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MingLoo

The dropship argument

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Are you sure the latest version of this instrument has these problem? 'cause I don't think they do now.

Yes, they do. The varnish has gotten (slightly) better, but that hasn't changed the other problems. It's a simple problem, really: to get all of those points right on a violin takes time, which the manufacturer doesn't have. There is a minimum labor cost to making a violin properly, even in mass production.

From a business point of view, this is the one place where internet marketing can never replace a full-service shop. I consider it part of my job to make people aware of not just the price tag, but why the price is what it is. There is still truth to the phrase "you get what you pay for", especially with violins. And as I said, so far it's been working.

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Yes, they do. The varnish has gotten (slightly) better, but that hasn't changed the other problems. It's a simple problem, really: to get all of those points right on a violin takes time, which the manufacturer doesn't have. There is a minimum labor cost to making a violin properly, even in mass production.

From a business point of view, this is the one place where internet marketing can never replace a full-service shop. I consider it part of my job to make people aware of not just the price tag, but why the price is what it is. There is still truth to the phrase "you get what you pay for", especially with violins. And as I said, so far it's been working.

Well, that's fine for you, since it serves your business needs, but I have about 50 private students, and these instruments work just fine. As is.

And of course, again, nobody is saying -- least of all me -- that these initial purchases are going to somehow replace the need for luthier shops.

BTW, if you maintain that the only recent change is in the varnish, we cannot be talking about the same outfit; the bow is immensely better, the case is nicer, and the instrument is just a little jewel. Children love these, and they are so inexpensive, even the parents of four year olds can afford a real violin.

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Well, that's fine for you, since it serves your business needs, but I have about 50 private students, and these instruments work just fine. As is.

And of course, again, nobody is saying -- least of all me -- that these initial purchases are going to somehow replace the need for luthier shops.

And I'm sure you selling violins to your students works out just fine for you.

Of course, some would see that as a conflict of interest.

Make no no mistake. You sell violins. You have a violin selling business.

You sell violins to your students and others, from what I've read.

You can pretend that you are not a violin dealer, but you are.

Whether or not your motives are pure and of the highest order, you are still taking peoples money in exchange for an instrument. No matter what else you may or may not be, that makes you a violin seller. Period.

To claim otherwise, or to claim some solely altruistic motive, or argue that you are fullfilling some un-answered need, is, as I see it, disingenuous at best.

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>> You can pretend that you are not a violin dealer, but you are

Have I ever pretended not to be a violin dealer? This is a free economic system; I have a right to sell what I want. My students appreciate it, I can assure you.

You're talking to an old hippie, who grew up in the '60's and '70's on an Indian reservation. My political radicalism is beyond anything you can image. I do feel that luthiers who characterize low end instruments as "crap" and insist that families living in two-room public housing in ghetto areas, spend $500 to get a so-called "decent" violin, are elitist and racist.

Your other arguments are so poor, I don't think I need to address them. I would, if you actually read, and understood, the thread. But it doesn't appear you do.

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Someone selling an SV175 for $148 is no threat to any violin shop. Threat to Walmart, perhaps.

I see them around here. In my opinion, they are not set-up well. The characteristic strings are real screamers. For maybe another $148, you can get one to work. It will still be less than a $300 violin. But that's my opinion only, and the market will take care of it.

When they break, they are thrown away, because the repair exceeds the instrument cost. We often look at Glasser bows the same way, except that Glassers seem to work before they wear out.

And there were certainly a fair number of factory fiddles built 100 years ago that were not much better in sound. I think they were better in materials. I doubt 100 years from now, anyone will be much interested in cleaning up an SV175.

As far as being what people can afford, it's a matter of priorities, and each family decides for themselves. Again, around here, many folks want a big-screen TV and a flat-bed trailer full of ATVs, and then don't want to spend $400 for a starter violin, claiming they can't afford it. That's not my problem. I offer a product to people with different priorities.

If someone comes into my shop, and I have a chance to show them the differences, I usually make the sale. "Just to see if they (their child) will like it" is the usual story, the sound differences alone are a good selling point. It's the ones that don't have enough interest to come into the shop that you can't do anything about.

And frankly, I'm not interested in chasing after a $148 instrument-outfit sale.

For what it's worth, I started out with a 1970s Lark violin. Piece of junk, but I survived.

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Guest erich_zann
I do feel that luthiers who characterize low end instruments as "crap" and insist that families living in two-room public housing in ghetto areas, spend $500 to get a so-called "decent" violin, are elitist and racist.

i really hate adding anything to your 'poor me / poor you' free advertising bull.......but, how in the world is a recommendation of what to buy in a "starter" violin racist ???

E.

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Nice web site, MingLoo. Very useful.

You should put this link in your MN "signature".

Mike

Thank you, Mike. I shouldn't even be here at all, actually, and won't be around long enough to have a sig line. I was hoping for useful insights.

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I wonder why "elitist and racist" is so often presented as a phrase. Perhaps because it is seen to be the ultimate shut-out for the term "standards"?

I wonder how many people would consider it a "favour" to SELL a three-legged chair to a paraplegic who cannot afford to buy a four-legged one.

Frankly, to echo what others have said, to consider the kind of instrument discussed here, with an Asian factory setup no less, as a meaningful musical tool just defies logic. There is really no point in discussing the main thrust of this thread if there is disagreement on this matter.

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Guest erich_zann
Thank you, Mike. I shouldn't even be here at all, actually, and won't be around long enough to have a sig line. I was hoping for useful insights.

nice deflection..........i think that your signature should be "i'm such a tool".

(there's your "insight").

E.

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Apropos of nothing in particular, a three-legged chair is inherently superior to a four legged model in two ways: forst, it is always stable, whereas a four-leg model has to be carefully set up so as to keep your paraplegic from falling, and second, the cost of materials will always be less, all else being equal.

You can take the wood for the fourth leg and use it to beat a dead horse, if you like.

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Thanks for the input, MingLoo. The web page is different and "retro" on purpose. What I was specifically trying to avoid is "more of the same". The world already has plenty of that. :) In a business like mine, there doesn't seem to be much value in conformity. The contrary may be more true. I seem to be competing OK. :)

quote]

Hi David,

I spoke to you a few weeks ago when I was trying to learn the material of the fittings on my fiddle. You had made it in 1988...

In that call, I mentioned that the instrument is a source of joy for me every day. Even after all these years, I still spend more time than you might imagine simply looking at it.

So please do accept this (somewhat more) public expression of appreciation for your work...

When I read the comments about your web site, I was driven to offer my two cents:

I have read your site with care many times, most recently on the day of our recent conversation. I have always liked it:

I find the content of interest and value but beyond that, its style says to me (and, I suspect may say to others) that "This fellow is more invested in making fine violins than he is in making websites," and that draws me to it.

It would seem to me that in work such as yours (and mine, by the way) it is far more important to bring the right people to the site than it is to bring ever more people to the site.

Violins of quality are most certainly not commodities, and to market them as if they were, would be absurd to say the least.

All the best,

A.C.

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My political radicalism is beyond anything you can image. I do feel that luthiers who characterize low end instruments as "crap" and insist that families living in two-room public housing in ghetto areas, spend $500 to get a so-called "decent" violin, are elitist and racist.

Sorry, I had no idea that "crap" was a word which inherently targeted any particular race or ethnicity. Now that I know, I'll be much more careful. :)

Or maybe you've introduced "race" into this cheap violin discussion because you associate race with a family's budget. If so, this would seem like a very racist attitude. Shame on you! :)

I may indeed be a violin elitist. As far as I can tell, this does nobody any harm, including white or brown or yellow or green people living in ghetto areas. If compelling arguments to the contrary are forthcoming, I'll certainly consider moving my position on violins more to the political left. B)

But anyway, since I've done a pretty fair job of alienating almost everyone here today already, I'll venture that successful political radicalism requires that the use of "buzz words" and "talking points" will actually apply to the situation at hand. Otherwise, it's just more "crap". :)

You keep posting, and I keep learning. My original position continues to morph.

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Oh dear.. I think we have just been sucked into an argument that is really just an advertisement.

Where's Jeffrey!

Took a day away, but I'm here... deciding exactly how to deal with this one. Give me a little while and I'll make up my mind.

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Gosh, there's a lot of crap going on in this thread (oh no... now I suppose someone will accuse me of being racist too!) so I'm not sure what to address.

I will say that I agree with David's post about changing markets. BTW:I try my best to support local business as well... and admit to being imperfect.

Anyway, I'll comment on the following two posts by the person who started this thread.

About six years ago I received a really nasty email from a local luthier [see: Confrontational email from violin dealer/repair shop ] Many on the thread wrote that if someone sells instruments, they should be able to service them, as well.

People frequently say that. And it's okay as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far. And I often wonder if they've thought it through, or even given it any thought at all. They're just thinking about what's available *to them*.

There are millions of people on the planet who are not anywhere near a luthier, or even a shop that sells violins. To acquire an instrument, they would have to get on a bus, or in an old car, or on a camel, or send a servant to a large city, which is often a dangeros trip and certainly expensive, only to get robbed, very possibly, anyway.

My dad, who taught me what I know about business, used to say that the difference between rich people and poor people is that poor people think about what they're doing on Saturday night; rich people think in terms of the next generation. Think globally. Think long term.

I would also add that, in my years of managing this business, it is never the artist luthiers who are putting out these gorgeous contemporary instruments, who complain about my little enterprise. They know that I'm not in competition with them; their work is irreplaceable, and priced beyond my range. It's always the small, local luthier shop that complains.

I wonder if attitudes have changed at all since then?

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what your point is here Connie/MinLoo. It seems you've found a market, set up a system of delivery and have a viable enterprise. Can't see a problem.... unless your customers are feeling as though you should provide more service (repair, etc.).

If your enterprise infringes on the income of others, some of these others are bound to harbor ill feelings, or complain. If what, in the end, separates them from you is the face-to-face advise and the service (repairs and adjustments) on the instruments they sell, I doubt very much if they'd be at all interested in supporting you or your products.

So, what's your point?

Let me get this straight: if a student and their parents come into your shop, and they have a $148 SV175, and want you to set it up with a new set of Dominant strings and maybe a Guernari chinrest, would you refuse? Would you tell them it's a "piece of crap?"

If that's all they can afford, it would seem that you don't care about the student, their family, or their financial situation. And I would maintain that you're calling it a piece of crap solely because you can't make any money off it.

And people call *me* mercenary?

I really don't repair student instruments, so with the risk of seeming as though I just don't care, I'll say "yes, I would refuse". However, they probably wouldn't get to my shop in the first place, so I would probably not see the instrument in question and therefore would not pass judgement on it.

For those who do perform repairs of student instruments, I suppose a good part of their decision would be made concerning profitability and viability.

We've had a couple go-rounds in the past concerning promotion of your site on the board, and copying posts and information to your board without permission of the authors. I think you've been better, for the most part, in this incarnation, so I will avoid calling you mercenary. :-) I will question the notion that what you've described here is even close to being philanthropic (no matter what your background was or where and what conditions you were raised in)... What you've described is running a business...

There are organizations that do provide instruments to players who require assistance, and two of these organizations (that I can recall off the top of my head; I'm sure there are others) have started and maintained inner city music programs (instruments and instruction provided). I work with (and donate time to) one or two of these groups. You may as well, but that hasn't been mentioned here.

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Thanks, A.C.

Most of us work for appreciation more than anything else. The money ain't that great, so we're always inspired by hearing positive feedback.

To place this more firmly in the overall context of the thread, I'll say that I totally understand how informing a customer that their internet bargain wasn't so much of a bargain can be lacking in affirmative feedback.

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To place this more firmly in the overall context of the thread, I'll say that I totally understand how informing a customer that their internet bargain wasn't so much of a bargain can be lacking in affirmative feedback.

What I try to impress upon people when I turn down their repair work is that we have a very large inventory and large customer base. In order to maintain our inventory of PERFECTLY set-up instruments (at least by our humble standards), as well as be able to turn around in a timely manner the repairs of instruments purchased from us, we simply do not have the capacity to repair instruments purchased elsewhere. It is sometimes a curse doing good repair and restoration, because honestly, if I took in all the repairs presented, our staff would be so busy repairing instruments, our sales dept (mostly me) would have nothing to sell. The fact that someone bought an instrument somewhere and wants us to work on it and doesn't know where else to turn, and where to get an appraisal, etc. is frankly not a problem we have the capacity to undertake. We have our hands full - literaly - with our own customers' instruments and then desperately trying to get our inventory ready for the boss's scrutiny and then our sales dept. (mainly me) to sell.

I also find it insulting that someone who never gave me the chance to sell or rent them an instrument now expects me to happily maintain and support their "bargain" to the exclusion of our loyal customers.

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Wow... I missed all the fun! You see, I was on my may to maestronet when I took a wrong turn and ended up on MingLoo's blog site...

Anyways, I'm not too bothered with e-violins. Regardless of initial price, there is always flow-on costs. Also, it can be very hard to hold someone accountable when there is no physical presence. I think in the future these 'virtual' businesses will find themselves outcompeted by physical businesses that can offer their services on the internet as well. This is something people can rely on.

Jonathan, I agree with your sentiment. It would be hard for a competitor to offer a high enough price to persuade me to stop production for my shop.

MingLoo... you may think your experience is substancial, but it is blatantly obvious that you need to work on public relations. (calling people who think crap violins are crap racist is definitely not something you'd want to do too often..)

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David, your success on search engines is not a function of design, but a function of how your headers are set up. Are you counting your hits? By analyzing those, you can determine if people like returning your site.

Fortunately, I doubt David Burgess needs more website hits. I admire him as a person and as a violin maker. His head is screwed on pretty well, I think.

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MingLoo... you may think your experience is substancial, but it is blatantly obvious that you need to work on public relations. (calling people who think crap violins are crap racist is definitely not something you'd want to do too often..)

Ditto. I don't know Ming Loo. She could be a fine person, and probably is. But the FEELING I get from reading her posts is negative. Not that FEELINGS are important or anything.

If I wanted to use Maestronet to advertise, I would be very careful to try to generate good FEELINGS about myself.

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Ditto. I don't know Ming Loo. She could be a fine person, and probably is. But the FEELING I get from reading her posts is negative. Not that FEELINGS are important or anything.

If I wanted to use Maestronet to advertise, I would be very careful to try to generate good FEELINGS about myself.

+++++++++++++++

I have read every post of Mingloo as I encounted, I think she is fine. If she wants to say something good about her work or

her business it is only natural. It is no different than a maker in this forum to say something about thier new built violin.

It is also natural. I think.

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+++++++++++++++

I have read every post of Mingloo as I encounted, I think she is fine. If she wants to say something good about her work or

her business it is only natural. It is no different than a maker in this forum to say something about thier new built violin.

It is also natural. I think.

Right; everyone else can do it, but not me. Thank you; I appreciate it when someone defends me. It's like "arglebargle" insinuating that to use a pseudonym makes me a charlatan. I'm certain that's not his real name, but it's okay when he does it, apparently. I have no idea who he is, but I don't make any bones about who I am. A link to my studio policies--and thus to my CV--is at the bottom of every one of my pages.

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Are there not rules for advertising on <MN?

All the business people I know of, on here, have links to their business pages in their signature lines, and talk about their businesses all the time.

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All the business people I know of, on here, have links to their business pages in their signature lines, and talk about their businesses all the time.

mingloo i think your fine, maybe all this won't matter once the weaponized flu kicks in....but if you survive....i do need an agent :)

p.s....i don't think david needs a web site

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