Instrument of Confusion

You may be shocked to find out that I’m a little on the…um…shall we say frugal side.  (Of course Shaun insists on using such crude language that he actually calls me cheap!) So, when I find out about a good deal, I’m all over it.

The good deal, in this instance was an EBay store that sold great quality musical instruments for very low cost.  The father of one of Mimi’s friends told me all about it.  He said that he even checked it out with the school’s music teachers.  Hmmm, I thought to myself.  I just happen to know of two girls that live in my house that could use a musical instrument of their own.  

So I looked up the name that he gave me.  Could this possibly be too good to be true? These instruments cost less than the rental payment I was making on the ones the girls use now.  Oh, I was tempted, yet…something (common sense?) held me back.

With today’s mail, came the instrument bill.  It was time.  No more rentals for me.  Although, after looking at these beautiful instruments off and on for about a month, I still had no clue which I should get.  They were all “brand new”, “never been played”, “Italian Engineering” and “prime German instruments” It did puzzle me that they were all the same price, but the web site’s reasoning made it seem very logical about why they had such low cost. Besides, it was SUCH a good deal.  So, I did what any logical person should do.  I sent off a quick email to the music teacher asking her which brand she recommended that most.  

Her very diplomatic response basically said “What the HECK are you thinking? Buying an instrument off the INTERNET??? What are you, NUTS??!”  Then she gave me her home phone number and invited me to call her.  (Did I mention that this is a delightful saint of a woman? Both girls adore her and so do I) Of course, I called her and she very strongly cautioned me against purchasing one of those instruments.  When I mentioned the dad that said she had approved, she couldn’t help but laugh.  I was informed that he only heard what he wanted to hear, not what she had to say.  (Sounds like a lot of people I know) He had decided that he just couldn’t lose, there was a 7 day money back guarantee and he would be out nothing but the $30 shipping fee.

I did a bit more research.  I tried to find out information about the brand names the web site was selling.  The only thing I could find were a few discussion boards of people wondering the same thing.  The only thing I found out for sure was that they are made in China. (that’s supposed to be bad) There were some very mixed reviews.  

Just in case you are in the market for new viola or violin, here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. A used instrument is more desirable than a brand new instrument. Something about bringing out the proper tone.  
  2. Just because it says “Italian Engineering” doesn’t mean that it’s Italian.  
  3. It doesn’t matter how pretty the instrument is.  What matters is how it sounds.  (They all sound pretty much the same to me!)
  4. A thousand dollar viola is still considered fairly cheap!
  5. It’s true…you get what you pay for.  Including advice!

Sigh…I may be frugal, but I’m not dumb.  I guess I’ll be sending in that rental payment pretty soon.

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