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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In June I bought an old King Bari Sax (the one with the permanently fixed neck) and it was in really pretty decent shape. A few leaks and a bent tube/rod G#, but nothing that seemed major to me. I immediately brought it into the shop to repair the G#, leaks and replace a few pads. The tech gave it a once over and estimated ~ $175-200. I thought that would be fair and told him to go for it. He had a few other things on the bench before mine but figured about 2 weeks.

Two weeks passed and I called for an update. Well, the horn before mine turned out to need a whole lot longer than he figured and hadn't started on mine yet, but should get to it in a few days and it should only take a few days. A few days later he calls and tells me he's run into trouble with the G#. The rod is frozen and he's having trouble getting it out. Basically, he unsoldered the posts to remove the key, then he got a bit over zealous with the torch pounding trying to free the frozen rod and separated the pad-cup arm from the hinge tube. Because of flares on the ends of the tube the cup is still "connected" but it rotates freely and slides up and down. Not to worry, though, as he can just "silver-solder it back on good as new."

Okay, now it's been a month and the horn still isn't ready. The tech says that he wont do the job half-assed. He repairs every horn like it was his own so he makes sure everything is set-up and working properly. He also says that since he gave me a price he's going to stick with it even though he's got over 40 hours into the horn already (?!!?!!?!?). He hates it when he takes his car in and gets an estimate but then the actual price is twice the estimate. If he says it'll cost this much, he's only gonna charge this much. He doesn't mind since he's on salary and the shop is one of those owned my the GC-MF-WWBW conglomerate.

Every couple of weeks I call or stop in to get an update. He tells me he worked on it a little here and there. School started so he got swamped with all the kids' horns getting them ready for band camp and what not. He should get to it the day after tomorrow.

Last time I talked with him he told me he is NOT on salary, and that since my price is so low he can't take bench time from paying jobs to work on my horn so basically he works on mine when there is nothing else to do. I still see my G# pad-cup sitting in the same little part tray it's been in for months.

I was hoping that the two points of the quality triangle I was getting were Cheap and Good (you know: Cheap, Fast, Good. You can only have two). But at this point I'm starting to doubt it will ever get done.

I'm [holds thumb and forefinger really close together] - this close - [/holds thumb and forefinger really close together] to just picking up the horn (ooooh, they better not try and charge me anything) and taking it to someone else.
 

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Sounds like an honest guy that got a way bigger job than he estimated. Guys that put love into their work don't even consider the quality triangle. It ain't about the money or efficiency for them.

Ask him what it will really costs to finish the job by a reasonable date. I'll bet that it's fair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now we are better than 4 months into it and I don't think much actual work has been done. Worse is I'm so itching to be playing a bari that I'm spending a lot of time trying to convince myself not to go buying another one.

So, should I talk to him, yet again, and ask him to re-quote the rest of the job so I can get some bench time (as Enviroguy suggests) or pull it and bring it somewhere else?
 

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No this is the standard crap that all people who need horns repaired this time of year run into.

Many repair shops bread and butter comes from cheap and crappy school instruments that are dropped off by the band teachers by the truck load. The teachers come first and you have to hustle to keep their business. Your repair tech couldn't be bribed to work on your horn at this point because if they screw up and miss the turnaround time the band teacher wants then the shop loses a client.

I've offered twice the going rate for stat repairs and they just look at me and laugh. Luckily I have a repairman that was a buddy that I grew up playing with and he will drop everything and repair my horns on the spot for cheap and does top notch work.

I know it's frustrating to wait, but there are lots of techs that won't touch horns for a couple of months during this school rush, but truthfully it should be getting close to rapping up as most of the kids are already in band and playing.

The only thing I don't agree with is how the tech is not being honest and up front. Of course many techs will give anything to spend a little time working on a quality instrument this time of year. Spending time with junk all day long gets a little old after awhile. And I'd be eager to fix a great horn just so I can play it for a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I was understanding of the school-rush factor. School here started in late August. We are well into the school year. This "rush" ended about a month ago (by the tech's own mouth).
 

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I really don't get this. 40 hours should be enough for a full time pro to build a horn from scratch.
 

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Mope said:
Go get your horn now.
Correct answer without question.

I've had similar experiences. One tech quoted $300. I showed up to pick it up and he wanted $550 for work he didn't say was needed?!?!? Another tech kept my sax for almost two months and never looked at it. When I went to get it back, he seemed like he was relieved. He certainly didn't care about getting my business. Both techs came highly recommended. Who knew :?

Your guy would be smarter to just finish the job and cut his looses. So I'm guessing he's not that smart.

Get your sax and take it to a pro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I talked to him this evening and told him that i understand the situation he is in but I am getting antsy to get the horn working. In order to get some priority/bench-time I asked him to requote the remainder of the job.

"Hmmm... I'm trying to think if there's anyone else in town you might be able to take it to."

So there it is. He really doesn't want to finish it. He said he'll put it back together (I'm not sure exactly what that even means at this point) in the morning and I can pick it up after work.

Then I just hope tech numer 2 conducts himself a little better.
 

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This is the kind of garbage that drove me to do my own repairs.

Hope it works out man.:|
 

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Reminds me of the guy that installed my wood burning stove. He was on his way to do the job about 3 times and when he finally showed, he had the wrong chimney parts. He was full of excuses and had to come back a few more times and still never finished the job. Left me with a gapping hole in the second floor roof eves. I had to hire someone else to finish the job. We must learn to spot these clowns and not let them get away with their act.
 

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hgrail said:
This is the kind of garbage that drove me to do my own repairs.

Hope it works out man.:|
Yeah this is why I'm learning to do a lot of repairs myself. Soldering is the one thing I don't have the guts to learn as of yet.
 

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Soldering is easy - it's being neat about it that's hard.

Practice on a few scrap pipes first. If you can sweat those and keep it neat - you can venture into the saxophone world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I picked it up Wednesday and took it to Rhapsody on Beach Blvd.
He's gonna look at it and see what it needs.

I am pissed because I'm convinced the first guy did more damage than anything else. There are some deep plier scars on the G# hinge tubes.

Rhapsody is a 1-man shop, so I'm not expecting a quick turn-around. It very well may turn into more money than I can put into it, but we'll see.
I'll keep this updated as I get more news.
 
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