Seldom is this true. Of course, some music companies with brick-and-mortar retail locations will charge full retail prices on strings, accessories, instruments, and bows. But the better shops know that they have to be competitive to get and keep the custom of local musicians. And online sales have a number of drawbacks that a local shop simply does not.
The most pressing cost of doing business online is that your local luthier needs to stay afloat. When s/he has closed for lack of retail sales, who will repair that instrument you bought online for a few bucks cheaper?
Why should you do business with local luthiers?
It's a good question, and we think we have some good answers:
Luthiers have the professional experience to do that restoration or repair job right. Jay actively repaired stringed instruments in Dallas since he began his apprenticeship in 1975, and he established his shop in 1985. We were dedicated to the music community, as any local luthier must be if s/he wants to stay in business.
You must be able to touch, hold, and play an instrument or bow before you know if it's the right one for you. That's difficult with online purchases. We think you should try as many instruments/bows as you can from a number of shops before you make this big decision. Advancing students and professionals know that this is essential. We urge beginning students to try out several instruments and bows, and get their teachers' approval before purchasing. This could make the difference between a lifetime of enjoying music, or quitting in frustration.
When you buy online, unless it is from an established brick-and-mortar local violin shop, you cannot depend on getting an instrument that is professionally set up or a bow that is adjusted and haired correctly. When you leave our shop with an instrument or bow in any price range, it will be professionally set up and ready to play. It's sad for all when someone brings in that "find" from the Internet or yard sale only to learn that a proper setup will wipe out any savings they thought they had, or that the instrument or bow is so poorly made, it cannot be made playable.
Your local luthier will be there for you if you ever have a problem.
Please consider frequenting a good retail violin shop in your area. You canget competitive prices locally. And they will be there for you when you need them.