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8228 Views 59 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  JL
So here's the story:
I recently purchased a vintage Keilwerth New King alto from silver-sax, with the understanding that while in pieces, the horn itself was in good condition and only needed new pads; the pics looked clean and I was told it was in good condition. Even so, as with all online horn purchases not from a dealer, I figured the horn was in need of an overhaul and arranged for one. I received the horn in the evening two days ago, and as it was rather late, took a quick look at it, and everything appeared to be fine, so I alerted the seller as such that I had received the horn and it appeared to be alright; I was in a hurry as it was rather late and I'm certainly no tech. I had already arranged to have this horn overhauled by a prominent member of this community (I'll let him post here if he'd like to, I don't want to put words in his mouth), but I'll describe his reaction upon inspecting this horn: I look of excitement at seeing the case, confusion at first glance, followed by disappointment after inspection (imagine a doctor breaking bad news). Apparently this horn had suffered extensive damage which had subsequently been repaired, although done in using outdated methods. The body tube and neck had been crushed, and then hammered out, the bell and neck receiver removed (the neck receiver may or may not be original), every post removed and resoldered (a couple appear to have been resoldered slightly apart from where they should have been, with some of the keys having a good amount of lateral play, even by vintage horn standards), and the keys had been swedged using an outdated technique (I'm not an expert on this, but it appears that the ends of the key barrels have been shaved or stretched so that they now look like cones). I'll post some pics of these repairs. Neither my tech nor myself had been able to notice these problems with the horn from the pictures, where the resoldered spots appear to be not solder or bare brass, but instead slightly dulled areas of nickel plate. To get this playing in any decent form, according to my tech (who I absolutely trust is not trying to pull any funny business) would take essentially an entire rebuild, and even then, it might not play well. Considering the unexpected past damage to the horn, he advised and I agreed that the best way to go about solving the problem was to ask for the refund; my tech offered to verify my story and explain the problems with the horn.

And here's where the story gets interesting. My tech had previously tried to purchase the horn from the seller, a fact I was aware of. After e-mailing the seller asking for a refund (I considered a refund reasonable as the description misrepresented the item), I was told that my tech was just trying to get revenge upon the seller because he wouldn't trade with him in the past, and he asked that I go to another tech. Normally I would go to another tech and have this looked upon, except that I've done so much business with this tech (both buying and repairwork) that I have no doubt that if he says there are problems, there are problems; additionally, being in NYC, I know carrying a horn into a tech at lots of places pretty much automatically rings up a 3-digit bill just for looking at it, and it seems unwise to sink more money into this without any assurance of a refund. Also, I forwarded the e-mail in which he claims that my tech was out to get him to my tech; the wisdom in this move is arguable ethically, but I think it's only fair he knows that if someone is badmouthing his livelihood, he knows it. In response to this, I received an e-mail that laid out the following points:

1)he claimed it's illegal to share the contents of the e-mail (according to a relative who's a lawyer, this is not true without a confidentiality clause attached to the e-mail, and even then, it's shaky at best).
2)Apparently a number of people from NYC were offering to purchase this horn. He claimed that I was trying (as were the other from NYC who were trying to purchase this horn) to sell it to my tech who'd tried to buy it in the past, but that since I couldn't resell it, was trying to get a refund.
3)Or that my tech was trying to pull a fast one on me both as a way to make some extra money and get revenge on this guy (definitely not true, especially as he wouldn't have made any money on me asking for a refund; in fact it meant one less overhaul for him to do)
4)Or if the last wasn't the case, that as he had received complaints from NYC, my tech had to have turned the entire city against him.
5)Finally he offered to have me ship the sax back to him along with $180 and he would have pads installed and send it back; however this would not solve the problem for me: had I known the extent of previous damage and repair, I wouldn't have bought the horn. Putting pads in the horn will not undue the large amount of previous wear this horn has endured.

At this point, I realized that this probably wasn't going to go anywhere, and, although I hate to do it, decided to give up. The horn, while a decent chunk of money, didn't cost so much as to prevent me from eating :) . I'll probably list the horn for sale as a parts horn, recover some of the cost and move on. I'll be much happier spending the time I would have spent arguing playing instead; as W would put it, I decided to "cut and run."

I'm not a big time player on the SOTW market, but I've done a fair number of deals, and always tried to make sure that both parties were happy; I've yet to receive one complaint regarding a transaction. Additionally, this is my first less than agreeable transaction on SOTW, and while this post is negative, it's done as a warning to others so as not suffer the same fate; where eBay has some very limited degree of protection via feedback, this is the closest thing to protection on SOTW: a bad transaction results in a bad review.
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Receiver and misaligned post

Resoldered posts and guards on back of body
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I am the aforementioned tech, and I absolutely back up everything Joe has said here. The horn looks like it three major things happened to it in the past:

1. The neck was crushed and rebuilt.
2. The bottom half of the horn from around G# tonehole to low C was crushed and rebuilt, including resoldering most of the posts on the body, I am assuming they were probably taken off for the dentwork.
3. The above problems were fixed poorly.

I did offer a trade to the seller for this horn before, but he wanted cash only and in a format I was not comfortable with.

Things to consider:

1. I consider Joe a friend.
2. Another friend of mine had recently purchased a sax from Silversax and while the pads were not as advertised (Silversax said it needed "20 minutes" worth of work, when in fact the reso-pad like pads in it are probably original to the horn, and need replacing), it was within acceptable limits for a $1600 low A weltklang bari.
3. I am paid hourly (at my own request), so even if I were a shady character, artificially raising prices would have no benefit for me.
4. I know quite a bit about the type of horn Joe bought in particular, owning 4 of them myself
5. In my opinion, even after repair the bore has been so badly damaged that it would not really be a New King alto anymore, because unless anyone here has an original New King Series I alto mandrel, the bore will not be correct.
6. I wrote an email to Silversax saying that in my professional opinion blah blah, he should give Joe a refund. I was very professional, but was met with personal attacks and suggestions that I am intentionally deceiving Joe (and much of the NYC metro area) in an attempt to defraud my customers.
7. The owner of the bari was contacted by Silversax after he found out I saw the horn, with much more of the personal attacks against me continuing, when the owner of that bari had no problems, did not know about Joe's issues, and had not contacted Silversax.

All in all a pretty ridiculous situation, one where a customer and friend of mine lost money, and one where I was personally attacked for my part in standing up for him. I would advise that anyone here do business with Silversax in the future- he does not accept paypal, and as it stands there is no way for Joe to get his money back unless Silversax decides to.
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This is exactly why I don't sell with a "did it arrive safely and as advertised ?" guarantee. "As advertised" can be open to dispute, especially if pictures are sent. The best way to sell is with a "did it arrive safely and DO YOU WANT TO KEEP IT ?" guarantee. That way, everybody is safe and the only money at risk is the shipping. It is hard to buy horns sight unseen. If I were silversax, I'd refund and parlay an unfortunate incident into a "see how much I can be trusted" endorsement. If you sell to people and they are not happy, you hurt yourself more than you hurt them, that is, if you wish to continue selling.
That is exactly what I said to him! His reply was that he was "untroubled about my reputation". My reply was "You should always be worried about your reputation. That is what is different about you and I."

We exchanged a few emails, and I encouraged him to "do the right thing" and "make this right" etc., but when he said he wasn't too worried about his reputation, I knew it was a lost cause. Oh, and also the part where he fingered me as the ringleader in a NYC-centric saxophonic conspiracy against him...

PS: I am just now seeing the photos Joe posted, for some reason I couldn't see them earlier. It can't be made out very well in the photos, but the back of the bottom half of the sax has a golf-ball like texture from poor dentwork, as does the neck.
a good reason to only buy sight un seen horns on a credit card through paypal (on a credit card being key).

that really sucks.

how much are you into the horn for?
I don't want to give exact figures, but about the price of a very nice vintage mouthpiece (not a NY Meyer Bros., but say a decent vintage tenor Link or tenor Dukoff Hollywood). It's enough for me to be annoyed and angry, but not enough for me to really go to great lengths; I get the feeling that I could put alot of effort into making an argument and get no where, so I'll put the time into practicing instead (at least one good investment ;) ).
If this were a bigger dollar dispute you could turn to the legal process but it really isn't worth the effort given what you paid. I'd chalk it off to "buyer beware" and, as you've done, post a public warning about this seller.

I certainly won't ever buy from him.

Reputations take years to build and moments to ruin.
i think your attitude is a good one, i have bought a few beat up horns from some very reputible buyers and gotten screwed, or at least saxophones that were greatly misrepresented.

take it as a life lesson and move on. your blood pressure will thank you in the end.

so did they buff all of the excess solder on those resolders? thats what it looks like in the photos.
Sorry, is he a member here. Or someone in New York?
I have had a similar experience with the seller a long time ago. A B&S blue label alto that showed up with an undisclosed lead soldered octave lever. Clearly it had suffered damage in the past, probably from not having been protected by an end-plug. I don't even know whether a silver solder would have sufficed in this critical place. I bought it for around $700 (including shipping) and immediately sold it for $300, which is all it could fetch with an accurate description.

I hesitated in posting this because similar posts elsewhere elicited the typical complaints about buying from non-US seller. I don't want to add to this, so just for the record, the worst experience I ever had was buying a totally misrepresented tenor from a US SOTW member.
Good photos. Photoshop of last version?

I (as any person) think about reputation, but I am indifferent to opinion of Abadcliche and Co. They can publish any information about me, if they want to receive enjoyment in this. And I not going to take part in their games and love affairs.

This technician sent me lot emails about a desire to purchase these saxophone parts in a period from April to June; then his friends also informed me, that they also want to purchase this saxophone. I saw strange interest only one group of people to one saxophone!

Abadcliche offered to me 500 dollars for these parts, then he offered to me an exchange for relacquered King Zephyr tenor, then he already did not want to change (when I agree), then he sent me a email, that can give two vintage French clarinets for New King.

(Now he write: "I did offer a trade to the seller for this horn before, but he wanted cash only and in a format I was not comfortable with"). I do not understand the purpose of this taradiddle. Abadcliche, Why do you lie?

I asked to send photos of these clarinets. He sent me photo of one instrument (SML) and said that can not send the picture of the second (Leblanc) (!?).
Strange, but month earlier other New Yorker (I think also friend of this technician) also told me that he want to trade parts for the Leblanc clarinet. But also could not send a photos.

It was strange situation, when different people offered to me an alike exchange. And they all live in New York. It was suspiciously and I renounced to contact with this person.

I received message from SOTW member AmSaxPlayer with offer to purchase these parts and sold them (BUT HE WAS AGAIN FRIEND of THIS TECHNICIAN - Abadcliche).

AmSaxPlayer sent me a very good email, when he got parcel and sent a laudatory review to SOTW. Buyers, which purchased my instruments also know that my saxophones always correspond to description and very well packed. I also always send the photos of the packing stages and send trucking number which enables to see way of parcel on internet sites of postal services.


But now he remove this text (possibly Abadcliche advised him).

I understood afterwards, that AmSaxPlayer may be wanted to resale this saxophone, and announced the possible sale Abadcliche (which collect old Keilwerths). But AmSaxPlayer possibly not oriented in prices (or desires of technician) and his "large" commercial idea failed (possibly Abadcliche before the purchase not clear said him how many he will give for these sax parts, may be he said that he would give an enormous money, but then changed the decision). Therefore he and arranged this hysteria.

Possibly a technician simply played off this combination and AmSaxPlayer manipulated. Who knows !? AmSaxPlayer wrote, that he going to sell these parts. Who will purchase? Abadcliche will purchase possibly.

Abadcliche sent a email me, that repair of saxophone is costed by thousand (THOUSANDS!) dollars. Without comments. I understand that a human avidity is infinite, but THOUSANDS of dollars for repair of usual saxophone is seems to me overpriced price.

I sold about 40 instruments to different countries (including Australia, Brazil, Japan and Korea on Ebay and without). All are satisfied, except for one strange group of seekers of old Keilwerths from New-York.

Therefore guys, shipping Wordwide except Nigeria and New York city. And do not ask.

AmSaxPlayer! You can send me these sax parts. I do not see any problems with refund. I will send you the money via Western Union or Money Gram - 10% (that you paid for a saxophone). But after your (your and Abadcliche) public apologies for your lie and hysteria on this forum.

Good Luck!

P.S. I bought 100 or more horns on Ebay and all saxes except 5-6 need in repair; but all sellers received positive feedback.
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Silver-Sax it seems you have a reputation of doing this. You also did it to LBAJazz. Now all three of these members have solid reputations here, and you are insisting that they are all against you. Did you give them a reason to be against you at all?
I will even disband my conspiracy here in NYC that I have spent so long building, as long as you refund Joe.
I remember this member using very questionable ebay selling techniques debated here:

I have put him in my ebay black list and I am not surprised at all he states that "he doesn't care much about his feedback".

Hope to see him away from the forum.
I second that, I don't think I would ever buy from him, thanks amsaxplayer for bringing this seller out.
Yep, I remember the case. Once a.... (saxophone neck), always a.... (saxophone neck).....!

Honor and reputation are the only things that a tradesman has ( I should know I am one).....once you loose them all you have is goods nobody wants to buy anymore.
I not going to discuss who against whom. Abadcliche can do that he wants, to repair saxophones, write stories in Internet phorums, to dance in a club «The Blue oyster» or to think that he is James Bond.

Carbs, I do not experience about your decision. :)
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