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Can You Tell The Difference Between A $60 Violin And A $285,000 Violin?

One costs as much as a Lamborghini. The other costs as much as a video game.

When it comes to musical instruments, there is seemingly no limit to what one can pay for quality. $25,000 custom violins are made to order, and if you’re seeking something more collectible, a quick tour through the history of the instrument will turn up vintage models in varying conditions, many of which can top out above seven figures.

As with other goods, a consumer would assume that the law of diminishing returns is at play here. That is to say, the difference between a $100 and a $1,000 violin would be far greater than that of a $1,000 and a $10,000 specimen, or a $10,000 model against a $100,000.


To put that theory to the test, YouTube user Rob Landes visited a Salt Lake City music shop, camera in hand, to compare the sound of a $62 model purchased on Amazon against not a $100,000 model, but an antique Italian instrument listed for $285,000.

Landes is a violin virtuoso, but he refrains from offering any (really — none whatsoever) commentary on the sound or quality of the instruments he plays. He leaves it to the viewer to make their own assessment.

So give the video a look and listen to see if you hear the differences between the instruments. Is the quality worth $284,000 and change? Is the expensive violin at least better-sounding in general than the cheapo Amazon instrument? Because if not … wow.

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