How The Dealer Prices A Stringed Instrument, Part 7, Overall Appearance
The fifth and last category for pricing a string instrument from the dealers perspective is:
Visually, a violin should be attractive and blend in with other instruments. Without even playing a selection of violins, most of us will likely have a preference based on appearance. This is why I put a picture of Eugene Fodor here. I find him appealing.
Often people zero in on instruments that are highly flamed, which has little to to do with the tone, but does give a prestigious look. A violin has a greater appeal too, if it has a one-piece back. When you go to a restaurant; having your meal arranged and presented with flair is much more appealing than in a buffet style mound. In the same way you want your meal presented, you would like to choose a violin that you will be proud to carry and use-even though looks do not determine the sound quality of the violin.
There are many modern makers who take great pains to make a violin look like an old Italian masterpiece. They know that most customers do not like taking a brand new, bright and shiny instrument to their music group. They prefer something that looks elegant and well-aged.
Looking “old” though is one thing. However, the presence of numerous scratches and gouges is only going to devalue an instrument. I have seen many names scratched into instruments, as well as dates of perceived importance. Many times an inexperienced repairman has tried to remove these and has instead further damaged the instrument.