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  1. I think it's rather hard to get all these qualities in a synthetic string, plus reasonable projection. Amber is a good option, it isn't the darkest sounding but it is warm with a good approximation of gut string texture. Obligatos and Vision solo strings are both very dark, but at the expensive of most of the high frequency texture. Infeld Red is Thomastik's option for what you want. Actually the new Perpetual Cadenza strings are the most complex synthetic strings I've heard, although they are more warm than dark - vision solo is one of the darkest, but it is so focused that is a bit like a black hole on my violin, which is already rather dark. Tzigane I have less experience with but I think would also be a good choice. I would recommend trying Amber, Tzigane, and Perpetual Cadenza first and Obligato and Infeld Red if budget allows (I think the first three, which are more recent strings are likely superior).
  2. Piotr Pielaszek, who has been doing well in the violin making competitions this year, discusses tool marks in this video. He mentions that as varnish wears he expects them to become more noticeable. https://youtu.be/LeSF00969ro?t=1m44s
  3. Why not today? I think the back of th scroll is the easiest place to find tool marks, here is the back of my H. Derazey scroll showing some:
  4. Yes, the obvious answer would be the Eudoxa A string, which is a lovely sounding string but unfortunately isn't that stable tuning-wise. The Passione A is a very good bang-for the buck (tension wise) string but I feel that it will likely drown out the Eudoxa Stiff D. I've tried most strings on my violin, including many gauges of gut strings, and in terms of sound and playing qualities my favourite was a set of Eudoxa (non-stiff) in light gauge with an Oliv e. Unfortunately in terms of tuning stability and matching bowing technique professional work is rather difficult, so I am currently using the new Perpetual Cadenza strings, which are interesting because they are less focused (one could say complex or richer) than most synthetic strings. I would suggest you try the the Perpetual Cadenza A, if you can manage to order it separately. Another option would be the Warchal Amber A, which also has a more fuzzy/rich texture. As you said, in the end trying strings is really the only way. Words are too fuzzy. And you need to be secure about setup too - your string choice needs to agree with your instrument's setup.
  5. I am not the expert you want, but I do know that my H Derazey has a one piece top as well as back! I heard that was a feature of his, although alone it cannot of course be enough to identify with certainty.
  6. Here are photos of my real H Derazey for comparison. Sorry about your purchase. I also live in east Asia, and purchasing violins here, especially your area, can truly be the Wild West, as Martin states. Did you buy from a shop or an individual?
  7. Philip, I don't see prices collapsing in the long term except for student-level (IE mass produced Chinese) violins. Prices for well regarded makers of the past half century certainly haven't crashed. Keep in mind that the majority of people in the world live outside of the States and Europe, and are a lot poorer. Especially in Asia (where I live and am familiar with), music is seen as an important part of one's education for those who can afford it. As these educated people grow older, they might invest in an expensive instrument, even if not professional. I see this happening a lot over here. There are still a lot of poor people in China, not to mention other countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia that are getting richer. I think demand for expensive quality instruments will only get stronger. Even "the usual" mass produced instruments from 100 years ago fetch a premium here...
  8. Guys, I really don't see how you all see this as some kind of pro-China conspiracy. The video uses words like "churned" to describe Chinese-made violins while highlighting the craftmanship and "authenticity" of Italian-made instruments. This is not good propaganda. In fact, the Mainland would probably view this as anti-China.
  9. The title is clickbait, but unfortunately/fortunately that's at least an international problem. I totally understand too. That kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and you shouldn't have to go through all that pain. If it makes you feel better, here in Hong Kong I have never seen a Musilia but I've seen plenty of Musafias. People here love Italian violins and cases...
  10. Dmitri, I hate to keep beating you up (I love your cases). But the video is almost surely purchased from AFP (a French media organization...). Newspapers purchase content from the big Western press organizations all the time, including the SCMP. Here is a Spanish version using the same footage. https://es.euronews.com/2020/06/19/cremona-cuna-mundial-de-lutieres I'm not condoning the report itself. It's stupid. But there is no grand Chinese conspiracy here - maybe somewhere else You make think I am sensitive, but I think, especially during these times, distilling the truth is ever more important.
  11. As a westerner living in Hong Kong for many years, I know that. It is a newspaper trying to do its best. It is not copy and pasting from official propaganda. Yet. In fact, where is it copy and pasting from? The AFP. The video is surely a crib on this report, which came out the same time. Edit: crib is too harsh a word, it's purchased media from AFP. https://news.yahoo.com/violin-makers-tune-tradition-stradivarius-italys-cremona-042601151.html Saying this comes from "The Chinese Government" is false. Full stop.
  12. Dmitri, the SCMP is not a Chinese government newspaper. It is a private newspaper in Hong Kong with a long history as Hong Kong's flagship English newspaper. That doesn't excuse the quality of the reporting, of course. The reporting rather hilariously misses the point. I'd also note that Mr. Conia is one of the most popular and well known Cremona-based makers sold in Hong Kong (which is a city crazy about Italian violins).
  13. Thanks for your responses. The consensus seems to be, as I had imagined, that the process is a complete disaster. After sending an email to the French certifier I got the impression that they did not want to get involved with customs whatsoever. In my friend's case, paying the estimated import VAT for an antique is not much different from the fees associated with getting an ATA carnet, and also doesn't need the cooperation of the receiver, so he'll just save time and pay tax to France.
  14. Perhaps I should have been more clear. I've already read as much as I could on the official websites. The link you sent only discusses ATA carnets, which are not really what I'd want, as it would cost as much as the bow certificate. What you would need to do is to apply for "temporary admission." Does anyone here have personal experience, and more to the point, know anyone (like a bow technician or dealer) in the UK that can assist with the shipping after getting repaired? The temporary admission process seems to be geared for companies importing goods, but obviously my friend is acting as a private individual.
  15. Hello, asking this on behalf of a friend- How easy now is it to import a instrument/bow into the EU from the UK for certification? In this specific circumstance, a violin bow, would be sent from the UK to Paris and upon certification shipped out of the EU (not to the UK, either). Just looking online it seems that temporary import should be possible, but how does it work in practice? Appreciate your responses.
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