I completely sympathize with Craig Brougher's comments on rebuilders in
yesterdays Digest. Many times, particularly in reproducers, I have run
into the same problems (and the "Ampicoville Horror" takes the cake).
There is one thing, though, that I have to say in addendum to potential
collectors and player customers:
It has been only recently that I have taken on work through the general
public, after getting jobs though other rebuilders and technicians who
are much easier to deal with and understand problems that arise in the
rebuilding process. Over the years the condition of projects that come
into my shop (by the way, you can't eat off my floor!) have generally
gotten worse: previously 'rebuilt' cobble jobs and exposure damage.
As a result I cannot guarantee my estimates.
Craig said lot of good things about selecting quality rebuilders, but
I think there should be a word or more in selecting quality customers.
The attitude and understanding of the potential customer is as
important as choosing the right rebuilder. When I go out give an
estimate, it is certain 75% of the time that I will _not_ get the job
when the customer asks, "How much will it be worth then?"
I always feel put on the spot when this question comes up. Yes,
I would like to get the work, but I'm not going make some bogus claim
about the value of their instrument. I find myself asking myself,
"Do I really want to work for this person?"
I honestly have to tell them that, in all reality, the instrument may
cost more to restore than the market rate of value at the present time.
I also remind them that I am a rebuilder, not an appraiser. Market
values is something I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to
keep track of.
My best customers are those who have a genuine love for the instruments
as a personal interest or cherished heirloom and who see me as someone
who loves and takes pride in my work. They never ask me the 'question',
and sometimes they leave boxes of 65-note rolls on my doorstep. :)
Brian Thornton -- Short Mountain Music Works
109 North Cannon Street, Woodbury, TN 37190