In my searching online for violins (since I currently don't play, but want to), I've found a number of shops that have websites that I can view general things such as price and such. Given I'm 32 and not be going into it for a career or anything, I still want something that's decent (like say if a violin could be rated as 0=junk, 10=best, one that'd be like a 5 or so). Oh, and the biggest catch -- I'm not the one buying it, family will be (as a present).
But I have a slight dilemma, only a few of the shops in Illinois even have reviews here. The one place I was looking at doesn't have a review, but they're listed here (they're close to, but not in, Chicago, but no actual store - you get it in the mail, but can return it in 2 weeks I think if it's not satisfactory). I did a lot of looking online and found… well found enough information that'd probably scare people if they knew what was available for free; however, I couldn't find any place in the world (that's online and indexed by search engines apparently) that sells any of their violins.
I looked up different model names online, and nothing - other than links to their own site. I know, why bother right? Apparently they sell their instruments to shops all over -- and that the prices through them direct are almost 50% less than the retail price. Since I can't find them though, I can't check, nor even find reviews for them which is what I wanted. Even though more expensive doesn't mean better always -- a decent instrument that's just sold cheaper direct than at a store wouldn't be bad in itself, unless they distribute the good ones and keep "bad-by-comparison" ones.
Anyone have any ideas that might suit my needs? Any input is appreciated!
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