Romano Solano 2017 nightmare service and repair

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by 4me2ubass, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Yes

    4 vote(s)
  2. No

    8 vote(s)
  3. Hell No

    2 vote(s)
  4. I would, but I want to keep my bass in working order.

    1 vote(s)
  5. I'd rather buy another bass!

    2 vote(s)
  1. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    Ok guys, We've all heard about this piece of work right?
    I attended a university in Richmond, VA way back in the early 2000's and I heard from some of my bassmates that he bought Solano's bass and the seams kept opening up. That didn't effect me too much and I figured after almost 2 decades, he got better and he's only 1 hour drive from where I stay.

    So there's the background:

    A few months ago in February 2017, I brought my bass in simply to make it play easier and there was a small gap that began to get alittle bigger, between the fingerboard and the neck in first position. I know alittle about bass upgrades and when asking about what I should do to make my bass competitive in the orchestral world, he recommended a new bridge, new tailpiece, new strings and a block at the bottom of the tailpiece that raised the action and would supposedly relive my tension.

    So after a week, he needed another week, so no problem man. So I can back then and I relized the bridge adjusters were completely unusable since the action was so damn high, but I had no headroom to even use the adjusters to slightly lower the action. Plus, there was a terrible buzz, one I've never had resonating from the bottom of the instrument.

    Well, I brought this up right then and there at his house/shop in Mechanicsville, VA and he basically called me a 'picky poopie'. I really couldn't believe he said that, but, I had already paid him almost $1500, so this cabron had me by the balls, and he knew it.

    So a brought it back a second time, because I needed the bass for a gig.
    The second time was for the bridge re-cutting and to get rid of the buzz. He sure did cut the bridge almost to where you had to max out the adjusters to bring the action up to playable ( he went to the other extreme, basically ruining the longevity of the bridge). Also, the buzz was still there and he even talked about it, with a grin, as if he was rubbing it in.

    About a week later, I thought the buzz would settle out, but it didn't and was buzzing only when played hard with the bow, around E notes. I emailed Rumano and he never emailed back. I gave him one last call about a week later and he wouldn't even let me talk after I stated there was still a buzz. he basically told me how much extra money I should give him to accomplish my goal of having a competitive bass in the classical field. I said thanks and quickly hung up.

    I brought my bass to Orpheus Violin Repair in VA Beach and Mr. Popov was pointing out all the messed up things Romano did (or his underling/shiff) and that it would cost about $300 to fix the bridge grooves (all same file used), re-space the strings, re-move the sound post and folks this wasn't even an attempt to fix the buzz.

    My theory is the buzz was created by the useless block and it put so much pressure on my bass, the seam was opened.

    So this is a story that needs to be told, I held off on this until I talked to my current luthier, Mike Shank. He said Romano is notorious for not responding to emails, calls and to post my story on here. So here I am, I got all those problems fixed by Mike Shank last week, April 2017.

    I will say Rumano Solano did fix up my bass scars over the years and did a great job with that!

    All in all, Romano is readily available to take your money for half-ass work, but don't expect him to honor his own warranty or to even pick up the phone after you've paid him.

    There's alot more to this and I'm here to help you, if you need to commiserate or debunk his godly luthier status.

    All in all, I lost about $1000, because the parts were good and I got new strings.

    Any recourse on this? Any ideas guys? Should I sue Mr. Rumano? I mean he's been doing this poopie to poor bassists for 2 decades now, don't you think someone should take him to task?

    Thanks for listening guys, this is my first and only and probably last posting on any forum.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  2. Every few years, some nameless person says terrible things on talkbass about Rumano. I've spoken with him exactly twice, and never gave him a dime, but my experience was nothing but positive.

    The bass he made that I ended up with? Fuhgettaboutit.

    And the point of a raised saddle is to lower tension on the top, not add more.
    bassmastan likes this.
  3. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    It must be nice to never get a repair from him. Don't. Good luck to you.
  4. The bass is 20 years old and healthy, and I can do my own repairs. Thanks anyway.
  5. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    Looks like I'm heading down that road...Since even a professional luthier with warranty on third website don't mean anything. Sad. Glad you are lucky to get a bass of his that isn't popping open.
    He shut down his MD shop recently and he spreads himself too thin with performing and making all violin family instruments. I guess I should have attended UNT.
  6. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    I have never met the man, but I have played three of his basses. They were all, without exception, among the finest instruments I have every had the opportunity to play.

  7. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    I agree mostly..ive played 5 of his basses to be exact. I think he's good, of course! Everyone has a preference with basses..If I could afford his 20k basses..Sure sign me up!
    The point of this thread is a review of his workmanship on other basses; his lack of interpersonal communication skills, his sloppy work and his failure to uphold his explicit warranty. I know he meant well..But didn't own up to his mistakes.
    It's like getting your car back from a mechanic for a tune up and it comes back with a huge cranking sound in first gear. He just couldn't undo what he did. Thanks for your input, Joe!
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I have played exactly one Solano bass. It played fine sounded good but weighed several tons, and I couldn't help thinking about Arnold's line about how much a bass should weigh ("as little as possible") the whole time.
    4me2ubass likes this.
  9. Mine is not a good jazz pizz bass. It's simply the wrong tool for that application. Under the bow, I've never had a better bass in my hands.

    It's one of his French-outline flatback student models from the late '90s with doubled ribs. Never cracked and never had a major repair.
    4me2ubass likes this.
  10. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    I played one at Lemur Music a few months ago. Priced at $20, or $25K. I thought it rather average, definitely not in the top 10 of the 40 basses they had. YMMV.
    4me2ubass likes this.
  11. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I've heard different stories from different people... Luthiers et. al... The bottom line it seems is..

    a. He can do incredible work, when he wants to..
    b. He can do pretty crappy work... when he can't be bothered...

    But I have heard horror stories, so this isn't a one off it seems...


    Note: I've never spoken to or met the gentleman... Although I'm in Northern VA.
    4me2ubass likes this.
  12. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    That's awesome to hear...
    It's funny how basses are either good for classical or jazz...But not really both!
    Kind of the downer about being a gigger in both genres...Oh well, I'm still playing my scratchers! Haha
  13. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    Sad isn't it? That someone rather talented can turn out like a Walmart for what, greed!?
    As far as I know, he has a person he hires for the lower level stuff...But Rumano said he did the work himself..I doubt it.
    Thanks for your input fellow Virginian!
    DrayMiles likes this.
  14. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    For what it's worth, the horror stories I used to hear were enough for me to not bother even thinking about the gentleman making anything for me.. The risk, I deemed, was far too great... ;)
    4me2ubass likes this.
  15. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    The one cool thing about Rumano, IMO, is that he makes a variety of basses modeled after different eras and regions, so some of his basses are flat back and heavy Panormas but then there are sharply sloped shoulders and light Italian round backs that I could lift with my left hand.
    Pick your poison! Haha
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  16. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I'm sorry to hear this sad story. One cannot expect a great maker to be a great repairer, or vice versa. In the art world there are those who create, and those whose restore and preserve. Entirely separate categories. Rumano seems in the first, and perhaps should not be taking on repair work at all. Personally, I (not a luthier) don't like dealing with objects I didn't make myself. If I am asked to repair something which I feel was poorly made, then my motivation to fix it properly is low. If something I made for you, however, has somehow failed, then I will stop at nothing to make it right.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  17. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011
    I see this as well. Having owned a Solano I can say this. I never had any issues with the basses construction, his setup work is OK, but did need some tweaking, and the bass I had sounded really really good. Last, I have NEVER had an issue calling him in the two years I owned the instrument, and was always kind to me.
  18. Scott Lynch

    Scott Lynch Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Delaware, USA
    This is a very interesting perspective, and perhaps the root of the problem.

    On that note, and with respect to all, I've noticed that the vast majority of responses, while positive (and defensive), have come from those who own a bass made by Mr. Solano, and not by those who have brought in an instrument from another maker to have repair work done. While I have no personal dealings at all with Mr. Solano, perhaps it would be most helpful to the OP to hear from those who have been in a similar situation.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
    4me2ubass likes this.
  19. 4me2ubass


    Apr 24, 2017
    Yup, the root of the problem is Mr. Solano's big egotistical attitude. Period. His poopie don't stink, so to speak. It's just a sordid situation because in order for me to be whole I'd need him to replace my bass which is valued at $9500..on the street $8000.
    I played his $12000 basses and it wasn't as good as mine, period, he also agreed, without saying it.
    That's why I mentioned before I'd have to get a $15000 - $20000 bass of his to upgrade from mine, since his cheaper line is, well , cheap.
  20. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    I had a friend in school who bought a Solano bass and had many problems in the first few months (Seams opening up). He ended up sending it off to Solano to fix. When Solano sent it back he, hilariously, forgot to include some vital organs like the bridge and tailpiece.

    I think he later had some holes drilled in the back bracing to reduce the weight a bit.

    It is a good sounding bass at a great price, but that always makes me chuckle.
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