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Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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Discussion Starter #1
I've found that the more opinionated a repair tech is, the less likely I'll be impressed by their work or seek their services again. My favorite ones have always worked with me to get my horns where I want them to be; giving me choices when confronted with truly difficult obstacles, rather than dictating what they will or won't do. I remember one tech in particular that told me he was opposed to certain resonators and would not install them under any circumstances. That should have been a red flag, as the work he did on my horn required follow-up by another tech to correct a problem that he had actually blamed on me and my set-up, of which he did not approve. Of course I will never use that tech again, and nor would I recommend him. Which also brings up an interesting point... many of the techs here that folks have actually used and recommend seem to be not only flexible, but willing to listen and learn from all here, whether they be other techs or simply experienced players. I do wonder if others have this impression as well.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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I guess I'm pretty flexible in terms of what I expect from a tech since I have no, nor do I wish to develop, any mechanical skills. As long as my horns are leak free, tunable, everything moves smoothly and quietly I figure I can work with it. If I did encounter a tech who berated what works for me and attempted to force me to accept something I didn't want(Emilio)...well then I'd just go elsewhere and like you Grumps-not recommend them.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Mouthpiece Maker
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1,816 Posts
The Best tech I know is very opinionated. Second best, not so much. I've had work done by a lot of guys over the years, the only strong correlation I find is that every tech that I have seen really great work from is also a great player. Much less correlation with egos or strongly held opinions.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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1,552 Posts
I have always found it hard to find a non-opinionated tech. The girl who used to do all my horns before she "retired" was very very much so, but did first class work. Most tech posts I have read here on SOTW seem to be pretty darned opinionated, in my humble opinion.
 

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I will try my best to avoid using hard-nosed or opinionated techs.

I really see - very much actually - the extreme value in learning the art of repair (and investing in the tools) to avoid going to someone else to get my horns fixed. This is a slow progression, I know, but one in which I aspire to get to eventually.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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The more I learn, the less opinionated my tech seems to be. He always does a great job, though.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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I like opinionated people in general. There are many ways and degrees of voicing your opinion and I guess that is what it comes down to. If a tech has absolutely no opinion about my preferences, I feel they don't care much and I'm just a run of the mill customer. After all, they are the pros and should let me know if there are, in their opinion, negative consequences to my preferences. Opinions from people that know more than I do are always welcomed. If a tech gets insulting and refuses to install something like certain pads because he doesn't like them, that's another story. I think it has a lot to do with the personality of the tech. To a certain degree, they are sales people that should be able to guide you towards reasonable decisions about your horn............ and leave you feeling that you decided the right thing.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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3,209 Posts
There are a couple things to think about here. If you agree and like your Tech's opinions - then you will never find anybody better.

If the tech cares about you as a player, then he is going to want to get in your mind and do things to your horn that YOU will love. That makes a happy customer.

I think the best techs have a happy medium happening - where they know what they can do to make a horn absolutely amazing, however they will be able to bring "that knowledge" to the table when incorporating a customer's opinion.

The only problem occurs when you have a customer who THINKS they know what they want, and will not budge on THEIR opinion.

(An Example - customer comes in and states - I want the thickest softest plain rivet pads on my YAS 23! Will the tech appear opinionated when they will not do it because Yamaha's traditionally use thin pads? )

The above example shows how an uneducated consumer with a strong self opinion can mis label a tech as opinionated.

I think it is MOST important to have a tech who's opinion YOU trust - and if that involves them listening to you - or not - so be it.

And thats why there are 3476 different flavors of ice cream.
(yes that is a made up number)

Charlie
 

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Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
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This is a very tricky one..........I like opinionated people and of course it is very possible or even likely that at some point I will disagree with them.

If this is about being friends or having social contacts with these people there is no problem at all. But we are talking of a technician working FOR me.

It is possible that I disagree with a technician, so, although I might respect his opinion I won't accept him doing work that I don't agree upon (and that I should pay for!) on my musical instruments. I am the client he is the technician. He can advise me and tell me his opinion but since I pay and the goods are mine, I am calling the shots.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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This is a very tricky one..........I like opinionated people and of course it is very possible or even likely that at some point I will disagree with them.

If this is about being friends or having social contacts with these people there is no problem at all. But we are talking of a technician working FOR me.

It is possible that I disagree with a technician, so, although I might respect his opinion I won't accept him doing work that I don't agree upon (and that I should pay for!) on my musical instruments. I am the client he is the technician. He can advise me and tell me his opinion but since I pay and the goods are mine, I am calling the shots.
Doing work that hasn't been agreed upon is just bad business practice and goes far beyond being opinionated. As a customer, I like to have a social connection and be somewhat of "a friend" with whomever is going to work on my musical instruments. It's like being nice to waitresses. You don't want to get on their bad side and end up with low quality service (to put it mildly).
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Chances are your tech will have opinions - anyone who develops technical expertise will have opinions as to which equipment/accessories/setup they like and don't like. Some of those opinions will be stronger than others.

Second, chances are that your tech went into repairing instruments because they like to work with THINGS (like your horn). If they liked to work with people, they would have become therapists or salespeople or managers or teachers, or something like that.

So keep in mind that dealing with people, such as communicating with you, is probably not their main strength. The question is whether their people abilities are good enough. I stopped using one tech (whose prior work for me was fine) because he did not show up for a scheduled appointment (at a time he chose) and did not call me to reschedule or apologize. My current tech could have sold me a case and a stand, but his sales skills for things like that suck (he is good at selling the mouthpieces that he has refaced - he cares about them).

It all boils down to whether the tech does good work AND whether you can work with the tech. It is personal, like just about every service business. While I understand your general point (you don't want someone too rigid in their thinking, and unresponsive to your specific needs), generalizations are risky, and ironically may tend to create the same rigidity of opinion you may be trying to avoid.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
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Doing work that hasn't been agreed upon is just bad business practice and goes far beyond being opinionated. As a customer, I like to have a social connection and be somewhat of "a friend" with whomever is going to work on my musical instruments. It's like being nice to waitresses. You don't want to get on their bad side and end up with low quality service (to put it mildly).
Yes, I think so too.........but the subject has come up a couple of times in few threads here and there and it has shown how this could easily lead to some serious problems (at least I know that it would give me reasons to be cross and never use that tech again)
 

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Every area of study or craft has an established set of facts that can be shown to be true in all cases. Articulating these facts should not be confused with expressing one's opinion. A few examples:

Fact
Well fitting keys reduce key noise, allow more precise pad seating and regulation, extend the period of time between adjustments.

Opinion
Oversized resonators made with the same metal as the saxophone make it sound better.

Fact
A well fit neck tenon is completely airtight without having to tighten the neck screw

Opinion
Setting the springs lighter makes for a quicker action.

It boils down to the saying, "Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has the right to be wrong in his facts". As long as one can differentiate between facts and opinions there should be no problem. Disagreeing with a fact about his craft spoken by a technician does not amount to a difference of opinion, but rather a different level of understanding about the principles of repair.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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My experience is that whether you are having your sax worked on or if you are hiring a contractor to dig up hazardous wastes, the best plan is always to tell the guy what you want, what parameters must be followed, and then you walk away to let the guy do his own thing. There's a million ways to skin a cat and every good professional knows which way he is best at. So if you want something done right, you do it yourself. But if you won't something done well that you can't or don't have time to do yourself, you hire the right guy and then leave him alone.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician.
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If a tech isn't opinionated it could equally cast doubt on their abilities. Some guys have done the science and worked at understanding how things work and if someone comes up with some foolhardy idea they want the tech to realise for them, the tech should say if it's a duff idea.
There are plenty of examples where techs can be against certain brands or instruments from China, for example which may be a wrong approach. I think musicians used to be a lot more opinionated generally and you'd get laid into if you didn't have the right knowledge or ability. These days people tend to be more flexible and accepting of different things.
With techs I think it may be OK to be opinionated if they can explain and give reasons for their view. The problem is when they are stubborn and uncooperative and won't give answers. I have my opinions on things but I don't mind if someone has a different view. (But I may explain why I have my view if it backed by science.)
 

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My tech told me what "needed to be done" but I think he did a good, honest job. Is welding the bell necessary when it was glued on?
I think you mean "soldering the bell". This is something techs have a different opinion on. Some believe the low notes play better with a soldered joint, some think epoxy is the way to go, and others use bees wax and rely upon the mechanical ring to hold the pieces together. The fact is no scientific evidence exists to prove or disprove that a soldered joint is acoustically superior to a mechanical or epoxied connection. This doesn't stop techs on all sides of the issue from arguing that their "opinion" is the right one.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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My experience is that whether you are having your sax worked on or if you are hiring a contractor to dig up hazardous wastes, the best plan is always to tell the guy what you want, what parameters must be followed, and then you walk away to let the guy do his own thing. There's a million ways to skin a cat and every good professional knows which way he is best at. So if you want something done right, you do it yourself. But if you won't something done well that you can't or don't have time to do yourself, you hire the right guy and then leave him alone.
Well said. Let the pros do their job. The only real experience I have with a sax tech has been positive. She asks what I need done - I tell her and she goes to work while I wait. When she finishes the requested fix, she checks out other stuff and fiddles about a bit. Then she hands me the horn and I test play it. Sometimes I hand it back and she tweaks it a bit more until I'm happy. Then I get a work ticket and pay. Sometimes I buy her lunch. She does after all, drop what she's doing to take care of me while I wait. She also comes out sometimes to hear me play which I think is very nice. She seems to be very opinionated but not about what she does. Just other stuff.
 

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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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It was an inept, rude, and VERY opinionated tech that led me to discover SOTW.
I will never recommend him to any of my friends or enemies for that matter.
This tech should be avoided at all costs.

My current tech is also VERY opinionated.
He will give me his opinion on what it will take to get one of my horns in GPC, an opinion on what it will take to get into GPC with a little cosmetic work, and an opinion on what it would take to get it looking and playing better than new.
The best part is that he's also a kick *A* player himself and understands the needs of 'the player/owner'. Our opinions are important too.
Another bonus is that he doesn't suffer from the "GOD Complex" like a few of his counterparts.
I say he's a woodwind Miracle Worker, he says he's just good at his job. ;)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician.
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I liked the statement that the better the tech & the better the tech can play matters....I think that carries a lot of weight as you need to be able to play very well to understand how the instrument is responding, also be able to understand how the owner of the instrument plays & what they expereince. I guess the better the tech can listen to the customer, what they are going through & want from the instrument is the first part of the meeting & is important to determining the final outcome.
 
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