Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice? (Audio added)

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investingdad
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Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice? (Audio added)

Post by investingdad » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:43 pm

Edit... added a recording using awesome bow at the back of the. thread.

Ok, here is the story.

I've been playing the violin now for just over two years. I've only gone to one violin shop, a sole proprietor. It's just him running his luthier shop and he's on the younger side but well received in the music community.

He's an actual luthier, not just some tinkerer. As such, he's the expert, not me.

I've been trying to find a new violin, but haven't found one I like more than the one he used to rent to me but then sold to me.

A few months ago I dropped my composite bow off for a re-hair. He let me borrow a wooden bow in the interim. I knew within minutes I wanted that bow because it immediately elevated how I play. It's old. And not for sale. My violin teacher took one look and commented that it's old and probably German.

Anyway, the luthier valued the bow at 4K on the paperwork before I borrowed it. When I was in recently to look at other bows (because I now see that mine is lousy and I want a wooden bow) and I asked him about selling it, he said he'd think about it but probably wouldn't go under $1500.

After trying some other bows I told him none really matched the other one. He finally agreed to sell it and would get back to me. Today he did, $800.

???

Now, I'm not looking to give away money and I'm trusting his reputation. But I feel like he's talked himself down on the price for reasons I don't understand.

What would you all do here?
Last edited by investingdad on Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by SRenaeP » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:46 pm

Buy the bow and not give it another thought. He gave you his price. It's not as if you suggested that price or even negotiated with him.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by dwickenh » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:46 pm

Sounds like he did what he needed to do to get the bow into your hands. I would be grateful and excited that you received a "gift" of low pricing from someone that wants you to do well. I could be way off base, but that is the impression I get from your story.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by MrSarcasm » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:46 pm

He's the expert, right? So, he's going to know what's it worth better than you. You could ask him if that's all he wants for it, but if that's the price he's offering, then take it and bring him more business.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:47 pm

Be happy. Say thanks. Give him your future business.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:51 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:47 pm
Be happy. Say thanks. Give him your future business.
+1

Given the facts you’ve laid out, buy from him at his price.

Other fact sets could lead to a different conclusion.....
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:55 pm

The bow on the open market, if you were looking for one specifically like that one would be hard to find for you, so would cost you $4000 to acquire. He sees bows like this relatively often for cheap money. Like included with a bunch of used instruments in a package for $100. You're a service customer and so he's willing to give you a break for the loyalty, knowing you'll be back to have work done or to buy other things.

I used to buy, sell, build, paint and customize guitars. I sold one Telecaster that I built for myself and for me it was perfect. But with a dozen other projects, I put it up for sale at a price where I'd make good money. But since a good part of the guitar was acquired cheaply, used, I was able to price it fairly for buyers. I still kick myself for selling that one.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm

That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 pm

investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
Double check with your instructor. You do have a second "more informed" opinion in addition to yours.

But if it makes that much of a difference in the quality of your playing, that is worth a lot.

Are you able to borrow one or two other bows briefly, to take to play with your instructor?
That should answer it for you.

Only question about the repair (and he was forthcoming about it, a plus, of course) is whether it is likely to cause problems in the future. If not, it's a non-issue now, given that you already know about it.

Good luck, and it's been good reading of your progress.

DH and I just started taking voice lessons at a top music school. I gave DH a few trial lessons as a gift for a major birthday. He's hooked, and now I am too. But he has the talent (thus far).
(We'll probably add in our instrumental lessons from decades past, now that we are back into "music", a much beloved interest!)
:happy

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:10 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 pm
investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
Double check with your instructor. You do have a second "more informed" opinion in addition to yours.

But if it makes that much of a difference in the quality of your playing, that is worth a lot.

Are you able to borrow one or two other bows briefly, to take to play with your instructor?
That should answer it for you.

Only question about the repair (and he was forthcoming about it, a plus, of course) is whether it is likely to cause problems in the future. If not, it's a non-issue now, given that you already know about it.

Good luck, and it's been good reading of your progress.

DH and I just started taking voice lessons at a top music school. I gave DH a few trial lessons as a gift for a major birthday. He's hooked, and now I am too. But he has the talent (thus far).
(We'll probably add in our instrumental lessons from decades past, now that we are back into "music", a much beloved interest!)
:happy

RM
Congratulations.
Might suggest getting several "pitch pipes". Very useful for voice training, etc.
:sharebeer

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:11 pm

OP
1. Bring a box of donuts or a pie in appreciation. Goes a long way.
2. Buy the bow.
3. Make beautiful music.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by hand » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:17 pm

$4k sounds like an aspirational number for use in case of loss or insurance claim and not really a useful start to transactional price discussions.
Don’t anchor to the $4,000, or the $1,500 – evaluate the current offer on its merits.

If there are viable alternatives, cross-shop and compare prices – perhaps damaged German bows regularly transact at $100.
If you are sure this is *the* bow, and $800 is somewhat reasonable, buy it.

Worst case, your overpayment represents an investment in a relationship with a specialized local craftsman in your chosen hobby that may well pay dividends in the future.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:19 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:10 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 pm
investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
Double check with your instructor. You do have a second "more informed" opinion in addition to yours.

But if it makes that much of a difference in the quality of your playing, that is worth a lot.

Are you able to borrow one or two other bows briefly, to take to play with your instructor?
That should answer it for you.

Only question about the repair (and he was forthcoming about it, a plus, of course) is whether it is likely to cause problems in the future. If not, it's a non-issue now, given that you already know about it.

Good luck, and it's been good reading of your progress.

DH and I just started taking voice lessons at a top music school. I gave DH a few trial lessons as a gift for a major birthday. He's hooked, and now I am too. But he has the talent (thus far).
(We'll probably add in our instrumental lessons from decades past, now that we are back into "music", a much beloved interest!)
:happy

RM
Congratulations.
Might suggest getting several "pitch pipes". Very useful for voice training, etc.
:sharebeer
Thanks. We'll ask about that.
We also need a piano tuner, so at least we'll have the same "start" that instructor gives us at lessons.
Our piano is woefully out of tune, and sorely neglected recently.

Somehow, we managed to get Chair of Voice, after discussing with one of the Deans about how to handle this for someone like DH. "Not the typical student" is an understatement. :wink:

When OP first mentioned his lessons a while ago, I started watching with great interest.
It's great that he's kept going!

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:22 pm

I've already tried other bows and I'm just comparing them mentally to the one in question at this point. And the repair was pointed out to me before I even played it. Heck, he even said the bow will never be worth what it could be worth as a result.

Like I said, it feels like he talked himself down on the price. Or he's the greatest salesman ever. :)

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:26 pm

At $800 you can get a decent playing bow from Brazil. Most are pretty good, but you can luck into a really good one. There is no ”investment” value at this price point. As far as the one you are about to buy, a cracked/repaired bow will be hard to re-sell if you ever want to upgrade. Perhaps the seller has a good trade in policy it would be worth a shot. But if it is a really good playing bow $800 is not a terrible purchase. If I am in your position I would play 20 more bows in that price range and then decide.
Good luck!

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:31 pm

investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:22 pm
I've already tried other bows and I'm just comparing them mentally to the one in question at this point. And the repair was pointed out to me before I even played it. Heck, he even said the bow will never be worth what it could be worth as a result.

Like I said, it feels like he talked himself down on the price. Or he's the greatest salesman ever. :)
Sorry, I missed that you had already tried other bows.
You trust your instructor, right? (And he/she isn't related to the violin shop owner/maker/etc., right? :wink: )
If he/she agrees it's a good purchase at a "right price" for you, and it noticeably improves your playing (quality/enjoyment), then that's not a huge expenditure, given the prices of good instruments.

Side note: Did you read recently about how in Cremona, Italy, they are making recordings of special antique instruments (as these aren't being made anymore, etc.!), and when the recording is in session, the town stops all traffic on nearby roads to minimize noise/vibration?
We'll be in Italy in May, and we are tempted to stop by. We won't be all that far from Cremona...
We already had a behind the scenes tour of La Scala, which was part of what triggered my idea to just go ahead and surprise DH with the lessons he had long mumbled about taking.

Thanks, investingdad: Your experiences written here have helped us back to our own long-semi-lost forgotten musical interests.

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:35 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:19 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:10 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 pm
investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
Double check with your instructor. You do have a second "more informed" opinion in addition to yours.

But if it makes that much of a difference in the quality of your playing, that is worth a lot.

Are you able to borrow one or two other bows briefly, to take to play with your instructor?
That should answer it for you.

Only question about the repair (and he was forthcoming about it, a plus, of course) is whether it is likely to cause problems in the future. If not, it's a non-issue now, given that you already know about it.

Good luck, and it's been good reading of your progress.

DH and I just started taking voice lessons at a top music school. I gave DH a few trial lessons as a gift for a major birthday. He's hooked, and now I am too. But he has the talent (thus far).
(We'll probably add in our instrumental lessons from decades past, now that we are back into "music", a much beloved interest!)
:happy

RM
Congratulations.
Might suggest getting several "pitch pipes". Very useful for voice training, etc.
:sharebeer
Thanks. We'll ask about that.
We also need a piano tuner, so at least we'll have the same "start" that instructor gives us at lessons.
Our piano is woefully out of tune, and sorely neglected recently.

Somehow, we managed to get Chair of Voice, after discussing with one of the Deans about how to handle this for someone like DH. "Not the typical student" is an understatement. :wink:

When OP first mentioned his lessons a while ago, I started watching with great interest.
It's great that he's kept going!

RM
Nice!

Yep, kept going for sure and still practicing an hour a day, every day plus weekly lessons...two years and a month later.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by 5th_Dimension » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:38 pm

This happens all the time in the competitive hobby I am involved in. There is a lot of buying and selling among the enthusiasts, and many times very nice equipment will go for a song to someone new who is enthusiastic about getting into the hobby or getting better with nicer stuff. It is a way of giving back and hopefully growing the community. Be grateful for the nice gift and hopefully someday you can pass along the favor :happy .
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:39 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:19 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:10 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 pm
investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
That's pretty much how it went. Granted, elapsed time was about five weeks...as I had said bow while he was away for a few weeks.

Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
Double check with your instructor. You do have a second "more informed" opinion in addition to yours.

But if it makes that much of a difference in the quality of your playing, that is worth a lot.

Are you able to borrow one or two other bows briefly, to take to play with your instructor?
That should answer it for you.

Only question about the repair (and he was forthcoming about it, a plus, of course) is whether it is likely to cause problems in the future. If not, it's a non-issue now, given that you already know about it.

Good luck, and it's been good reading of your progress.

DH and I just started taking voice lessons at a top music school. I gave DH a few trial lessons as a gift for a major birthday. He's hooked, and now I am too. But he has the talent (thus far).
(We'll probably add in our instrumental lessons from decades past, now that we are back into "music", a much beloved interest!)
:happy

RM
Congratulations.
Might suggest getting several "pitch pipes". Very useful for voice training, etc.
:sharebeer
Thanks. We'll ask about that.
We also need a piano tuner, so at least we'll have the same "start" that instructor gives us at lessons.
Our piano is woefully out of tune, and sorely neglected recently.

Somehow, we managed to get Chair of Voice, after discussing with one of the Deans about how to handle this for someone like DH. "Not the typical student" is an understatement. :wink:

When OP first mentioned his lessons a while ago, I started watching with great interest.
It's great that he's kept going!

RM
Pitch Pipe on Amazon.com
$17.80
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
Nothing more than these things.
Collect various songs/song sheets that you and your husband like. Key that fits both of you. Use the pitch pipe to start and stay on key. Then, sing at home, in the shower, in the car, everywhere. Pretend your lives are a musical. Sing everything and have fun. And, things that have harmony in voices. IE: Doo Won, etc. (corny but great fun).
IE: as you have a male and female voice, there are songs with male and female. IE: "Hey Paula", Sony and Cher, etc, etc. Goofy and fun.
:sharebeer

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Fallible » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:51 pm

investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:43 pm
Ok, here is the story.

I've been playing the violin now for just over two years. I've only gone to one violin shop, a sole proprietor. It's just him running his luthier shop and he's on the younger side but well received in the music community.

He's an actual luthier, not just some tinkerer. As such, he's the expert, not me.

I've been trying to find a new violin, but haven't found one I like more than the one he used to rent to me but then sold to me.

A few months ago I dropped my composite bow off for a re-hair. He let me borrow a wooden bow in the interim. I knew within minutes I wanted that bow because it immediately elevated how I play. It's old. And not for sale. My violin teacher took one look and commented that it's old and probably German.

Anyway, the luthier valued the bow at 4K on the paperwork before I borrowed it. When I was in recently to look at other bows (because I now see that mine is lousy and I want a wooden bow) and I asked him about selling it, he said he'd think about it but probably wouldn't go under $1500.

After trying some other bows I told him none really matched the other one. He finally agreed to sell it and would get back to me. Today he did, $800.

???

Now, I'm not looking to give away money and I'm trusting his reputation. But I feel like he's talked himself down on the price for reasons I don't understand.

What would you all do here?
What I see here is a salesman who senses how much you want this bow (it also comes across loud and clear in your posts) and sees a chance to sell it, coming down on what probably was overpricing.

I would try bows in other places and have the teacher advise on any others you may like (and may like even more or just as much for less money), and also get advice on prices, i.e., comparison shop as you would any other product. Whenever I feel strong emotion about buying something, I know the best thing to do is be patient, slow down, take my time, look around, get advice from others (as you're doing here!).
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:14 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:11 pm
OP
1. Bring a box of donuts or a pie in appreciation. Goes a long way.
2. Buy the bow.
3. Make beautiful music.
I agree with this and fail to see a problem. If you think he did you a favor (he probably didn’t, but who knows), do something appreciative or send someone else's business his way.

But you have no problem.

JT

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:38 pm

The most likely cynical explanation is that he was trying to sell the bow to somebody else for $1,500 and the deal fell through.

From an ethical point of view, I don't see any reason to look too hard. If you wanted to lean over backwards, which I'm afraid I sometimes do, I suppose you might just say "You're aware that this is lower than the price you quoted to me before," in case he's literally made a mistake, but then, of course, you'd have to accept the consequences if he said "Oops, you're right, the price is $1,500."

From the point of view of whether he's trying to manipulate you, I personally tend to see these things in absolute. In your situation, I'd ask "what's this bow worth to me?" Who cares what it's worth to somebody else? The whole basis of trade is that there is not any single correct value. If I loved the bow and if I could afford the price, and if I felt the bow was worth the price to me, I'd buy it and feel happy. I certainly wouldn't start shopping around or asking friends about it, because no matter how good a deal something is, there is bound to be someone who will say you paid too much. That's all just my personal approach, of course.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by NewOldGuy » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:12 pm

You could get an outside appraisal or give him $800 as he is the only one to evaluate it. If you are a valued customer, he may think your patronage is more important that the bow's price. You could offer $1000 if it would relieve some guilt? :wink:

Not having any sense of violin or bow worth, it's hard for a layman to judge this transaction. At face value, you could low-ball him or give him asking price.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by alfaspider » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:03 pm

One red flag: Given that you are a relative beginner and used to low-end composite bows, you don't have much frame of reference to know if this bow is any good.

If there is another decent violin shop in the area, it might be worth test driving a few other bows in the same price range. If it turns out you prefer this bow to other $800 bows, then it's probably a good deal. It also might be nice to try your instructor's bow, which is likely much more valuable if he/she is a professional musician. I play a cello worth a few thousand with a bow worth about a grand and had the opportunity to play my instructor's cello, which was a $20-30k instrument (considered entry level for a pro quality instrument). Playing that cello gave me a good frame of reference for how good of a cello I had and made me comfortable that I wasn't at a level where it was worth paying another $20k for something pro quality. For reference, I had been playing about 10 years at that point and had reached the point of being able to play most professional repertoire (major concertos, benchmark pieces, etc.), but not remotely at the level of quality expected of a professional.

EDIT: I reread your post and saw you did test drive a few other bows. Were they in the same price range? I might also get a second opinion about the repair. I have no idea what risks you might be taking with a repaired bow.
Last edited by alfaspider on Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Watty » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:07 pm

I don't know anything about bows but it would be good to remember that there is a wholesale and retail price and with something like a musical instrument I would think that would be a large difference.

It could be that $800 is a reasonable wholesale price for something that would retail for $1,500.

With their prior damage, even if it is completely repaired, it might not be the quality that most of his customers would want so it might take him a very long time to sell it if you don't buy it so it might make sense to sell it for a wholesale price just to upgrade his inventory.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:11 pm

5th_Dimension wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:38 pm
This happens all the time in the competitive hobby I am involved in. There is a lot of buying and selling among the enthusiasts, and many times very nice equipment will go for a song to someone new who is enthusiastic about getting into the hobby or getting better with nicer stuff. It is a way of giving back and hopefully growing the community. Be grateful for the nice gift and hopefully someday you can pass along the favor :happy .
This. It reminds me of someone I know; a viola player. He could “bid ‘em up” when it was appropriate, but also loved being part of a successful musical improvement in someone’s life.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:15 pm

He may know more about the market than you think. Certain repairs on vintage instruments, even though after repair the instrument plays fine and is 100% stable, will permanently reduce the market value of that instrument by as much as 50%. For high end vintage guitars an example of such a repair is a perfectly repaired peg-head crack. The repair even if it leaves the guitar playing great and 100% structurally stable will turn a $10k guitar into a $5k guitar.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:26 pm

The musical instrument market is...weird. It isn't really a rational economic market. People who buy and sell instruments are rarely in it for the money. Everything is extremely thinly traded, so the market value for something is often what the guy standing in front of you is willing to pay. When my brother was a senior in high school and planning on going to music school, his teacher, who was retiring from the symphony the same year, sold his instruments to my brother for an insanely low price, probably 1/4 what he could have got on the open market. Because he knew that bro needed them, didn't have money, and would put them to good use.

I had an instrument stolen last year. The appraisal for insurance purposes, from a reputable dealer, was $9000. That's what a brand new one would go for, and "professional instruments don't decline in value." So that's what the insurance company paid. I know for a fact that if I had been trying to sell the instrument, I might have got $2000 for it.

Instruments are really personal. If it plays well for you, use it and enjoy it.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:57 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:26 pm
The musical instrument market is...weird. It isn't really a rational economic market. People who buy and sell instruments are rarely in it for the money. Everything is extremely thinly traded, so the market value for something is often what the guy standing in front of you is willing to pay. When my brother was a senior in high school and planning on going to music school, his teacher, who was retiring from the symphony the same year, sold his instruments to my brother for an insanely low price, probably 1/4 what he could have got on the open market. Because he knew that bro needed them, didn't have money, and would put them to good use.

I had an instrument stolen last year. The appraisal for insurance purposes, from a reputable dealer, was $9000. That's what a brand new one would go for, and "professional instruments don't decline in value." So that's what the insurance company paid. I know for a fact that if I had been trying to sell the instrument, I might have got $2000 for it.

Instruments are really personal. If it plays well for you, use it and enjoy it.
This valuation might (??) also be similar to valuable items coverage such as jewelry. Having coverage for "full replacement value" gets one "what you paid or last had it appraised at". Otherwise, you are likely to get the "what sell it for" type of pricing, which is often much, much less.

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Tribonian » Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:40 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:31 pm

We'll be in Italy in May, and we are tempted to stop by. We won't be all that far from Cremona...
Cremona is lovely- before the luthiers it was renowned for its silk finishing and was briefly the sexy underwear capital of the western world. It’s small though- a great day trip or long stop on a road trip.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:35 am

dwickenh wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:46 pm
Sounds like he did what he needed to do to get the bow into your hands. I would be grateful and excited that you received a "gift" of low pricing from someone that wants you to do well. I could be way off base, but that is the impression I get from your story.
This.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by jminv » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:33 am

He has old bows to lend out as part of his repair business but probably doesn't know valuation of each individual one off the top of his head since he's new to the business (and the business of upselling). The issue you are having is because of the 4k valuation on the paperwork you had to sign to borrow it - he probably values all his loaner bows the same. This is where you became anchored on a price. Anchoring can have a very powerful effect on people. You now think that you have either gotten a great deal or there is something wrong.

When you came back and said you wanted it he probably didn't have a good idea of exactly what the bow was worth which is why he said not less than $1500. It was an approximation. Then, after you left, he did look into it, realized what it was actually worth, and then told you $800. He decided to give you a 'fair' price because you have an ongoing service relationship. He probably also doesn't want you finding out at some point that there is a large valuation gap between what you paid for it and what it's really worth.

I do think that he should have a better understanding of the value of his inventory, even if it's just a loaner. That's probably down to him being young and relatively new to the business. Hasn't realized he could monetize his loaners, ie, loan people 'upgrades' during repairs and then try to upsell them on return. It seems that he left a lot of money on the table.

I would imagine that, in his business, he comes across many old bows with various price ranges. He probably aquires them as a secondary concern when people bring in old violins that they found clearing out their grandparents things that they now wish to sell. Since they don't have an understanding of it's value and because there are few local buyers, I'd imagine he can get a wonderful deal on these estate violins. It's possible that he recently aquired the bow in such a way and hadn't gotten around to valuing it yet.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Lucky Lemon » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:38 am

Did the first hour of playing with the bow bring you $800 of joy?

If “yes,” buy the bow and the rest of the hours are “free.”
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:30 am

jminv wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:33 am
He has old bows to lend out as part of his repair business but probably doesn't know valuation of each individual one off the top of his head since he's new to the business (and the business of upselling). The issue you are having is because of the 4k valuation on the paperwork you had to sign to borrow it - he probably values all his loaner bows the same. This is where you became anchored on a price. Anchoring can have a very powerful effect on people. You now think that you have either gotten a great deal or there is something wrong.

When you came back and said you wanted it he probably didn't have a good idea of exactly what the bow was worth which is why he said not less than $1500. It was an approximation. Then, after you left, he did look into it, realized what it was actually worth, and then told you $800. He decided to give you a 'fair' price because you have an ongoing service relationship. He probably also doesn't want you finding out at some point that there is a large valuation gap between what you paid for it and what it's really worth.

I do think that he should have a better understanding of the value of his inventory, even if it's just a loaner. That's probably down to him being young and relatively new to the business. Hasn't realized he could monetize his loaners, ie, loan people 'upgrades' during repairs and then try to upsell them on return. It seems that he left a lot of money on the table.

I would imagine that, in his business, he comes across many old bows with various price ranges. He probably aquires them as a secondary concern when people bring in old violins that they found clearing out their grandparents things that they now wish to sell. Since they don't have an understanding of it's value and because there are few local buyers, I'd imagine he can get a wonderful deal on these estate violins. It's possible that he recently aquired the bow in such a way and hadn't gotten around to valuing it yet.
Thanks for the good reply. That all sounds very plausible and likely. He has told me in the past a lot of stuff walks into his shop in the manner exactly as you describe.

In this case, he said he's had it for awhile but couldn't determine too much about it. He figured out it had been repaired at some point in the past, which, like I said, he told me about before I even borrowed it.

I don't pretend to be great at reading people, but my sense over the two years I've been taking my violin to him is that he has a strong love of his work, and the instruments he works on, and is honest to a fault. Those are great qualities and what one would expect from a craftsman. I also think somebody good at their craft should be fairly compensated and it just felt a little like he talked himself down on the price without any prompting from me. Heck, he knew I was enthusiastic about the bow before i even inquired about buying it.

Which is what prompted me to post.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:34 am

investingdad wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:30 am
jminv wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:33 am
He has old bows to lend out as part of his repair business but probably doesn't know valuation of each individual one off the top of his head since he's new to the business (and the business of upselling). The issue you are having is because of the 4k valuation on the paperwork you had to sign to borrow it - he probably values all his loaner bows the same. This is where you became anchored on a price. Anchoring can have a very powerful effect on people. You now think that you have either gotten a great deal or there is something wrong.

When you came back and said you wanted it he probably didn't have a good idea of exactly what the bow was worth which is why he said not less than $1500. It was an approximation. Then, after you left, he did look into it, realized what it was actually worth, and then told you $800. He decided to give you a 'fair' price because you have an ongoing service relationship. He probably also doesn't want you finding out at some point that there is a large valuation gap between what you paid for it and what it's really worth.

I do think that he should have a better understanding of the value of his inventory, even if it's just a loaner. That's probably down to him being young and relatively new to the business. Hasn't realized he could monetize his loaners, ie, loan people 'upgrades' during repairs and then try to upsell them on return. It seems that he left a lot of money on the table.

I would imagine that, in his business, he comes across many old bows with various price ranges. He probably aquires them as a secondary concern when people bring in old violins that they found clearing out their grandparents things that they now wish to sell. Since they don't have an understanding of it's value and because there are few local buyers, I'd imagine he can get a wonderful deal on these estate violins. It's possible that he recently aquired the bow in such a way and hadn't gotten around to valuing it yet.
Thanks for the good reply. That all sounds very plausible and likely. He has told me in the past a lot of stuff walks into his shop in the manner exactly as you describe.

In this case, he said he's had it for awhile but couldn't determine too much about it. He figured out it had been repaired at some point in the past, which, like I said, he told me about before I even borrowed it.

I don't pretend to be great at reading people, but my sense over the two years I've been taking my violin to him is that he has a strong love of his work, and the instruments he works on, and is honest to a fault. Those are great qualities and what one would expect from a craftsman. I also think somebody good at their craft should be fairly compensated and it just felt a little like he talked himself down on the price without any prompting from me. Heck, he knew I was enthusiastic about the bow before i even inquired about buying it.

Which is what prompted me to post.
Just as a sanity check, in addition to what your instructor advises, is there another violin shop/repair craftsperson who could take a look at the bow? Or where you could also look at/try other bows to see how they feel/sound to you?

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:58 am

I'm not looking for any others at this point. As soon as I tried it, it felt completely comfortable, balanced, and connected to the strings in a way I hadn't realized was possible. I was borrowing it for almost a month. I tried some others and, frankly, just want to get it back.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by bob60014 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:18 am

investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
I believe this is a key reason why it was priced as it is. As in any antique, collectible or in this case instrument, any damage reduces the value in almost all cases.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:26 am

bob60014 wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:18 am
investingdad wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:58 pm
Before I borrowed it, he pointed out that it had been repaired at some point in the past. He showed me where a crack had developed in the tip and the sign of the repair work. I wouldn't have noticed, had he not showed me.
I believe this is a key reason why it was priced as it is. As in any antique, collectible or in this case instrument, any damage reduces the value in almost all cases.
This is obviously very possible.

However, IF it won't affect the wear/life expectancy of the bow, etc., and if you love the feel/sound of the play (which seems clear :happy ), then it might be a great "compromise", as long as you aren't expecting the bow to be a "financial investment".
If you expect/hope it to be an "investment" in your musical progress/enjoyment, then this may hit the spot at a good price.

But it may be extra difficult to sell, if you don't find someone else with the same focus you have.
That may or may not be a consideration for you now. After all, this isn't a $50k item (or more!).
Also, are bows ever rented separately from violins? If so, at what type of rental price? This might be another way to figure out its value to *you*.

Enjoy!

RM
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Finridge » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:01 pm

A lot of people who are in a niche business that involve things like instruments, art, techniques are not in the business just to make money--they are often connoisseurs of the art and craft. And as such, the placing of one of their "treasures" into the hands of someone whom they think appreciates and deserves it can be an end in itself. He gave you a "bro deal" because he likes you and thinks that you are duly appreciative of the item and will do it justice. You can thank him both by saying "thank you" now and and then by telling him in the future how much you like the bow and how it sounds so much better.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:02 am

Conclusion.

So I went to the luthier to get my bow and I asked if he was sure about the price.

His paraphrased response was this. Because the stamp is worn off from use it's impossible to say where it came from, but that it most certainly is a copy of something else. Had it not been repaired in the past, he was confident it would be a 4K bow, retail.

With repair, he was pretty sure he could sell it retail for $1400, maybe $1500, though (and he declined to elaborate why) he wasn't planning to sell it as previously mentioned.

He reminded me about what he said about not rushing into a new violin (been looking for a year with him) and that I'd know it when I played it...and to buy it when you find it. Then used the bow experience as proof of his point (he really takes pretty seriously the idea of matching an instrument to a player). He decided to part with it for that reason, figuring it could either go back on the shelf or into the hands of somebody that was excited about using it.

And that was it.

So new bow for me, excellent!

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:00 pm

Yay! Enjoy it.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:38 am

investingdad wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:02 am


He reminded me about what he said about not rushing into a new violin (been looking for a year with him) and that I'd know it when I played it...and to buy it when you find it. Then used the bow experience as proof of his point (he really takes pretty seriously the idea of matching an instrument to a player). He decided to part with it for that reason, figuring it could either go back on the shelf or into the hands of somebody that was excited about using it.

As others have said, this is the value of a real hobbyist community, where satisfaction and the purity of the experience are just as important as making a sale. I dabble in studio/recording equipment and it is much the same way—Good equipment at fair prices to people who will enjoy it and use it well.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by Shackleton » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:49 am

Great follow up! I think it's pretty cool that you've found such a wonderful luthier (a word I'd never used before!) that really invests in his customers. Can't wait to hear more as your "learning the violin as an adult" adventure continues.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by staythecourse » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:51 am

What is the problem here? He set you up where he got more then he needed for the used bow and made you feel good that you thought you were getting a steal (so much you posted a thread) and more important will still come back to him as a client. I would say kudos to the salesman. Best sale is one where the OTHER person thinks they got the best deal.

Either way: 1. So cool you picked up violin as an adult and 2. Thanks for adding luthier to my vocab

Good luck.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice?

Post by investingdad » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:12 am

And to close out this topic, I recorded one of the easier Handel pieces I've been practicing for awhile now with new-to-me bow in hand.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B09QGg ... p=drivesdk

For a phone recording, it's not too bad when listening with earphones.

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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice? (Audio added)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:28 am

BH needs a “like” button for this thread. Heartwarming all around. Thank you for the recording.

Sometimes it’s not about the price, but the value.
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Re: Seller is an expert, but may be lowballing themself, advice? (Audio added)

Post by djpeteski » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:38 am

So someone comes to you and ask for a suggestion about violins, where are you going to send them? Next time you need to buy something that this guy sells where are you going to go?

Perhaps the $800 price also represents a nice profit margin for him. He can make a profit and gain a customer who will sing his praises for life.

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