Our Commitment to Genuine Products
Just like everyone, I like paying less. In fact, I've talked about it quite a bit in our newsletters over the years - hunting bargains is a bit of a hobby of mine. Of course, my wife says I'm destined to "go broke, saving money," but I digress...
Getting things at cut-rate prices can be a good thing, sometimes. For instance, there's a well-known tools and hardware store where I've often found various useful tools at bargain prices... but I am well aware that the quality of those tools doesn't quite match the big brand names. So, I figure, when I need specialty tools I'm probably only going to use once, it's a bargain. However, if I need a tool that I'll need to confidently count on many times for years to come, it's often better to pay the premium prices for a tool that will last.
For my bass, things are almost always going to be that second thing. I need my strings, pickups, and other accessories to be professional quality, so that I always put forth a professional image. So I'm not sure that I'd want to buy my stuff at a store whose most prominent claim to fame is, "we're the cheapest." Even if they claim that their stuff is the same stuff that everyone else has. Why?
You should be aware, as a consumer, that product counterfeiting is a real thing. D'Addario was openly highlighting their issues with it back in 2010, with this blog post (which specifically talks about illegal copies of their guitar strings.) And a couple years ago, one of our competitors sent out a blast email saying that they have evidence that there are "fakes" of Thomastik and Pirastro double bass strings being imported into the US Market from Asia.
Other products can be counterfeited, too - there was a big kerfuffle a little over a decade ago with fake Oktava microphones hitting the American market (and sold, unknowingly, through big music stores, too!)
Gollihur Music has a 20-plus-year working relationship with both Pirastro and the sole factory-authorized Thomastik US Distributor. From discussions with my suppliers, I have confirmed that there are some people/shops/online marketplaces selling those strings (among other strings and products) who are "getting around" the system, even though they might boldly say otherwise on their websites. But it's simple math: when there's exactly ONE authorized distributor in the USA, and you have a friendly enough working relationship with that distributor to suss out that they refuse to sell to that company (for their own reasons), there's no other way to look at it - the company in question can only getting their strings through unauthorized sources.
Look, I know where I could get strings at big discounts -- I've been regularly approached by other distribution companies, offering lower wholesale pricing on some of the strings I carry. The idea that I could provide discounted pricing to my customers on those products is appealing, sure - but are they genuine? Were they intended for a different market, elsewhere in the world? How are they able to be supplied more cheaply, when the main distributor buys a MUCH larger quantity than your two-bit operation? When I ask them where those strings are coming from, they will not -- or cannot -- tell me.
That's all I need to know. Ya know?
All that I'm suggesting is that you ask that the store you buy from is sourcing their strings (and other items) directly from the factory-authorized source(s). You can rest assured, Gollihur Music always does - we have always provided *genuine* goods at a fair, market-value low price. And as for strings, we always offer free shipping, to all 50 states (on sets AND single strings)! ...as well as offering "extras" like added tip sheets, instructions and bonus items.
And all of this information applies to all of the items we sell; pickups, preamps, amps, books, DVDs, rosin, and so on... we have sourced our products from one of many trusted distributors, and can guarantee that brand-name products sold on our site are the genuine, first-quality, made for the US Market products that you expect and deserve.
If you ever have questions about the legitimacy of any of the products we sell, we're happy to discuss them with you. As for which online sellers might be selling products of questionable origin, that is for you to research and decide - I cannot name names and won't drop hints.