marco2112

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Streetglide,  Thanks for the clarification.  

11 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

I must say the mercenary attitude in some of these posts, although not surprising, is comical.  It must be tiring always stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

I will consider using a bridge that a customer brings if it is suitable, I will consider doing great work to a violin that someone else considers un-worthy as the person that loves it is always worthy,  and I will buy cookies from a girl scout even though the price might be a little higher than the commercial equivalent.  You spend time counting the coins, and we will spend time being human.

I guess this post bothers me the most.   The "holier than thou" attitude and the attack in the last sentence don't set well with me.   

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There is a bit of an attitude in the violin world that is worrisome, almost spiteful.  The idea that a luthier should only work on stuff that came through his on shop just isn't healthy for the community in general. Hard to confidently buy a good fiddle if the only person that will service it is the guy you bought it from, unless he's immortal.

 

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4 minutes ago, deans said:

There is a bit of an attitude in the violin world that is worrisome, almost spiteful.  The idea that a luthier should only work on stuff that came through his on shop just isn't healthy for the community in general. Hard to confidently buy a good fiddle if the only person that will service it is the guy you bought it from, unless he's immortal.

 

You are right...if all luthiers/shops were like that.  But,it seems to me that there is a wide, healthy spectrum of luthiery, all the way from the solo maker who will only occasionally do repairs, to the hungry local luthier or the big shop who both need the repair work.  It seems pretty healthy to me to have some luthiers who will only take on "special" projects, allowing themselves the time and focus for complicated repairs.    

 

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To sum this thread up, I put the cat amonst the pidgeons with this post:

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/339761-this-post-has-been-deleted/&do=findComment&comment=790538

and am entirely unrepentant.

 

The point is, that one as a violin maker, is entitled to chose which business one wishes to do or not, and is not a disenfranchised common servant or utility, who is obliged to subjugate to anyone who comes in through the door. In particular for those who are tendentialy undercutting your business.

 

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59 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

To sum this thread up, I put the cat amonst the pidgeons with this post:

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/339761-this-post-has-been-deleted/&do=findComment&comment=790538

and am entirely unrepentant.

 

The point is, that one as a violin maker, is entitled to chose which business one wishes to do or not, and is not a disenfranchised common servant or utility, who is obliged to subjugate to anyone who comes in through the door. In particular for those who are tendentialy undercutting your business.

 

Understood.  What I feel has been misunderstood by some posters is that the OP did not go to a maker (who, arguably, has an artist's claim to temperament, particularly one as successful as yourself), or to a posh violin dealer (who would have had some grounds to take offense), but rather to a common "music shop" which didn't even specialize in violins.  The music shop then, without even telling the OP to "piss off", performed unsolicited work (rather than what had been agreed to without complaint), and pouched the fellow's deluxe bridge besides.   IMHO, it's the last part on which the ethical question hangs.  Whether or not any of us have the right to refuse unappealing work, I'd venture that none of us have any right to presume (at the very least) in that fashion.   

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On 2/10/2018 at 1:20 PM, Rue said:

 

I'm sure Jacob would use more polite language in a real situation.  The nice thing about theoretical situations is that we can be a bit more free to express our sentiments...^_^

I would hope so.  I was thinking along the lines of a young teenager mustering enough courage to even venture to a violin shop for the first time with something that possibly needs fixed.  Then, after the hard part of just getting there to the front door is accomplished , the shop owner rains on the youngsters parade with the words sorry kiddo, I've got better things to do, this is not worth my time and effort and no I don't know where else you could try shopwise, etc.  Disheartening at best and why not choose another instrument to go make music with after hearing all that?

What a shop owner could do to make the situation better is o.k., let's see what you have here.  Hmm, tell you what kid.  We might be able to do something with this just so you will be able to make some sound and maybe learn a little bit about playing the violin.  Now when you think you're ready for the next step you come back to me here and we'll find you a real violin to work with.   Surely that would lead to a better scenario.

Gotta remember the old saying - If you don't do it, someone else will.  Maybe these guys here don't need or want the work simply because there's enough on the plate already.   What happens down the road when all of a sudden there's nothing to do?  I know a few have been in this situation already.  Do they beg and borrow from the others when times are lean or just simply starve?

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I agree completely with Jacob.

For anyone who doesn't get It, try showing up at a decent restaurant with a bag of frozen chips, a bap, and a gourmet burger from the supermarket. Ask the chef to cook them up and charge a very reasonable price.

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

To sum this thread up, I put the cat amonst the pidgeons with this post:

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/339761-this-post-has-been-deleted/&do=findComment&comment=790538

and am entirely unrepentant.

 

I guess I wouldn't see a reason not to use that customer-supplied bridge, as long as I was satisfied with the quality and properties.

I "get" that the on-line sources have reduced the profitability of in-shop sales of parts, accessories, instrument cases, and that some shop owners really resent this, but I don't see a reason to take it out on the customer. People have become accustomed to shopping this way, we can't change that trend, and we need to adjust our business models to allow for that, just like most other businesses have needed to do. But I agree that change is hard.

I also agree that one has the right to turn down work, and I decline virtually all repair and maintenance these days. In my case, it's usually as simple as explaining that my first duty is to people who have already sent me money to commission an instrument. A backup is to tell them that since I do very little of this any more, my chops are no longer up to the level of some who do this regularly. Both happen to be true, and I somehow find this preferable to telling a person to "piss off". ;)

 

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6 hours ago, Brad H said:

Streetglide,  Thanks for the clarification.  

I guess this post bothers me the most.   The "holier than thou" attitude and the attack in the last sentence don't set well with me.   

Amazing that we have progressed to the point that being human and not telling customers to “piss off” is considered “holier than thou”.

Not insulting your customers, treating them with dignity, and being nice are good business practices.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

 

Not insulting your customers, treating them with dignity, and being nice are good business practices.

define “customer”

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There are meanings and contexts behind words, sometimes things like irony or sarcasm, not always approachable as it seems.

The old fashioned way is that between a luthier (old fashioned expression) and his/her customer is a relation based on an also old fashioned attitude called trust or similar, which could result in asking what kind of bridge would be proposed for a particular instrument, and if there might be this kind somewhere in the drawer.

In opposite to this, the modern internet believing suggests that one should order what's available at ....(fill in Amazon or any other platform) and take it to an arbitrary service shop to adjust it for your requirement. The old fashioned answer on this demand can be, for good reason, p''''''o''''. Clear now?

Other possibililties are violins bought from the internet, usually industrially produced rubbish in a poor condition, but attractive labelled, taken to a shop for restoration, as cheap as possible. Old fashioned answer would be, here you can choose between several proper instruments in better condition, well set up for less money than your buy including necessary repair costs. Take your stuff and (you know what).

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I sometimes have people call, who after inquiring about the price and wait time for an instrument, express surprise, and decide that they don't want to do that. Or sometimes I'll get calls from people interested in one of my instruments, who have a budget of around the five thousand dollars. I could be pissed off that they "insulted me", were so uninformed, wasted my time and interrupted my work, but instead, I remind myself that it is truly a privilege to have people interested, that not everyone is so fortunate, and I thank them sincerely for their interest.

I was under the impression that "acting out" anger,  or abusive tendencies, had kind of fallen out of fashion'. ;)

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I forgot the footnote*

*Be cautious! This post could contain irony and sarcasm! Don't hang on singular words and expressions!

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I "get" that the on-line sources have reduced the profitability of in-shop sales of parts, accessories, instrument cases, and that some shop owners really resent this, but I don't see a reason to take it out on the customer. People have become accustomed to shopping this way, we can't change that trend, and we need to adjust our business models to allow for that, just like most other businesses have needed to do. But I agree that change is hard.

Where David and I live, there is a firm "down the street" that sells cases, parts, strings, etc. at "internet prices" which make it almost unprofitable to stock that stuff in the shop anyway... I often send customers there directly if they're looking for a new shoulder rest or set of strings that I may not stock.  At the same time, I do expect some mutual respect from my clients.  They know I'm a single business owner (who is lucky enough not to be desperate for business), and I know they need to rely of their instruments to make a living. I also like my clients quite a it.  They treat me well (Coffee, tea, baked goods, or a nice bottle of wine is delivered with their instruments on a regular basis and never complain about my rates). They also know what I do supply, as far as stings, cases and accessories, and what I don't.  I've tailored what I do carry (which isn't much) to what they need ('cause I know them).  In the vast majority of cases, they shop for those things with me, first.

This is old school, and I am very aware of that, but it's a very human way to do business and one I will continue till I can't hold a knife.  I know the world is changing and I'm privileged.  I hope my clients feel the same way.

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16 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

 Or sometimes I'll get calls from people interested in one of my instruments, who have a budget of around the five thousand dollars. 

Next time they call, please give them my number! I gotta start somewhere 

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38 minutes ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

They treat me well (Coffee, tea, baked goods, or a nice bottle of wine is delivered with their instruments on a regular basis and never complain about my rates). They also know what I do supply, as far as stings, cases and accessories, and what I don't.

The people who were here from Montreal over the weekend for a sound adjustment brought me a fifth of Tanqueray gin. :)

(which might partially explain some of my weird posts) :lol:

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1 hour ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

Where David and I live, there is a firm "down the street" that sells cases, parts, strings, etc. at "internet prices" which make it almost unprofitable to stock that stuff in the shop anyway... I often send customers there directly if they're looking for a new shoulder rest or set of strings that I may not stock.  At the same time, I do expect some mutual respect from my clients.  They know I'm a single business owner (who is lucky enough not to be desperate for business), and I know they need to rely of their instruments to make a living. I also like my clients quite a it.  They treat me well (Coffee, tea, baked goods, or a nice bottle of wine is delivered with their instruments on a regular basis and never complain about my rates). They also know what I do supply, as far as stings, cases and accessories, and what I don't.  I've tailored what I do carry (which isn't much) to what they need ('cause I know them).  In the vast majority of cases, they shop for those things with me, first.

This is old school, and I am very aware of that, but it's a very human way to do business and one I will continue till I can't hold a knife.  I know the world is changing and I'm privileged.  I hope my clients feel the same way.

should you permit me to interpret you post, I take it that you reserve the right to decide who is your “customer” or not.

 

I can reassure all those who doubt my economic viability. This being a wine growing area, I get presented with almost more wine than I would otherwise drink. I am always astonished how many people here keep bees, and have more gifted honey than I can cope with. Delicious home made goat cheese this week.

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...should I ever drop by for a visit...what would you like me to bring? :)

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I am 100% on board with luthiers choosing who to do business with. I just wish some would be more gracious and realize that not everyone is out to screw them. My very first experience in a violin shop, the only one around for miles, was with an old Klingon viola given to me by my parents neighbor. When I brought it in for a new bridge I was immediately chewed a new orifice. It never dawned on me that bringing a viola to a violin shop could be such an insult. I later got on this guys good side once he found out who my teacher was (lesson #2 about the violin industry), and grew to like him. But he was responsible for turning off a lot of locals who were interested in violin playing and unfortunately caused a lot of damage in the violin community.

The completely ironic thing is that I now have one of his violins (unaffordable when I knew him). It was purchased at auction, and fixed by another shop, both things that would cause him to blow a gasket. And its now sitting next to a fiddle made by one of his rival bozos.

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8 minutes ago, Streetglide said:

Rue, might I suggest a  lump of coal... ;-  )

Hmm...I was wondering about maple syrup...

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I guess I'm lucky and that is why I'm flummoxed by some of the illustrious luthiers here.  Mick Loveland is a dear friend of mine.  He has had his shop in Santa Rosa CA for half a century.  His son is now apprenticing and will take it over at some point.  Mick and his son do all of the repair and setup work and do it very well.  His two part-time employees -- a woman who does the business work and another woman who does the bow repairs -- have been with him for decades.  His shop is beautiful and has expanded greatly in the century old building in the heart of the city.

Mick sells everything from starter bowed instruments to the local schools to violins well into six figures.  He is unfailingly polite and helpful whether you are a kid or play for the San Francisco Symphony.  When he isn't at the shop, he's surfing or down at his home in Baja.  He has done very well.  He plays the violin at an expert level.  Travels to Boston and London for the auctions and knows an awful lot about bowed instruments.  Has his own gallery of famous American painters of the west in a room adjacent to the shop.  And his house burnt to the ground in 10 minutes in the Sonoma fire in October.  He remains cheerful and it's all going to work out.  He's a great man, period.

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

This being a wine growing area, I get presented with almost more wine than I would otherwise drink. I am always astonished how many people here keep bees, and have more gifted honey than I can cope with. Delicious home made goat cheese this week.

Harrumph! Are you trying to suggest that you get more gifts than Jeffrey and I do?  toetap.gif  smash.gif  ;)

This is an act of war!. :lol:

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