I'm afraid to buy online!
While technically not a question, this is a common concern of string players when considering a new instrument, and so valuable to mention that we will put it atop our FAQ section. Please consider StringWorks to be what it is - a family-owned violin shop with a website, not 'an online retailer', as they are not the same thing. When you work with us, you are part of our ever-growing list of satisfied customers, and we aim not to sell you a product off the shelf and then spam you with offers for items completely unrelated to what you purchased, but rather bring you in as part of our family! Our biggest pride as a company is that our customers are customers for life - they know to come back to us for advice about strings, upgrades, or even just sharing videos or photos of concerts that they enjoyed with their StringWorks instruments. Don't be scared to 'buy online', just give us a call if you prefer, or stop by the showroom! We're in person just like we are online :)
Do you sell strings and other accessories?
StringWorks only sells our own instruments, and their cases and bows to make a complete outfit. We do not sell accessories such as strings, shoulder rests, music stands, and rosin, as we prefer to concentrate only on the quality of our instruments and bows/cases. There are many other excellent companies who carry accessories of all kinds with quick service and great prices.
On your 14-day trial period, when does the trial start - when I receive it or when it is shipped?
Our trial period - which is applicable to all our instruments and bows - begins the day you receive the shipment. If you decide to return your instrument/outfit/bow for any reason, please simply contact us before the trial period has ended.
Do you 'drop ship'?
StringWorks never drop ships and feels the practice is extraordinarily unfair to the end consumer. There are many violin retailers on the web who operate their businesses through 'drop shipping' - a practice whereby the customer's order is sent directly to the distributor for shipping. The company never sees the instrument being sent, and does not do any work on the setup nor play testing, and instruments sent from a distributor are NOT intended to be played in the condition in which they are received, because the setup is very basic and of poor quality. Our instruments are inspected carefully from start to finish and not only undergo a thorough setup by a professional violin maker, but several play tests and final inspections before being put in stock, and each instrument is personally and individually selected for each customer based on their preferences - not just pulled from the shelf.
How much is shipping?
Shipping rates do vary throughout the year, due to changes in rates from our preferred carries (UPS, FedEx, and USPS). Current rates for ground shipments within the continental US are: Violin/Viola - $18.00, Cello - $60.00, Bow - $12.00. Express and international shipping is available, of course, and please contact us for details and an exact quote.
How long does shipping take?
If we have the items available at the time of your order (which we would let you know at the time of your order) the shipment will likely be sent the same day if ordered before 4:00 p.m. Central Time, or the next day. Shipment within the continental U.S. typically takes 2-4 days to most locations.
I'm not sure what instrument to purchase - how can I make the right choice?
We encourage you strongly to call or email us at your convenience and speak to one of our highly qualified sales staff. With complete knowledge of our entire product line, our sales staff are trained to give you the best advice based on your individual playing level, preferences, age, and requirements. When we have jointly decided on the best instrument for you - and bow and case in some instances - we have a staff of string players who will choose your instrument from all that we currently have available in that particular instrument line to find the one that best matches your preferences.
Do you have a payment plan? How does it work?
StringWorks has a flexible payment plan that requires a 25% down payment, with the balance payable in up to 12 months (3 months, 7 months, all 12 months, etc.) and interest charge of 12% annually, with no front-loading of interest charges or pre-payment penalties.
Does a different set of fittings affect the sound of the instrument?
No, the choice of fittings is purely an aesthetic choice - while different woods will have a minute effect on the tone of the instrument due to their unique cellular structure, it will likely be unnoticeable to the human ear and items such as strings, setup, and player have a much bigger effect on the overall tone of the instrument. Choose the fitting that you like the appearance of the most - we can offer suggestions as well in terms of what fittings look best for particular instruments (such as ebony for the Kallo Bartok line or rosewood for the Virtuoso line)
Can you ship an instrument without a case?
We often ship instruments without cases, and because of our thorough and careful packing methods, the instrument arrives safe and intact nearly 99% of the time. An instrument shipped without a case is carefully padded with foam surrounding the bridge, tailpiece, and sometimes under the fingerboard just as our instruments shipped within a case are sent, and is fully wrapped in bubble wrap. It is then surrounded in a large volume of starch packing peanuts, which are bio-degradable, sealed in a durable box and sent fully insured.
Do you have recordings of each of your instruments that a customer can use to compare?
Digital technology does not accurately capture the subtle tonal changes from one instrument to another, particularly when the same individual is playing the instrument. You may be able to hear some slight changes from one to the other, but since overtones, resonance, sympathetic ring, and other non-measurable nuances of 'a good tone' are not reproducible on a digital file (particularly one that is downloadable and accessible), it's not to our customers' benefit to post them. The instrument lines are designed to be different from one another so we can properly capture every part of the market and each customer we possibly can, and they are also designed expressly so that the higher end levels are superior in many ways to those preceding it - that is the advantage of on-staff professional string players and professional string players designing the instruments for us. We are more than willing to talk over all the instrument lines in regard to tone with any customer, and it's helpful to have the one-on-one with the customer in order to properly describe what characteristics each instrument has, and also to concentrate on those that we feel are the best match for that customer, rather than generalize all of the tone descriptions.
Do you ship worldwide?
Yes, we ship to all nations throughout the world - shipping cost and transit time vary according to location and instrument value, and some customers will also be responsible for customs duty and/or taxes upon receipt into your country. Check your local customs duty laws as most countries have no duty charges on bowed stringed instruments.
How do I care for my instrument?
We encourage you to look at our 'StringWorks University' information found under 'Care and Maintenance 210'. In addition to what is listed, we would also caution all cellists in dry climates such as Alaska and Colorado (but including all cellists in the dry winter months) to purchase and utilize an in-room humidifier. Instrument humidifiers (those that are inserted in the instrument) are effective only on a very small scale and can drip inside your instrument leaving a water mark. We prefer the all-room humidifiers that are available for nearly the same price as two of these in-instrument varieties, with about 1000% the effectiveness. Humidity of 40 - 80% keeps your instrument top from cracking and splitting.
Do you sell used instruments/ What do you do with your traded-in StringWorks instruments?
While we do receive instruments back due to our generous trade-in policy, we rarely have them in stock very long. They are discounted due to cosmetic damage, but the demand for them far exceeds the supply at present. If you are interested in obtaining one of the trade-in returns, it may be best to register with us ahead of time so we can contact you when one becomes available, and you might also check into 'scratch and dent' instruments that are still new but have some form of minor cosmetic damage and are available at a discount.