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Moses Graphite, Inc.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barebones, Jan 3, 2005.


  1. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Has anyone done, or attempted to do, any business with Moses Graphite, Inc. lately? I have been trying to contact them via phone and email for close to a month, and they have not responded. This seems strange, as I know from experience that Steve at Moses is typically very on top of things when it comes to customer inquiries. Are they going out of business or something?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Matt
     
  2. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I called before Christmas and he called me back the same day. Maybe holidays got things messed up a bit?
     
  3. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Well, I wish it was just the holidays messing things up, as you say, but it looks like I'm being brushed off.

    You see, I ordered a Music Man style neck from Steve back in November. On December 10th I received a Fender Jazz style neck. I've been calling and emailing since then and have received no reply. Then, lo and behold, I talked to a friend of mine, who says he just emailed Steve today about a neck for his Telecaster (on MY prior recommendation, mind you) and Steve emailed him back with a price within a few hours. This is AFTER I left him a phone message this morning. I've spent $375 with the guy, and he can't even address his own mistake, yet he sure is jumping at that potential new business. Looks to me like someone's engaging in some less than forthright business practices.

    I'm not usually one to complain, but I've been trying to resolve this issue for close to a month now. At this point I'm just documenting my experience and hoping that Steve will rectify this situation. If he does, I will post the resolution here, but in the meantime....

    I feel pretty foolish, too. There was a guy on Harmony Central who related a similar experience, but his rant was so incoherrent, and Steve's response to that rant seemed so clear and rational, that I took a chance. At this moment, I'm kind of wishing I hadn't.

    Thanks anyway for the info, Novus. Unfortunately, that info just means that Steve was indeed in the office during the holidays, answering your inquiries while ignoring mine. Very, very uncool.

    Matt
     
  4. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Agreed. Hopefully you put it on credit card. Dispute the charge. Tell your cc company that you never received goods or services. Once they backcharge him, you'll see how fast he'll move since he won't have money and be short one neck.
     
  5. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I ordered a Moses neck from musicians friend for my SR5. Received a neck for a Fender. I called musicians friend and they told me they sent me the right neck. I called Steve at Moses and he said send the neck to him and he would make it good. He did in a timly fashion. I then proceeded to try to "walloo" out the holes a little on a drill press with a twist drill instead of a reamer. Not a good idea. I called Steve told him what had happened and he said send him the piceces and he would see what he could do. For a very small fee considering what I sent him. He sent back the neck repaired with the tuning keys I had sent to him. He has to stay in buisness, his necks are great. In short just a positive note about my experience with Mosses.
     
  6. mheintz

    mheintz

    Nov 18, 2004
    For what it's worth, I too contacted Steve before Christmas. He was very prompt and responsive to my questions. Definitely keep us posted.
     
  7. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Definately please keep me posted! I've been GASing for either a Jazz 5 or a SR5 with a graphite neck. Now, I wonder if its worth the hassle/risk.
     
  8. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Hey, Bassstud. Thanks for that info. It gives me a modicum of hope at least. Steve and Moses simply have the strangest customer feedback I've personally ever encountered. I've heard some bad things, but I've also heard stories like yours, in which Steve went above and beyond expectations to help out fellow musicians. I cannot for the life of me figure out why I have been singled out by this guy for such unfair treatment. Since I now know without a doubt that he has been in the office drumming up new business, but has not bothered to contact me, I am concerned that my story will end up on the negative side.

    Just to let you all know where we are with all of this, after I received Novus' response yesterday, and after I spoke with my friend who inquired on the Telecaster neck, I emailed Steve expressing my dissatisfaction with his non-response to my undeniably legitimate complaint. I also sent him every email between the two of us (I save everything business related, until the transaction is officially completed) in which he clearly states that the MM-244 would work well with my old Yamaha BB1100S bass. For those who don't know, the MJ-244 (Fender Jazz spec neck) does not work well with these Yamahas due to the fact that Fenders run just 20 frets to the heel, while Yamahas, Music Mans, and, apparently, G&Ls run 21 to the heel. I could try some modifications to my bass to get the Fender neck to fit, but I really don't feel I should have to do that, since I was clear in my order for the Music Man scale neck, and since I paid nearly $375 for that neck with the specific options I needed.

    You know, another strange thing, is that in my last email prior to yesterday's to Steve, I had so convinced myself that his shop was merely closed from December 10th through the New Year, that I actually inquired about purchasing a bass bridge from him as well, once this issue on the neck is resolved. Even that inquiry went unanswered. What am I to conclude here? That not only does Steve not want to correct his error with my neck order, but that he also does not want to do any further business with me? I simply can't understand it. I've never been a "problem customer." I've worked in musical instrument retail for much of my adult life, and I know how trying sales can be. Coming from that perspective, the tone of every email I sent Steve, up until yesterday afternoon, was positive, and came from the perspective that this was simply an honest mistake that could easily be corrected, with no hard feelings on my part whatsoever. Why in the world would Steve and Moses Graphite avoid the opportunity to make this right?

    I was so excited to head on over to Harmony Central to post my positive review of the company once I had my neck. I was looking forward to countering the one very negative review I read there, because, with my experience in music retail, I gave Moses the benefit of the doubt that the person who wrote that review was some sort of "problem customer," who was either horribly mistaken, mean, or both. In hindsight, this may be where my bias from working in retail failed me. Perhaps I should not have been so quick to dismiss that negative review in favor of Steve's rebuttal to it.

    I just have to ask, how could Steve be so foolish as to completely turn around a customer--me--who entered into a transaction with him fully, 100% expecting a positive experience, based on my initial email interaction with him, and in spite of a few bad reviews floating around on the internet? It's simply incomprehensible.

    I will be the link to this page to Steve, so that he will know that my experience is being discussed by other fellow musicians, and potential customers. Perhaps if he will not discuss this with me one-on-one, he will attempt to explain his actions in this forum.

    Anyway, thanks again for all the info, you guys. And if there's something I'm missing here, if there's something I'm not doing to rectify this situation myself, please, let me know that, too. Your advice is appreciated. Ultimately, I would like a positive experience with Moses Graphite, not the one I am currently enduring.

    Sincerely, Matt
     
  9. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I called him today and left a message regarding this situation. Nice, professional message. Hopefully he gets the idea that other people are viewing this situation. Hope this helps ya.
     
  10. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I hope Steve resolves this soon with you. I bought a left Jazz neck from him 3 years ago and I really like it. In fact, I'm the first guy to give a positive review on Hamony Central, I believe. I was thinking about ordering another one, with the abalone block inlays (or see if he can upgrade my existing neck), which would run about $650, but I'll stick with the old one if I can't be sure I'll get what I want.
     
  11. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Novus, that is so cool of you, man. Thank you. I, too, emailed Steve to let him know we are having this discussion. In spite of it all I am hoping he will set things straight, because I really do believe he sells a great product. I just need to get the RIGHT product!

    I forgot to mention earlier--although I did mention it to Steve in one of my many as yet unanswered emails--that even though the neck he sent me was the wrong one, it gave me the opportunity to inspect his work first-hand. That, of course, got me all the more psyched to get mine. Who knows, maybe it will still happen.

    Thanks again, Novus, for trying to help out a fellow musician. You're too kind.

    Your Bro In Music,
    Matt
     
  12. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    No big deal. took half a minute. :)
     
  13. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I'm suscribing to see how this ends up.
     
  14. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Or at least what should be the start of a happy ending.

    Here's the deal, Bass Dudes and Dudettes:

    I just got off the phone with Steve at Moses. We had about a 20 minute conversation. I must say, thankfully, that his demeanor was every bit as positive as I had first perceived him to be through my initial email contact with him. I explained to him my complete confusion and frustration regarding the events of the past few weeks. He in turn apologized and explained that he had, indeed, been out of town some of that time, and was just now getting to my emails. (As you can imagine, the "in-box" at Moses fills up rather rapidly.)

    I aplogized to Steve for letting my frustration and anger with this situation show toward the end, but explained that I really had no idea what else to do. I mentioned to him that we here at talkbass.com had discussed the situation, and that I still was holding out hope of some sort of "peaceful" resolution based on some of the information I obtained through all of you here. Steve was very kind, and said that he didn't blame me for getting upset and seeking information and possible resolution in this forum. He suggested that he could, perhaps, in the future put a message on the website when he's going to be gone for extended periods of time. I agreed that that would have gone a long way toward eleviating my own stress related to this matter.

    Breaking this down a bit here, there really were two main things that frustrated me: 1) I felt like I was being ignored and shown a great deal of disrespect by someone with whom I wanted to do business. No one wants to feel like he or she is being played for a fool. I now feel that while my perception may have been justified, that was in no way the intention of Steve/Moses Graphite.

    And, 2) Darn it, I really do dig these necks! I want one, man! Steve assures me I will have my neck shortly. I will definitely keep you all posted on that, as well, when it arrives. I think it's going to be great!

    I guess, to be honest, ther is one other thing that bothered me about this situation, too. I generally consider myself to be a pretty good judge of character. Even in a medium as potentially vague and ambiguous as the Internet, I have been very successful when it comes to judging peoples intentions, at least in a business sense. Those of you who have called Moses Graphite in the past will probably agree with me when I say that Steve (whose voice is on the answering machine) just sounds like a nice guy. He sounds sincere. He sounds like someone you can trust with your business. The deafening silence emanating from the company in regard to my particular customer service issue simply DID NOT JIBE with what I thought I had perceived in my prior contact with Steve. And there's a reason for that: It's because Steve really IS an all around nice guy. In our conversation today, I believe I heard a guy who has no desire whatsoever to have a customer walk away feeling cheated, ignored, or disrespected. Some easily remedied mistakes were made, and some timing/circumstantial issues conspired to exacerbate the situation. But I now have every confidence that all will end well.

    I'll tell you what, I'll never say that I can't be fooled, but I sincerely believe that this transaction, from this moment forward, is going to go as smoothly as we all hoped it would. I will definitely keep you all posted.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond to my posts. Your kind assistance has been a comfort to me throughout this whole bizarre ordeal.

    Whoo-hoo! Can't wait to get this neck!

    With gratitude,
    Matt
     
  15. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Didn't BenjaminStrange have a lot of trouble with his Mosses necks?
     
  16. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    I read his posts on some issues he had with neck dimensions. His final post stated that Steve at Moses had asked him to send the neck back, so he could take a look at it; however, BenStrange's last comment in that post was that he was going to show the neck to his luthier first to see if he was missing something. Not sure where things went from there. Perhaps if BenStrange sees this, he can let us all know how that was wrapped up. For his sake, I hope it worked out well.

    Matt
     
  17. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
  18. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Well, I've got my neck. Actually, I've had it for about a week-and-a-half now. I wanted to play it for a while, giving it some studio, rehearsal, and gig time, before I posted here again.

    First I need to follow up with the customer service related issues that started this thread in the first place. I wish I could say things worked out 100% perfectly, but unfortuately they did not. While I am very pleased with my new neck, there were a few annoyances that kind of stuck in my craw here.

    A little more than two weeks after my telephone conversation with Steve at Moses (see previous posts) I received my neck. The length of time it took to get the neck was expected, as Moses did not have what I needed already in stock and I had to wait for this one to be made. If you recall my earlier posts, I originally ordered a Music Man/G&L scale neck, lined fretless, with no fingerboard overhang. I then received a Fender Jazz scale neck by mistake. The neck I have now is indeed a Music Man scale, however, it showed up with the fingerboard overhang. Having waited nearly two months since my original order, I opted to write to Steve to make sure I could remove the overhang myself without voiding the warranty. He agreed but, strangely, offered no apology or explanation, which was a little off-putting. One thing I've learned in my experience with him, though, is that he comes across better on the phone than in email. So whatever. I'm sure he meant to apologize for my having to complete the labor on the neck that should have been done at the factory and simply forgot. Removing the overhang was fairly easy. I just don't feel that, for $375, I should have had to do it. I also kind of expected a little more direct oversight by Steve on my neck, given all the trouble the first time around. This error--and others--suggests that the neck was simply whipped out by whoever he has doing his labor, and not much care was taken to make sure I got exactly what I ordered.

    The neck also has/had some minor issues that were fairly easily remedied or otherwise accomodated, but, again, I don't believe I should be having to remedy anything based on the money I spent.

    Here are all the issues I had to work with:

    First off, when I removed the neck from its packaging, I noticed three long, hair-line scratches running lengthwise on the back of the neck. It looked like maybe there was a bad spot on the sandpaper when the neck was being smoothed and finished. I mentioned this to Steve in my email as well--again, not wanting to wait who knows how long to send my neck back to Moses--and asked if I could sand or buff the blemishes out somehow. He offered some very helpful suggestions as to how to go about this, but, again, offered no explanation or apology. Again, the fix was simple, but not something I had planned on doing.

    Secondly, there was a spot perhaps a little smaller in diameter than a dime, and about the thickness of a thin pick on the back of the heel. It was a very obvious blemish that not only was asthetically displeasing, but in all likelihood would have effected the pitch of the neck had I left it there. Steve explained that this was probably the injection point for the neck, and a little more sandpaper and elbow grease took care of it. In my opinion this easily would have been caught had some final inspection taken place at the factory.

    Thirdly, I ordered the headstock drilled for Sperzels, and basically it was. However, two of the holes were slightly too small, resulting in my being unable to fit the tuner bushings through the holes. I had to carefully widen the holes with a dremel to accomodate the tuners, and I expected the factory drilled holes to be more precise.

    Fourthly, the nut slot depth is strange. I've seen both straight cut and curved or radiused slots in the years I've worked on instruments, but this one is cut deeper on the E string side than the G string side, resulting in sloping up of the nut when it's placed. I'm willing to allow that maybe this is intentional and I've just never seen it before, but in my experience it seems bizarre. I can hardly think of how they even managed to cut the slot this way, let alone any valuable purpose it might serve. To compensate for this factor I simply filed the nut at an angle on the bottom. Not terribly difficult, just annoying.

    Fifthly--and this is not so much a complaint as a suggestion--Moses does not include a truss rod wrench with their necks. I think they should. A lot of us do our own set-ups, and we need that wrench. While the truss rod nut has enough space around it to work in a 5/16" socket, this means you have to remove the neck to adjust the truss rod. This is, in a word, silly. I just ordered a wrench off of Ebay for $9 including shipping. Yeah, I know, they always rob you on specialized tools. What are you going to do? I feel, for $375, a wrench should have been included. I mean, they throw in a truss rod wrench on cheap Chinese-made Squier basses. How outlandish a request could this be really?

    Sixthly, in addition to the aforementioned issues, I had to clean up a lot of graphite dust around the truss rod nut and tuning holes before I even got started on the installation. Not a big deal at all, but here's the thing: The Fender neck I received by mistake several weeks earlier was essentially immaculate. This fact further led me to believe that my Music Man neck was kind of rushed through, without much attention paid to detail. Disappointing to say the least.

    And lastly, when I sent the Fender Jazz neck back to Steve, he told me he would send a check with the new Music Man neck to reimburse me for shipping costs. He did not. I emailed him about it, and he thanked me for reminding him and said he'd mail one out. I still have not seen it after more than a week-and-a-half. I'm not going to throw a fit about it, but come on, man. You goof up like that, you pull out the old checkbook as you're reading the customer's email, and you take care of business. You do what's right. I shouldn't have to ask again.

    So, alrighty then. Those are the negatives. In Steve's defense I will say that my impression from our converstation a couple of weeks ago is that the guy simply has WAY to much on his plate. Trying to run a business that is growing at the rate Moses is AND deal with every little customer service issue is unrealistic. Steve's a great guy. Moses makes a great product. But for every thousand necks made, someone is going to have an issue. This time it was me. It's not a big deal if you make it right. I know because I've been there. I've worked music retail and customer service for years, and I know how it should be done. If there was a way I could work for Moses from Colorado--dealing with, say, all these customer related matters--I'd fill out an application in a heartbeat. I believe in their product, but I think they need help. In my opinion, Steve needs to bite the proverbial bullet and add someone to the payroll, so that he can deal with growing the business, while someone else handles the more trivial matters such as those I've encountered.

    Okay, the good stuff:

    First and foremost, the neck sounds fantastic! I play fretless exclusively. I went with the graphite out of curiosity and the desire to play a fretless neck that would never wear out. I've played the same Frankenbass for the better part of the last twenty years, wearing through the original rosewood fingerboard (after pulling the frets and filling the slots myself) and then having it replaced with ebony. I've also experimented with some other wood necks--fretted and fretless--on the bass, so I've had the opportunity over the years to listen to this instrument in some widely varied mutations. The tone of the graphite is truly wonderful, and pretty much instantly made me feel like I had finally stumbled upon the sound I've been looking for all these years. On my bass--a simply alder body, with a brass ABM bridge and Lindy Fralin jazz pickup (for now)--the sonic quality is somewhere in the realm between maple and rosewood fingerboard necks. Much to my surprise, it's actually quite a bit warmer sounding than the maple neck/ebony fingerboard ever hoped to be. I always felt the ebony was rather brittle sounding, but I had gone with that material because rosewood wore down so quickly, and I was constantly sanding down the fingerboard. Ebony was a practical improvement, but I didn't enjoy the sound as much.

    Anyway, another aspect of the sound that everyone talks about, and which I have found to be true, is the eveness of notes with no "dead spots." This kind of jumped out at me as I realized that for years I had been compensating for deficiencies in my wood necks by playing harder or softer on certain notes in order to get the right sound or balance of sounds. Now the bass seems to react in a much more natural way with my playing. If I dig in for a little honk, rip, and snap, this baby's right there with me. If I back off for those big, full, blooming notes, it's like all I have to do is think it and it's there.

    Overall, the tone of the neck is everything I hoped it would be.

    Feelwise I am very pleased, too. The neck has a nice "played in" feel to it, with the edges feeling very smooth and slightly rounded. I've never been a sweaty-handed player, so I'm not sure how others will feel about this, but to me, the back of the neck feels better than even some nice unfinished or satin finished necks I've played. It's got a very soft, low-friction feel that makes slides up and down the neck a breeze.

    I've heard some people talk about the weight of these necks. I have to say I pretty much broke even here. I removed a maple/ebony neck with heavy Fender-style tuners, and replaced with the graphite neck and lightweight tuners. Overall, the bass lost half-a-pound. How much was hardware and how much was neck, I really don't know. But the balance of the bass feels better with this neck than it did with the old one, so I'm very please.

    As far as the installation goes, I've heard some people complain about this, but I didn't have any trouble. As I alluded to earlier, I do all my own work. I also do repairs and setups as a side business, so I'm pretty comfortable with this sort of thing. I did have to go out and buy the 15/64" bit required to do the job, as I didn't have one handy, but that was no biggie. Once I had everything I needed, I pretty much just followed Steve's instructions to a tee, took my time (you won't get any second chances on this job) and came out just fine. The one area where I strayed from the instructions was that I drilled the holes with a hand-held drill rather than on a drill press. Though I had no problems at all doing this, I'm not sure I would recommend it unless you're very comfortable with your tools and very steady-handed. If you're thinking of going about it this way, I would recommend doing what I did, which is to first mark where the holes should be drilled using the drill bit technique mentioned in the instructions, then measure those marks to make sure you didn't slip up somewhere and knock things out of their proper line-up. Next, take a sharp tipped nail and a hammer and lightly tap a tiny pilot hole into the graphite. Then take a bit that is significantly smaller than the 15/64" one you'll use later and drill your pilot hole to its proper depth. Then and only then should you attempt to drill the holes the self-tapping sleeves will screw into. Go nice and slow. Have your drill bit marked with a piece of tape so as not to drill the holes too deep. Like I said, you won't get a second chance like you might with wood, where you can always dowel and redrill if you screw up.

    If you can do this part of the job well, the rest is cake. The neck on my bass sits nice and snug in the pocket, and, with the bolts cinched down, doesn't budge even the slightest bit.

    All in all, I'm pleased with my purchase. I love the neck. There's no question there at all. The only reservations I have had are related to service and general attention to detail on my neck. And I mention those reservations with the hope that my experience was an anomaly. Had I received a perfect neck that was exactly what I ordered two or three weeks after I first ordered it in November, I would have felt every penny spent had been worth it.

    I don't think anyone should be scared off of doing business with Moses Graphite, one, because there necks are great and simply speak for themselves, and two, because my situation was exacerbated by bad timing with Steve being out of the country in December. But I felt I did have to be honest here about my experience--the good parts and the bad--for everyone's benefit.

    Alright, enough of my ramblings. If anyone has any questions or comments at all, please, fire back here. With all that I've had to process through this experience, it's certainly possible I could have left out some pertinent detail that necesitates further follow-up.

    Shake it easy.

    Matt
     
  19. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've had problems with Moses as well. I've got two necks from them, a fretless and a fretted Steinbergers. It took forever to get the first neck - Steve called me back several times to generate the order, and then when it hadn't shown in 4 weeks (it was promised in one), he wouldn't return my calls until I threatened to dispute the charge with my CC. Ugh. He called me back and told me that they really didn't have it in stock as he originally thought, and had to make one for me. I would have understood this if he had just called me back, damnit. I got the neck and it was perfect.

    Then I ordered my fretted. They had to build it from scratch, and it showed in about 3 weeks. Turns out after having to deal with several luthiers on the install, we discovered that the neck heel was angled, so it wouldn't sit in the pocket correctly. I talked to Steve, and sent the neck back. That was 4 weeks ago, and I haven't seen the fixed neck, nor will Steve return my calls (again). Damnit, dude. These guys make some great necks, but their service after the sale absolutely sucks. Just a phone call is all I ask. Geez.
     
  20. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Man, that's really disappointing. Exactly what I went through with them as well. I'm sorry to say I think this must be Steve's version of business as usual. It IS possible he is out of town again. But if that's the case it only reinforces what I said earlier about him needing to hire someone to answer the phones and emails. It's bad business to frustrate your customers with apparent indifference to their needs, regardless of your excuse.

    I don't think Steve realizes just how much this hurts him either. As you said, all it takes is a phone call. When I had my earlier trouble with him, I remember thinking that if the guy had called me back immediately and said, "Geez, I'm sorry, Matt, but I won't be able to get your neck to you for another couple of months," I would have been bummed but fairly understanding, and probably still would have bought from him. In my own customer service experience, I know that people can be pretty darned forgiving if you simply acknowledge them, work diligently to correct the situation, and keep them informed along the way. A fifteen second message on someone's voicemail can go a long way.

    For your sake I hope it doesn't come to this, but if you continue to get no response I would forward him the link to this page. That's what I did, just to let him know the bass community was discussing the matter, and he responded within hours, just like when you threatened to dispute your credit card charges. Also, I think it helped that people from this forum actually called and complained on my behalf. Steve may be too busy to write or call at the moment, but I think when he realizes his reputation is at stake he will respond.

    The thing that stinks is it just shouldn't have to come to this.

    Let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Matt