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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been exceedingly happy with the work of Brian Powell and my interactions with him in the past. This post should not be construed in any manner otherwise. I am simply posting, because I feel that I have run out of options.

Here is the question:

Has anyone heard from him or received mouthpieces back from refacing in the past year?

The reason I am asking is that over a year ago, I sent him a mouthpiece and paid for the reface upfront in full. I have not heard a thing from him since then, besides a post a few month ago explaining his recent hardship, which I sympathize with. In this post, Brian also asked to refrain from contacting the people around him. I had already then contacted Erik Greiffenhagen and, after another several attempts to reach Brian by phone or email went unanswered, also through Karen at their mouthpiece shop. Still nothing.

Like many here, I miss access to Brian's work. So first and foremost, I wish him the best; second, I would like him to recover his work; and third, I have >$350 into the piece I sent him and it feels odd to just let it go. Even if he is overwhelmed, I would hope that either he or the people around him would send out a mass email with some explanation and pointers on what to expect.

Please let me know. A PM will do fine if you do not wish to post and it won't be shared.

Thank you all.
 

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Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
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I received a mouthpiece cafe Take 5 in January that was finished by Brian. He sent me an email telling me when I would receive it and it came on the day he stated. It could be that he is completing the Mouthpiece Cafe orders before his personal orders???

And to respond to CliffK paying upfront appears to me to be the norm.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I received a mouthpiece cafe Take 5 in January that was finished by Brian. He sent me an email telling me when I would receive it and it came on the day he stated. It could be that he is completing the Mouthpiece Cafe orders before his personal orders???

And to respond to CliffK paying upfront appears to me to be the norm.
I don't know about that, I have always paid when the work is done and it is about to get shipped. That is my preference.

My general rule now is I give people three chances. If they say it will be done in 6 weeks and 6 weeks come I call or email. If it is not done that is strike 1. I ask when it will be done. If they say the end of the week and I don't hear it is shipped by the end of the week that is strike 2. I ask when it will be done. Usually they feel bad at that point and say by Wednesday or something like that. If I don't hear that it is shipped by Wednesday I call or email and ask for it to be shipped back immediately. Usually they hem and haw and say it is sitting on the bench but I respond "Three times you have given me your word and not lived up to it. I have no reason to believe or trust you at this point. Send it back and I will find another refacer. This might seem harsh but that is what I do now..........
 

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4 hrs ago he posted this on his FB:

I am having phone issues today, and will be inaccessible by phone or text until sometime tomorrow. Messenger messages will get to me. As well, I have probably lost all voicemails that were on my phone. Thanks
 

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Dear Brasscane (and fellow esteemed horn players),
Thank you for your patience with me. Brasscane, I don't recognize you by your SOTW handle, so I would ask you to shoot me another email or a message on Facebook messenger, and I will try to get back with you right away. Last year was very, very rough personally- and I fell WAY too far behind on work going out the door, and much too far behind on communication. But life is much better on the other side of a divorce and change in family situation, and I am experiencing better health and more happiness than I have in many years.
I have been working my tail off trying to get caught back up- on refacing projects, MouthpieceCafe orders, and some contracted work for the Morgan Mouthpiece company as well. It's not easy in a one-man shop, trying to keep up with everything while digging yourself out of a massive hole. I know there have been some pieces and orders that have slipped through the cracks, and that have been here in my shop for ENTIRELY too long, and I am trying to rectify that. But everything is still here, even if it's been here far too long, and I want to get it back to you with the quality of workmanship and service that you've come to expect from me.
My goal is still to serve the saxophone community with the same top craftsmanship, and MUCH BETTER service and communication than I have been able to display over the past year. So thank you for your patience and graciousness, and I hope to be able to reward everyone with faster turnaround in the very near future here. Thank you for your continued patronage, I am very grateful for the work I am able to do, and humbled in the process of doing so.
(and unfortunately, currently I am experiencing phone issues, and won't have access to my phone again for at least 24 hours. If you've called recently and left a voicemail, I probably will not have access to it)
 

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I have been working my tail off trying to get caught back up- on refacing projects, MouthpieceCafe orders, and some contracted work for the Morgan Mouthpiece company as well. It's not easy in a one-man shop, trying to keep up with everything while digging yourself out of a massive hole. I know there have been some pieces and orders that have slipped through the cracks, and that have been here in my shop for ENTIRELY too long, and I am trying to rectify that. But everything is still here, even if it's been here far too long, and I want to get it back to you with the quality of workmanship and service that you've come to expect from me.
This is just a suggestion, since I don't know scope of the backlog or the work requirements involved, but another option for digging yourself out would be to return some unworked-on pieces immediately, with a refund. Some customers might prefer that to an indefinite wait. And it could help you to reduce your to-do list to a reasonable length.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Brasscane, I don't recognize you by your SOTW handle, so I would ask you to shoot me another email or a message on Facebook messenger, and I will try to get back with you right away
Great - thanks! I have sent you an email.

Addendum: I have emailed the mouthpiece guy address and called again, but still no response. I am not on Facebook. Do you have another email address you want me to use?
 

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Brian, Glad life is getting better for you! Sorry to hear about the rough patch. I'd like to share my review of Brian's Mouthpiece Cafe House Blend Tenor 7* here. It's marvelous and Brian expedited it to me so that I could compare it with others being trialed. So, at least in my experience, Brian has been reasonably responsive and on top of orders. "I can't say enough about the MC House Blend. I have been a metal player for 40 years, but the HB has convinced me that an HR piece can be every bit as alive as metal. The HB bested 6 other HRs and if nothing else will be my #1 backup. That being said, I like it better than my current metal and it could move to #1 for recording and performance. Brian's reputation is well-deserved. He and Erik have created something very special. The HB is incredibly balanced, warm, full, open, and playable throughout the range, including altissimo, and it's reed friendly. Bravo! And thanks to Karen and Richard of MC for their help as well. I recommend a Leblanc Bonade ligature or a Rovner C2R as many other ligs don't fit well."
 

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Does anyone have a recent reface from Brian? If so what has been the typical turnaround time? I sent my Link off about 9wks ago and no word yet. I can see that Brian is online on Facebook quite a bit but no responses to my query. I'm sure he's busy so I'll give him a couple more weeks and give him a call.
 

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I had 3 alto mpc's worked on by Brian...he told me that he was very busy, that it might take him awhile with the mpc's. Being very busy is a good thing, I told him no problema, and that I would wait for the mpc's to come back when he was finished with them. When I got them back they were smokin'...he did to them exactly what I wanted him to do. It's a wait, but well worth it....He's a cool, good and honest person!
 

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I had 3 alto mpc's worked on by Brian...he told me that he was very busy, that it might take him awhile with the mpc's. Being very busy is a good thing, I told him no problema, and that I would wait for the mpc's to come back when he was finished with them. When I got them back they were smokin'...he did to them exactly what I wanted him to do. It's a wait, but well worth it....He's a cool, good and honest person!
Yes if you’ve got 6 months to wait.
I’d go to Phil these days as his work is second to none and he is far far more timely.
Answers emails too.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Speaking of rough patches, they are very hard on your teeth and should not be used on hard rubber or metal mouthpieces. Do your mouth a favor and get some smooth ones.
 

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Hey B Flat - Which Phil are you talking about? I'll give Brian another month or so and then request a refund and return and go with another refacer. The reface is pretty straight forward so there should be a few out there that can accomplish what I'm looking for.
 

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Hey B Flat - Which Phil are you talking about? I'll give Brian another month or so and then request a refund and return and go with another refacer. The reface is pretty straight forward so there should be a few out there that can accomplish what I'm looking for.
Phil Tone.
Or should I say Phil Engelman from Phil tone mouthpieces.
 

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Has anyone been able to reach him recently? I’ve had pieces with him now for over 5 months and haven’t heard a word, in fact I sent him two more pieces and never even got confirmation that he received them safely.... it’d just be nice to know that they got there safe let alone if he’s made progress on the work
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Has anyone been able to reach him recently? I’ve had pieces with him now for over 5 months and haven’t heard a word, in fact I sent him two more pieces and never even got confirmation that he received them safely.... it’d just be nice to know that they got there safe let alone if he’s made progress on the work
I received my piece back expertly refaced. My impression is that he simply is hunkered down with his work and uncomfortable with by being behind. I agree with your sentiment but consider it likely that your pieces are safe.
 

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I received my piece back expertly refaced. My impression is that he simply is hunkered down with his work and uncomfortable with by being behind. I agree with your sentiment but consider it likely that your pieces are safe.
Thanks brasscane. How long did yours take from start to finish (when it was returned to you)?
 
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