Info on Chicago Violin Company
I’d like to tap into the community’s knowledge for information about a firm called the Chicago Violin Company. A friend is in Taiwan about to purchase their first full sized setup for his daughter. They have identified a bow by Kenway Lee (copy of a Kittel, as expected) and a Guad model violin. Shop is asking high $2k for bow and $3k for instrument. I’ve not heard of the firm before and not being there, can’t tell if it’s a safe purchase or not. I was thinking of advising them to check if the bow has a certificate. I was initially thinking if advising them to come back stateside to look at Jay Haide L’anciennes as they have good reviews, but I feel they’re quite set at shopping in Taiwan before returning to the US. Any advice or thoughts appreciated!
Well, I live in Chicago and I have never heard of them. Their website is also a mess. Both potential warning signs. But your post implies they are in Taiwan?
Thank you, Susan. Yes, they’re in Taiwan at the moment. I read some not very encouraging posts on Maestronet as well. I hope I can provide some meaningful and helpful comments when they call me later…
I googled a bit more and they had some language that implied they were associated with Carl Becker here in Chicago. I found that strange, so I went to the Carl Becker site and there is a disclaimed on the bottom of every page that they are NOT associated with the Taiwan shop. Another warning sign.
Another warning sign is the prices quoted. High $2K for a bow for a $3K instrument is nuts. The bow should not cost anywhere near the same as the instrument.
I don't find the bow price alarming. It can make sense to spend more on a bow, especially for an advanced student still purchasing a workshop instrument.
Thanks everyone for the valuable input. I’ve provided feedback to my friend which encompasses the key points you’ve all raised. Hoping it’ll be helpful to them.
@Lydia - I agree with you that spending a good deal of money for a bow can make sense, but the scenario at issue seems to me still a bit out of line. A bow costing almost $3K is likely to be an excellent bow, good enough for a violin costing many times more (and of much better quality) than a $3K violin. If the bow cost $800, that might make more sense for a $3K violin that may be upgraded at some point. Just my $0.02.
Please be careful when buying any instrument online, unless they are a reputable dealer like Shar Music, Johnson Strings, Fiddlershop, or Violin Shop Tampa. It took me 7 months and countless hours to retrieve a deposit I had paid for a violin that was advertised on Facebook. I learned a painful, but necessary lesson! Not everything that glitters is gold. Best to buy your violin from a local shop in your community that will stand behind it and even offer you full trade-in value if you ever want to obtain a better instrument in the future.
The buyer is in Taiwan, try reading the thread before you post and the shops that you recommend are like the Walmarts of mass marketed violins, hardly the first place to look
A bow of $3,000 may hold some of its value, and (if well chosen) can teach a student a lot as well as getting the most out of a decent if not fabulous violin. Arbitrary rules about percentages don't mean much here.
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