Fake violin strings.
On another thread (now locked) I asked about a Tonica D string which was even thicker than the G string. We thought it might have been an aluminium string incorrectly put inside a silver string packet at the factory. But I sent the string to Pirastro in Germany at their request and they sent me an email yesterday saying that the string and the packet were both fakes.
How common are fake strings ? I have not heard of this problem before.
NOTE : I did not buy them from overseas ; they were purchased in Australia but I cannot remember where.
I personally cannot fathom why anyone would try to make and market fake Tonica strings. The amount of cost involved in setting up production and distribution would be not be long term, as most violinists can tell what a real Tonica sounds like and weed out the fakes (and their retailers) right away.
Brian, do you remember what you paid for the fake, in comparison to what you may expect to pay for the genuine article? Also, was this fake D part of a purchased set? If it was then there would be a big question mark over the authenticity of the other strings in the set.
Dimitri : that is exactly what I was thinking.....why bother ?
My teacher bought some fake strings from one of London's top luthiers once (I can't name them in case it's libellous). Problem is, shops are buying in bulk online wherever is cheapest.
Fake Tonicas are common on ebay.
Well-suited to the fake Hopfs available from the same maker.
I don't think there's any violin maker that doesn't sell fake something, its a matter of whether they tell you its a fake that makes the difference. many fakes are still genuine antiques from the 1800s and early 1900s.
Fake strings are supposedly an issue on Amazon and Ebay. Surprise! Those Dominants you ordered are actually just a cheap set of steel strings from China. This is because these sites don't make any special effort to verify whether you're buying an official product or not. You always gotta check who the seller is.
The sad thing is, the fakes probably aren't much cheaper than the real thing - if they were, you'd probably smell a rat - so it's worth going to a reliable dealer. I've mentioned the Shure SM57 before.
Mr. Musafia, they don’t need to set any production. The fake strings are produced by Asian factories that are already producing cheap strings for a local market. So far, nobody managed to get rid of this.
What Bohdan writes makes perfect sense. They're
@Paul, I wanted to mention too that Australia is "overseas" as far as many of us are concerned :-)
I recently got ripped off buying counterfeit thomastik strings online (not ebay). The strings looked convincing, the packaging was high quality. Interesting it was the tension on the package that tipped me off. I got a refund and learned a lesson.
@Dimitri: Both types of counterfeits are "available on the market" :-). The cheapest ones are just the lowest quality steel strings (with plain wire core) packaged into a renowned brands packages. The more sophisticated do aim to copy the original formulas. Chinese customers do ignore the first type, but if you visit Shanghai fair and ask for OEM strings displayed on instruments, you mostly hear "They are fake XY". The Asian sellers believe they are sufficient quality for the instruments they sell. They suppose the function of the OEM strings is just holding the bridge on its place during the exhibition and possibly during the transport. (The instruments are neither tuned nor with any decent set-up and the sellers are mostly surprised if you would like to play the instruments). They believe most of end users are supposed to change strings right at the moment of purchase in any case, so they do not want to waste money for any decent strings. The pity is when such strings are being distributed out of Asia and sold as a reputable brands...
Counterfeiting of products is a problem in almost every market, including occasionally in the contemporary violin maker market.
David it reminds me of when a company in China used melamine to counterfeit baby formula.
Bohdan, please email me and I can tell you a few things about trade dress that might be useful to you. I actually made some money fighting those who were counterfeiting my cases. :-)
Paul Deck : when I said that I did not buy the strings overseas I meant that I did not buy them from a Chinese ebay seller. I can see right now that ebay has a few listings for Tonicas that are only $24 per set with free shipping from China. They would definitely be fakes.
To me , the US and (UK) are overseas.
I have three nearly identical shoulder rests.
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