I was trawling the internet the other deal looking for some information about flutes when an sponsored advert came up for a flute for sale. The flute was a Muramatsu which retails for about £5000 but this was available to buy for just £150. A very short investigation confirmed that this was a cheap Chinese instrument that had been engraved with a pretty good copy of the Muramatsu logo and model numbers. So a £100 flute, dressed as a £5000 flute but selling for £150. This made me think about who would make it and who would buy it?
The company making it seem to make or supply all manner of fake goods, of which musical instruments are just a small part. There is obviously a demand for the goods and no one is stopping them been made or sold. Who would buy them is more concerning. You would think that any flute player who would be looking for a professional instrument such as a Muramatsu would be wise enough to realise that a £150 copy is going to be a complete waste of time and money for them. It isn't the kind of thing that would interest a beginner as it is such a specialist instrument that they probably wouldn't be aware of. The only people I can think of who would be interested are people who would be trying to sell it on the another party as a real Muramatsu and make some money for themselves.
Music retail has always had its fair share of fake goods circulating around but currently it is awash with copies. Over the last few months I have seen fake goods by Selmer, Yanagisawa, Buffet, Yamaha, Trevor James, Jupiter, Vandoren, Rico, Pearl, Sankyo and many others. All were advertised as the real thing, sometimes as new instruments and sometimes as a second hand bargain. For us it is a bit annoying to see such instruments for sale and can waste some time as we confirm that they are fakes. For some of our customers it can be very costly after shelling out hundreds or even thousands for an instrument that should have cost them nearer to £100.
I think people will always try and copy goods and the internet has made them easier to advertise and to purchase. I guess it goes down to the old adage of "Buyer beware" but this seems a little thin when there is a whole industry devoted to ripping people off!!