Busking scam: electric violin

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by matty1039, Dec 14, 2021.

  1. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    I've been following a Facebook discussion about a video a friend on there posted of a man playing electric violin through a speaker with a backing track. There was some talk in the comments of the video about if the person was really playing the violin or just faking playing along with the song.

    At first I thought it was legit because that seems like a lot of effort and investment to run a scam. You have to buy an electric violin, powered speaker, power source, and find some songs to mime playing along with. But watching the video closer I could tell the player was not legit, such as the movements being out of sync with the sounds.

    My wife and I had a discussion about it for a while. I said not enough people play violin to get them called out as being fake. (It would be a lot harder to run a scam like that with a guitar.) We both agreed it is deceptive as they are pretending to play music, written and preformed by someone else, to get tips from people in a parking lot.

    While we were talking about it I looked up the scam and apparently it has been a problem in Texas with some reporting of it in FLA. The Facebook video was shot in the suburbs of NOLA.

    I was curious if anyone has seen this in their area?
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Buskers miming to recordings?

    Kill me now... :banghead:
  3. WG Plum

    WG Plum Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2021
    Buskers hang in high-volume foot traffic areas, places I haven't been in almost two years. That said, I've not seen or heard of such a thing before this.
    JES, tbz and Tanner5382 like this.
  4. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    Here is the news story I watched about it:
  5. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've watched my son play violin for over 20 years. I just laughed when I saw that video. Kudos to the violinist who challenged the imposter to play with her.
    Winslow, dkelley, Chrisk-K and 4 others like this.
  6. dayo


    Jul 22, 2013
    Wow must have been a slow news day
    Seanto, dutchwife, Mark_70 and 27 others like this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I'm totally okay with it. Lipsynching and air guitar are common at all levels of musicianship. It would be cruel as a society, to be okay with an aging millionaire celebrity playing air-guitar in a superbowl halftime show, but not okay with struggling amateurs at the local level playing air-violin for pocket change.

    Given that lipsynching and air-guitar exist, and are standard tools of professional entertainers, I think it is elitist to say, these technologies should be forbidden for local amateurs. I think music-making should be democratic, and the tools should be available to anyone who wants to make a joyful noise. (Even beginners, posers, scrubs, losers, nerds, and geeks.)

    Basically, I think it's elitist to say only rich, successful people are allowed to play the Milli Vanilli game.
    Templar, Seanto, Nashrakh and 49 others like this.
  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Question: Are those guys who pretend to be statues then move and startle spectators also running a "scam"?
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    perfect! :thumbsup:

    and then there's this: how many of us log into TB every day pretending to be musicians or bass players? :laugh:
  10. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    I would say less so, they are just street performers. They can cheat at it, but there is still some skill or discipline needed. While I don't have any experience with it, it looks like the clothes they wear are pretty stiff from the paint so they can move around a little inside but can't scratch their nose.
  11. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I saw a guy doing this recently, and he definitely sounded too bad to be faking.
  12. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    As if buskers weren't annoying enough already, now they're faking it. It's the end of days.
  13. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Crappy that people feel they need to fake-busk to make money, and crappy that people fall for it. "Scam" feels a tad hyperbolic to me, though, compared with the boiler-room berks who keep calling trying to wheedle me out of my credit card numbers. They're fun to play with.
    Winslow, dutchwife, QRanc and 5 others like this.
  14. ajschnitzelbank

    ajschnitzelbank Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Wow, I think I gave one of these folks money in upstate NY! I don’t regret it for a moment though. I was driving through a parking lot and saw a woman standing with the man performing who was nursing a baby. If they’re standing in a strip mall parking lot like that, they are desperate.
    mcnach, jdthaddeus, BazzaBass and 2 others like this.
  15. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    in the late 90's my dad took my brothers to a mets game at shea stadium. not sure why I diddn't go, but apparently even back then there was a guy "playing" guitar and the instrument slipped an fell and the music kept playing. they thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

    so, it happens. oh well.
  16. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    At least it's more entertaining than regular begging. It is a form of performative art. Requires some preparation and continuous effort. "Scam" definitely doesn't feel like the right word, because they probably really do need money.

    Fun fact, ordinary intersection begging in my area is an organized crime racket, even out in the suburbs. Gangs control various corners and put the homeless/disadvantaged person out there for a shift, and then take a cut of the earnings. I used to watch the shifts changing from my office window, and a guy comes out to replace one person with another person every few hours, counts the money, drives away to change the shift at another corner.
  17. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    I've gotten a few telemarketers to give me their contact information after I ask them a few questions then start telling them about the opportunity to become their own boss through Amway. Lol. I don't even sell Amway. I just enjoy the sport of it.

    Maybe hustle is a better word for it than scam. But they all have a sign about how they need money for their kids or mom's rent, so I think it is kind of borderline.
  18. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    My MO is to tell them I owe a considerable sum on my credit cards. When they ask me for my account number I ask them to hang on the line while I go look for the card. I'm still looking for the card.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2021
    Bass Jones, Root 5, IamGroot and 6 others like this.
  19. In NOLA, I saw an old guy just standing there, I asked “that’s it?”…he said, “somebody’s gotta do it”.

    In another spot, I saw two mimes fighting over a prime spot to perform. I offered the most visible upset person a dollar. They got really mad! “I perform for my money!”

    Bass Jones, Loring, mb94952 and 4 others like this.
  20. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    I guess I'm not elitist then. I don't think it's ok for the pros to charge for tickets, then mimic playing. It's pretty much fraud to me. Same for buskers.
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