Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 91 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a new low A bari from a well-known and highly respected dealer and SOTW member. The sax was shipped from the dealer’s shop hundreds of miles away. I am confident that it arrived in the same condition as when it was shipped.

A major aspect of this dealer’s reputation is the professional set-up that all instruments get before being shipped. I was surprised, then, to find that the none of the felt bumpers on the low A, Bb, and B keys touched the keys at all. When those keys are released they fly open and bounce a few times, because the bumpers appear to have been radically shortened. The keys never touch the bumpers. The A-key bumper is essentially not there, as it is about flush with the underside of the key guard (see photo below). The other two bumpers actually extend below the bottom of the key guards, but not enough to engage the keys and dampen the keys’ movement. The bumpers are screwed fully in.

CD9AD25C-A149-42DC-95E4-ED92BF1EFF23.jpeg

I find it difficult to believe that this sax was set up with anything approaching care. I would understand if there was a reason to set these keys high, but I believe that the bumper should still serve to dampen the movement of the key, so it comes to a quick stop rather than bouncing to a stop. If this obvious issue was overlooked, what confidence should I have in the rest of the set-up?

My question for SOTW members is, am I correct in viewing this as a botched set-up? Is there any legitimate reason to ship a brand-new sax with bumpers in this condition when professional set-up is part of the sales pitch (or even if it isn’t)?

I emailed the dealer this morning, but have not received a reply. I plan to wait for an explanation and solution from him before revealing his name. This is due to his great reputation, and to the fact that I can envision an acceptable resolution being offered. I am just looking for assurance that my opinion of this issue is reasonable.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,245 Posts
As to your confidence regarding the rest of the setup, how does it play?

Yes, the bumpers look wrong. Were the bell keys wedged shut when it was shipped? Might the bumpers have been damaged when the wedges were removed? Beyond that, it just looks wrong.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Yeah, someone definitely dropped the ball on that one. The bumpers are there for multiple reasons. One of which is to prevent key bouncing. They do look like they've been (as you stated) radically shortened as those felt bumpers do NOT just break off. You shouldn't have to take a brand new horn that was shipped to you with a "professional set-up" to have bell key bumpers changed out. Then again, if that's the only issue you have with the horn, I'd say you're lucky!
Hopefully they'll have an explanation and perhaps take care of your cost to get them replaced......which shouldn't be more than I'd wager $30 or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As to your confidence regarding the rest of the setup, how does it play?

Yes, the bumpers look wrong. Were the bell keys wedged shut when it was shipped? Might the bumpers have been damaged when the wedges were removed? Beyond that, it just looks wrong.
I received the sax at work late Wednesday, and noticed this when I unpacked it the next day (yesterday). I immediately emailed the dealer. I have not yet even tried to play it (not feasible at work) and won’t get it home until tomorrow to play. However, I can’t imagine that it is regulated correctly, much less “professionally,” with the bell key heights all over the place. I think that this is not what I paid for. I would not be so surprised to find this on a cheap eBay sax, but I am surprised that a reputable dealer let this out the door.

The bell keys were wedged with blocks of foam. Removing them (to the edge of the key, not across the key and through the felt) did not damage the bumpers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, someone definitely dropped the ball on that one. The bumpers are there for multiple reasons. One of which is to prevent key bouncing. They do look like they've been (as you stated) radically shortened as those felt bumpers do NOT just break off. You shouldn't have to take a brand new horn that was shipped to you with a "professional set-up" to have bell key bumpers changed out. Then again, if that's the only issue you have with the horn, I'd say you're lucky!
Hopefully they'll have an explanation and perhaps take care of your cost to get them replaced......which shouldn't be more than I'd wager $30 or so.
While it would be nice if the bumpers were the only problem, getting them right will be neither easy nor inexpensive. Since the death of the only good tech in my small-ish town, I will have to find someone new to do any work. The closest would be about an hour away, and it may be more like 2.5 hours. It would involve two trips, most likely, which would mean missing work on two days. Will the dealer compensate me for my time, missed wages, and mileage? (The answer is certainly “no.”)

I don’t mind taking my saxes that far for annual adjustments and service, or for repair to damage that occurs during use. This is an entirely different kettle of fish, with a brand-new sax and a promise of proper set-up.

Plus, I would be taking a leap of faith that the work done elsewhere would be up to the standards I expected from the dealer. If not, will the dealer be likely to pay for follow up work? (A: “No.”) And, while $30 might be reasonable for replacing three bumpers, I suspect that the rest of the set-up was done with the same level of attention as the bumpers, and that there may be more work to be done. Is the dealer likely to pay for that (A: “Who knows?”)

The professional set-up of instruments from this dealer is a major selling point for them. It is also widely praised here on SOTW. It is the reason I was comfortable ordering an instrument from so far away. Now I have thousands less in my bank account and a sax that, as far as I can tell, has not been set up at all. I say that because I can’t imagine that a tech at a major dealer that relies on its set-ups to market its goods would otherwise set up a sax properly, but not see the issue with these bumpers. I saw it within a minute of opening the case, and I was not looking for it.

I await a reply from the dealer.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,245 Posts
I understand you not disclosing the dealer’s name so far, but could you please tell the brand of horn?

Dealer adjustments should be a different issue than installing bumpers - that’s a factory-level matter.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,665 Posts
While it would be nice if the bumpers were the only problem, getting them right will be neither easy nor inexpensive. Since the death of the only good tech in my small-ish town, I will have to find someone new to do any work. The closest would be about an hour away, and it may be more like 2.5 hours. It would involve two trips, most likely, which would mean missing work on two days. Will the dealer compensate me for my time, missed wages, and mileage? (The answer is certainly “no.”)

I don’t mind taking my saxes that far for annual adjustments and service, or for repair to damage that occurs during use. This is an entirely different kettle of fish, with a brand-new sax and a promise of proper set-up.

Plus, I would be taking a leap of faith that the work done elsewhere would be up to the standards I expected from the dealer. If not, will the dealer be likely to pay for follow up work? (A: “No.”) And, while $30 might be reasonable for replacing three bumpers, I suspect that the rest of the set-up was done with the same level of attention as the bumpers, and that there may be more work to be done. Is the dealer likely to pay for that (A: “Who knows?”)

The professional set-up of instruments from this dealer is a major selling point for them. It is also widely praised here on SOTW. It is the reason I was comfortable ordering an instrument from so far away. Now I have thousands less in my bank account and a sax that, as far as I can tell, has not been set up at all. I say that because I can’t imagine that a tech at a major dealer that relies on its set-ups to market its goods would otherwise set up a sax properly, but not see the issue with these bumpers. I saw it within a minute of opening the case, and I was not looking for it.

I await a reply from the dealer.
May I say something, here ? And I do not mean to be persnickety, because I agree that generally speaking you are in the right and the seller is in the wrong.

The question has been posed on this thread already and it is a BIG one: besides the bumper situation, how does the horn play ? Does it speak well up and down ? How is the intonation (note it may be off low C and below due to the keyheights of the bell keys, but if intonation is good down to low D then likely intonation is good). How does the action feel ? Etc.
I know you said you haven't played it yet. You received the sax Wednesday at your work location, didn't bring it home to unpack. You unpacked it at work Thursday but left it at work Thursday.

So at the moment all you are going on is that you visibly noticed the bumper felts are not correct. And you are running with that ball and assuming this must be indicative of more serious oversights.

It may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that because someone may have botched (or simply forgotten) some bumper felts, the sax is 'not set up at all' and there are obviously MORE issues with the horn than that. Maybe, maybe not.

Regarding the difficulty and inconvenience of having some new felts installed and keyheights set...it appears Junction City has a repair shop at Glenn's Music (25 miles away from you). Even a mediocre tech can do a bang up job installing some felts on a keyguard, and this might take 15 minutes if the tech checks keyheights for intonation after installing the felts.

Then you complain that it would be a 'leap of faith' that an independent professional tech could do as good a job at professional set up as the dealer. I would argue the opposite, actually. I would say there's a good chance an independent professional tech would do as good or better a job as a dealer's tech. Yes there are good and bad instrument repair people, just like there are good and bad set-up techs who contract with sax dealers....

Also, you are assuming the dealer will NOT reimburse you for that work. I would think MOST sellers actually would GLADLY reimburse for that.

Do you see what I am saying here ? You are being a bit panicked, IMHO. Your assumptions are automatically going 'worst case scenario' when in fact this might just be a simple 'oops' by the seller's tech...one which may well be easily and inexpensively rectified and reimbursed.

Also, keep in mind if payment method has buyer protections built in (credit card dispute route or paypal dispute route, etc), not to mention return possibility, then really you do have the leverage to make it right.

I am not belittling your situation, mind you; I would be pissed, too, particularly if the seller used his 'professional setup' as a significant marketing hook. I am just saying I think you may be, given the info provided here, over-reacting a bit to a situation which, yeah, is annoying, but relatively easily rectifiable, likely reimbursable, and in the end not necessarily all that horrible.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,891 Posts
Replacing felt bumpers? You're going to drive to another town and spend money to have someone do that for you? Or you could order them from Music Medic, get 'em in two days and glue them in yourself... for what... maybe a couple bucks. Then send the bill to the dealer...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,665 Posts
I understand you not disclosing the dealer’s name so far, but could you please tell the brand of horn?

Dealer adjustments should be a different issue than installing bumpers - that’s a factory-level matter.
But the OP has a valid point in that a 'pro set-up' as provided by the dealer should have caught those bumpers and rectified 'em. That is the point of ballyhooed 'setups' which dealers provide on new horns....find the issues present on the factory horn and dial everything in. So OP is correct, 'dealer adjustment' should have caught those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is a dealer brand. Indicating the brand will identify the dealer. And while I agree that installing bumpers is on the factory, the dealer makes a big deal of the thoroughness of their set-up, which should include catching problems from the factory.

I do plan to verify the dealer's name, hopefully with a glowing report about how he got back to me today and offered a mutually acceptable solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
May I say something, here ? And I do not mean to be persnickety, because I agree that generally speaking you are in the right and the seller is in the wrong.

The question has been posed on this thread already and it is a BIG one: besides the bumper situation, how does the horn play ? Does it speak well up and down ? How is the intonation (note it may be off low C and below due to the keyheights of the bell keys, but if intonation is good down to low D then likely intonation is good). How does the action feel ? Etc.
I know you said you haven't played it yet. You received the sax Wednesday at your work location, didn't bring it home to unpack. You unpacked it at work Thursday but left it at work Thursday.

So at the moment all you are going on is that you visibly noticed the bumper felts are not correct. And you are running with that ball and assuming this must be indicative of more serious oversights.

It may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that because someone may have botched (or simply forgotten) some bumper felts, the sax is 'not set up at all' and there are obviously MORE issues with the horn than that. Maybe, maybe not.

Regarding the difficulty and inconvenience of having some new felts installed and keyheights set...it appears Junction City has a repair shop at Glenn's Music (25 miles away from you). Even a mediocre tech can do a bang up job installing some felts on a keyguard, and this might take 15 minutes if the tech checks keyheights for intonation after installing the felts.

Then you complain that it would be a 'leap of faith' that an independent professional tech could do as good a job at professional set up as the dealer. I would argue the opposite, actually. I would say there's a good chance an independent professional tech would do as good or better a job as a dealer's tech. Yes there are good and bad instrument repair people, just like there are good and bad set-up techs who contract with sax dealers....

Also, you are assuming the dealer will NOT reimburse you for that work. I would think MOST sellers actually would GLADLY reimburse for that.

Do you see what I am saying here ? You are being a bit panicked, IMHO. Your assumptions are automatically going 'worst case scenario' when in fact this might just be a simple 'oops' by the seller's tech...one which may well be easily and inexpensively rectified and reimbursed.

Also, keep in mind if payment method has buyer protections built in (credit card dispute route or paypal dispute route, etc), not to mention return possibility, then really you do have the leverage to make it right.

I am not belittling your situation, mind you; I would be pissed, too, particularly if the seller used his 'professional setup' as a significant marketing hook. I am just saying I think you may be, given the info provided here, over-reacting a bit to a situation which, yeah, is annoying, but relatively easily rectifiable, likely reimbursable, and in the end not necessarily all that horrible.
I mostly disagree with this. If the tech botched something so obvious, what reason is there to believe that they went over the horn with the required level of care and meticulousness? If you didn't get the little things right, why should I trust that you got the important things right?

It's not even a question of competence per se... more a question of diligence and care/level of attention. Maybe the horn is still fine, but it's not such a stretch to be concerned that there may be bigger issues involved. For instance, the OP also mentioned the discrepancies in bell key heights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
May I say something, here ? And I do not mean to be persnickety, because I agree that generally speaking you are in the right and the seller is in the wrong.

The question has been posed on this thread already and it is a BIG one: besides the bumper situation, how does the horn play ? Does it speak well up and down ? How is the intonation (note it may be off low C and below due to the keyheights of the bell keys, but if intonation is good down to low D then likely intonation is good). How does the action feel ? Etc.
I know you said you haven't played it yet. You received the sax Wednesday at your work location, didn't bring it home to unpack. You unpacked it at work Thursday but left it at work Thursday.

So at the moment all you are going on is that you visibly noticed the bumper felts are not correct. And you are running with that ball and assuming this must be indicative of more serious oversights.

It may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that because someone may have botched (or simply forgotten) some bumper felts, the sax is 'not set up at all' and there are obviously MORE issues with the horn than that. Maybe, maybe not.

Regarding the difficulty and inconvenience of having some new felts installed and keyheights set...it appears Junction City has a repair shop at Glenn's Music (25 miles away from you). Even a mediocre tech can do a bang up job installing some felts on a keyguard, and this might take 15 minutes if the tech checks keyheights for intonation after installing the felts.

Then you complain that it would be a 'leap of faith' that an independent professional tech could do as good a job at professional set up as the dealer. I would argue the opposite, actually. I would say there's a good chance an independent professional tech would do as good or better a job as a dealer's tech. Yes there are good and bad instrument repair people, just like there are good and bad set-up techs who contract with sax dealers....

Also, you are assuming the dealer will NOT reimburse you for that work. I would think MOST sellers actually would GLADLY reimburse for that.

Do you see what I am saying here ? You are being a bit panicked, IMHO. Your assumptions are automatically going 'worst case scenario' when in fact this might just be a simple 'oops' by the seller's tech...one which may well be easily and inexpensively rectified and reimbursed.

Also, keep in mind if payment method has buyer protections built in (credit card dispute route or paypal dispute route, etc), not to mention return possibility, then really you do have the leverage to make it right.

I am not belittling your situation, mind you; I would be pissed, too, particularly if the seller used his 'professional setup' as a significant marketing hook. I am just saying I think you may be, given the info provided here, over-reacting a bit to a situation which, yeah, is annoying, but relatively easily rectifiable, likely reimbursable, and in the end not necessarily all that horrible.
I appreciate everything you say, and in fact my initial purpose here was simply to check that the condition of these bumpers was indeed unacceptable. My failure to take it home is due to work factors that are beyond the scope of this discussion, and largely irrelevant. I will be playing the sax this weekend and see how it goes. I hope that it plays great.

I do not want to drag Glenn's music into this, and in fact they have a store here in Manhattan. However, they specialize in guitars, drums and school band instruments. I have yet to meet a serious player who would take their wind instrument to Glenn's for work. I once took an inexpensive sax to Glenn's for some work, and was told to take it back to where I bought it. Until he died, the retired tech from the university's music department was the go-to guy in town, but of course no more.
I have asked on local social media for recommendations for techs, and nobody mentions Glenn's unless it is for a horn being rented from them.

Also, please note that the felts were not forgotten. They are there. They are simply not all there! I can't believe that a factory, with what I have to assume would be a big box of new bumpers, would put these on a sax instead of the proper ones, which would be right there to put on. So, how would a new sax's bumpers get into this condition of damage? It just does not instill confidence in the instrument.

Thanks for your reasoned comments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Replacing felt bumpers? You're going to drive to another town and spend money to have someone do that for you? Or you could order them from Music Medic, get 'em in two days and glue them in yourself... for what... maybe a couple bucks. Then send the bill to the dealer...
Sure, installing new bumpers would be child’s play. I am no tech, but reading in Stephen Howard’s Sax Manual, he warns that other keys may need regulation when the bell key heights are adjusted, such as when replacing felt bumpers. I am not going to be responsible for such regulation on a new horn that was promised to be so regulated upon delivery.

There is a principle here, and perhaps some would just swallow and make the best of things, but this dealer has made a reputation based on customer service. Let’s see what happens.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,245 Posts
But the OP has a valid point in that a 'pro set-up' as provided by the dealer should have caught those bumpers and rectified 'em. That is the point of ballyhooed 'setups' which dealers provide on new horns....find the issues present on the factory horn and dial everything in. So OP is correct, 'dealer adjustment' should have caught those.
No argument with this. Some brands are better known for factory setups, others depend on distributor setups (J-K used to do this for the U.S.), and yet others rely on dealers to step up.

That's why I ask "What is the brand of the horn?".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I mostly disagree with this. If the tech botched something so obvious, what reason is there to believe that they went over the horn with the required level of care and meticulousness? If you didn't get the little things right, why should I trust that you got the important things right?
Exactly my thinking. Of course, the dealer did not conduct the set-up himself, and I expect that he will do the right thing, whatever that turns out to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,723 Posts
Sure, installing new bumpers would be child’s play. I am no tech, but reading in Stephen Howard’s Sax Manual, he warns that other keys may need regulation when the bell key heights are adjusted, such as when replacing felt bumpers. I am not going to be responsible for such regulation on a new horn that was promised to be so regulated upon delivery.

There is a principle here, and perhaps some would just swallow and make the best of things, but this dealer has made a reputation based on customer service. Let’s see what happens.
If it plays in tune the way it is, then put the bumpers on so that they just about match the current opening of the keys. And I am sure it will all be resolved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
If it were me, I would just send it back (at their cost) and have them either properly set up this horn or send me an identical horn that has been properly set up. If, as stated, a "professional set-up" is a fundamental pitch of their sales/marketing to customers, customers should receive a horn that has been "professionally set up." This is not an eBay sale by some random individual. It should not be on the customer to worry about finding a tech, or buying materials and doing installations and adjustments, etc. The horn should get to the customer in substantially the same condition promised.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,245 Posts
Exactly my thinking. Of course, the dealer did not conduct the set-up himself, and I expect that he will do the right thing, whatever that turns out to be.
Again, without revealing the dealer, could you copy and paste the text from the dealer website regarding how they claim to set up the horn? Or do they just say that it is play-tested prior to shipping to ensure functionality?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
I have bought two new horns from a dealer who makes the claims the OP received. As a result, I have recalibrated my expectations.

I'm sorry for your experience. If your dealer was my dealer, and I suspect it may be, they WILL do backflips to make it right for you, despite your initial disappointment.
 
1 - 20 of 91 Posts
Top