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Hello everyone! I am a new member to this website, but I have often lurked around the forums without having signed up. I decided to sign up after digging through over 50 pages of this forum and through various topics/google searches/etc. Let me explain my situation: Many of you tell enthusiasts to avoid eBay altogether. I usually agree with this sentiment, but I've found a violin I need some help on. The seller is rather suspect, and has been mentioned many times over regarding misrepresentation of their instruments, shady practices, etc. I did research on said seller and found quite a few interesting things. (Not sure if I'm allowed to say the seller by name, but here are some links, some of which are previous discussions on these forums): http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/26769 http://www.violinist.com/blog/BlueRidge/201111/12887/ http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/329003-took-the-plunge-first-ebay-violin-toughts/page-1 http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/329805-oops-i-did-it-again-another-ebay-violin-18-another-bass-bar-crack/page-10 The instrument in question, that I find very beautiful and interesting, is here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/311700530758?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT I have a few reasons for finding this German copy so lovely. I have always wanted a uniquely carved scroll. I first saw a lion head scroll when I was young and in a local community orchestra (and was so much of a go-getter that I would constantly bug my stand partner about borrowing her instrument should she ever wish to sell. She doesn't even play anymore since her arthritis and vision have become too poor.) I've liked them ever since. Anything unique about an instrument is fascinating to me, so I'm not particularly huge on mass-produced, modern instruments. I figured, after doing some research (and with my limited knowledge), that this particular violin was a German factory-made violin, which could potentially decrease the value significantly. I know that many Chinese makers now mass produce instruments of the Baroque style. I've seen some awesome/funky instruments with scalloped (pie crust?) edges, semi-rounded c bouts, or entirely corner-less (aka the guitar style?) I particularly admire the rounded violins and have found a few in the past few weeks of looking around: http://www.dzviolin.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=119&products_id=1157 http://pickerssupply.com/new-and-used/cornerless-44-violin-used-bow-and-case http://www.instrumentspast.co.uk/instruments/CV/C196V.html If you're not all turned off my my verbose first post, hopefully you can guide me on a few things. I wouldn't be using this violin for any symphonic performances. I would get this instrument for (most likely) use with a Fishman pickup, since I currently don't have an electroacoustic violin for gigs where my Zeta Jazz Fusion's look doesn't really match the vibe of the performance. I've thought about investing in an electroacoustic or fully electric (with an acoustic feel) instrument that looks a bit more natural, like one of these: http://www.electricviolinshop.com/wes-lambe.html (though I don't like the fact that the back exposes all of the electronics) http://www.electricviolinshop.com/acoustic-electric/zeta-acoustic-pro-4.html (since I already have a sponsorship with Zeta, but was looking to branch out in terms of tone) Note: I am an electric violinist and perform many genres of music, so I'm not just limited to classical or chamber performances. I know this eBay dealer is a little sketch, and that it's very difficult to know the playability of an instrument without having tried it first. The seller DOES have some good pictures of the violin, and also has included a youtube link to samples of the violin being played (albeit out of tune, and with steel strings that sound horrible. I do like the tone somewhat, though I can tell the strings are smashing a lot of the natural resonance of the fiddle. Once again, I am NOT looking for an orchestral instrument. I'm mainly looking for a cool, unique, older instrument with this particular body type and an interesting scroll.) I've contacted the seller on eBay and received a somewhat vague, unhelpful answer regarding my questions regarding the violin's age, authenticity, appraisal, etc., as well as international shipping and return policy questions. ALL OF THAT BEING SAID. I know this particular instrument is NOT worth the pretty penny that the seller is charging, but what are the general thoughts you might have regarding this instrument? What would be a reasonable price for me to offer? I really love the unique look of it, and it would be a backup for gigs where I need an acoustic-looking but electric-sounding violin. I am not concerned with the value as much as what I would potentially be spending. I love older instruments, especially rare or unique ones. This would potentially be a "knocker" violin I could use for outdoor gigs as well (since I also play a lot of beach weddings and events where I don't feel comfortable bringing my orchestra-ready violin.) I also don't mind that it's not the highest quality, but want to make sure that I'm not going to be getting ripped off with a less-than-tasteful, factory-made instrument (especially if it's not actually from the 30s-40s like the ad purports.) Any thoughts or even links to similar instruments would be wonderful. Thank you for reading this post!