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rynthae

Shocked at local repair shop prices... SMH

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I recently picked up a bow stamped "Grimm" and "Germany" that looked pretty good and I thought it might be a good playable bow for the price ($45 plush shipping), although it needed a little bit of work. It needs to be rehaired, needs new windings and a new grip. Now, I grew up in Spokane, Washington and there was a guy there who did excellent work on both violins and bows - he studied at several places, including some in France, and just did a marvelous job. His prices were great, too. I guess I got spoiled.

Now that I'm down here in Naples, Florida I thought I'd check about getting the bow finished up at the local shop that does in-house work (with a luthier on-site). I figured it would be around the same prices.... and was literally speechless when the guy who looked at the bow was clearly completely uneducated about violin bows (and I'm no expert, so if I'm saying that it's pretty bad) and he wanted to charge $450 for a rehair, windings, and a grip! He then proceeded to insult my bow and tell me I was better off to buy one of the "beginner bows" they sold there, which (no surprise) were crap. Including fiberglass (which I am trying to upgrade away from). He told me that he personally had "no idea what [a stamp] means" when I mentioned offhand the stamps on it, and completely missed seeing them in his all-of-5-second inspection that he did right in front of us in terrible lighting. After speaking with him for awhile it became clear that he didn't play or know how to either, which concerned me. All of this together was a little alarming to say the least.

I will clearly be shipping my bow to Spokane to the person I'm used to seeing about bows and violins, as you probably guessed. Just to put things into perspective, I got a quote from him while I was on the phone with him, and he said he could do everything for $125, which is a very reasonable price. To be honest, I am glad I'm sending it to him instead.... I trust the work that the guy in Spokane does and I know he'll do an excellent job with this. The joke of a "bow expert" I spoke with today would have probably botched the work if I had mindlessly given him that ridiculous sum of money after seeing how little he knew about bows. I'll tell you what, though. I bet he's sold a lot of crappy fiberglass bows this way.

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That seems pretty high, but I really don't know prices everywhere.  Seems like rehairs are about $60-$75 and grips with windings around $100 or so depending on the type.

 

I could be waaaay off though depending on the market.

 

 

DLB

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That's what I thought, Dwight... I was especially shocked because the rehair was only $60, which is about the same for either place, which means that the windings and grip together would have cost $390 at this local place! I'm just glad I all ready know someone reliable back in Washington who doesn't mind having stuff shipped to him to work on.  :wacko:

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Sounds like another example of why I say that the world of the violin is the last bastion of scoundrels.  The subject is too complicated and the customers can't expect to know all they need to.  That opens things up for people who are willing to survive by sheer gall.  We had a fellow here who rehaired a bass bow which promptly fell apart the first time it was used—unfortunately in the middle of a concert.  

 

And someone showed up at a bow-making class having never seen one up close before and thought that in two weeks he would be qualified to not only rehair bows, but also to make them and repair them.  Now THAT'S over confidence.  And this isn't ancient history.  His brother had found a book about bows and got excited and put him up to it.  Amusing. 

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Sorry you had an odd experience.

Post before and after pics of it when you get it back. And let us know what else your bow guy has to say about it.

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Will: That was a funny story!

I never even held a bassoon before I bought mine. I dare you to try to find one to "test drive". However...you would think he'd at least have gone to look at some bows or picked up a cheap one at a flea market...given they are not as rare as bassoons.

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I'm sorry that this happened to you.  I'm sending a PM which may save you some further grief.  Sounds like you really did the wise thing here.   :)

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That seems pretty high, but I really don't know prices everywhere.  Seems like rehairs are about $60-$75 and grips with windings around $100 or so depending on the type.

 

That would have been my guess, too.

 

Rynthae,

When you first posted the thread about buying the used bow at auction, lacking hair, winding and thumb grip, for $45 and happy with that price because your budget was tight, I was thinking that you might be surprised at what a good rehair costs along with winding and grip.  It's good to hear that the extra $125 works for you.

 

You'll know whether your money was well spent when the bow is fixed up and you get a chance to play it.

 

You are a more adventurous shopper than I would be.  For $100 to $200 there are some very useable carbon fiber bows on the market that perform quite well.  In shopping for them, you could order 3 for trial and pick your favorite for keeping.  That way you'd have tried out your purchase before paying for it.

 

But I understand, too, the fun of gambling in shopping, buying something before trying it or before it's ready to be tried.  The time spend anticipating a great outcome can be a very entertaining time.  The Germans have an expression for that time: "Die Vorfreude ist die groesste Freude."  That roughly means that the joy experienced in anticipation of something good is the greatest joy.

 

The caution with gambling, though, is that one should be willing to lose all of one's money and not regret it.  The gambling itself brought enough joy to have made it worth it.

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Sounds like another example of why I say that the world of the violin is the last bastion of scoundrels.  The subject is too complicated and the customers can't expect to know all they need to.  That opens things up for people who are willing to survive by sheer gall.  We had a fellow here who rehaired a bass bow which promptly fell apart the first time it was used—unfortunately in the middle of a concert.  

 

And someone showed up at a bow-making class having never seen one up close before and thought that in two weeks he would be qualified to not only rehair bows, but also to make them and repair them.  Now THAT'S over confidence.  And this isn't ancient history.  His brother had found a book about bows and got excited and put him up to it.  Amusing. 

 

Will, that does make sense -- and I'm sure that the "bow expert" here in town has convinced more than a handful of people to either buy terrible bows or pay out the nose for any kind of maintenance. I shudder to think what the quality of their work might be like, since they seem to be practically conning people. It is sad that you have to at least have a certain amount of knowledge in order to stay away from questionable deals or bad work. That sounds awful that the bass bow fell apart in the middle of a concert! :/ And sheesh, I can't believe that someone would think they could learn that much about a bow in two weeks... that's not just over confident, it's crazy! o.o

 

I'm sorry that this happened to you.  I'm sending a PM which may save you some further grief.  Sounds like you really did the wise thing here.   :)

 

Violadamore, thanks -- I'm just glad that I walked out of there and had somewhere else to take the bow. :)

 

That would have been my guesss, too.

 

Rynthae,

When you first posted the thread about buying the used bow at auction, lacking hair, winding and thumb grip, for $45 and happy with that price because your budget was tight, I was thinking that you might be surprised at what a good rehair costs along with winding and grip.  It's good to hear that the extra $125 works for you.

 

You'll know whether your money was well spent when the bow is fixed up and you get a chance to play it.

 

You are a more adventurous shopper than I would be.  For $100 to $200 there are some very useable carbon fiber bows on the market that perform quite well.  In shopping for them, you could order 3 for trial and pick your favorite for keeping.  That way you'd have tried out your purchase before paying for it.

 

But I understand, too, the fun of gambling in shopping, buying something before trying it or before it's ready to be tried.  The time spend anticipating a great outcome can be a very entertaining time.  The Germans have an expression for that time: "Die Vorfreude ist die groesste Freude."  That roughly means that the joy experienced in anticipation of something good is the greatest joy.

 

The caution with gambling, though, is that one should be willing to lose all of one's money and not regret it.  The gambling itself brought enough joy to have made it worth it.

 

Skiingfiddler, I blame my dad for that one! :) He's the same way with some of the things he buys. I suppose we both just get very excited, and honestly I think that we both really like to take something that needs a little TLC and get it all fixed back up (even if we aren't the ones doing the fixing). The bow is my first time really doing this, but he's done it with bows and violins from time to time, and he does it all the time with antique firearms... that one he got so involved with that he ended up getting into restoring them and fixing them up as a side-job! It's hard to describe, but there is just something about seeing something brought back to life and resurrected so that it can live up to its full potential. Unfortunately part of the gamble is that we never know what that potential really is until after everything is done, but it actually has a lot of similarity in structure, weight, etc, to a bow that my dad owns that I've tried out and really liked, so I'm hoping for the best!

Honestly, when I first bid on the bow the pictures didn't show the "windings" or grip that were currently on it -- the grip was falling apart (not even sure if it was a real grip either) and the "windings" were silver-colored string that had been tacked on with jeweler's wax and were falling off, so I didn't factor in those costs in the beginning -- though that's my own lack of foresight. But honestly, I was budgeting around $100-$200ish for a playable wood bow that would be an improvement on my fiberglass bow (admittedly not a huge challenge there), and I did look at ready-to-play bows as well, but most of them were pretty out of my price range. I get a little antsy about modern bows, not because I don't think they are good, but because it is hard for me to get a good read on which ones really play well, which places make good bows (and which ones try to pull a fast one on you), whether prices are fair, etc. Plus, as cheesy and childish as it might sound, I really like the idea of an older wooden bow, and I can't really explain why, because I know that carbon fiber bows can be very good. A lot of it is sentimental, most likely, which is probably why I got pretty irked when someone with very little bow knowledge and no playing experience insulted it. >.> I guess there is just something about bringing a piece of history, no matter how little, to life. Sorry if I sound like I'm just rambling nonsense!  :lol:

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IMHO, the secret to doing well from eBay is 4-fold.  Know the rules which obtain on eBay (and abide by them scrupulously yourself), learn enough to know what you're looking at, have enough skills to do your own repairs/maintenance, and buy only with a plan--never on impulse.   :)   With reference to what Will said, while no one can possibly know it all, it is possible to learn a realistic subset of interest well enough to recognize it and to resolutely limit your bidding/purchases to what you can identify. 

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Hi, love the topic, I really do think the prices luthiers charge is economy driven.  Meaning, if your in a city with people with money, not just your average blue collar types, your luthier is going to have a richer clientele, therefore being able to charge more and get away with charging more. 

 

I travel alot and see the different prices on craigslist for violins, I just kill time that way.  But in the cities with lots of jobs, large populations and so on, the prices are a lot higher than in smaller cities, or places with ordinary blue collar or just plain ordinary working people in it.

 

I am a huge ebay violin junk collector myself.  I thought the one piece of junk had a really nice stamped bow that was going to go along with it.  I get it, and its missing the bone end piece, duck taped and the frog doesn't unscrew.  Oh well.  I call a luthier in the city where I live and have business with before, in Salt Lake City, UT, lots of professionals and money.  Almost before I could say anything, he blurts out, $175 to replace just the missing bone tip.  OMG!  Not to mention what the other stuff would cost, I never did get around to even asking for a quote. 

 

Yes I am convinced that some luthiers charge more per hour or for their services than some Medical Doctors do. 

 

But again, its economy based.  I've been to Spokan, WA, its a nice, a regular blue collar average kind of person town or place.  Maybe where you live now, lots of retired professionals with lots of money to just throw away on pet projects or interests?

 

I wish you would give me the luthiers name there, I just might send him the bow I have for a complete and total overhaul.  I do have the best Codabow possible, a GX Diamond.  But really was excited to think that I might actually get a real permambuco wood bow.  And not carbon fiber, or a composite, or brazilwood, but the real deal.  And not to resell, but just to have one for me.

 

Well just some thoughts,

 

don b

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Seems that this guy from Naples use the unacceptably high prices for his service as a tool for promoting the sale of his bows. That way, he can pose as a luthier without need to really be one.

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There's someone local to me who sailed through his courses at Red Wing while enjoying various drug and alcohol binges. That was his only training. Such people always know enough to impress the average consumer, yet if charged with good bows and instruments they are dangerous.

"What's a bow stamp?" guy has much in common with him. My local shop owner actually asked my husband, in sincerity, what makes Italian instruments more sought after. In the sense that he had really missed that class, not that he was thinking outside the box somehow.

But you should see him at fiddling and picking events. He's a genius of the age.

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There's someone local to me who sailed through his courses at Red Wing while enjoying various drug and alcohol binges. That was his only training.

I can't comment on the drugs, but alcohol binges aren't conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It's far better to have a controlled, steady intake of high quality alcohol for health, wealth and enjoyment. I'm not sure if all luthier schools include this as part of their training program. :blink:

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 And sheesh, I can't believe that someone would think they could learn that much about a bow in two weeks... that's not just over confident, it's crazy! o.o

Well, ordinarily I would say he didn't seem quite all there, but if I did I would be practicing without a license.   :)   

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 And sheesh, I can't believe that someone would think they could learn that much about a bow in two weeks... that's not just over confident, it's crazy! o.o

 

 

Well, ordinarily I would say he didn't seem quite all there, but if I did I would be practicing without a license.   :)   

[Looks up, regards her various licenses on the wall, and decides which hats to wear]  In my professional opinion, it sounds like he has a combination of rocks in his head and a short between the headsets.  [Puts down her ritually required geologist's hammer and soldering iron, and returns to practicing the violin]  ;)  :lol:

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I can't comment on the drugs, but alcohol binges aren't conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It's far better to have a controlled, steady intake of high quality alcohol for health, wealth and enjoyment. I'm not sure if all luthier schools include this as part of their training program. :blink:

You and my son would get along great,Bill.

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I can't comment on the drugs, but alcohol binges aren't conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It's far better to have a controlled, steady intake of high quality alcohol for health, wealth and enjoyment. I'm not sure if all luthier schools include this as part of their training program. :blink:

 

Most.  Along with frequent symposia in such varied topics as kite flying, choosing a lager, and ****ing off.  What the local guy did at school before he started his shop was really in no way unusual.  He got through the program.  :blink:

 

*eta* granted, he did take two years to get through a 9-month program. 

 

Anyway. Point being, anyone can start a shop.

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You shouldn't reject CF bows out of hand.  I have a highly talented professional colleague who swears by his.  Also, there's a world-class bow guy just a little east of you in Miami, and another in Virginia.  PM me if you want contact info.  It's not necessary to ship your bow across the country, but something tells me you're going to anyway.

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[Looks up, regards her various licenses on the wall, and decides which hats to wear]  In my professional opinion, it sounds like he has a combination of rocks in his head and a short between the headsets.  [Puts down her ritually required geologist's hammer and soldering iron, and returns to practicing the violin]  ;)  :lol:

 

Heck, when I was young we were so poor...(I suppose you are wondering just HOW poor)... we were so poor we couldn't even afford a wall.  So I thought:  Why bother to get all those licenses, certificates, awards, honors, blue ribbons, commendations, and pictures with me and Jascha, or me and Ivan, or me and Simone.  So I decided to take a different tack: I just developed this "knowing look,"  and nod at appropriate times ( which gives clients confidence), or nod at inappropriate times ( which makes them wonder what they are missing);  and lo and behold, people not only think I'm an expert, but they are impressed that I don't try to lord it over them with a wall full of what they think I must have stored in trunks out of humbleness.  Giving the illusion of humbleness is icing on the cake.
 
Everything I know I learned from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  Like I used to take violas and turn them into wood chips (perhaps the most useful thing about violas) and sprinkle them around my bench to make the boss think I had been working.  A sure way to end up shop foreman.  Incidentally, you'd be surprised at how many shop owners can't tell the difference between viola chips and violin chips.  
 
Let's see now, where'd I put that book on rehairing?  I have to see what stamps have to do with bows?  I know what they have to do with violas:  you stamp on a viola to get the chips.

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Heck, when I was young we were so poor...(I suppose you are wondering just HOW poor)... we were so poor we couldn't even afford a wall.  So I thought:  Why bother to get all those licenses, certificates, awards, honors, blue ribbons, commendations, and pictures with me and Jascha, or me and Ivan, or me and Simone.  So I decided to take a different tack: I just developed this "knowing look,"  and nod at appropriate times ( which gives clients confidence), or nod at inappropriate times ( which makes them wonder what they are missing);  and lo and behold, people not only think I'm an expert, but they are impressed that I don't try to lord it over them with a wall full of what they think I must have stored in trunks out of humbleness.  Giving the illusion of humbleness is icing on the cake.
 
Everything I know I learned from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  Like I used to take violas and turn them into wood chips (perhaps the most useful thing about violas) and sprinkle them around my bench to make the boss think I had been working.  A sure way to end up shop foreman.  Incidentally, you'd be surprised at how many shop owners can't tell the difference between viola chips and violin chips.  
 
Let's see now, where'd I put that book on rehairing?  I have to see what stamps have to do with bows?  I know what they have to do with violas:  you stamp on a viola to get the chips.

 

May as well put in an order for the Suzuki books.

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