Brubaker Luthier Tour...NOT!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Quadzilla, May 12, 2005.

  1. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Seeing as there has been a few tours of luthiers and factories lately with pics, etc, and since I live right by them, I decided to call and email Brubaker guitars a few days ago. In my message, I told them that I was a regular on TB, had done a few gear reviews and would come and gladly take pics, do a nice write-up, etc. I also said that it would be some good, free publicity for them. Well no returned email and no call-back. Oh well, I tried!
  2. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Just go and visit Brad Johnson's garage and you will have a Brubaker tour ;) :D
  3. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer, Builder
    Kevin's a great builder and very personal, but probably like many right now busy as hell trying to get ready for NAMM in July!
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Hi. I talked to Kevin yesterday and he mentioned that someone had left a message about doing a shop tour with pics for TB. We both agreed it was very cool and he was going to contact you as soon as possible. Unfortunately not soon enough. Sorry.

    After the fire, he left the Westminster phone number that's on the website live for continuity's sake and tries to check it daily. That number goes to voicemail. You probably know that Brubaker Guitars is a small operation. Very small but working on getting bigger. He's splitting his time between his Reisterstown shop and the new shop he's setting up in Richmond, VA to handle the new models he's just coming out with. Between that, working with his machine shop on current and future stuff (like the removable preamp modules), running around procuring supplies, taking orders, working with customers and actually building the basses, sometimes he's unable to get back to people immediately with a response, as soon as they'd like, on things like this. Handling his email load can take up the better part of the day and phone calls can too. He really tries to keep everyone happy IME.

    Not trying to make an excuse, just trying to provide some insight on what he has to prioritize during the course of any given day (including weekends;)). I'm sure this isn't unique to him, most successful small builders probably have the same issue... not enough hours in a day.

    Again, he thought it was very cool that you wanted to do this and he'd like for it to happen. If you want I can give you my number and we can coordinate this or I'm sure Kevin will be contacting you in the next day or so. Thanks for your interest and I think you'll like what you see.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Thanks, Brian... right on the money.
  6. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Thanks guys. My note was not really intended to be a slam, I was just a bit dissapointed. Still willing to do it for sure. Thanks for the info! Nice to know I was not totally being ignored or blown off!
  7. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Your first mistake was assuming that Luthier Time = real time.

    I mean, expecting a luthier to respond in 2-3 days is like asking a normal person to respond in 15 minutes. :D
  8. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    That's not entirelly true in all situations. The luthier that built my bass (Bud LeCompte) is ULTRA responsive to emails and phone calls. Granted he is fairly new to the bass building scene and prob has less work than other, more established luthiers like Brubaker.

    In any event, I understand that Kevin (from Brubaker) is busy with the move, orders, hiring, etc and will eventually get back to me. No hard feelings or issues...
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's hardly a fair comparison:). Yes, someone just starting out probably will have loads more time to spend on correspondence... which obviously has nothing to do with Kevin's situation. Compare him to his peers.

    Here's something to consider: Take the time Bud spent on a typical phone call with you. Now multiply that by 10 or 20 (or more);). Guess what Bud wouldn't have time left to do?

    I hope more people read this thread, it's common that people don't consider that they're not the only people calling small bulders who do almost everything themselves. No secretary, no one to delegate simple stuff like this to who can make things happen instantly. I've talked to most of the "known" custom builders out here and if they don't return a correspondence in a few days I try them back to see if they got the message or email. I marvel at how some of them successfully juggle everything.

    Just something to consider:)
  10. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Hi Brad,

    Just as I stated above I know that Kevin has a hell of a lot more going on than Bud and I have no probs with that. I was just pointing out to bassmonkeee that there are responsive luthiers out there. I know that Kevin and Brubaker have a great reputation and am not trying to tarnish that, especially now that I know all of the reasons that he didn't get back to me. Maybe he will at some point. I'm not losing sleep over it. I simply was trying to help him and our fellow TBers... :D

    Thanks man,
  11. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I just think that in general, in America, we have come to expect A+ customer service from every single company that we deal with: we don’t want to be put on hold over the phone, we don’t want to make a line in the supermarket, we don’t want to wait for our food at the restaurant, etc.

    But in this so-competitive American economy we live in, one of the few tricks that companies have to compete, it’s customer service, because there are 100 other companies that would deliver a product as good or better than theirs and at a better price. But if you treat your customers right and make every customer feel important, then you have an advantage.

    Small bass companies are all about the product, not the marketing. Still, I just wonder how Roger Sadowsky answers the phone all the time and how you send an e-mail to Mike Tobias and he answers within a few hours, every time. Yet, other builders will answer your e-mails after many days saying: sorry, I’m too busy to reply by e-mail, please call. Then you call, and they are busy.

    My mixed point is that, if you care about a company and their products, be more patient about getting attention from them, and at the same time, to all you small builders out there: HIRE A NICE CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON, it might be one of the best investments in your shop.
  12. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    not to play Devil's advocate, but the rate at which Mike T gets back to you is astonishing. Also, Carey Nordstrand for being as busy as he is (gotta say, I think that man is swamped) is always available for talking it seems.

    Not saying that whomever was bad for not getting back to you, but I would give these guys extra credit for the promptness. Amazing.....
  13. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I didn't want the thread to turn this way. I'm sure that Kevin will get back to me. Fact is, I'm not a customer and prob not a potential one in the near future as I just bought a custom bass. I was simply trying to help him and TBers out. I'm willing to bet that if I were a customer or a potential one, he would have gotten back to me sooner (me thinks)....
  14. I would have taken this post as a semi-slam. Even tho you say it isn't, you still went to far as to give examples in an attempt to say "others do better". So being "put off" for a day equals bad customer service? It's not like you were placing an order or had a problem, you just wanted to walk the shop...

    That just reinforced it to me, imo, that it kinda was a slam. I can see you had good intentions, but this is just leaving me a tad sour...

    Sorry, once again I'm not trying to be confrontational, that is just how I see it. If I'm mistaken, so be it, and I apologise.
  15. Tell me this isn't egging him on, or being judgemental? you're not being very rational about this.

    "well, huh, if I was a customer I'm sure he'd have time for me..." :rollno:

    Potential customer or not, you're implying that he HAS time, but bases its importance in re: to you solely on the dollar.
  16. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Gee--thanks for clearing that up for me. :rolleyes: I guess sometimes a joke is too subtle for some people....
  17. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I do have to say that I saw this thread as a slam, too. I mean, if he didn't get back to you in 48 hours, he simply must have blown you off completely, right? If that's not what you were thinking, then Quad's original post is a bit overdramatic, don't ya think?
  18. hippiesandwich


    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    Then what was the purpose of this thread in the first place? :rollno:
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Having called both of them on more than one occassion, I concur. I've known Mike for over 25 years now and he's always on top of communication. The funny thing is, I try not to call him unless necessary and then try not to keep him on the phone too long.

    Carey is aces in my book, great builder and great guy. It's fun to have a talk with either of these guys or Chris Stambaugh or Rob Elrick or a few others I've spoken to over the years. By the same token I do understand that free time is at a premium... for all of them.

    OTOH Kevin's turn time on custom instruments has been ~ 3 months. IME that's remarkable and as a two man shop (Kevin and David DeMarco) I can see where some things might not get highest priority. The customer does... so yes, I would think that, if he were a potential customer Quadzilla would've gotten a higher priority than someone who wanted a shop tour. He gets more requests for that than most would imagine and because he's an accomodating guy, that time is time he can't spend building instruments or anything else.

    Shop tours can easily take up half a day if not more. For anyone who hasn't seen the process, going from raw stock to a finished instrument can be fascinating stuff in person.

    As far as hiring a customer service person, in a low profit business like this, it's much easier said than done. I already know that most people don't have a clue as to what it really cost to do business and what some of these luthiers make so I won't belabor that point;).

    You have to be able to pay a CS person. Then you have to find someone that'll do the job adequately... not all that easy to do either.

    I'm working with Kevin, trying to give him a hand with artists relations and sales. I do that in my spare time (I have a pretty time-consuming dayjob myself) and charge nothing for it. I like Kevin, think he's easily among the best of the best and want to see him achieve further success.

    I hope we can get something scheduled soon, it's a very cool shop with some very cool stuff going on.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Shop tours do help get the word out though. I can't post here about new stuff because I work with him. Kevin doesn't have time to post and frankly funds are tight right now and advertising is critical so any exposure helps. Getting an unbiased perspective out to TB would be very cool. It can also help generate interest... and revenue, a good thing:D