Has anyone ever tried a violin from Infinite Strings

May 21, 2013 at 02:37 AM · I recently came across the web to a violin store. Their violins actually sound excellent and they look nice too. They also have good reviews. Yet I am really skeptical about buying from them. Has anyone else had previous experience from them?

Replies

May 22, 2013 at 08:26 PM · I have never played one. Said this I took a look at their site and what I have seen is a bunch of chinese violins twice or three times more expensive than the same violins that can be found in eBay only because they have a better setup and good strings.

The models they offer do not resemble at all the violins that are supposed to be "bench copied".

The sound clips does not sound very good to me.

Sincerely, and I might be wrong, they are overpriced.

May 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Go here:

http://store.old-violin-house.com/collections/all-violins/products/workshop-violin-by-yang-wei-2006-vsa-winner-for-tone

Get a violin made in Yang Wei's workshop for $1100.

I have two of his violins and they are excellent. Send me a personal message if you want to find out more.

I've purchased four violins from OVH, and have been pleased with every one.

May 28, 2013 at 01:48 AM · I have sent 8 of my students to them, also two my colleagues: I have to say they have EXCELLENT price versus value, much better than the Scott Cao or Jay Haide I tried at local shop. I was told they are more American-Chinese violin as Cao or Haide, but better and less expensive.

As for other eBay violins: cheap but usually not playable, I have bought 2 from OVH and ended up spending more on set up than the cost of instrument.

May 29, 2013 at 09:06 AM · I started to deal with them directly three years ago through a player friend, so far owning three of their bench copies ( Leduc, Lord Wilton, and Canon), two master made ( a strad and Guarneri), now finally the private stock, which is their top of the line. Among my other collections are a Paul Bailly ca. 1900, and a nice John Juzek: I usually have little interest in new instruments but these infinite fiddles really changed my point of view. One local luthier told me they might use maple back taken from old violins, so to create same response and volume as a vintage violin. Anyway if you are looking for a nice sounding violin with serious quality, at t cost of almost nothing ( by comparison to the high dollar ones that sound just okay), their price verus value would be hard to beat.

May 29, 2013 at 01:54 PM · This is funny, I don't know any shops would represent a Bailly as a "student graded" instrument, at the price well over 20k..lol..Hopefully I have played long and well enough (MA in violin performance) to tell the difference..

Trade violins, maybe. All violins are made to be sold, just at different price range. The Infinite fiddles I have definitely sound better than many antique violins that cost another 2-3k more. So yes, go for the sound, not the label!

May 31, 2013 at 02:54 AM · "A genuine (Paul Bailly) is no guarantee of anything more than student grade quality."

I wonder if there is another interpretation on this sentence. Perhaps we should redefine the term "student grade quality."

BTW, a genuine Bailly is not "near closed" to $20,000, but well over $20,000! Feel free to check in any reputable dealers, hopefully those are the "top 3%" approved by your expert friends :)

Here is a short list of excellent US makers I know now charge around or below 20k: Jeff Phillips, Scott Cao (his personal violins), Kelvin Scott, Tetsuo Matsuda, Feng Jiang..better speak to these makers ( or their buyers ) see if they agree on calling their violins "intermediate."

Price doesn't make the sound, period.

Cheers

May 31, 2013 at 02:42 PM · The Infinite Strings violins are incredible and some of the best sounding violins at an affordable price out there! I am the owner of a Cannone del Gesu copy from them. You should get one! I have never been so happy with a violin and Ive owned many fine violins from golden tone 19th century German instruments, to fine Scott Cao instruments. I've played on a fine Pressenda valued at around $1 million and I put the tone quality of the Cannone copy with this in terms of richness of tone, projection, clarity, balance, and pleasure experienced working with it. Theses instruments are created through a unique process with the finest wood choices and high quality varnish and antiquing, but what really sets them apart is the special inner work that is performed on them. They take the finished violin apart and work on the plates to get the tone quality to the pinnacle of richness, balance, vibrancy, and projection.

You definitely won't go wrong with one of these. You don't have to spend a fortune to have an extremely amazing sounding violin. :)

May 31, 2013 at 02:54 PM ·

June 1, 2013 at 02:43 PM · I recently purchased a Bench copy of a "Cannone" from Infinite Strings, just to see what type of quality instrument they were producing. I have never purchased an instrument, without playing it first, until now. The guys "Lance" at Infinite Strings are very "Customer Support" oriented and a pleasure to do business with. I told them what I was looking for in an instrument and put my trust in their expertise. They set me up with a violin that met my description. I was very pleased with the instrument I received from them. As I mentioned before this was a "Bench Copy" model. After seeing the quality of this instrument, I can only imagine the quality of their higher level instruments and I plan to someday own one of these as well. I would highly recommend Infinite Strings to anybody looking for the best quality for their money. These guys are all musicians themselves, know what a player is looking for from an instrument, and do their best to ensure their product meets that demand. I can't say enough good things about them and will highly recommend them to any of my friends looking for another instrument.....

June 1, 2013 at 05:18 PM · I assume the argument is clearly based on your comment on "A genuine (Paul Bailly) is no guarantee of anything more than student grade quality," also calling a $20,000K violin "intermediate." NOT how many good or bad fiddles Bailly made, which nobody would bother to question,

Plus, buying from a reputable dealers only assures the instrument's resale value, since many of them provide 100% trade in for high dollar ones toward the next level instrument. I have played and tested violin at literally all price range, and quite confident to tell what a "good sound" is, no need for a second opinion from the dealer. Same as your fales assumption states that my favor in these infinite fiddles has to do with my choice in antiques, which is only secondary if the violin doesn't deliver the tone.

Go for the sound, not label!

P.S.: Seeing my three bench copies, they all have different body length, f hole, body shape, and played and sounded all good but differently. The more expensive Canon is almost photocopy of the original. To my "little" knowledge there are very few true bench copies made, even Vuillaume's Cannon del Gesu, all with different body length and some are closed to a long pattern strad!

P.P.S: I guess they have paid me a couple thousand dollars PER violin, for me to spread any positive comments, which is the amount I feel how the fiddles worth :)

Peace

June 1, 2013 at 10:04 PM · No offense here: why don't we reach some mutual agreement on your statement as: top 3% Bailly being as student graded violin, also a 20k one as intermediate fiddle, prior moving on the next argument?

The price is all listed on their site, I do pay less for old customer discount :)

It might be better calling "bench copied", just like my Sartory "modeled" bow.

cheers

June 1, 2013 at 10:37 PM · You made my day, buddy.

So you still consider my 20k Baily as a student grade instrument, or "intermediate"? Hopefully they are approved by your expert friend as the top 3% :)

Price with enlarged pictures all on the site, they look far different, you just need a pc tech.

Eventually I am just a happy customer with them, I will leave you alone then..

Peace

June 1, 2013 at 10:55 PM · Just click on a violin and the price is right there:

http://ifstrings.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=28

~$1000, the sweet spot for Internet Chinese violins.

June 1, 2013 at 11:49 PM · Seems that Infinite Strings are putting all their "Cannons" over here ;-)

I'd like to see some pics of that banech copy of the Cannone, just to see if it matches mine.

Donnie?

June 2, 2013 at 12:13 AM · I played no tricks, nor denying the facts there are thousands of poor Bailly "labelled" violins, many are a piece of restored German junk that you can find on eBay for couple hundred dollars.

Funny you seem to have a difficult time comment on your own statement: QUOTE: "A Bailly label, even if genuine is no guarantee of anything more than student grade quality"

"Forgive me if I am calling $20,000 intermediate, in one sense.."

As I asked 4 times already and will do so one last time: is a genuin Bailly labelled, 20k priced violin a student graded, or intermediate violin?

Nah, my $1000 bench "copied" infinite doesn't beat the Bailly, but easily win over a 3-4 k vintage fiddles or other Chinese/American equivalent. My 4k PV del gesu does, go figure :)

June 2, 2013 at 01:04 AM · Quote:

" real Baillys even if made in a factory under his direction, hopefully you have a better one, same with Juzeks, about 3% are quite good, the rest are poor to poorer."

""The 3% was clearly referenced to Juzek, only about 3% of Juzeks are the top grade master art series, not Bailly,"

Please reread your statement prior giving out another argument :)

Peace

June 2, 2013 at 01:21 AM · Infinite Strings is legit. No one paid me to share my opinions. I just feel that strongly about the work they do.

June 2, 2013 at 02:17 PM · I am new to this discussion board...I have absolutely no ties to Infinite Strings, whatsoever, other than being a satisfied customer. I am no violin expert. I have played for about 25 years and have had a few instruments in my hand over the years. I have never played a $40,000 instrument, that I know of? I care only about sound and playability in a instrument. In the end, if the instrument sounds good and is easy to play, I don't care if the instrument looks like the original or if it looks like is was made by pulling another board off the side of the barn. I'm not saying that by purchasing a Infinite Strings violin you are going to get a $40,000 violin, but what I am saying is for $2500 or less, you will get a instrument that will rival or surpass instruments people are asking a lot more money for and they (Infinite Strings instrument) are also a pleasure to look at. I wish I was being paid by Infinite Strings to blow their horn for them, if I was, I'd buy another one of their instruments! I have been playing the same instrument for 25 years. Not a great instrument, but a good one. I bought the Infinite Strings instrument for my back up, and after playing it for a week, I have now moved it to my number 1 instrument and I'm drooling over a couple of other instruments they have available. It makes no difference to me what instrument someone prefers, but as I stated before I'd recommend the Infinite String instruments to any of my friends.

June 3, 2013 at 01:13 AM · I hace checked the website. A "bench" copy of the Cannone should never have a one piece back, don¡t you think? Here is mine:

June 3, 2013 at 01:16 AM · Sorry, more pics of "my" cannone:

June 3, 2013 at 03:45 AM · This is far away from a "Canon," not even a Guarneri pattern..

The scroll looks like my son's rental violin, which has a two piece back too :)

June 3, 2013 at 05:47 AM · Isn't that what I said?

Oh,

Far away from a Cannone "Copy", not even a Guarneri "Pattern."

Infinite strings has much better workmanship, not the same level violins,,its trivial :)

June 3, 2013 at 06:18 AM · Seriously Lyndon, you can't tell its a somehow Strad pattern (not exactly), with a maybe long Guarneri f hole?

Compare the workmanship on the edge, scroll to the infinite fiddles, not to mention the set up...it's too obvious!!

FYI, for new instruments, a one piece back is usually more valuable than a two piece back :)

More FYI: I am not a luthier but did my homework while commission a violin from a "intermediate" maker who charges me 16k at the time (I had a choice of the Cannone, Heifetz, and Kochanski). A "copy" means to make something has AT LEAST same body length, pattern, f hole, and scroll. NOT antiquing or one/two piece back. Many Italian luthiers even refuse to beat up their newly made fiddles! Of course different luthiers would put their own touch on the corner, especially f hole for acoustic reason, but NEVER the body length, which is so crucial to we violin players. Judging from the pictures, I can bet the body length is over 355mm, maybe 356 or even 357 (check how long the swing length is), never happend to a Guarneri! Definitely NOT a Guarneri copy, not to mention to the Cannone..

All my 5 infinite fiddles stay true to the original in terms of pattern (shape), body length, scroll, and sound great bit different :)

It will help if you study some plans of old Italian violins, not just the appearance :)

cheers

June 3, 2013 at 07:36 AM · Lyndon, it's probably not the original Cannone :) It's from Fein violin shop..

Join Cozio and you will see: the f hole is much shorter than Nicolas', closer to Infinite's..

How is your take on pattern, body length, and scroll? or you ever studied those "little things" while putting pieces together?

Check Gregg Alf's website, see how many his copies has same one/two piece back as the real thing, probably he is not serious enough to you though..

No I don't believe mine were made right along side with the real thing..lol

Cheers

June 3, 2013 at 01:07 PM · So....

The fact that a $1400 Chinese violin is not an exact duplicate of a multi million dollar instrument is cause for alarm, hand wringing and outrage?

June 3, 2013 at 04:10 PM · Well, I was not saying that my violin was a bench copy of the cannone. But at least mine has some aspects that resembles the real thing more than that stuff from IS: two pieces back with inverted figure, varnish pattern, ivory nut...

Anyway: I give up. I.S. are GREAT violins, their bench copies are the best in the world, and they sound as six figures violins. GO GET ONE!

June 3, 2013 at 11:40 PM · It appears other online sellers having some serious issues with infinite strings buyers..

Be classy, guys.

June 4, 2013 at 11:42 AM · Another option:

http://store.old-violin-house.com/collections/all-violins/products/vecchio-master-antiqued-violin-characteristic-warm-nasal-tone

June 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM · I don't think they even accept credit card, but paypal only, at least all smooth for my last couple purchase also my students.

This is the "infinite" Cannone I believe others mentioned:

http://ifstrings.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=67&type=zoom&image=images/additional/1212_pv24c_003.jpg

March 4, 2015 at 03:59 PM · I've been browsing and have seen this website and these Violins....I just emailed Lance and am in contact with him. Thanks for all of the insight folks

April 26, 2015 at 01:58 PM · Does anyone have the ability to compare the Yang Wei's to the infinite string Masters or the Ming Jiang Zhus? I am now past the $200-500 market and looking to step past my $300 yang and Yita m20+. Looking for the tone /price ne us at $1000

April 27, 2015 at 03:33 AM · Thank you for the analysis- you passed on the YWei and Cheng for the MJZhou? It doesn't sound like the first two were meeting expectations on tone, finish or comfort. So where to find a solid price on the MJZ 900 series- under $2k?

April 27, 2015 at 01:44 PM · Ming Jiang Zhu

April 30, 2015 at 02:00 AM · Jeannie, thank you for posting thoughts on your experience on the Leon Sheng and other violins. I just want to clarify some things. Am I correct to say that you didn't keep the Leon Sheng because you didn't want to risk buying a sweet sounding violin without the power and projection you needed?

And you've mentioned about MJZ's violins. Of course the higher priced violins should be compared with the MJZ's. But I would really want to know your thoughts on the overall sound and projection, whether it could rival the one's that you had like Snow PV900, John Cheng Limited Series, Jay Haide even with a lower price-tag? This may not a fair comparison.

I feel that you didn't test the Leon Sheng master build violin to the limit to see if it can really meet up to your expectations, changing the soundpost and bridge or changing strings. FYI, master build Leon Sheng is about USD1500 not USD1000.

I've heard of my local violin dealer friend saying that MJZ's are overpriced and we could find better violins with that money. But that's just his opinion.

April 30, 2015 at 03:50 AM · Thanks Jeannie for your insight. I purchased a Yang Wei and will build up from there,

Headed for he MJZ or hiroshi kono

T

April 30, 2015 at 03:51 AM · Thanks Jeannie for your insight. I purchased a Yang Wei and will build up from there,

Headed for he MJZ or hiroshi kono

T

April 30, 2015 at 03:51 AM · Thanks Jeannie for your insight. I purchased a Yang Wei and will build up from there,

Headed for he MJZ or hiroshi kono

T

May 3, 2015 at 12:17 PM · I have enjoyed reading these posts and wanted to add my own comments concerning the Leon Sheng/Infinite Strings instruments.

My post is meant to be more of a testimony than an expert opinion, as I am not as qualified as others who have added their comments here.

I recently purchased a Master Build Cannone copy from Infinite Strings. It was priced at $1500 but with their discount for first time buyers it ended up being closer to $1300. I had done a lot of research before trying it and thought I'd give it a try.

My instrument was crafted by Leon Sheng who travels between China and their workshop in California. I had contacted them via email and had asked many questions before making my decision as to which instrument to buy. And as others have mentioned here, their customer service department is excellent. I have traded many emails with Lance who appears to be their primary voice in that department. His knowledge of instruments and setup is superb and he has taken the time to answer clearly every single question I have had.

My violin arrived promptly after my PayPal money cleared, and it came in a decent but inexpensive case for protection purposes. They had carefully placed removable tape around the feet of the bridge in case it had moved in shipping (which it thankfully had not).

Everything about it spoke immediately of good craftsmanship. The stain was beautiful and the hardware was top notch. The varnish over the stain sealed it well, but as mentioned by another here was a bit "bumpy" for lack of a better word. However I must say this does not diminish or detract from the appearance of the instrument.

The wood is gorgeous! It has a highly flamed one-piece back and the top is a straight and tight grained beauty. The staining made it look much like Paganini's as well:)

Before I had decided on this particular instrument I had listened to the soundbites they provide over and over again. The sound clip they provided accurately represented this instrument. (I just wish I could play as well as the person who played it for the sound clip!)

I have not been able to put it down since it has arrived. It is more playable than any of my other violins, and it has a rich and warm tone on the G & D, and a clear and bright tone on the A & E. It has that coveted Guarnari sound. It came with Evah Pirazzi strings on the G, D, A, and a Gold Label E. They even included an extra fine tuner in case I wanted any extra tension on the E.

While I am no expert on what is out there in this current marketplace, I find it very difficult to believe that I could have ever found an instrument anywhere close to the quality, setup, workmanship and SOUND of this one for $1500.

One of the reasons I wanted to add this post was to admit my own failings and prejudices in the past against Chinese instruments. I'm sorry to say that I was once one of those who automatically considered anything from China to be "junk". Part of my prejudice was also based upon observing over the past few years how our markets have been flooded with every product conceivable from China while our own American products have been replaced.

But quality is quality, and as all of my fellow musicians are well aware, music is precious to humanity. We simply must have quality instruments in order to make and provide beautiful music!

So there you have my own "two-cents-worth" about instruments from China and especially from Infinite Strings. And based upon this particular violin, I can testify to their quality, sound, price, and customer service. One day I hope to be able to buy a Strad copy from them to take its place alongside my beautiful Guarnari!

May 5, 2015 at 03:44 PM · This short articles honors the work of contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese violin makers:

The “other” Chinese violins: Distinguished masters working in the shadow of the factories.

An overview of outstanding violin makers from China and Taiwan

Might be of interest to you given the actual discussion.

May 5, 2015 at 04:26 PM · Good article posted by Corilon here. I immediately saw with interest one of the names at the top of the list of reputable Chinese violin makers as being Zheng Quan. He is the man who trained Leon Sheng of Infinite Strings. That gives me even greater confidence in their instruments! Thank you!

March 21, 2016 at 12:27 PM · I have been playing for 13 years.. I recently purchased a $500 violin from them.. no regrets, easy to play and sounds amazing for a $500 violin, I just ordered a $1k violin from them. I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Anyone should take a close look at their instruments. It's worth it !!!

March 22, 2016 at 03:08 AM · I have been playing on a private stock copy for just more than 2 months. While the sound is not fully developed yet, many of my peers and luthiers have really liked the sonority of my violin, the power and the richness of the tone. It definitely sounds as close as to what they described on their website or eBay store.

May 16, 2016 at 09:33 PM · Hi,

I am really ambivalent right now. Should I buy a Scott Cao or a Infinite String? Please help.

June 3, 2016 at 04:45 PM · IMHO, IFStrings is the BEST in copying vintage violins. I have 3 IFStrings violins, one from each line: A Cannone (PV), a Vieuxtemps (MB), nd a Soil (SE) and the Cannone sounds just like the Cannone (dark, muddy, booming), Vieuxtemps sounds just like the Vieuxtemps (warm, smooth, silky) and Soil sounds just like the Soil (nasal, sweet, shiny). I have listened the recordings of originals many many times and compared with mine... They probably could not sound closer. The way how they capture the tonal characteristics of the originals is phenomenal.

And their price/performance ratio is unbeatable. Particularly, SE line has the greatest value: a serious performance violin under $1K, incredible...

June 3, 2016 at 05:50 PM · Isn't a bench copy by definition a copy that is done with the original instrument "on the bench"? i.e., with the physical instrument in hand, so its details can be copied as exactly as possible, to the extent viable given that each piece of wood is individual?

How is Infinite Strings getting access to these instruments to bench-copy? The "Soil" is Perlman's concert instrument, for instance.

June 3, 2016 at 06:18 PM · I thought the same thing, You're absolutely right, Lydia.

I wonder how many of the rave reviews these violins are getting come from people who work for the company or are dealers for the brand.

I mean seriously a factory made $1000 Chinese violin that sounds "just like" a 5 million dollar Stradivari, that just rich!!

June 12, 2016 at 07:19 PM · I have been playing for 25 years, with a "relatively small" collection of one Italian violin, one Bulgarian made, bought/sold numerous old German strad copy, plus 4 IFStrings ( 2 PV, 2 MB, and 1 BC). Just as other mentioned, their price/performance ratio is incredible..To my knowledge they have facilities both in US and China, sort of the "hybrid" instrument, common practice in contemporary making. Their fiddles are good example of price may not have direct correlation to actual sound/playability, in market nowadays.

June 12, 2016 at 10:16 PM · Good grief this thread is impossible to follow - deleted conversation posts that are referenced and responded to, anonymous comments.

Laurie, are the moderators in the back room of the library tearing random pages out and shredding them?

June 20, 2016 at 10:03 AM · A few of the good reviews "I have been playing 25 years..." are from accounts which registered on the day before their comment, and visited a day after—this makes me a bit skeptical.

Conversely, though, other very positive reviews are by legitimate members of the forum.

June 20, 2016 at 10:03 AM ·

September 23, 2016 at 03:11 PM ·

September 23, 2016 at 03:14 PM · With regards to everyone's comments about the quality of these bench copy violins and master built series would anyone have a video of a performance or could someone post a video and do review? I have heard all of the recordings on IF's site but I would like to see someone playing in person. Anyone willing to post a YouTube video?

November 14, 2016 at 08:49 AM · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k9HPdu-PT0

That's all I could find. He has another video of another Bach piece on the same instrument. I have one of their "bench copies" (which is by the way only one of their quality tiers. The closest you'll get to a legitimate bench copy is their Private Reserve), but not a bit of recording equipment around :( Seriously, even my computer is a home build with no webcam or mic, and my phone mic (and honestly my playing as well) is pretty appalling. I can attest to their quality and sound though. The instrument sounds better in-house than it did in the recording, so if you want an accurate performance, their samples appear to be unadulterated, as do their pictures. I'll do my best to do a written review.

It has a pretty even sound across the strings, perhaps a little heavy on the low end, exceptionally rich G-A, to the point of fuzziness (though that may not be helped by the Tonicas, which are known for being somewhat vague), overall warm with a hint of cutting, moody bite or "darkness", but not lacking at all in high overtones, and just a destroyer on the E string. It's like a laser cannon. Clean and confident, not shrill, and not any louder than the other strings. It just pop and don't stop :)))) oh my.

In fairness, it can't be compared to a very fine instrument. It's no Roller, but maybe a Cadillac (Infiniti is too easy, even for me), and for Chevy money.

On balance (and also for the purpose of possibly earning some credibility, as I, like some other, ahem, reviewers, have only been a member here for a few weeks): the pegs, while ground and fitted, are not the smoothest and while I know this is a rare trait to find among hand-made pieces, the neck is not absolutely dead-on centered. But it is very well within an acceptable margin (a couple degrees off true North) and it does not affect playability whatsoever.

As for appearance, some others have had issues with the consistency of their varnish, but mine is smooth as glass. And it's a beautiful, complex color. Under standard incandescents it's a reddish hue and under CFLs it shows as a nice earthy brown. Can't tell you what it looks like outside because the volume of bird poop and crab apples that regularly appear on my car have ebbed any urge to take it out of the house haha. So a very layered color palette (reminds me of iron ore) on top of a beautiful wood selection with fine flaming and deep tiger stripes along the unvarnished neck, with inlaid crackling up into the scroll. Very pretty. Also, the varnish has good resilience. I had a stupid moment and hit the instrument on the corner of my stove. It left a dent that did not reach the wood, nor did the varnish splinter or chip off. In other words, it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Overall, for well, well under a thousand (Best Offer of course a factor here), it outclasses everything else I've heard for the same money by leaps and bounds.

But then there's the unfortunate possibility that some of these reviewers are spurious, which would be shameful for the company to do and unnecessary given the quality of their product. In their defense however if they did indeed do this, I'm surprised to see after years of pulling off perhaps greater than Yita/OVH caliber price:quality ratio, but at a higher level, that they don't have a stronger following. This is a value stock for sure.

November 14, 2016 at 08:50 AM · Crap that was a novel lol

November 14, 2016 at 01:24 PM · You joined the forum just last week to praise a cheap Chinese factory violin, with all those problems a violin for that price should not have???

November 22, 2016 at 06:21 PM · Lyndon,

Who's to say? I've only had a week to do anything after all. I joined the forum just recently because just recently is when I decided to join. I can't control what week that is. You might as well chastise me for having a certain birthday. Anyway, there are a few positive reviews here already, so why would they fake another one (if any of them are fake) and, after resolving issues some others had, craft new issues that others also specifically stated were well done on their instruments, while some of the more seemingly fake ones were just glowing overall? Come on. Have a little faith. Nobody is alpha and omega here and even you had a first post.

I don't mean to be rude though, as your skepticism is of course on point given the evidence, but are you in any better position denigrating them and dismissing positive reviewers, having presumably never played one yourself? Some people might be emphatic to the point of sounding spurious, as I was, because the instruments are so inexpensive. Having read your bio, one could easily say based on that alone that you're naturally biased against Chinese violins as a competitor, and even if you're not, as a non-player your opinions on sound and playability can't amount to much, right? Of course that's absurd, but imagine how I feel. I'm only a week old after all and people are already telling me I don't exist. So let's ebb the suspicions for a moment and assume everyone here is legitimate.

Jeannie's review above is one of the reasons I decided on IS, and I have no idea who she is. But since she decided on another instrument for herself, her opinion is unquestioned, despite her praise of the runner-up and overall review being less critical than my own? Who has the energy to sift through this or the authority to decide who's real and who isn't? Her pegs were silky smooth. Mine weren't. My butt is silky smooth but I don't work for Jergens, and you only have one unpleasant way of disproving that. Let's be civil.

Of note in this vein, nobody it seems has come out and said "I bought one and it's terrible". From what I can find, mine is the most negative review of them thus far. Also to address your frankly sweeping pejorative description of them, from what I can gather they only have a couple luthiers who - though they happen to be Chinese natives - work out of California i.e. with air conditioning and dental benefits, only visibly move a couple instruments a week if that, have no presence in major stores that I can find, and buyers can only buy directly from them. They don't offer even cheap bows or shoulder rests or any "throw-ins" to sweeten the pot. Honestly I don't think they have much business sense.

Accordingly I don't think "factory-made" or even "Chinese" for its connotations apply here. And for what it's worth, I'm of Italian and German origin, but I'm not conquering sovereign land in my spare time or stringing up Bosnian coffee tables and selling them as cellos for thousands of euros. People can rise above their heritage ;) In any event, no copy editor would let that volume of casual racism or Jergens endorsement through, so I hope you assume at this point Kevin Henderson is a real person and a name I've been stuck with for more than a month :)

And you make a good point on the lack of attention to finishing touches for an intermediate instrument, and one that is "antiqued" and finished as intricately as it is in other regards. Mercedes should have good cup holders, but they just don't and never have. Things are weird sometimes. But like cupholders the pegs and very slight (I mean barely worth mentioning) neck angle pale, really just pale, in comparison to the sound. I can deal with firm pegs for a rich tone and no student tinniness or sub-1k oatmealish blandness.

The reason I'm so emphatic though, is not naivety; my instrument is not a masterpiece, nor are even IS's best likely able to compete with the finest in the world, nor are they even leaps and bounds beyond a couple other select names in their price range. I know this. I like them because they're helping bring prices down for the majority of buyers.

I'll admit some of these reviews may well be fabricated, as would, however regrettably, be unsurprising for a young small company trying to convince people to spend what most shopping in this price range would consider a whole lot of money on a violin from an obscure maker they couldn't try out first. It's no wonder they haven't gained as much traction as Yita or OVH, or something with more presence in shops, which aren't as large of a gamble.

And if you still don't believe me or anyone else here, get back to me in a few years, after I've saturated this nice forum with more winded op-ed pieces that validate my identity as a Po'boy from the backwoods of New Jersey, and see if my opinion of them has changed. I'm ~$1k in, including a new bow purchased with the remainder of my budget, and am loving it.

God another novel. That check from Sheng better clear... :P

November 23, 2016 at 02:21 PM · Kevin, welcome to Vcom.

If you do a search for "Chinese" you will likely find that in every single thread discussing Chinese made violins Lyndon is there bashing them unapologetically. He seems to think that by the general public having access to reasonable quality violins at very affordable prices it will somehow cut into his personal antique violin sales. He usually couches his arguments in terms of "caring for the poor Chinese workers..." or some such, but the fact is that the only poor worker he is interested in is himself.

Thanks for your review.

November 23, 2016 at 06:54 PM · In any case, I find it a bit silly that someone might base their decision to purchase on the subjective responses to a forum question.

If you're actually interested, try the violin out for yourself and have someone else play it for you. If that's not possible, then there's no point even considering a violin you haven't played or listened to yourself in person.

But now that I think about it... my cheap $100 Chinese student violin is for sale and sounds just like a Strad. I suppose I could let it go for $1000. ;)

November 24, 2016 at 12:49 AM · This is always an interesting topic, or maybe some food of thought: for se, an Apple iphone, with US design, completely manufacturing in China, still considered as US quality product by the majority consumer. Asian ethnic maker, Chinese Korean or Japanese, receiving their training and later established their business here in US, has to bear the "Asian made" label and take possibly some pay cut. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is how we perceive, at least in the manufacturing world.

Here is my 2 cents, about the Chinese made, or American/Chinese made instruments: there are "Chinese" violins available from 35.00 with a case and bow, to over 15k USD made by award winning luthier. No doubt there are talented, crafty violin makers coming out from China, but as I discovered, the final outcome of quality of their instruments, has a lot to do with "where" they crafted the specific instrument. We all know that instrument making takes good patience, and somehow a more balanced living style, the very fast pace living style in China simply doesn't support that. This is why a good number of Chinese makers, after winning some VSA medals, decided to stay in US, even merely a shop luthier taking relatively lower pay, so they can continue working on their individual made instruments.

Can those American Chinese made fiddles compete with similar price range European made one? Definitely yes, and probably higher tonal value, but as I mentioned, they might not be in the favor of some buyers, who seek the "spirit" of authenticity from Europe. Ironically, a well known maker/violin shop owner in San Francisco once told me, the people that against Chinese made instruments the most, are often Chinese people :p I can relate to that since, we as consumers, despite the actual sound quality and playability, the resale value is somehow a factor, European made label always looks better than a Chinese one, let's be frank.

Now back to IF Strings, as I own a couple of those: there business model may not be that unique, there are similar workshops in East Europe, manufacturing quality instruments at relatively small quantity. No advertising what so ever, and the only way you can reach them is through ward of mouth, or shops that carry their instruments, of course the price is then at least doubled as the norm in this business. Their targeting customers are folks who have done it all ( like me, buying and trading a good number fiddles and finally realized the price and maker's nationality has not much to do with actual sound ), who finally want a good sounding instrument without breaking the bank. They do have some genius in turning the sound into the player's favour, as they record every violin they sell, which shows some confidence in their tone producing. Are they as good as a strad? No, but that doesn't bother me, I can only confidently play them against fiddles cost at least 2 times more ( assuming in the same playing condition), and save the rest of money for a nice case and bow.

This is not a novel :p

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