias. I'm not saying all luthiers do this, but for many, everything they have is solid gold and everything that comes into the shop is a piece of @#$%. Some will give an honest opinion...and some won't.

I've had students of other teachers come to show me prospective violins just because I've had lots of experience looking at them. You need experience and objectivity. Not easy to find.

I'll also point out that in this time of instant information, there's less excuse for being ripped off. It's much easier now to check prices for comparable instruments than it was in the past. For example, Johnson has been advertising Craske violins for around $30k. But this seems pretty overpriced considering that average going prices are less than $20k everywhere else. Are they that much better? Hard to tell without trying them. Craskes are decent but seldom stellar.

Edited: August 23, 2017, 2:15 PM · Paul M, what's your budget? You mention that you're not buying a student-grade fiddle. Seriously consider taking a fraction of that budget and flying to a major city with a lot of violin shops, such as Chicago or NYC. Look at a lot of violins in person. Trying two at a time is probably not going to cut it if you're investing in a professional-grade instrument. That's especially true if you haven't previously tried a lot of higher-quality violins, as you're going to have to get a feel for what the trade-offs are at your price point.

Depending on your budget, there's also the possibility of commissioning a contemporary maker to make a violin for you. In October, there's an exhibition in NYC that might be useful to attend if this route is a viable one.

August 23, 2017, 2:49 PM · There was a woman on Maestronet this spring asking for advice on a particular violin that her son was interested in purchasing. I and a few sane other members said they thought she was overpaying for this instrument. I recommended that she take this instrument out on trial and have someone else look at it as well as give her a price they would be willing to purchase it for right at that time to give her a different perspective of what this instrument could be worth if and when she wished to sell it in the future. A lot of noted luthiers chastised my opinion and cited it was unethical to do this and other reasons that were not in this woman's best financial interest.

I think when we are in love with a particular violin it is easy to be blind to the price and other intrinsic defects that an experienced eye would be able to point out. I will say here that some of these big name luthiers have lost my online respect which I had previously held for them and I consider this an apt anecdote to the original posters question.

Edited: August 23, 2017, 2:56 PM · Trevor,

...pun intended...

August 23, 2017, 4:39 PM · " "If you can, bring what you are buying to someone else for an inspection."
Yes, and again what you end up is a reflection of your experience. If you don't have the experience, utilize someone that does. This can be problematic when you bring in a prospect to your luthier who doesn't want to see you buy your violin elsewhere--totally understandable. "


Of course, Scott Cole is right again.

Edited: August 31, 2017, 6:58 AM · @Dennis R. You know what to do if you want to be listened to ;-)

Cheers Carlo

Posted under my own full name in accordance with Vcom's rules.

Edited: August 24, 2017, 5:03 AM · Honestly, from the point of view of a non expert I say this, there is a lot to be said about the role of advertising in colouring the description of violins (especially online) by (some...many?)vendors and consequently the expectation/perception of vulnerable buyers.

I was checking, for fun, a big name's inventory online, and they pretty much use the same sort of honeyed language to describe the advantages of each violin (without mentioning the disadvantages of course) that one finds in other online retailers. I am mentioning that specific because they are a known respectable and , in terms of retail conditions, trustworthy company and I bought other things from them, in other words among the cream of the online crop...but one can find, for instance,such irrelevant descriptions to create a positive allure in the mind of the prospective buyer, for instance:
"Works of Art, From the Hands of a Passionate Craftsman"...

sometimes even misleading then hyperbolic information regarding a specific model of a brand of violins(i picked something very randomly):

"Regardless of pattern, all violins have a quality that makes them easy to play, delighting the hand and ear."

but as experts and luthiers tell us, there is a different effect by different patterns and even individually, each violin is different and needs to be evalued on an individual basis.

these honeytraps are very common amongst online retailers especially targetting non seasoned players and buyers. not that i had a bad experience myself with online violin shopping....but I would ask online retailers to not sell language, sell violins according to need.

I think the more the retailer targets experienced players, the less brash and evident this language is, the more sober the retailer is.

so o conclude one has to not 'suspend one's disbelief'.


August 24, 2017, 6:07 AM · " @Dennis R. You know what to do if you want to be listened to ;-)
Cheers Carlo "

I have had enough, I am out of here.

August 24, 2017, 10:44 AM · Why isn't it common that violin shops provide audio samples of violins? i.e., a decent violinist playing a scales (variations forte, piano, vibrato), all recorded in the same room with the same microphone.

As a novice I'm not sure what else is relevant to judge the quality, other than cosmetics and brand/rarity/reputation. Could someone enlighten me?

August 24, 2017, 10:45 AM · How honest are violin shops?

Depends on your definition of honest I guess.

How honest are we talking here?They aren't likely to tell you the negatives or what they paid for it. Seems a bit unorthodox to me to even ask some of those questions since we can assume that A. Yes they did mark it up considerably and B.They want to give you the impression of value.

These people aren't the devil. I mean, they need to put food on the table too, so I get it.

Many businesses operate on a 100% markup.I'm not exactly sure about the violin business.

The online business model is much less interactive. You're looking at advertised information. You might have a phone conversation.

For me the best situation would be a personal experience where I meet the owner and learn a lot about the violin and I feel as if the shop owner wants me to be happy with the end result irregardless of the price or what I am willing to spend. Honesty along with knowledge, not the feeling we are in a hurry. The willingness to be flexible to my needs. Someone who cares. Takes delight in knowing they helped to find the right fit for that person. This is a win win situation.

August 24, 2017, 11:42 AM · I think you might like my shop!!
August 24, 2017, 12:06 PM · There are some shops that are now posting sample videos on YouTube of particular violins, or who offer sound samples on their websites, but I don't think that these are very useful.

A violin is highly personal to the player. The way that you physically approach the instrument is going to impact the kind of sound you draw from it, and what you want from the violin. If you bring some playing friends to listen to you try out violins, what they're going to tell you is that your playing personality, not the violin, is the dominant factor in the sound. You'll hear that as different players try out the same violin.

This also means that as your playing ability or style changes, the instrument will be a bit different for you. Students whose technique is still maturing (or for that matter, adults who continue to learn in ways that change their sound production) should look for instruments that they'll grow into, which might not necessarily be optimal for how they play right now.

Most students should purchase a violin that they like under the ear, and which provides good feedback that helps them play better. Consideration of how it sounds to others should be left more for the time when auditions, competitions, and solo performances become commonplace.

Students who aren't knowledgeable enough to select an instrument on their own should consult with their teachers. Really, everyone who has a teacher should do so.

August 24, 2017, 1:24 PM · Han N asked:
"Why isn't it common that violin shops provide audio samples of violins? i.e., a decent violinist playing a scales (variations forte, piano, vibrato), all recorded in the same room with the same microphone."
_________________

It's becoming more and more common, but I also don't put much faith in it, since it's also become very easy to tweak the sound of a recording. Once again, a lot of it comes down to how much faith can be placed in the dealer.

August 24, 2017, 1:34 PM · Lyndon, what if your customer asks for a good Chinese violin? Will you be flexible about such wishes?

/Ducking and running as fast as I can... :-)

Lydia, I see. It's difficult to grasp, for me as an objectivist, that it appears to be so difficult to describe the properties of a violin such that someone else understands what they will get. (My job involves complex engineering challenges and it would be unthinkable that we design or purchase a product without writing down exactly what properties/specifications it should have.)

Edited: August 24, 2017, 1:57 PM · OK Han, I challenge you to write down the properties/specifications of your own violin, in such a way that we can all understand what it sounds like. ;-)
August 24, 2017, 1:57 PM · A dealer once explained it to a non-playing friend of mine: "It's like choosing a lover."

I mean, sure, you can write down the properties that you want a mate to have, but it's a complex and organic process. I doubt very many people marry their desired-traits list.

And we don't really have the vocabulary to properly and completely describe either what we hear or our physical interaction with the violin and bow.

August 24, 2017, 2:05 PM · If my customer asks for a new violin, be it Chinese or other, I would direct them to one of my competitors that specializes in such, I am an antique violin shop, why would I sell new Chinese violins, The ones in a comparable price point don't even compete with mine IMHO.
Edited: August 24, 2017, 2:39 PM · After a few violin buying experiences in which I felt I'd been taken advantage of, I'm now very skittish about buying a violin - even though I'm currently looking for a nice upgrade. I've amassed a small collection of auction catalogs from Sotheby's and Skinner's. (They are great "eye candy" if nothing else!) I've invested my $100 for a year of access to an online auction archive. I lurk on violin sites, and read violin books. Often I can't find much of a record on a particular maker in whom I might be interested. I wonder where the violin merchants are getting their insider info. (Where is the Kelly Bluebook for violins?) In one case, for a violin that was being offered for 9k, it appeared that the auction record for that maker was less than 1k. I think that recently I told a violin sales rep something that she didn't know about a particular violin. Maybe that impressed him/her. Maybe I'm making progress. Meanwhile, I tell myself to just keep trying to improve my skills and to be satisfied with what I have.
August 24, 2017, 3:21 PM · David, "hand-made in China, student violin". I think that will give you a fairly good idea of what it sounds like. :-) Anyway, I don't have enough playing skills, nor experience with other violins, to claim that I can. Normally (in my job), I talk to people that have relevant experience or that ask me to design a device and keep asking questions (e.g. "what if" or "does that mean that...") until it becomes clear what it is that we're looking for. But in violin land, this doesn't seem to work.
Edited: August 24, 2017, 3:44 PM · I think there is a market for an intermediate class (between buyers and sellers) of professional experienced players to be paid for testing violins for beginners and giving them feedback..and without doing backdoor business with one of the shops concerned.
Edited: August 24, 2017, 5:00 PM · John Minnich wrote, " I wonder where the violin merchants are getting their insider info."

I think the general answer to that is "pros know." In other words I think there is probably a lot of knowledge out there that is arcane and hard to articulate, but important nevertheless. And it is also highly diluted by at least ten times as much BS.

How did Robert Parker come to know so much about wine. If even he does. Perhaps he did once, maybe he still does, or maybe it was all just dumb luck that he became a famous wine expert in the first place.

August 24, 2017, 5:02 PM · There are professional players that deal. But they normally help players choose expensive violins.

Beginners aren't spending enough money to reasonably compensate a professional to help them. The assistance would end up being a significant percentage of the cost of an instrument. (Beginners should rent, really, until they reach the point when they can afford, and can choose, a better violin.)

August 24, 2017, 5:17 PM · "hand made in China" says nothing about the sound or quality of a violin, neither does "hand made in Germany".
August 24, 2017, 9:56 PM · I spoke with the Professor of Violin at my university, he said he will see what he can find for me. This is probably the best route, if he can't dig something up for me, then I'll resort to the online deal.
Edited: August 24, 2017, 10:02 PM · Hand made is one of those funny marketing terms that really means nothing.

Much like some handmade workshop instruments and many handmade in china instruments, hand made in much of the guitar world just means a human assembled the pieces. The pieces themselves can be made by machine, hand, or robot. What's more important than who assembled them is how they were made and the quality of the making of them. With a little practice anyone can put the parts together. It takes more skill to correctly carve a lovely sounding soundboard and properly planed neck.

Paul,

That's probably a great idea. They're likely to have all the local connections, as well as having an intimate understanding of your needs as a musician.

August 24, 2017, 10:23 PM · Use your judgement, professors and music teachers have not always been any more honest in selling violins than violin shops, and tend to be ten times less knowledgeable and likely to believe fake labels etc. So use your best judgment.
August 25, 2017, 12:27 AM · Michael: "The pieces themselves can be made by machine, hand, or robot."

I've seen videos on Youtube of a CNC machine milling a piece of wood into a scroll, and of a Chinese workshop (Stentor factory) where workers carve the scrolls by hand. Humans are faster and given what a CNC machine costs compared to Chinese wages, probably cheaper as well. (Holds for most other parts as well; amazing how fast those hands move. But no individual tuning of plate thicknesses or soundpost anywhere.)

Edited: August 25, 2017, 1:04 AM · Han,

I didn't make a comment to the contrary. Only that handmade can be a deceptive descriptor and isn't a reflection of the quality of the work.

An example would be Taylor Guitars.

They claim to be hand made, but in fact are hand assembled. This isn't a reflection of their quality - in fact their acoustics are some of the best, but they're not really hand made.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have a brand new luither student building his first violin. Hand made, probably not great quality.

Edit: I did use the term many handmade in china instruments, however I wasn't implying that using a machine is better or faster. It was in homage to the example and not meant as a deriding remark.

August 27, 2017, 4:14 PM · I had a fairly bad experience in buying a violin I have since nicknamed " the brick".

In hindsight, I asked for everything I received. I assumed I wanted a dark sounding violin. The seller gets aces for that because it's probably the darkest sounding violin on the east coast. So she unloaded the brick on me.

Now I realize that this isn't what I really wanted. Lessons learned. It hangs on my wall. I occasionally get it off to play it and am reminded why I call it "the brick".I could probably get more resonance out of a hollowed out potato.Anyone looking for a really quiet violin to practice with? Put a mute on this and you won't hear yourself play.

This happened to me and I went into a shop and tried violins. You need to know what you want before you buy it.I thought I knew. I was wrong.

August 27, 2017, 4:18 PM · Timothy, I hope it was not too expensive
August 27, 2017, 5:00 PM · @tammuz kolenyo, It is an intermediate violin on the low end of intermediate violins. I'm out 1000.00. Could have been much worse. I have to be optimistic :-)

August 27, 2017, 6:28 PM · Maybe the dealer you bought it from has a trade-up policy. That way they can fleece you for even more next time.
August 30, 2017, 8:27 PM · @tammuz
"Works of Art, From the Hands of a Passionate Craftsman"...
I have the pleasure of owning one of Mr. Andreas Haensel's violins. I proudly purchased it from Shar. They are a wonderful company and offer the trade in policy which allowed me to step up until I could afford my violin. Mr. Haensel is a passionate craftsman and you can see it in his work. My luthier was amazed at how exact my Plowden is to the original. My very accomplished violin professor, who is a concertmaster in Memphis, said it was the nicest instrument from six instruments in the price bracket I was trying out. Mr Haensel has even responded to many of my texts in regards to string selection, bridge fittings, and various questions about my violin. His violin certification is a handsome book with a wooden plate of the same wood and varnish as my violin with exquisite pictures of my new instrument and one with the maker holding this newly finished subject.
"Irrelevant", not in the least bit for some, but maybe for some in ignorance.
So back to the theme of the thread, I would say that the Shar violin shop, from my experience, has been very honest and their descriptions accurate.
August 30, 2017, 9:06 PM · Has you luthier ever seen the Plowden??
Edited: August 31, 2017, 4:19 AM · Lyndon, I am not sure if he has ever seen it. I only know the large prints he showed me of it's likeness in one of his reference books.
Edited: August 31, 2017, 5:42 AM · Ashley, did you read my post for what it is? no where do I say it is not a good or bad instrument or that it is or is not successful as a copy. However, the language used: "work of art" and "hands of a passionate craftsman" I find to be irrelevant. It reminds me of when in bargaining situations, a vendor offers a lower price, claiming that she or he is proposing "just for you". It is a linguistic trap. It is an expression that lost its literal meaning a long time ago and is part of a ritual of selling, an advertising incantation. Same goes for "work of art from the hands of a passionate craftsman". Im not commenting on the instrument(or instruments, which are not likely to be exactly the same -especially if the hands of a passionate craftsman are involved...so how can one generalize) itself.
When a vendor does that, it doesnt make me respect them more for it..lets say.
And this is exactly why I chose a random instrument from Shar...because theyre supposedly respectable as a vendor service (i also buy from them). Its not an attack on them personally (i didnt even mention their name or brand of instrument until you did). This is common for many online instrument vendors.


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