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Another object lesson

Elizabeth Ward

I wasn't expecting to be posting again about retailers who don't check instruments so soon, but here's another object lesson:
I got a reduced price item from the wholesaler that was supposed to have some cosmetic damage. However on investigation, first it turned out to be the old model - the current version has ebony pegs, these are not ebony (if buying items well below the list price, watch out for this, these violins do improve all the time and stock that has been around for a long time may well have the old specification). Second, the G peg hole is badly shaped which meant that it was impossible to keep the G string tensioned. However there are old violin teacher's tricks that come from the days when we expected student violins to be like this and I have used one of those tricks and now there is no problem with the G string. Only the appearance gives it away.
Some retailer somewhere will have returned this to the wholesaler because of the G peg issue. To find that issue, you would of course have to actually take the violin not only out of the outer box but also out of its case, string it up and check it. So that is a retailer who checks his stock.
I was utterly astonished recently to find a mega music retailer REDUCING the price because the box had been opened as part of a quality control check. Don't you WANT the instruments checked before sending? Do you want it all left to the teacher who may perhaps not know the old tricks and simply tell you to send it back? Do you want to risk not finding the problem until it is too late to send it back? Wouldn't you actually be willing to pay MORE because the instrument has been checked, rather than less??? Well, if ordering from an internet retailer, check what exactly is done. Some do nothing at all apart from take the box out of the warehouse and send it straight on to the customer. But of course such retailers price accordingly. And so they should!

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