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I went around the block several times with Lance, where he would promise to finish my horn by a certain date. Every date passed with no word, nor completion, till finally I just couldn't take it any more. The fiasco went on for years. I did not get raped as hard as Gilson! I actually lucked out. Seems that Lance paid a whole lot of attention to Gilson's horn, and it shows all the worse for it. I believe he put my horn on a high shelf for years and paid no attention, and the horn survived! In 3 years, he was unable to complete his Deluxe Pinky Table (not the Selmer style). When I discovered that his Selmer-style mod was really an open-ended research project, and after him keeping my horn for a couple of years, I canceled the Selmer-style mod, and retreated to the Deluxe mod, which he has actually done for people. After another 9 months, I pulled the plug. I got my horn back unfinished, but not butchered. We agreed that he would save and return my old parts, but he kept them. Not cool, nor trustworthy.

I know of at least one more person with a horn in Lance's possession, and this person is getting very worried. At some point the police need to become involved.
 

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The only thing the cops could really do is to be aware of the situation with prior notice of your coming to town, a serial number and a written copy of your demand for your property. They could possibly accompany the parties to Lance's door to take back their horns that he is Bogarting. If you still have a horn in his possession, demand it back, pronto, regardless of the level of completion. Cut your losses! In my case, upon demand, he sent the horn to me.

Regarding the Ponzi scheme idea, Lance often quotes ridiculously low prices for work, so low that you might think it should take 5 years to complete. Hence, the ever-increasing backlog. Each new payment goes to expenses, and the horn goes on the shelf.
 

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Everyone is trying to think of a way file lawsuits, or claims against LOB, and all the solutions are too dicey or expensive to really implement. There is one thing that may be an Achilles' Heel: does he have a business license, and it is legal for him to repair horns. Does he pay business taxes in his town, county, state or Federal? Speaking of Al Capone... it was his failure to pay taxes on income that brought him down. Someone could inquire about his business license-- it's public record. The question is, who has the time and the burning desire to follow this up? It would help if they lived nearby.
 

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All forms of violence and retribution suck. They only make a bad situation worse. All I want is for the people who have horns in his closet to get them back, pronto, in the best condition possible. Do no more harm. All I want for myself would be my Martin Magna pinky table parts back, as he promised, AND the neck screw he left off.
 

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I am going to write to LOB one last time. I will ask him to send me my stock Martin Magna pinky table parts (Martin geeks know what I'm talking about; that long G# key roller) and the neck screw. It will be my final test of his ability to identify which parts belong to which horn he worked on, as well as a test of his honor to keep his word. I shall phrase it exactly like this, as a challenge to his honor.

I had already written him off in my account book of life, but this thread has inspired me to try one last time. Will keep you posted of his reply. I will also direct him to this thread, although I am certain he is already reading it.

At some point, we, the aggrieved, will have to get some therapy and move on with our lives. No matter how much he raped your horn, it's still just a horn made of brass and not like a genocide of human life. Jesus says that forgiveness, deserved or not, is the only thing that will save us, personally, from the soul-poison of resentment that never ends. Were I not an atheist, I would say that LOB has a special place in Hell, but nooo, the Hell he makes is right here on earth where he lives every day and reaps the whirlwind of his own actions. His business will wither and die, and he will do some menial work to pay his rent and eat food, all the while dreaming of saxophone-making glory as he ages. There is justice, whether you administer it or not. There is redemption, always available in every person's life, should they decide to turn around and seize it, no matter how badly a dude has sunk.

I want this Dealer Evaluation section of SOTW to note that i have never spoken cruelly nor derisively of this deeply flawed man, LOB, and have always hoped for the best for him, and I regret the horrid squandering of his visionary talent and mechanical expertise.
 

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As promised, here is my challenge to Lance:

<Hey Lance, I hope all is well with you. There is a gnarly thread on SOTW that has gone on to 6 pages as of today. Seems like many people are pissed off at you and your business practices. Some of the posts are full of resentment and even hatred. My posts give you the benefit of the doubt, and offer redemption should you care to make things right.

I am issuing a challenge, based upon your ability to keep your word and honor, and to find out whether you can identify which parts came from which horn. Some posters imply that you let parts from one horn mix on the table to parts from others.

Send to me now, my Martin Magna stock alto pinky table parts which you agreed to save and return, AND my neck screw which was not returned with the horn. It's very simple. I am going to simply report to SOTW whether you were able to do this, or not, without prejudice. I would be glad to pay the postage, and will immediately reimburse your PayPal account upon receipt.

Thank you, Walter

Walter Webb
160 Redbud Way
Nevada City, CA 95959
 

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Walter, I'm curious as to the timeline on your horn. When did you send it to him and when did you finally get it back? I ask because I originally contacted him about getting the Vintage LH table in the Spring of 2010 and sent the keys to him in early July. Was your horn still in his possession at that time and could you clarify if he actually completed any part of the Deluxe table?
So, JazzIsAll, at the risk of further brain damage from thinking about this too much, my time line is available for you to read near the end of the Dealer Evaluations/United States sticky called "Lance Burton won't return our horns" here on SOTW. Your point is well-taken that his Deluxe pinky table mod should have been routine by then. Others had this mod before me, and he was offering it on Ebay at the time. It looked really good, and I went for it. Now, I think that the Magna pinky table in stock form is awesome, among the best ever designed, and I was chasing rainbows like a fool riding an imaginary unicorn. Oops, poor me. All told, he kept my horn for 2 years and 3 months.

In Sacramento, CA and the SF Bay area, horn mechanics are able to finish even challenging modifications, not to mention rebuilds on top of that, within 3 months. They allocate their professional time and live within business realities that Lance seems to be unaware of.

Get this: Lance advertises a low B and Bb roller mod for the tips of the lower arms of 1920's split bell saxes, and it looks really good. I am in love with my Holton Rudy Wiedoeft C Melody sax from 1926 (the first sax to have both bell keys on the left side), and have already given it a modern oval G# key. Rollers made of circular metal, well-lubricated, make long arms actuate fast and clean. My Yamaha YBS 62 has rollers all over the place where long arms terminate with a short arm. Bad action is the plague of 1920s horns. Who else has thought of this, and made the parts to make it happen? I am thinking of ordering the parts and having my own guy install them. Yes, I know. "What you are thinking?" I still feel that Lance is brilliant, but unable to run his business. I give him credit, but want to kick his *** at the same time.
 

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I want to wipe the slate clean for just a single post and report my recent interaction with Lance. I wrote to him, as promised, and asked for him to return my cut-off Magna alto pinky table parts, along with the missing neck screw. (His latest pinky table mod is very different from the one I got back 85% finished, and if I hung around with Lance thru this evolution, we would be well into year three.) He sent them to me Priority Mail and wouldn't accept my offer of paying for shipping. I don't agree with Lance about the time line of my repair, and why I had to pull the plug after more than 2 years, but he maintains that his style of business requires a suspension of the usual expectations, like, WHEN will it be done??! My situation is rather minor compared to some others, in that my horn languished on the shelf for months, untouched, and even disappeared for a while, out-of-sight-out-of-mind. I have no idea how ConnHunter can resolve what looks like the wrecking of his horn, and I don't have the stomach to research all the ins and outs of who said what when, and why the Hell it came back like it did. Something is just not right with the number of people who are dissatisfied. Bottom line, he takes years to do the job, without the customer knowing. If you pull the plug, you get back whatever was laying on the bench, or put back into the case for later work, in whatever shape it was.
 

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Only because I am off work today, sick, and not because I am obsessed, NOT, NOT obsessed I tell you, I just sifted thru about 12 of Lance's 47 pages of Ebay feedback. He has 100% positive feedback over 23 sales in the last 12 months. I seems safe to purchase his ready-made products that he sends to the customer to be installed by their own tech. Sellers on Ebay are very sensitive about their feedback, and this built-in accountability keeps them legit, or they go down the drain.

Sending Lance your horn seems risky, based upon widespread reports of dissatisfaction from those who tried it. Around here, in Sacramento, CA, very time I get a horn worked on, my tech tells me a reliable quote of the price and time within a week or two, to expect completion. If something changes, they call and explain why. Besides, I can just drive over there and look at it!

Lance operates under the assumption that he is doing fine art and design along with routine work, and this gives him the license to spend years on a job. Every time Lance gave me a window of completion, the deadline passed, and I felt I was being led down the garden path of smoke and mirrors. If he had told me up front it would take 12 months to partially complete his Deluxe LH table mod, I would never have signed up. I am sure he is aware of that, and soft-pedals the reality of it. Unfortunately, the customer's head tends to explode at some point, and what amounts to a divorce proceeding complete with a custody dispute erupts. http://www.ebay.com/sch/solutionremarketing/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25&_trksid=p3692
 
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