Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Purchase a Stringed Instrument


How to Buy a String Instrument

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced string player having some knowledge as to how string instruments are priced will help when you are ready to purchase . When we talk about pricing for strings instruments there's enough information to actually fill a book! So what I would like to do over the next few months is explore the basic factors that determine pricing from both the seller and the buyers perspective. My goal is to help you understand how instruments are priced and to provide you with information to help in the selection of your next instrument. Lets begin today with a little history.

Antonio Stradivari is are most celebrated violin maker of all time. He made instruments from 1644 to 1737. As you can see by these dates his instruments are approximately 350 years old and some are still being played. In today's market some of his violins can even command prices anywhere from three to six million dollars. One set a record in 2011 for $15.9 million.  Do you believe Strad, during his life, made some great sounding violins? Sam Zygmuntowicz is a modern day maker of string instruments. Does he make great sounding violins? Obviously Sam is not as well-known, nor are his skills as universally recognized as Mr. Stradivarius. His instruments unfortunately, do not command the prices that we see with Strad. However, some people argue that Sam is one of the best violin makers of our day, and his instruments are as good, if not better-sounding, than Strads! So what's my point? Well one of the most common beliefs in choosing a violin is “The more you pay, the better the tone”. Unfortunately this is just not true. Some people will spend a lot of money for a great sounding violin and some will spend a lot for a poor sounding violin and visa versa.

Violin shops do not price their instruments on sound. However, as a player we buy our instruments on sound. So then, how are instruments priced? Well, the buyer and seller each have their respective priorities and requirements when placing a value on an instrument. There are five categories that are generally important for the seller, and five different ones for the buyer. Over the next few posts we will start a series of small articles explaining these categories further. So bookmark this blog and check back as we take a look at our first category.

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