Seems like you can't get away from it. Huge amounts of money are spent on advertising and promotion. Reputations are established and driven with the aid of hundreds of thousands spent on promotion, some of it very creative. This kind of thing seems to be more and more visible in the violin making business. Just to give you an idea, a full page ad in Strad or Strings magazine costs about a thousand dollars per issue, for space alone. Celebrity endorsements? I'd bet I can get almost all of the world's greatest players to own one of my instruments if I offered them for free, or at a substantial discount. I'm sure I could make it back just by charging the rest of you a little more. Who pays for this kind of stuff? Ultimately, you do.

Personally, I've never paid much attention to advertising. I think it's kind of a nuisance. I'm interested in quality, and I've never seen much of a relationship between advertising and quality. The last time I bought a car, I read every test I could find, with special attention to the test in Consumer Reports, a publication which doesn't accept any advertising. This may seem like a strange approach to some people, but I'm happier with this car than with any I've purchased in the past. Would I do it this way again? You bet! Was it endorsed by any celebrity athletes or race car drivers? I have no idea.

It has been and will continue to be my goal to maintain a reputation based strictly on quality. I do very little of a promotional nature. Not a lot of advertising, no money or free instruments to big named performers to perform on them. I sell everything I can make primarily by word of mouth, with very little advertising. The money you spend on an instrument will go for labor, materials, and research, with a minimum spent on promotion.

I've never required people who commission an instrument to sign a contract. In fact, I've promptly and cheerfully refunded deposits to people who got tired of waiting, who found something else they liked before their instrument was completed, or where the completed instrument didn't meet their expectations. I've repurchased instruments in cases of financial hardship, and bought instruments back or traded instruments with clients whose taste in sound has changed.

If old-fashioned notions like these hold some appeal for you as they do for me, I hope I have your support.

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For more information about Burgess violins, violas and cellos, contact David Burgess at:
1510 Glen Leven; Ann Arbor, MI 48103 U.S.A.
Phone: (734) 668-7803
Burgess Violin Maker Main Web Site: http://www.burgessviolins.com/

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