A few weeks ago my wife and I emigrated from the UK to her home country of Romania. It was the right choice for us and we’re loving it here, but there are of course big differences, some of which cause unanticipated issues. One of them is that there is no Amazon and no major online music retailers here. Instead, our local music shops are tiny privately owned businesses on street corners.
I’ve bought four sets of strings from these little shops so far, one acoustic and three electric, and all D’Addario as that’s what I was using in the UK. As soon as I started restringing my acoustic I started noticing little things. For example, the winding on the end of the string that secures the little coloured lug seemed somewhat longer. Also the unwound strings felt a little scratchy, as if worn/corroded. Same for the electric strings, with which the high E also seemed shorter in overall length, requiring much less to be snipped off than usual.
D’Addario strings come with a code on the packet which you can use to check authenticity and get points on their website. The code for the acoustic strings came back as valid, but had already been registered. Same for the code on the first set of electric. I was halfway through typing the “unique” code for the second set when I realised it was exactly the same as the first. And on checking, the third. In other words, all the strings are fakes.
I’m guessing that goes for most strings here, regardless of brand, since most manufacturers don’t even provide checkable codes like D’Addario. One thing for sure is that I will now be buying the cheapest strings I can find, rather than paying top price (in Romanian terms) for what are likely the same cheap strings in a fancy branded packet!
To begin with, all the best Ross with your new home. Sorry it’s starting off rough. Are there family or friends back in the UK who could post stuff to you? Saves ordering and paying their charges? Save some coin
Not as yet, but I’m sure there are plenty around. Things are still very much face-to-face here rather than online, so I’ll have to venture out and see where they tend to hang out.
That’s an option when I eventually visit family back there, but that won’t be happening anytime soon.
They do, but did you see the cost? Lei89 is the equivalent of about £16 which is twice what the stings themselves are worth. The other consideration is that I’m essentially Romanian now and will be earning Romanian wages… importing strings at foreign prices plus delivery will be extremely expensive, relatively speaking.
In the UK I would have been back there demanding a full refund, and I’d get it too. Things work a bit differently here though. The various regulations and protections enjoyed by consumers in some countries just don’t apply here… at least not in practice. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shop owners have no idea they’re selling fakes. You certainly can’t tell from the packaging. Their suppliers are probably the culprits.
In all honesty, pretty good so far. I haven’t tried the electric plugged in yet, but the acoustic sounds nice. The “scratchy” strings have smoothed off with a bit of playing too. They may not last long but at least the sound is satisfactory.
Good idea, I’ll do that. They won’t likely see a Google review but I’ll pop in instead. Might be a good way to guarantee a supply of genuine strings in the future, assuming they’re in the dark about what they’re selling now.