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In light of the other thread about Bob, I would like to start another chance for some people who know him to say some more positive things. I haven't known Bob for particularly long, but I have to say, that in the times that we've hung out, Bob is a cool guy. I've learned a lot about vintage horns in conversation and of course from years gone by from the old Saxophone Journal articles.

This may be late in coming but I didn't have a chance to respond before the other thread was closed by moderators.

Regards,

Sebastian
 

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A few words about Bob Ackerman:
Having known Bob Ackerman for over 25 years I can honestly say that there are but a few people who have the passion for and knowledge of the history and mechanics of vintage woodwinds that Bob has. His desire to share that knowledge and passion and to help out players, particularly younger players, has been the primary motivation behind his Progressive Winds Vintage instrument business. I believe his success in this endeavor measured by the number of people that he has helped over the years is unparalleled. I know Bob well enough to say that his real sense of personal accomplishment other than his own musical endeavors, comes from helping people in this regard. Particularly, the matching of instruments with mouthpieces and finding the optimal set-up for students and players of all levels has impacted the musical lives of countless individuals. The only disagreements I know of that he has had with others occurred when he has been treated unreasonably or threatened. I am confident that he would never cheat or knowingly mislead anyone. I would recommend him as someone I would trust to give an honest appraisal of a vintage instrument or to buy or sell one for me. I have in fact recommended him to several people including members of my own family all of whom were completely satisfied !
 

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His desire to share that knowledge and passion and to help out players, particularly younger players, has been the primary motivation behind his Progressive Winds Vintage instrument business.
+1
I didn't get to say this on my other thread because it was locked and I just found them today, but I looked in the box my new clarinet came in and found some CDs. On them was a note that said on the CDs were recordings of clarinet players with good tone. I emailed him today and told him how much a appreciated it. To me this shows he is a great guy and cares about this customers. He also gave me recommendations for better mouthpieces when I talked to him on the phone.
 

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I've had nothing but positive interaction with Bob. He is knowledgeable, willing to share his expertise and opinions, and I have been very satisfied with everything purchased from him, including the price paid and service & delivery. I've known Bob as a customer of his since the late 1980's.
 

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A friend and I have driven from Ohio to Bob's place in Irvington, NJ several times for musical instruction and consultation on equipment. Bob has been consistently helpful to us and has become a friend. Bob is a very skilled musician, as is his wife Pam, and they are both a delight to hang with. The things Ted says about Bob's business dealings are accurate.
 

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My first experiences with Bob were back in 1997, which was before most people in the musical instrument business had web sites. I believe I saw an article in the back of a Down Beat magazine classified section advertizing vintage woodwinds. He listed his phone number for his shop in New Jersey. On a whim, I called to ask for some advice on mouthpieces and which ones worked best with vintage horns. Expecting that he would be busy with customers, or that I would get a voicemail stating to leave a message, Bob answered. He was more than happy to give me free advice and I remember our conversations lasting 20 minutes or more. He often talked about his interactions with Sonny Rollins and others. It was like talking to an old friend. His conversations inspired me to buy the Conn saxes listed in my signature. Keep in mind I bought them locally here in Southern California about 15 years ago. Nothing but positive experiences.
 

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A few words about Bob Ackerman:
Having known Bob Ackerman for over 25 years I can honestly say that there are but a few people who have the passion for and knowledge of the history and mechanics of vintage woodwinds that Bob has. His desire to share that knowledge and passion and to help out players, particularly younger players, has been the primary motivation behind his Progressive Winds Vintage instrument business. I believe his success in this endeavor measured by the number of people that he has helped over the years is unparalleled. I know Bob well enough to say that his real sense of personal accomplishment other than his own musical endeavors, comes from helping people in this regard. Particularly, the matching of instruments with mouthpieces and finding the optimal set-up for students and players of all levels has impacted the musical lives of countless individuals. The only disagreements I know of that he has had with others occurred when he has been treated unreasonably or threatened. I am confident that he would never cheat or knowingly mislead anyone. I would recommend him as someone I would trust to give an honest appraisal of a vintage instrument or to buy or sell one for me. I have in fact recommended him to several people including members of my own family all of whom were completely satisfied !
I just wanted to welcome you, Ted, to the forum. Your reputation is quite amazing to me. I've never played one of your pieces, but I bet I would like them.
 

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I bought a Ted Klum alto mouthpiece from Bob on his recommendation in 2002 and played it until 2010. I'd never sell it, but I gave it to one of my top students who is making it sing. I also got a great deal in 2005 on a "The Martin Tenor" that Bob said was the best year for The Martins (as far as I know from articles in The Saxophone Journal and clinics, Bob is an authority on Martin horns) and was a great example of one. At his shop I had the opportunity to play it against several Zephyrs and a Conn in my price range, and he let me take it out on a provisional basis to have it independently evaluated by my repairman and teacher, who verified that it was "a primo Martin." This horn plays perfectly in tune, needed absolutely no tweaking from my repairman, blends great with a section, and is still the horn I play. I always had a preference for Mark VI and Series III horns, and while I will someday get one of those, I will never sell this horn.

Bob's still playing out, too. JUST DON'T ASK HIM TO PLAY KEYS ON BESAME!!!! (Sorry, Bob... HAHAHAHA)
 

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Whaaattt? You changed from the Klum piece on alto?
 

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Bob is cool. I still play his Sax Journal CD's where he goes through all the vintage sopranos from King to Buescher and Conn then the same with altos and tenors. His Cd's are the only ones I kept!
I have those as well. Back when that publication was still worth picking up, but that is another topic altogether.
 

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Whaaattt? You changed from the Klum piece on alto?
Yup, about half a year ago. I'm playing an Aizen first-run right now. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to trying some of Ted's newer mouthpieces. I'm not on the "hunt" for a new piece. What I have is great. What I had before was great, too, and I wasn't on the hunt then, either. If I play something that gives me what I want better, though, I'll buy it!
 

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Bob is a great guy, very generous with his time and wisdom. My experience going to his home in '93 and checking out equipment was wonderful. Bob kept bringing the horns, Mark VI's, Conn's, etc. and we ended up making a trade that worked out well for both of us. He took the time to talk to me about setups and even did a little flute playing for me while I was there. I've also talked with him on the phone on many occasions and purchased a number of horns from him.

All the equipment I've acquired from Bob has been top notch. My latest purchase was a Klum sterling silver focus tone tenor piece that is outstanding.

Bob has also advised me against doing deals that were not in my best interest - he was right and I appreciated his advice. The woodwind community has been greatly served by this man and we should all be very appreciative.
 

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1) My #1 favorite Otto Link... I got from Bob Ackerman for $225 bucks...
2 ) If not for Bob Ackerman, I would have never met Jon Van Wie, or Ted Klum... both of whom I met at Bob's home through his introduction.

I have to ask myself, "Where would I be without these connections ?... I mean, seriously ?" [Thanks, Bob!]

Growing up in NJ, his business was a wellspring. He was always cool with me coming over... I'd try countless mouthpieces... he'd answer all my questions. He was always patient - and I know I was inquisitive and most likely annoying... But he always attempted to help me, nonetheless.

Bob is open to experimentation - so he's tried everything. Horns, necks, mouthpieces, ligatures, flute head joints, clarinet barrels... you name it. He also knows most (if not all) of the specialists in the field of instrument manufacture, repair, and modification. With experiments: you take risks, and learn from the results. Point is: if it can be done, Bob has tried it.... this kind of knowledge base, can be helpful to players who want to make changes, and experiment - but don't know what to do, or what to change.

I understand some folks won't agree with the stuff I've said here... But all I can offer-up, is my own experience.
 

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I've visited Bob's house/shop in Irvington 3 or 4 times since the early 90s (it's about 20 minutes from my house.) Each time, I've left with a mouthpiece that ended up becoming a main piece for a particular horn.
Bob has always been courteous, helpful, and thoroughly professional.
In discussion with my colleagues, pretty much everyone agrees that Bob is an excellent asset to the area, and the saxophone community in general.
 

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I visited Bob with a tenor playing repair customer, and friend, of mine who was looking for an alto back in the late 90's. He had a price range based on what his girlfriend had gifted him. (Actually she had bought him a Series II Selmer from WWBW which he returned and was free to use the money for a real horn. What a great girlfriend!). He was interested in Mk VI's and Bob had around 6 of them in that range (plenty more at higher $$) as well as 2 Super 20s and a gold plated Conn Chu for about $1000 less that he recommended trying. After a tour of his house Bob set us up in the lower level of the house and left us alone to play. At some point we took a tea break and Bob played a little for us on his current favorite tenor (burnished gold Chu) and wanted our opinions regarding 2 different mouthpieces he was torn between; a very cool experience hearing each combination and how they suited him and the horn differently.

We went back downstairs and resumed testing and my friend was narrowing down his favorites. He was borrowing a HR Berg from me since he didn't have a mouthpiece of his own. Bob came down and said that he heard what my friend was trying to do on the horn and that the Berg was not going to give it to him, handed him a mouthpiece and said "Try this." It worked perfectly for him. I got to see Bob's accumulated knowledge get used in a surgical strike manner to help my friend nail what he was after in a mouthpiece. It was amazing and no shot in the dark as Bob could have offered up any of hundreds of pieces on hand, but this one did it and no other was needed. Bob even bought my Berg for a very fair price after learning it was not being used. During one of Bob's later trips downstairs he said "You hear that guy upstairs? That's Chris Potter in the attic trying out VI's. Man!", and shook his head in admiration.

Anyway, my friend got an excellent early MK VI and fell in love with a Super 20 (which he bought months later) and a Conn Chu. But we also learned that Bob had played many horns and mouthpieces and heard a lot of players', horn and mouthpiece combinations, and that he could use that knowledge and experience to set a player up with the equipment match that could take them to the next level. A highly recommendable experience.

Cheers,
David
 

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I bought a Ted Klum alto mouthpiece from Bob on his recommendation in 2002 and played it until 2010. I'd never sell it, but I gave it to one of my top students who is making it sing. I also got a great deal in 2005 on a "The Martin Tenor" that Bob said was the best year for The Martins (as far as I know from articles in The Saxophone Journal and clinics, Bob is an authority on Martin horns) and was a great example of one. At his shop I had the opportunity to play it against several Zephyrs and a Conn in my price range, and he let me take it out on a provisional basis to have it independently evaluated by my repairman and teacher, who verified that it was "a primo Martin." This horn plays perfectly in tune, needed absolutely no tweaking from my repairman, blends great with a section, and is still the horn I play. I always had a preference for Mark VI and Series III horns, and while I will someday get one of those, I will never sell this horn.

Bob's still playing out, too. JUST DON'T ASK HIM TO PLAY KEYS ON BESAME!!!! (Sorry, Bob... HAHAHAHA)
Friggin never say never, huh? I sold that Martin...
 

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Had a lot of good times at Bob's. Got many mouthpieces from Bob. I like the way Bob ranted about whatever he talked about, and he used to be loud and pretty high strung. He knows what he's talking about for sure. His house was pure madness in the 1990's and early 2000s. I'd go over there and there would be a ton of cats there trading, buying, selling, trying stuff, necks, horns, clarinets, saxes, flutes, mouthpeices, reeds. He had these giant bins full of ligs and I picked a few out. Bob was wheeling and dealing like a maniac, I was in awe watching him multi-task with many customers at once. The sheer quantity of horns and mouthpieces he had was insane. You wanted a Rubber Berg for tenor? He had over 100 to choose from, etc, and it was unreal how many vintage Selmer tenors he had there.

First piece I ever bought was a Berg HR tenor piece... LONG gone. Also unfortunately gone is a fantastic Beechler S7S. A few different STM tenor pieces through the years have come and gone too, But I still have the 2 mouthpieces I bought one fateful day in 1994, a superb, rubber tenor Link (set up by Ted, (marked TK"107) and a brand new Bob Ackerman Alto piece set up by JVW. I played that piece hard for about 7 years, and then had John clean up the wear on the tip rail around 2001. Jon also installed a long, low baffle that extended down into the chamber in the TK"107 that gave it more oomph but kept it dark. Probably could use another clean-up.
I remember being in his shop around 1993, and meeting Freddie Gregory and bought what now know is an EB Otto Link soprano piece signed by Freddie, and played it exclusively for over 15 years, until I got the strong itch for something darker, so I'm now playing a stock Bari .68 thats very good, but its not as special as the Freddie G piece. Its still so good that I would never have it redone.
Got a KILLER deal on my Conn DJH Modified Baritone Sax from Bob, in 2000. Bob had about 8 used Low A baris, Several Selmers, Vito, Yamahas, and the one I bought for me to choose from. And this horn was in beautiful shape with NO dents but some lacquer wear, but played like crap, and Bob knew it but didn't want to be bothered with it. I knew it was really a Keilwerth. So I took a chance and bought it. A simple tweaking by tech and the horn smoked. I remember trying a mint YBS-62 and thinking it was really boring compared to the other horns.
 

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Had a lot of good times at Bob's. Got many mouthpieces from Bob. I like the way Bob ranted about whatever he talked about, and he used to be loud and pretty high strung. He knows what he's talking about for sure. His house was pure madness in the 1990's and early 2000s.
Oh yeah, I was wrong about taking a tea break at Bob's. It was coffee, strong and good!

David
 

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I have bought all my favourite saxes from Bob..........he is one of the most knowledgeable and trustworthy guys in the business and a great creative player as well!
 
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