Specialist Violin Shops versus Generic Music Stores
String players have to weigh up the benefits and potential downsides of going to a generic music store.
There could be a variety of reasons to vist a local music store that sells everything, from drum kit to keyboards. Lack of local access to a specialist string shop and perhaps financial constraints are the most common reasons because it is believed that specialist stores must be more expensive. There may be the idea to enjoy some savings compared to ordering online via a specialist store. If you or your children play not only string instruments, it may seem more convienent to get all instruments from the same place. Not to disparage their customer service, which if they operate their business well, should not be in question.
There is the unavoidable consequence of going to a generic store however, that of a lack of knowledge and skill when it comes to stringed instruments. Fretless stringed instruments, such as the violin, viola, cello and double bass, need special attention when it comes to preparing such instruments for a musician.
Most other musical instruments need hardly any setting up. A generic music store may have some topical information regarding common brands and they carry a modest selection of strings. They may even have the good fortune to employ someone with a decent background in playing the violin.
However, compared to the wealth of knowledge and skills that a dedicated violin store offers, generic stores won't be able to fine-tune instruments or optimise their string instruments. This can lead to frustration for all involved: the student, the parents and teachers.
To the ear of a novice a cheap factory produced violin may seem like a good option for the price, particularly if there is no comparison. A store without a background in the area may recommend this, without the knowledge of its inherent shortcomings. The instrument will be poorly set up, and in terms of its craftsmanship it is likely to be inferior as well.
An older violin, mid stages of repair. This is something you will want to avoid, but nessecary maintenance can help prevent this.
On the subject of repair, most generic music stores will not offer these services. If they claim they can, and have no accreditation in the area be very wary. Not only may they irreparably damage your instrument, the fact that an unskilled repairman rather than a recognised luthier (violin craftsman) has worked on it may cause serious problems with your insurance. In this area, above all others the specialist store like Animato reigns supreme. In the example of our store, the craftsmen have worked on all stringed instruments from violins to double basses. Additionally in terms of repairing damages from broken necks to shifted soundposts there would be little they would not feel comfortable working with.
This dislocated neck cello neck looks dire, but our skilled artisans are able to repair most injuries to your instrument.
In summary, while you may make a saving in the short term it may cost you in the long term to choose the generic outlet. Especially when here at Animato we offer free domestic shipping on most of our products and can give expert advice on any topic related to the industry via the phone.
Animato Strings is equipped with an onsite workshop with four luthiers.