bargaining in Shanghai - buying a Violin

Dear all,


I will stay in Shanghai for 3 months for business reasons and at home I'm regularly practicing on the violin. As I didn't take mine to Shanghai, I would like to buy a violin this weekend (to rent one would be also fine, but I think this is not very common here). I discovered already Fenyang road, where I tried some in 3 different violin shops, but I was quite lost due to the language. My price limit would be somewhere around 4.000 RMB max. Surely will not make a high-end instrument, but should at least not be super trashy. Do you have any other ideas where to buy instruments (used/old ones preferred)?

I read that bargaining is usual here, not only on markets, but also in the shops. What is a realisitc percentage of the shop price you could achive, e.g. if a violin is shown on 6.000 RMB? Do you have any suggestions on how to successfully bargain?
My problem is also that I don't speak a word Chinese.

Is anybody out there who might want to join me for this difficult task? Maybe if I spend some meal or drink afterwards? :)

Your help would be much appreciated!


Know your enemy.

Google the violin and find out the local price. Language is less of a problem as you can set google to translate the pages.
That will give you the likely price range.

As numbers aren't the same between written Chinese and western systems, you must prepare a paper with the prices you want to pay  printed in both Chinese and your home language.

I usually just dump cash on the counter next to what I want to buy and ask the shopkeeper which he wants me to walk out of the shop with, the cash or the thing I want.
They usually take the cash, even if they want a higher price.

For that to work, you must know the price you can get it for online or at other shops, then offer the lowest and see what happens.

Dear Fred,

Many thanks for your hints. I will go there today well prepared and try my best. If I won't be successful today, I can still leave it
and ask a colleague next week to join.

Dear Angiko,

Hope you have bought your violin. If not, I would be glad to help. It's not hard for a Chinese to find fine shops or secondhand instruments. Actually I haven't bargained in shops for years in China. But I think is still works in instrument shops. Mostly the percentage is around 10-20% off.

Good luck!


Another handy hint

Google's translate software has a photo feature that allows you to use the camera to look at a sign in a lot of languages, and it comes out in another.
I played with it the other day because I didn't know one word on a sign, and it did the job wonderfully, giving me a real time translation of the sign with no button presses after initiating the program.
I have yet to try it with a Chinese sign, but the omens are good.

Dear Eric,

Thanks! Yes, I finally found an instrument in Fenyang Road. Not great, but good enough for practising. And I could make 25% discount. Now I will maybe ask a lokal teacher for some lessons. I know there are many great Violinists in China, so I'm sure I could learn something. Off for practising! :-)

Good luck!

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