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Everything posted by hk1997

  1. Does anyone remember what the approximate weight of a cello packed in a large box is?
  2. I won't be traveling with it. I just need to ship it there. It's actually my uncle's cello. He needs an instrument for his students when they go to him for lessons so they don't have to drag a cello around with them. I've seen people lug those things around. It seems like a chore.
  3. It's a West German Hofner from the sixties. Nothing spectacular, just a decent cello. It's going to be a studio instrument so students don't have to lug one around the city to and from a lesson. So. Loosen the strings, use some styro to keep the bridge up, cross fingers and hope the soundpost doesn't fall? My only gripe with the UPS/FedEx/DHL is the high duty that they are required to charge the recipient. HK is a free port so they might not have that problem but I hate getting those nasty emails complaining about that surprise duty charge.
  4. I need to ship a cello from Houston to Hong Kong. Does anyone have experience with this? Should I fly it there or put it on a slow boat to China?
  5. This topic reminds of the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". See it if you haven't...even if you hate sushi. It's the same with anything you choose to do especially when you go at it alone. Whether a restaurant, landscaping, or violin maker, unless you're rich, it's going to be hairy before it gets better. You just have to stick with it and try to make the next work better than the last.
  6. I don't have an answer to your question but I just wanted to say that on my next long distance road trip, I want to make a stop at the Scott Cao Outlet! Sorry...I just had to.
  7. I guess our scales are a bit different. School instruments sounded like an unplugged muffled Yamaha silent violin. The skylark has, I would say, $500 tone. A decent Strad would be what, 5,000 times better?
  8. In general I would agree with you. If the Wm Lewis sounded better, I would have played it. But keep in mind everything is thicker on a William Lewis. The school models are built like tanks. Build wise, yes, the Wm Lewis is better. This Skylark has a more proper thickness in the plates and a thinner varnish. Out of the store, the pegs were slipping and it needed a good fitting bridge. With, a decent setup, this particular Skylark sounded good. Mr Miller was an old school band teacher and a fine trombone player. I never heard him play anything on a bowed instrument north of tuning strings. The thought of anything in the orchestra being built in Red China from the late 1989 must have made his stomach churn even though some of the William Lewis violas and cellos were probably built in China, finished in Germany, and then imported to the U.S.A.
  9. Ironically, I can relate to her situation a bit. My instrument going into High School was a $50 orangy-peach colored Skylark which I still have and adore. It sounded eighty times better than any of the William Lewis violas that the school owned. My teacher gave me an ultimatum, either borrow a William Lewis or take the Skylark in for a $300 set-up, and I chose to get the set-up. I eventually made first chair later on even though it was evident that my teacher hated that viola (everything sounded great, except for a nasally A string). He kept insisting that I play a school instrument even though when we played solos and parts individually, my classmates all ooh'd and aah'd at my tone. I guess at their age, they're all playing on junk. Doesn't matter if it's purple, if she keeps up with it and moves up to the next step, I hope it's not purple.
  10. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-school-purple-violin-20120912,0,6370815.story One day, she will realize the err of her ways.
  11. I recently accompanied four very expensive items valued close to the ballpark of JB's strad. I was totally paranoid on the journey to and from. Couldn't leave the hotel room, Couldn't stop at a decent restaurant. Drive-Thru only. This probably what it feels like to travel like a virtuoso.
  12. Is that what the website is quoting you? Website quotes are often inaccurate. If so, give them a call, they might be able to give you a more realistic quote. But then you're in Taz, they're in the states. $100 sounds about right if the book weighs what I'm assuming it weighs. It will have to ship USPS Priority Mail at the very least.
  13. As a buyer, I like the protection that PayPal provides in conjunction with eBay. As a seller, I generally encourage my customers to purchase outside the jurisdiction of eBay and PayPal. This saves us on transaction fees and commissions which we pass onto the buyer. Ebay HATES this!
  14. Their cockamamie, frustrating policies that favor the customer is actually bringing more customers to eBay. I have gray hairs over it, but it is good for business. Higher standards are always good for business. Martin, in my industry, our Roger Hargraves, Bruce Carlsons, (enter your favorite authenticator here), have close relationships with eBay because eBay has become the central marketplace for our products (sports collectibles). They can actually police some of the listings. They have direct access to end fraudulent listings without question. They can report repeat fraudulent sellers more effectively. They do make mistakes from time to time, and they don't catch everything because they're not on eBay all the time but the selling and buying environment is much safer and much better than it used to be. I'm sure they have experts on board for other collectibles as well. Wouldn't it be nice if this were available for the violin listings on eBay?
  15. Not to side with eBay -- as I experience headaches with them every single day -- but it sounds to me like you did not protect yourself. Even lying about the value on the customs form is against the law (at least it is in the U.S.A. -- I learned that in a import/export class in University) On the flip side, you took a business risk. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. In business, you're going to experience big losses like this from time to time whether the transaction is through eBay/PayPal, over the phone, or face-to-face. It's not going to be your last. Use this as a learning experience. Always protect yourself within reason but don't overprotect yourself to where nobody wants to do business with you. It's a bit demoralizing, but I wouldn't suspend your business doings on eBay over this.
  16. I can empathize a bit because this happens to me about three to six times a month and I like to give the customer the benefit of the doubt. My problem stems from shipping an item via first class international -- the cheaper option -- where the item does not always track all the way to the customer's door. It all depends on what kind of agreement your country's postal service has with the destination's postal service. I only use the cheaper service on cheap items. Priority mail is more secure, but I'm not going to charge my international customer $25 to ship a $12 item. If I ship to Canada, U.K., Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia (i.e. rich countries), I generally have no problems with USPS first class mail, The countries I sometimes have trouble with is Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, sometimes Spain, sometimes Italy. With these countries, items sometimes arrive in two weeks, sometimes three months. It all depends on the speed of the U.S. and the destination's customs department. I usually get "item not arrived" emails at around the one-month mark and I do not hesitate to refund. I mark the transaction for cancellation immediately afterwards. My international customers purchase primarily publications, sports apparel, and shoes. The average price per item is about $15-$60. I ship about five international packages a day and I think it's bad business to not ship internationally especially to burgeoning economies like Brazil and Argentina. My products are easier to replenish than a nice violin so I can afford to take a loss sometimes. But whenI ship an expensive item. I make sure I protect myself. Purchase insurance if possible. Never ship "the cheap way" on an expensive item. My main gripe with eBay in regards to shipping internationally is the estimated time of delivery they show the customer is usually inaccurate. It gets the customer's hopes up when in actuality, nobody knows when the item might arrive. the It MIGHT be two weeks. It might be one month. it might be THREE months. I haven't sold a violin in a few years on eBay but I know it's a horrible place to buy a nice violin, great place to purchase a cheap one. eBay's rules are getting tougher and the policies do lean in favor of the buyer. It's frustrating, but the policies are making it a better place to do business. Maybe not for the violin dealers, but for everyone else.
  17. It's not as secure with regard to spambots.
  18. Hosting your avatar on Maestronet is kind of buggy. I upload my pictures to Flickr (or some other picture service) and then link it.
  19. This topic is far ahead of where I'm at with my first project, but I've been admiring these photos today. This is one of Geoff Richings' latest postings on his Flickr page. I don't see too many nicks and scratches, there's a bit of simulated soot. Is this an example of the less-is-more principle?
  20. If he was Scottish, he'd be the Highlander. http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_item.php?csid=2197684224&cpid=2692235264 This one's signed by Heifetz
  21. If they sell a separate item for violin and viola in the IV catalog, then the answer should be "no" for most on your list.
  22. Hi there hk1997,

    Thanks for the well wishes on my violin project; I got really lucky with the neck problem.

    Perhaps we can share some learning experiences and construction tips.

    You may contact me at: jason.curtiss@sbcglobal.net



  23. Do instruments have any visual "fingerprints"? Something that can't be reproduced. So instead of an image of the entire instrument, you upload just a macro shot of this "fingerprint" to thwart any copying of your style. The companies I deal with all have this gimmicky proprietary DNA ink that they mark on the item to be authenticated. The mark can only be seen with their super duper uv light that nobody else is allowed to have.
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