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I have been a member of this forum for a couple of years and benefited greatly from the experience and info, but I am disappointed in the lack support for the DIY approach. Having worked as a musician for many years, out of desire and necessity, I have learned how to repair the instruments as I learned how to play them, which includes guitar, banjo , mandolin, ukulele, drums, and recently, violin & viola. In other words, I have an intimate understanding of the needs of musicians generally, and have been enriched by the experience. I usually don't do to much cosmetically, which 100% of my customers have been pleased with so far, my motto is "Truth in Tone", which is really the ultimate proof of success. I have also been an appreciator/collector of vintage instruments, it pains me to see so many facsimile instruments in the hands of young hopeful musicians, and the disinfo provided by "music stores", which continually tell customers that the instrument is not worth fixing, even with a family treasure with which some wish to experience a connection with their past. For example, Harmony guitars are kind of the guitar version of Dutzenarbeit , they used old growth wood, with features like huge one piece mahogany backs that don't exist elsewhere, I have repaired countless number of them over the years, and have absolutely zero interest in a Chinese polyurethane coated instrument of today. I consider what I do to be a type of Bespoke instrument repair, which directs resources to the ultimate goal of providing a tonefull & playable instrument, making use of old growth wood , and can be ANY level of fanciness, very efficient as a use of resource for the customer. For example, I recently purchased a 1/2 size violin to set-up as a viola for a friend of mine who is an experienced music instructor, it was an amateur make, labelled "Made by Grampa Hendrickson for Leslie " purchased second hand, it needed some seam repair and setup. It ended up outdoing any instrument in her class, and she immediately advanced, very rewarding. In a modern world where apprenticeship as a luthier is nonexistent in most music stores, many are working as "professionals" after attending what is basically nothing more that an extended workshop. This is where the real instrument hacking occurs(and where a little info can be a very dangerous thing), mostly getting by on cosmetic results, like putting a shiny new looking finish to make it look like something it isn't, just like the VSO's of the past, made to look something it's not by coating with an impressive spirit varnish. I am not here to dis the classic violin maker world, I am totally in support of the traditional apprenticeship method, but the fact of the matter is that huge majority of violin repairers are not apprenticed luthiers in the classic way, but simply working with flimsy certificates which denote little actual making experience, and then go on to advise people what to do with their very limited bag of tricks. To me, any Chinese or other industrial facsimile instrument making is both wasteful and unsustainable, and not worthy of any support. What is worthy, in my opinion, is support of what could be the modern version of apprenticeship in an online world, just because it's "brick and mortar" doesn't mean better by any stretch, mostly it seems to be the primary method of inflicting horrible instruments upon the world, online sales are really just the modern version of ordering from Sears and Roebuck, so nothing new, they had pictures and the same misleading info as a modern online store might have . In a city of a half million, I can't even buy a cheap Goldbrokat e string anywhere local, and must go online, must every student use Red label buzzsaw strings? I admit that a certain level of elitism is needed to maintain a high level of the art, but what of the rest of society? For example France made an attempt in the 19th century to provide for the common man, and the world is now rewarded by the existence of many fine sounding French workshop instruments, proving the worth of their efforts(and a living for many dealers out there currently). My desire is to see this forum more in support of DIY interests, which can educate and benefit the customer in today's world, while developing an appreciation for the fine art of violin making. Truth in Tone, Intention in Expression, it's a choice we can all make.