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Violin Made By Ming Jiang Zhu


Ryno
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Hello, I'm a new member to these discussion forums and I had a question for anyone who could help me.

I am looking at buying a violin and a shop that I recently visited had a violin made by Ming Jiang Zhu. I like the instrument very much, (as I ought to for the 5k price)more than others in its same range, and I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the maker and his instruments.

Thank you!

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I don't know much about any makers for the following reason:

If they are or they were famous, like Tony Stad, I never have a chance to touch their violins, leave alone playing. For the violin that I have a chance to lay my hands on,usually are not that expensive, I don't look at their names, (not well known anyway) and I judge only their tones and worksmanship. I ask myself " Would I like to keep it?". Even so, I still don't understand how the quality of sound correlated to prices.

Quality of worksmanship,or material to prices are not hard to see. "How good being a copy of something" to prices is again difficult for me to know (only in the hands of experts can tell, I think). Strange,or mystique isn't it?

One instance,I "almost" tried to tell a saleman of a violin shop that he had put a wrong price tag on a violin then I realized he could put any price tag on any violin. None of my business.

( Summarize (1) Tone (2) Worksmanship and material (3) Model) /yuen/

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Tone has no bearing on the price of an instrument. Everyone has different criteria for good tone, it can change with weather or strings or soundpost adjustment. Its reasonable to expect more expensive instruments to sound better but it isn't necessarily so.

Price is set by reputation of maker/shop , condition of instrument, price history of maker/shop

Oded Kishony

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His workmanship and wood selection are pretty good. I don't know the tone. He won several workmanship awards at VSA.


The VSA website lists Ming Jiang Zhu as an award winner at the 1994 competition. If I'm reading the listing properly, Ming was a gold medal winner for violin, one of 4 makers to win a violin gold medal that year.

In recent years, the VSA has awarded gold medals only to those instruments that were judged highly in both tone and workmanship. If those criteria were applied in 1994, then the maker has some recognition in tone, too.

A VSA award of any kind carries quite a bit of prestige.

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Yes, I agree. It seems, certainly from the results of recent competitions, that the best Chinese makers are truly coming to the fore somewhat. I don't think you'll see an international violinmaking competition these days in which there isn't a Chinese name up there in the latter rounds. It's quite heartening.

Does anyone know how much they tend to charge? Someone once mentioned that Zheng Quan charges lots for his personal instruments. There are, evidently, other very good makers there though. Are they also rather expensive?

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At the level of Zheng Quan, Zhu Ming and others in the medal winning catagory, the notion of inexpensive Chinese doesn't apply. This is the realm of international pricing.

These makers have waiting lists from international clients and they know what they can charge.

I was surprised to read that a Zhu Ming-jiang could be had for $5K in the US. I doubt he would sell it for less if you travelled to Guangzhou and haggled. Clearly the distributor in USA has a supply agreement which allows him to make a profit at this price.

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I just finished watching the documentary "Is Wal-Mart good for Amerca?". In which, it stated that an average Chinese worker gets paid US$100 per months or $0.50 per hour. Some are even less at $0.30~0.40 per hour. Consider the cost of living at that level, $5K is already 50 times of that. He is already very well off compare to the general public in China.

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I don't get your point.

We aren't discussing 'the average worker' being paid a bowl of rice a day.

We are talking about sophisticated craftsmen with a growing international reputation.

China today is a land of the young, upwardly mobile with a 'get rich quick' mentality.

The prices in the shopping malls are not much different from here and everyone aspires to a nice apartment, a car, cell phone (with camera), designer clothes etc.

Individuals with a talent and a healthy order book can't be blamed for aspiring to something better than 50c an hour.

Supply and demand works the same in China as elsewhere.

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I agree with Glenn that discussion of averages is very misleading. From an economist's perspective, China today can be thought of as two countries: the rural interior and the urban Eastern Provinces. Only a third of the population lives in the cities. But most of the money and growth are there, especially in the East, where the incomes and prices are rapidly closing with ours. In the violin trade, we keep hearing of craftsmen who have trained abroad. They could have stayed here or in Europe, but clearly they returned to China because they thought they could live better there. The national economy there is clipping along at close to 10 percent annually. The growth in the East must be much much higher. Very exciting times, I think.

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I hate to turn a violin discussion into another economic discussion.. but here we go again.

To you, 50 cents may not mean a lot. To them, it does.

Chinese government is doing everything they can to keep the RMB valuation low. So that 50 cents does continue to mean a lot to the Chinese people. So eventually, everything in the US will be made in China. The US economist still has not figure out how the hell can China run a 100 Billion trade surplus to the US. The game plan is simple. Offer decent quality product at significant lower price, mean while keep RMB as stable as possible. Maybe Ming has the same plan? Why do you think Wal-Mart can "revolutionize" the retail industry with such low price? Do you think Chinese are being exploited? Wrong!!! They are making 100 Billion USD a year from your pocket. Who is the one being exploited here?

Where is that 100 Billion surplus goes? It comes back to the US. Surprised? The Chinese Government uses that money and buy US bonds, hence, gradually control US economy and interest rates. Currently Chinese government owns 230 billion USD worth of US bond and rising fast. Eventually, Alan Greenspan will have to listen to Beijing for the interest rate decisions. That is why the current US administration finds China a potential threat to the US security.

Chinese people are some of the most hard working people in the world. It is not that uncommon for them to work 80 hours week. They do not want to simply be content. They want to excel and beat the competitions at all cost. Who are the competitions? They are violin makers like yourselves. They understand that low price with high turn over will yield better results than high price with low turn over. And.. their low price still means tons of profit.. relatively to them. While you are sitting in front of the computer browsing the internet and post on the Maestronet, Ming is probably working hard in his workshop on his next violin. If you can make a $10,000 violin a month, A Chinese maker will be equally content to make 2 or even 3 violins at $5K each in a month, spending less time in front of computer and TV and more time at the workbench. At early age, all of them were taught "Diligence will compliment the lack of talent". They are willing to give 2X, 3X of what other people do just to make up the difference. Or even better, to beat you!

The word "Rich" is a relative concept. If everyone else has only $1, and you have $10, then you are rich. If person A makes $6 an hour at minimum wage, then person B makes $300 an hour, I am sure person B will feel very rich and content.

The company that I work for has a large presence in China. We have expatriot packages for all other countries, with the exception of China. Everyone wants to go there to work because of the opportunities. Nowadays, one has to take a pay cut to get transfer to China. Those people goes there knows, even when they get pay less, they actually get more because lower living cost, and lower taxes, hence, more SAVING in your pocket.

Yes.. those Chinese who gets trained abroad always end up returning. Many violin workshops in Cremona employes Chinese assistance. According to my Chinese bow maker friend, some of the don't even get paid. But they endure the treatment for the sake of learning the craftmanship from their master. Eventually, they go back to China and make a name for themselves and hopefully make a living as well.

With this type of mind set, that is why they are unstoppable. They will work even for 50 cents. This is not to degrade them. This is their greatest strength as a nation. The Wal-Mart phenominal is also happening in the violin industry. You should not be surprised by the price. You should believe it because you will have to compete against that.

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"They are making 100 Billion USD a year from your pocket. Who is the one being exploited here?"

Looking at that another way, China is sending us $100 billion in goods each year and we are sending them paper. Who do you think is being exploited now? Because the Chinese take that paper in the form of long-term bonds, we see the benefit in low mortgage rates. If the Chinese government wants to feel powerful by manipulating interest rates here, so be it. I would think that is a foolish policy. Rather, I think it's more likely that the Chinese exchange rate policy reflects the lobbying pressures of their export industries. Ultimately -- if not soon -- they will regret that. In the mean time, take out a home equity loan and buy a good Chinese fiddle. That's a win win. (See, we can talk economics and violins at the same time. )

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Lucky you. I hope I can get over there soon. On this subject, we just saw the Chinese film "Balzac and the Little Seamstress," about 2 brothers who were sent to a primitive mountain village to be "reeducated" in the 1970s. Very nice movie with a very nice violin score (although they should have found an actor who actually could play violin). The scene I wanted to mention was the last one, where one of the brothers goes back to visit the village today: in front of his old shack there is bright new satellite dish! I think that captures the pace of change.

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I admire your persistence on the economic arguments but they won't change anything.

If you want a good violin made in China, you must pay the asking price or go elsewhere.

The original poster said he was offered a Chinese violin (I assume in the USA) for $5k. One shouldn't assume the maker received anything like $5k.

If he receive $2K and made 10 instruments a year, his annual income of $20,000 is OK by Chinese standards but not by international standards.

The deal offered on the violin was a good one.

Are you suggesting the price is too high and the maker is demanding too much for his product?

That's what it sounds like.

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At the level of Zheng Quan, Zhu Ming and others in the medal winning catagory, the notion of inexpensive Chinese doesn't apply. This is the realm of international pricing.

These makers have waiting lists from international clients and they know what they can charge.

I was surprised to read that a Zhu Ming-jiang could be had for $5K in the US. I doubt he would sell it for less if you travelled to Guangzhou and haggled. Clearly the distributor in USA has a supply agreement which allows him to make a profit at this price.


There are two price ranges of Ming Jiang Zhu violins that I'm aware of from the San Jose store I'm seen them at. They have many of the $1500 violins lying around the store, and only one priced at $7500. The owner told me that the $7500 one was made personally by Ming Jiang Zhu.

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