It's amazing, the very low prices you can find for name-brand violin, viola or cello strings on the Internet.
Amazing, until you receive the strings and realize they are complete fakes that sound terrible, last only a few weeks, or seem to need a strange amount of tension to reach the correct pitch. In other words: counterfeit strings!
Over the last few years, the pandemic increased everyone's dependence on online buying, and that puts more of us at risk for these kinds of unfortunate purchases. If you buy from a reputable shop (like one of our sponsors, for example), then you are safe with your purchase.
But not everyone knows which are the reputable shops, nor do they understand the high potential for fraud in this particular marketplace. On the SHAR website (SHAR being a reputable dealer!) there is an interesting article that explore the world of fake strings, stating that the fakes are not obvious, but tend to be pretty sophisticated. "What SHAR found was very troubling: obviously inferior strings of unknown composition and origin, with nearly perfect packaging and presentation," it says. "SHAR began buying up these strings, dissecting them, showing them to manufacturers, and searching for the source of these knock-offs, which led us across three continents and deep into the shadowy world of counterfeit products and online marketplaces."
Beyond the fakes that are based on high-end brands, there is also the real potential to simply purchase very bad strings, either because of lack of familiarity or because of the allure of a bargain price.
Have you ever had the misfortune of winding up with counterfeit strings, or strings you very much suspected were counterfeit, or simply very bad violin strings that one could almost classify as fake because of the bad quality? What has your experience been? Please participate in the vote and share your stories.
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