The dangers of buying strings online, unless from a recognised and trusted company!
We have often heard rumours about the infiltration of counterfeit Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass strings being offered online. We mostly presumed that these “counterfeit strings” firstly had poor packaging that looked like it came out of an Inkjet printer and secondly, that they would be obviously cheap strings with noticeably altered thread colourations!
But, as popular brands of strings continued to pop up online at wildly low prices, it was time to do some deep investigating. A prominent string specialist company in the USA discovered some very troubling facts exposing obviously inferior strings of unknown composition and origin, but with nearly perfect packaging and presentation. They began buying up these strings, dissecting them, showing them to manufacturers, and searching for the source of these fakes, which led them across three continents and deep into the shadowy world of counterfeit products and online marketplaces.
And the shocking truth is that half the major brand strings they purchased overseas were counterfeit. But how do these strings find their way to the UK, US and European markets?
Easy to imitate. Easy to smuggle. Easy to hide the tracks.
With globally connected markets, it is simple to imagine how these counterfeit strings can deliberately and subtly make their way into the UK, just like many other counterfeit products. A similar problem is “Grey Market” strings, which were intended to be sold in the East, but somehow make their way here. One whole shipment was traced from the manufacturer in the East, to Eastern Europe, to Mexico and finally to the US. They changed hands at each step, so there is no way of telling just how long they took to finally arrive and what may have happened to them along the way.
Sadly, these fake strings soon reveal their true identity when they are installed – through awful tone, falseness, short lifespan, or even high tensions that are dangerous to your instrument.
Here at Caswells Strings all our strings are guaranteed and sourced from the authentic manufacturer and string companies. When we have our own violins made and strung in China, we supply them direct with authentic strings such as the D’Addario Prelude or the Dominant violin strings sets.
These established string companies, such as Thomastik, Pirastro, D’Addario, Larsen and Jargar to name a few have traditions, histories, and manufacturing processes that in some cases go back centuries. They make strings to exacting tolerances, use pure and ethically sourced materials, follow rigid quality assurance, and offer excellent customer service.
It simply makes sense to purchase strings that you are confident are the original, authentic brand and priced at a reasonable level, which Caswells Strings can guarantee absolutely.