Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 76 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been contacting some local tech's as I want to have my Alto repadded with roo pads. I got my first response this morning:
"A complete overhaul is $1,500 plus parts. This would entail straightening the body,
removal of any dents, leveling tone holes, tightening mechanism, replacement of rods
if necessary, replacement of necessary springs, replacement of all key corks/felts
and pads."

Is $1500 the going rate? Not only that, but I have to order the pads/reso's I want from musicmedic and pay for those as well. I'm not going to name the company, but it comes highly regarded in my area, but it still seems like alot of cash. When I had my Martin Indiana done 12 years ago it was only $550.

Thoughts?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,077 Posts
"Thoughts? "

Yeah ... bwahahahahahahaaa ... hoo ... ship it away to any major city tech. .... or just buy a new sax.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should mention, the tech is a major city tech. He's located in Vancouver BC and is supposed to be the go to guy for sax work.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,665 Posts
well, as I often say, the cost of an " overhaul" (whatever that term means since its definition is not the same by many technicians) varies greatly and we have heard before that some shops such as Music Medic may charge similar amounts to the one that you quote for some very special work......... .

In my part of the world I've never heard of such high prices, but then again it all depends what we mean by " overhaul" . Many great technicians here on SOTW have been previously defining what they mean by that and gave some price indications , I cannot remember many examples of that magnitude.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Initially it sounds pretty steep but not completely out of sight. Every shop defines "repad" and "overhaul" differently. Fortunately you can do quite a lot of comparison shopping online and get some idea of the going rate. And of course you'll pay more for a tech with a big reputation. I'm having a "repad" done in a month or two (on a waiting list) on both of my tenors. That includes chemical cleaning, leveling tone holes, replacing (surprise!) all pads including my choice of resonators, straightening all rods, replacing every single adjustment and silencing material (teflon, corks, felts, etc.), and a few days playing, adjusting, and generally tweaking the horn to get it "settled in" after all the changes. For that the cost from my tech is in the neighborhood of $600 per horn. A complete "overhaul" includes all of the stuff that goes with a repad plus dent work, soldering, and any fabrication and key work that is necessary to get the horn up to top notch playing condition. The overhaul is around $1,100. The prices vary depending on the the needs of the horn as each horn will require differing amounts of time, material and labor to bring up to full speed. So if you're guy is really top notch and has a good reputation then $1,500 is probably not too far out of line. Like any mechanical item, there is always the issue of whether or not it is worth fixing or if it is time to cut my losses and get a new(er) one. I've had both my tenors for over twenty years and I'm keeping 'em, but if I was spending $1,500 apiece on them I might have second thoughts about at least one of them. Good luck!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Tech/Forum Contributor 2007
Joined
·
984 Posts
is this for one of your yamaha's? which horn and what all is being done? i would not think a 5 to 10 year old yamaha would need a respring or new rods made. has the horn been damaged and is it bent?

as said before, different people charge different amounts, but that is more than tenor madness charges on full restoration so that would put it on the high side. i know in my part of the world a good overhaul is in the 800 to 1000 ballpark depending on what the horn needs etc...

it is possible that the guy does fantastic work, i would ask to play some horns that he has done.... see if the setup is masterful. i would also ask how many shop hours he has in the overhaul and ask him why he charges so much more than the going rate. . a friend of mine charges 1500 for his flute overhauls, but he has 40 to 50 hours into them and the instruments play flawlessly when he is done. best money i ever spent on a flute.

also you might find someone who will do a terrible job for much less than that and in the end you'll wind up wishing you had gone to him. talk to the guy and he should be willing to answer your questions. it is possible that he is the only good game in town and is crazy busy and can charge that due to his work load.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
Joined
·
2,460 Posts
an alto for $1500????? That is 2 to 2.5x what it should be unless they are going to strip it and gold plate it.

don't do it.... here on sow I have used / am using graysax. He does good work for reasonable rates. If you were here in Norcal I would send you over to Gabe Eaton who does good work and his rates are about half of what you were quoted.

So rebuild should include, disassembly, pad removal, cleaning, minor dent work, polishing, re-pading, re-corking, and swaging the rods to eliminate clanks and rattles. Adjusting mechanics to set intonation. major dent work and straightening tubes are likely to be extra.
 

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,650 Posts
I'm not a gung-ho free-market-capitalist kind of guy (more of a commie pinko, if I have to choose), but prices are determined by market value, and what it's worth to take on a job. If the merchant gets it wrong, s/he goes out of business. No matter how one or another person feels about it, the ultimate arbiter of right/wrong pricing is the survival of the business; although, for sure, chatter is one thing that influences whether the business's pricing turns out to have been correctly figured.

I know of one jiu-jitsu blackbelt who advertises his 1 hr private lessons at $1500. It's not that he actually expects to get that, it's that the value of advertising at that price (the controversy it creates, and the publicity) and the fact that he really doesn't care about giving private lessons, makes it a clever & self-justifying publicly advertised pricing.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
smonk-
I feel we are missing some data here to be able to comment on your thread. What did the tech quote for, precisely, in terms of workmanship on the horn?

I will just say that if no metalwork is involved, even with new springs, it seems very high....! unless this is an "expedited" rate, ie you'd get the horn back in a few days'.
As suggested above, if you have no alternative in your area, do a search on the Forum; I'd say it's worth shipping your horn back and forth anywhere in the US... but then you'd have to factor in the Canadian customs on the way back as well (better cross the border and get it back from a friend in WA).

Else.... consider changing horns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I contacted him asking how mcuh it would cost to put in roo pads and new reso's. He emailed me back with the quote:
"A complete overhaul is $1,500 plus parts. This would entail straightening the body,
removal of any dents, leveling tone holes, tightening mechanism, replacement of rods
if necessary, replacement of necessary springs, replacement of all key corks/felts
and pads."

I responded saying the horn was 10 yrs old and not in need of the things he listed, just new pads and the adjustments to the mechanism as required. His base price is $1200 and it will go up from there, depending on work required.
I have played on his horns and I do not doubt the quality of work (he comes highly recommended by many sax players in the pacific northwest) but I can't seem to figure out how he can charge that much and still ask me to buy the pads/reso's.
I received a quote from another store at $850 all inclusive, which still seems somewhat high.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
I have to agree with the others--that seems high, especially considering the pads are extra. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and I had my tenor done a year ago by a highly-regarded tech. It was about $950, all materials included. The top price I found in the city, by someone with a long waiting list, was $1,200.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
I paid 1000 for a top tech (on this forum) to take my Mark VI from a clanky player with a slightly crooked tube to a better than new grail of altos (and he supplied the Roos).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
5,049 Posts
...removal of any dents, leveling tone holes, tightening mechanism, replacement of rods if necessary, replacement of necessary springs...
My approach personally is that if a certain price is charged for a specific amount of work, because I figured that is what I need to charge so I can continue in this work, then a lower price is charged when less work is done.

For example, if I charge a certain amount for a repair that includes changing a certain number of springs, replacing/making some new rod screws and removing some dents, then a lower price is charged when this isn't needed but the rest is the same. It will also vary depending on the amount/time of work e.g. simply replacing a spring vs. having to make a new spring hole to fit a new spring.

Maybe some people can't bother to spend time/energy on this for whatever reason (AFAIK could be completely justified, I don't know) so just have a "regular" price and when certain things aren't needed, price is still the same.

This is all just IMO.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
It seems high to me, and I live in an expensive area. But the techs I work with won't give an exact quote until they see the horn, so since it sounds like he is doing this without seeing the horn, he may be covering himself for what he might find. It is easier to reduce the price if the job is simpler (you are happy that it only cost you $1100 instead of $1500) than it is to increase it if the job is harder (you will not like your expected $900 repair to cost you $1100). Having you buy the pads and resos seems a bit weird to me - I would think he would want to make sure he got the sizes he wanted - maybe he is trying to discourage you from using those pads.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,702 Posts
The description you give sounds like a repad, an overhaul is bringing the instrument back to a like new condition, this would entail laquering / plating / buffing solder work hinge manufacturing etc, if this is whats offered then the price is fair.

A repad however is fitting new pads/levelling tone holes/swedging mechanisms removing play in key work removing general dents re-felting and recorking all keys etc for this I charge 295 on an alto..345 for a tenor, I only take local repairs now, interstate or overseas not anymore, to much work, not enouigh hours in the day anymore
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011-2015
Joined
·
1,874 Posts
I just had a solid condition Yamaha YAS-23 repadded and it was around $300 including return shipping. The sax had sat in it's case for a long time but was otherwise in good condition. I was very pleased with the job.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
It is highly unusual for a skilled tech to give any type of firm estimate without seeing the instrument beforehand. When pressed for a quote in the shop I worked in we would usually respond that service usually starts around $XXX, but can go as high as $XXXX or more, depending on what the instrument needs. That said, I agree with artstove that you may be getting the high end that could possibly be charged for the work.

I may get flamed for saying this, but I believe that in some cases you can end up paying $400 - $500 more for an tech's name and reputation for work that is exactly the same quality as someone else who quietly does excellent work without a lot of advertising on the internet and beating his/her own drum. In many cases these techs who do the same top end work for hundreds less are well known locally, and get all the work they can handle by word of mouth so they don't need the fancy websites, etc. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better quality. On the other hand I think one should be wary of those who advertise to overhaul any saxophone for $XYZ sight unseen. There are just too many variables to take into account since every instrument is different. IMO these techs either lose money or cut corners to do all instruments for the same low cost.

Anyone who sends their instrument out of the area to have work done needs to be very, very, careful about checking the reputation of the tech they send it to beforehand. Over the years there have been lots of horror stories about unsuspecting sax players getting burned by dishonest and unethical repair techs.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
4,329 Posts
It is highly unusual for a skilled tech to give any type of firm estimate without seeing the instrument beforehand. When pressed for a quote in the shop I worked in we would usually respond that service usually starts around $XXX, but can go as high as $XXXX or more, depending on what the instrument needs. That said, I agree with artstove that you may be getting the high end that could possibly be charged for the work.

I may get flamed for saying this, but I believe that in some cases you can end up paying $400 - $500 more for an tech's name and reputation for work that is exactly the same quality as someone else who quietly does excellent work without a lot of advertising on the internet and beating his/her own drum. In many cases these techs who do the same top end work for hundreds less are well known locally, and get all the work they can handle by word of mouth so they don't need the fancy websites, etc. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better quality. On the other hand I think one should be wary of those who advertise to overhaul any saxophone for $XYZ sight unseen. There are just too many variables to take into account since every instrument is different. IMO these techs either lose money or cut corners to do all instruments for the same low cost.

Anyone who sends their instrument out of the area to have work done needs to be very, very, careful about checking the reputation of the tech they send it to beforehand. Over the years there have been lots of horror stories about unsuspecting sax players getting burned by dishonest and unethical repair techs.
I have to agree as well. There are hundred of guys who can repad a horn. I do my own repads, and do some work for a few members here, but I will be the first one to admit I cannot do a complete restoration on a horn. If someone has a horn in good mechanical shape (meaning they have a clue about the condition of their instrument). I do repads for a fairly inexpensive price. But I work at home, and do not have any store front to upkeep, so for me it only costs me my spare time and supply costs which are fairly cheap. I don't claim to be able to do everything, but I can do a nice repad and setup. Point being if a person has a horn that fits the bill, I can fairly confidently offer to do the job before seeing the horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,702 Posts
It is highly unusual for a skilled tech to give any type of firm estimate without seeing the instrument beforehand.
Well I must be one of the few then, I give estimates sight unseen all the time,on a repad the same work is required 99 percent of the time

It works for me, and we have no less than 6 repads going at any one time, (saxes/clarinets/flutes etc), I have two other repairers apart from myself working here as well..and we are growing daily. So Im always curious if we can do it why cant others.

We can strip / hand clean pads / ultrasonically clean sax bodys / supply up to 3 pads and re-assemble the instrument all lubricated and functioning smoothly for $55, and our cost of living is greater here than in the USA, Our $1 is on par as well with america, so in response I cant understand why you cannot do it...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Well I must be one of the few then, I give estimates sight unseen all the time,on a repad the same work is required 99 percent of the time

It works for me, and we have no less than 6 repads going at any one time, (saxes/clarinets/flutes etc), I have two other repairers apart from myself working here as well..and we are growing daily. So Im always curious if we can do it why cant others.

We can strip / hand clean pads / ultrasonically clean sax bodys / supply up to 3 pads and re-assemble the instrument all lubricated and functioning smoothly for $55, and our cost of living is greater here than in the USA, Our $1 is on par as well with america, so in response I cant understand why you cannot do it...
That seems like a pretty good deal Simso
I sometimes get a little cranky over the cost of instrument repair but at the same time I don't want to condemn a skilled craftsman doing honest work.
Here in the SF Bay Area we have really high living expenses. What's your rent like down under?
I had a clarinet done by the Hornfixer for around $120 and it needed another $30 of local tweaking so I got a complete repad for $150.
Anybody that's seen one of his videos knows he works really fast and he lives in Arkansas so rent is probably not to bad ;)
Another poster on this thread said his Tech spent something like 40 hours on a flute. I can't imagine that was all hands on time.
 
1 - 20 of 76 Posts
Top