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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering purchasing a clarinet from him, but I was wondering if anyone had dealt with him before?
 

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Absolutely. He is a great guy to talk with, very knowledgeable and professional. A damned fine saxophonist too.
 

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I've bought a horn, mouthpieces and a headjoint from Bob. He has a lot of experience and he knows his stuff. I would recommend him with no hesitation whatsoever.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great! I'll definitely purchase from him then. Thanks guys.
 

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I had many deals with Bob in the past that were fair and square. I quit talking to him years ago because of his hostility and his caustic insults directed toward me.
 

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I've been to his place in Joisey a couple of times. I bought a couple of vintage VI altos from him. Very nice horns. I thought that they were a little pricey at the time but then everything is pricey in the NYC area. Anyway, he was a nice enough cat to deal with and I'd usually spend the afternoon hanging out with him and checking out the horns in his personal collection. Back then (late '80s or early '90s) he lived on a dead end street and had the Garden State Parkway running practically through his back yard. He had a nice house though.
 

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I got a Conn 10M tenor from him, sight unseen and with a very, very quick turn-around in processing/shipping time. I was in the US on holiday from Germany and was leaving in three days and he sent me (in Texas) a superb Lady Face which arrived in time before I left. Packing was incredible. The price was right and it was an excellent horn. I got in some trouble for this comment a few years ago, but if one is not used to dealing with NE coast Yankees, you might want to orient yourself to that before you pick up the phone. Some might find him a bit too assertive and slick talking.
 

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He is a bit of a slick talker, he is a bit pricey, and caustic insults can be expected, depending on his mood. I don't always enjoy his company, though sometimes he's a great guy, and his wife is a fantastic singer and a really nice person. I have never heard of him being less than honest with his transactions, though. He's still at the same spot on that dead-end by the parkway!
 

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I guess I haven't lingered on the phone long enough to experience that side of Bob.:bluewink:

His approach is certainly no nonsense in a typically East Coast sort of way, but I'm of that mindset and pace myself.
 

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He ripped me off, defamed me and has done so to a number of people I have met. He got a mention in my Saxophone Buyer's Guide along with Kellogg Johnson -- not a good mention. He has sold on more than one occasion horns that he has sawed length off the end of. Super Caveat emptor.
 

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He presented a clinic at IAJE at its last pre-mortem NYC convention, focusing on the "real sound" of the saxophone (in other words, unamplified, natural, God-ordained sound...). It was within in the context of vintage horns and mouthpieces and whatnot, and it was enjoyable, very opinionated, innocuous, and he sounded great. Jody Espina ("Jody Jazz" mouthpieces) was there as well (and *also* sounded GREAT), and he visibly grimaced every time Ackerman said something along the lines of "Rovners are Satan-spawn -- they kill the sound of the mouthpiece and are an Abomination Unto God..." (Jody Jazz pieces shipped with Rovners at the time.)

Isn't he also semi-notorious for being, according to legend, the guy that made Jon Van Wie stop "signing" his pieces, since JVW would hone his pieces to perfection and then sign then -- and would later discover that Ackerman enacted his own "post-perfection" tweaks on the pieces?
 

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Bob's place was the center of the universe for vintage equipment seekers back in 1990s. You wanted to pick from the cream of the crop, you didn't go to Manhattan, you went to Bob, and he had 20-30 5 digit tenors to chose from at any given back in his pre Ebay heyday. He was THE MAN for all the worst GAS sufferers, some of these cats I knew, and these desperate individuals would be at his house constantly trying out stuff he got in. I would go there a couple of times a year and shop for a mouthpiece or horn. Occasionally sold him something, and still sorry I sold him my wonderful 1928 Chu tenor. He had outrageous quantities of the best Selmers, Kings, other vintage horns, vint. Links and Bergs, you name it it was there. The amount of wheeling and dealing he did was amazing. I used to watch him dealing with 5 different customers, advising them about mouthpieces and horns, all in different parts of his house, while haggling over the phone with someone about buying a horn. He was a maniac. He used to advertise in Downbeat and other places. It depends on his mood. I bought my DJH Modified low A Bari from him for CHEAP 10 years ago... not a real pretty horn, but in very very nice overall condition. It just needed $100.00 worth of work to get it up and running and i had myself a killer low A bari for well under 2K. A steal, just because he wasn't paying attention to what he had.
 

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Isn't he also semi-notorious for being, according to legend, the guy that made Jon Van Wie stop "signing" his pieces, since JVW would hone his pieces to perfection and then sign then -- and would later discover that Ackerman enacted his own "post-perfection" tweaks on the pieces?
No legend. I suppose it would be OK to post this: this is what John told me about initialising his mpcs.

Ackerman would take a perfectly good JVW mpc and, just to show off to clients in the store, make some kind of comment about the client's playing on a mpc and then whittle a little bit here or there off of the mpc to "fine tune it" just for that client, give it back to the client, and then marvel at how much better it now sounded. :banghead:

John got fed up with that and quit initialising his mpcs, lest Bob (or anyone else for that matter) screw up one of his mpcs and then sell it as if it came directly from John.
 

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Wow, are we talking about the same guy? Glad I didn't know or experience all this when I made my purchases from him.
 

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I met Bob on the ferry to Holland when I was enroute to the Paradiso in Amsterdam. He introduced himself by pointing at my Super 20 case and saying " King..Selmer's are better" Years later I reminded him when I bought some lost wax pieces. He was fine to deal with..no worse than many and better than some.I loved his articles in Sax Journal and his knowlege is second to none.
 

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I can't speak for any body else but looking back at all my deals with Bob he was a pretty fair person to deal with and he is one of the people that got me into Vintage thing. It was always a pleasure to talk with him and buy from him. He knows Vintage saxophones better then any one. My advice is to have an open mind with the guy even if you are not used to his style. I have been at his house and enjoyed the company of David "Fat head" Newman, Antonio Hart, Kenny Garrett to name a few and he treated me the same as them. He always offered me his ultra strong coffee and let me look through all of his horns unsupervised. I have not been there in years but back then he had a interesting personality that always made the trip worth while. You can learn from this guy...
 
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