Artisanal. Small-batch. Boutique. Usually such adjectives are associated with premium prices in the American market. However, these straights can still be found in competitively priced instruments from our Core Select Series.
Over the last 100 years, in every area where there has been a mass production of stringed instruments, a few master makes have broken away from the "factory group" and established themselves in small private workshops. Think of Germans such as Roman Teller, Rudolf Buchner, Bruno Paulus, and a few others.
Now this has happened in China. While the factories make some very nice "step-up" instruments, a few makers who have nothing to do with the large manufacturers have established small workshops where these highly trained masters make very small quantities of artist-level instruments.
The Core Select master makers have often trained in Europe or America, and many have earned awards and medals in various global competitions. Their skill and talent is world-class. Their assistants learn the finer aspects of the craft by working alongside the master over years and years. Like anything made by hand, it's not a quick process, and to do it well takes long-term commitment and patience.
Quantities are limited, but if you have customers requiring very fine instruments you owe it to yourselves and them to have at least one of these on hand as they will represent the finest available in their price ranges. There may also be an oppurtunity to be an exclusive agent for certain makers in your geographic area.