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Lessons learned

Mike Margolis

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Last week, we went on a short vacation with the kids.

My 14 year old saw that there was a violin shop close by, so we went to visit.

He has been bugging me, "When am I going to get an Italian violin? Mine is only German."

Now his may not be the nicest violin in the world, but you know me. It is just a little better than he needs right now.

So, we walk in, say hello and look around. Nice shop, nice people.

"Do you have any Italian instruments that my son can play please?"

Two are presented. One is actually Italian school, Italian student, made in Portugal. VERY nicely made instrument, it was $18K.

The other one was a 1920's instrument, I think it was made by the janitor at the violin school. Tool marks everywhere, the back had been off at least as many times as my hat has been off my head, a piece added to the neck to give more fingerboard height, on and on and on. It was $15K.

He plays and plays on the two of them, says his thank you's and goodbyes, and we get in the car, and he says, "Dad, I like my violin better than either of those ones. Maybe Italy is not all it's cracked up to be."

He is learning his music lessons after all.

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" Tool marks" left in the violins were intentional, for more sophisticated buyers. I have seen

a few in $20k range violins like that in US violin shops.

Obviously they were not doing the job of impressing your son. Good violins are like a "pop corn"

machine, notes jump out. Italian or not.

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The problem is that you narrowned your choice to an "Italian Violin"...

Next time just say: "I'm looking for a good sounding violin". The one you like may be a French violin, a Peresson made in Venezuela, may be Dobrevtsk made in Egypt, a Loturco made in Rio, a Paul Knorr made in Germany, a contemporary instrument made in England or in Canada, etc.

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Originally posted by:

The problem is that you narrowned your choice to an "Italian Violin"...

Exactly Manfio!

That was the lesson I wanted him to learn, that there are fabulous instruments made in China, USA, France, etc....

He heard that Italian was the best, and so he wanted one. I want him to learn that the "best" instrument is the one he loves, not the one he reads the label on.

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True, not all sophicated buyers want violins with tool marks. Buyers who do not mind violins tool mark

form a smaller set. That is seating inside of sophisticated buyers set.

"Tool marks" is a statement that it was not mahine-made. An interesting statement.

I do not know if it is relevant. For $20 k it may be.

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