Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

average cost of repairs

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by delbass, Dec 10, 2003.


  1. delbass

    delbass

    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Hi folks-
    I'm trying to figure out if a local luthier is overcharging me. I recently paid him $150 to install adjusters on my bridge. Is that a fair price?(including the cost of the adjusters themselves)
    Also, I need to have my fingerboard dressed/planed. What would be a fair price range to pay for that? I think he had quoted me in the $300-400 range.
    Finally, what is a fair price for shaping/installing a brand new bridge?(including the cost of an average bridge)
    I've known this guy for a while and he does perfect work, but he always acts a little "suspicious" when it comes time for me to write him the check. However, I understand the skill and precision that he works with so I've never questioned his prices before......
     
  2. My luthier charges approximately $180 for a fingerboard plane. Of course, that could change depending on the amount of work. He also installed a quality adjustable bridge for $250. Of course, things could be different between Nashville and Albany.


    Sometimes luthier prices seem high but the thing about it is, you don't pay for just the equipment and labor--you are also paying for experience and know-how.
     
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    You gonna give us a clue before I trash this guy?
     
  4. delbass

    delbass

    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Steve-
    Thanks for the info, it helps me out. I am well aware of what I am paying for and it is certainly worth every penny. He's the only guy I've ever taken my bass to and he knows that, so I just wanted to make sure he wasn't taking advantage of my naiveness and raising the price.
     
  5. Delbass -
    The best way to find out if a repair price is resonable for your area of the country is to call other repair shops in your area. If you live in the Northeast, information about prices in Chicago, or Kansas City, or Phoenix or any other city outside of your area is pretty meaningless. Prices vary greatly from one area of the country to another. There is no such thing as a standardized price list for bass repairs across the country. You should also keep in mind that the cheapest price might note be the best price. If a shop uses the cheapest possible bass bridge blank, they will probably be cheaper than a shop that uses nothing but high quality bridge blanks. There are unfortunately a lot of people out there doing repairs who call themselves luthiers but who lack the training and skills to do the work properly. If you have found someone that is doing work to your satisfaction, that is probably the best place for you to go even if it does happen to be a little higher than some others.
     
  6. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Sounds reasonable to me. I paid $180 for bridge adjusters, installation, string installation, and having the poly gunk scraped off the neck and bridge of my englehardt.
     
  7. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Alot of it depends on your market, for instance what an Acme "Delbass" model will cost in Albany is going to be different than it will in Topeka.

    I have no idea to which luthier you refer, but I do believe that Albany runs on the pricy side, being the somewhat hautier "Capital District".

    side note: a luthier in that area comes to mind, and the guy is top notch, and has VSA award instruments under his belt. I don't think he caters to bassists however.
     
  8. I'm butting in here, but I'm confused. Who are you asking to give the clue, Steve or Delbass? And which guy were you going to trash, Delbass or his luthier?
     
  9. mxr255

    mxr255 Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    I think $150 to put adjusters into your current bridge seems a little high. Now if you were having an entire bridge carved than that price would be great. I am from the school of if your instrument is your buisness and you passion than a few bucks here and there is not important.
     
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Sorry for the confusion, but his luthier of course. I asked for the clue because I didn't necessarily want to go off on someone I knew. Unless there were extenuating circumstances those prices seem quite high to me.
     
  11. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    So that's why you're not getting rich...
     
  12. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I recently had some dental work done, and I figured out that I was charged about $600 an hour! Since there are many more Dentists than Bass Luthiers around, I think we should be charging even more than that...LOL,TIC, ;)

    My car can run over your dog.
     
  13. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Thank you Arnold! And my dog can eat your car.

    In KC we charge $112 for a bridge, 160 for metal adjusters and l95 for ebony. A delux French bridge would be $175.
    For just putting in metal adjusters we charge $50.

    We charge $180 to completely redress a board, maybe nothing or $20 to take care of a minor problem.

    The last sentence in the biography of every bass maker and repairman is "died in poverty".
     
  14. How in the world did you arrive at $112.00? Is it the same price in Merriam?;)
     
  15. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    KC, Merriam? I'm originally a small town Iowa boy, and this is all Kansas City to me.
     
  16. mxr255

    mxr255 Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    what kind of blank do you use for the $112 dollar bridge?
     
  17. delbass

    delbass

    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Fellow Double Bassists-
    Thanks for the info. Just to clarify, he charged me $150 to put adjusters on my current bridge, so it seems like it was a bit expensive. I may look around a bit for the fingerboard dressing because he quoted me $300 at least. There are some other good luthiers around the area I may try such as Robert McIntosh who I hear does great work. My ebony board needs serious work...the areas under the first 5 notes on every string have some pretty serious wear, so it may end up costing a lot anyway.

    Jeff....sorry for the misunderstanding. My current luthier lives around the Saugerties area. How far do you live from Saratoga Springs, NY? If you're not too far, maybe I could make an appointment with you? I'm also in the market for a 5-10 K carved bass, maybe you know of some good antique instruments, or good bass makers?
     
  18. Fingerboard dressing can be a tricky thing for the luthier to price. I usually will quote an average price, but if there is something about the fingerboard that requires more than the ordinary amount of time, I advise my customers that I will be charging them on a per hour basis if it takes more time than average to do the job RIGHT. Most times I can do a good job in an hour or two. On some occations it can take 3 or 4 hours to get it the way the customer wants it. I've had occations where I had to string and unstring a bass 4 or 5 times to be sure it is the way the customer wants it. I can't afford to eat that time for fixing the really bad ones.
     
  19. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I'm probably pretty far[on LI] but you really need to check out both Arnold and Robbie. Both do imppeccable work and I am not sure what Robbie has for sale but Arnold definately has a stable of basses worth looking at.

    Now the KC prices seem inordinately low!?
     
  20. delbass

    delbass

    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Jeff-
    By Robbie, are you referring to Rob McIntosh? I asked him about making a bass for me, but unfortunately his instruments are way out of my price range . I assume you are referring to Arnold Schnitzer right?

    Arnold-
    My parents live in the Pound Ridge area, maybe I could come by your shop sometime soon on my way to or from their house? Do you have any basses in the 5-10 K range for sale?