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

Luthier question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Aug 22, 2005.


  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I have a bass that I am thinking of purchasing. It is not from the guy that usually does my work and I trust very much. I'd like to bring it to him for his opinion but I am not sure if I should. He has many basses for sale but the one I found at another shop seems feels right for me. Thoughts?
     
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    So......

    You like the bass for sale from Shop A. You want the opinion of the owner from Shop B.

    Is this correct?
     
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    yup.

    The thing is that owner of shop B has done a fair amount of work on my other bass. I even got a chistmas card from him.
     
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    This remind anyone else of the little ethics column in the NYT magazine?
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    1)Shop B owner will tell you not to buy this bass.
    or
    2)Shop B owner will tell you to buy this bass.

    Either way, Shop B owner is probably going to be a little miffed. You don't have to purchase every bass you buy from him, but asking him for a second opinion is kind of touchy.

    If you like the bass, and it fits you and your budget... buy it. You might need some adjustments/setup/repair work down the road... go to Shop B, if you trust his work and skills. He will make a few dollars, and then everyone is happy.
     
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Nick. Thanks for the advice. The bass I am looking at is a Shen Willow. I'm pretty happy with it. I haven't bought it yet. I just have it on loan. What do you think of that bass. At that price point it is tough to beat.
     
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I think it is one of the best sounding, well built basses in the under $5K price range.
     
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I'm in this position regularly. I tell the potential buyer that I charge $ for a pre-purchase inspection. I also explain that I cannot pass judgement on whether or not he should buy the bass; I will only give opinions as to the health of the instrument, its tone, value, and the need for any repairs. As I am doing this for money, I put myself in the position of being a professional "consultant". I will do my best to tweak that instrument to get it playing and sounding its best, if I am asked to do so. Ethically, I see no problem at all. As far as being "miffed", I just don't let it happen. I realize that there are many basses on the market and I don't have them all in my shop.
     
  9. A perfectly fair and reasonable approach. Once again we see why so many hold Arnold Schnitzer in such high regard.

    So there's your plan of attack, fingers. Call your guy and volunteer to pay for his time to inspect the bass. Is there something about it that concerns you? Does it have obvious signs of trauma, or are you looking for a quote on setup work?
     
  10. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    It is a new Shen Willow. I just was hoping for a second opinion. Everything about the bass seems great. I just don't have much money and would like to buy a house someday.
     
  11. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I like Arnold's approach to this.

    I've always given an honest opinion when I've been in this situation,and I realize I can't make every sale, and that sometimes I just don't have the bass my client is looking for;
    happens all the time.

    I have also observed than when a client is in this situation the other shop will try to steer them to one of their instruments. I guess that's only natural, but if they start trashing the bass you like in the process, beware.
     
  12. I don't think you can reasonably expect the man to give you a free opinion on someone else's bass. His time is worth money.
     
  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Oh, I'd pay him for sure.
     
  14. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Thanks for all the input.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    There was an old Italian Bass for Sale in Italy last year around the same time as the Cremona fair that I was interested in. A dealer/restorer friend of mind was going to the fair as well as the dealer selling the Bass in question BUT, he was not going to bring the consigned Bass to the Fair. I asked my friend/dealer if he could travel after the fair and Judge the Bass for me. I offered to pay all expences and $1,000. for his opinion to save my cost of travel and time away from work plus, he knows more than I do about old Italian Basses.

    The point here is I know he would like me to buy from him but I had the 'hots' for this Bass and I was willing to be professional about the whole deal. He accepted my offer if time allowed with no bad feelings at all. Business is Business..

    Turns out he did not have time for the extra trip but gave me this advice for free after seeing several photos of the Bass I had sent him. His Advice; "Go and see the Bass b4 you buy it and make sure you like it".

    So as long as you show some consideration for his position, Dealer A and B should have no problem working with you. Sometimes, Dlr A sends a customer to Dlr B and gets a 'referral' under his belt to be later turned back in the other way if not to share some sale commissions.