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Unimpressed with PA bass shop

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Jason Sypher, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. I don't know if this is going to fly here on TB but I have a legitimate complaint against a bass shop in PA. I'm not going to name the shop because I feel that might be going a little overboard. I think you can figure it out for yourselves. Here's the deal. The shop is advertising a "Neopolitan" bass at at price of $30,000. It is the top bass in the shop.
    I wrote about a month ago asking for measurements of the bass. After not receiving a response for over a week, I decided to call. I asked the woman at the shop for measurements and she said she would send them as soon as she could. She did send the measurements, about two weeks later. She explained that the bass was a "Neopolitan" bass from the "Gagliano" school c.1900. Okaaaaay? The sides are fruit/nut (?) etc. etc. The one photo on the website is dark and very inconclusive as far as getting a sense of what this bass really is. I wrote back thanking her for the info and asked for some more photos so I could better see the bass. She responded by saying her camera was on the fritz and I should just come see the bass. Now, I'm not a hot head but this completely pushed me over the edge. A prospective client writes you, then calls about the most expensive bass in the shop, then follows up and you can't find a digital camera to take some pictures? What, in 2009? How about your cellphone camera, or a relative or something! I'm quite a few hours away from this shop and I'm a working musician with a two year old son. I don't have time to take a day and go look at an unlabelled bass with no photos. So I wrote her back and said so, and said I think that high-end instruments require high-end salesmanship. Do you know how she responded? She spam filtered me! Now I know she did it because I had successfully sent an email to the same address minutes before. Some people do not belong in this business. I will never even look at their website again. This woman is thoroughly unprofessional.

    If you are thinking of shopping a bass in PA, write me first.
  2. rokkitt


    Jun 7, 2007
    bronx, nyc
    I am originally from PA

    uhmmmmmm....yes, they might not have a digital camera.....that is how that place works down there! hahahaha

    they say that if a nuclear bomb hit the USA, you want to live in PA


    cuz everything there happens 10 to 15 years later! hahahaha

    yes, that bass doesnt belong there....are you sure the cleaning lady didnt answer the phone?


    maybe you can get someone else on the phone, who can help.

    it is 30k income for the shop, and.....maybe some one over there cares about that kinda cash during these economic times!

    good luck!
  3. sowder

    sowder Guest

    Mar 1, 2008
    You don't need to say what shoppe this is, but I agree they really don't seem to want to sell anything. I tried selling a bass on consignment, got nothing and no explanation of effort, THEN tried to buy a really nice Alembic and the guy acted like I could take it or leave it who gives a crap and I was wasting his time. Excuse me? I give you a $5000 bass to sell, then you treat me like some kid off the street who doesn't have the money to buy the Alembic? So talk to me like I'm a homeless guy in a Mercedes dealership? It amazes me how they advertise they are the ONLY bass store in the Philly area then make no real effort to make you feel comfortable forking over thousands of bucks, especially when you could go to NY 1 1/2 hours away.

    If you can look at the Bass Gallery in Atlanta. Now there is a store!
  4. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I had similar issues when I tried to visit on my bass buying trip last summer.

    When a fellow is cruising through town with $20K cash in his pocket looking to buy a bass in the middle of a recession you'd think they'd at least try to accommodate a visit.

    Won't see me there either.
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Wow, that stanks.
  6. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Apparently the bass is from Itlay (sic).

    That's funny Marcus.
  7. I had a hunch from the descriptions that I knew what shop you were talking about, so I did a little research to confirm. I am totally blown away by these reports (but not doubting or questioning them in any way.)

    I had entirely the opposite experience in my two visits to the shop. Last summer, I decided to buy a carved German bass that I had seen and played at a shop in Maryland. But when I called that shop, the bass had been sent to the place in Pennsylvania. When I tracked it down I was out of the area on business, but the shop -- having never dealt with me before -- held the bass for me for two weeks without a deposit until I could get there to check it out.

    A few weeks ago, I took the bass in for a check up and to have a seam glued. I was not charged for that work (but I did buy a nice vintage bow while I was there.)

    Not sure why my luck was different.
  8. sowder

    sowder Guest

    Mar 1, 2008
    Yea you know. The great country of IT-LAY. They make great stuff.
  9. Well, you did drive out there which I didn't. The whole experience felt like an amateur outfit that shouldn't be dealing with fine instruments. I've written about ten shops, some of which are overseas, and the response and customer service was in an entirely different league. The opposite experience can be found in the competition: Arnold, Ken, Jeff B., Lloyd, Gage, etc.
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Maybe its really a rare old ISLAY! :) Yummy.........
  11. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    First things first: when speaking of musicians, and especially bassists, give the benefit of the doubt. :)

    This shop you speak of has a particular way of doing things: they don't like to sell, they are the exact opposite of pressure or greed (I'm not calling anyone else greedy mind you). This mystery shop was once overheard saying (by me) "I won't sell you a bass, but you can come buy one if you want". I have heard them send customers elsewhere when they felt the right bass might be there.

    I'm not out to defend or hold one shop above another, I thought it would be worth adding that some people have a different slant on things.

    I also think that Sowder with the Alembic above is talking about a different shop, an electric shop.

    p.s. I'm not shilling, they very rarely carry our stuff.
  12. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    I once called this shop some years back when bass shopping. It was during the period when I had my Prescott out on trial before actually buying it. I was pretty sold on that bass, but trying to play as many basses in it's range as possible so I could make an informed decision. I remember a male voice on the phone who was reasonably helpful with info about their upper range instruments, but not overly forthcoming now that you mention it. But as we know 'the proof is in the pudding' and to truly size up an instrument one must go there in person which was my intention. I'm also in the NYC area and I called them to consider an appointment, but never made it out there.
    The spam filter thing sounds more than ridiculous though. This thread reminds me of a certain shop in the S. CT (not Upton) area who's main purveyor and owner was more than rude when I called to see if I could get a next day app. to try some basses in the 15-25K range. I was trying out a Lamy from Boston and was going to be coming thru the area. I gave him a variety of times that I could make it so as to fit in his sched. and I was quite taken aback as to his downright nasty attitude. I've since heard that I am not the only customer to have experienced this there.
    Go figure? I'm glad these shops are so flush w/ business:rollno:

  13. The shop emailed me today with an apology and explanation. That's all anyone really expects, to be treated like a customer. I appreciated the email and said so. It's easy to understand why people get swamped with work or don't have a camera readily available etc etc. I wasn't trying to be difficult, but I was put off a little by the whole attitude. We are going to proceed as normal. I'll see some more photos of the instrument so I can see if it looks like something I might be interested in. People are people, and I'm not holding a grudge.
  14. Jason,

    Thanks for the follow up and good luck in the search. I know when I was there last that there was a steady stream of customers -- and a grand array of basses that I can never hope to afford OR deserve to play. Even though it's a two-hour drive each way, I look forward to the trip because of what those folks know and the quality of work that they do.
  15. I know who you are talking about as well and I've never had a problem with them. I've bought 7 basses from them, they are the only ones I trust with doing any kind of significant repair work on my basses and it's a four hour one way trip for me to get there. They are a very small operation, do very high quality work and it seems they get overwhelmed at times. Stick with them though. I enthusiastically endorse them.

  16. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    My apologies for my indignant lack of patience with this shop.

    When dealing with micro sized businesses the mood of the owners can change the outward appearance day by day. The daily ins and outs of family and commerce are inextricably intertwined. This is especially true when the owners are artists. As you might expect I know a great deal about this.

    In a field as small as the Double Bass everyone should receive multiple chances before being boycott. There are days I wish I could take back some of the things I've said and done in my customer relations. The task for me is to recover with grace and humility, and strive once again to meet that customer's needs. The best measure for family business is how they stand up from their own mistakes.

    In a Walmart world we are trained for a different kind of business relationship than when my Father was a young man. Corporate stores remove the faces of the families the business supports and with it goes the humanity of the soap opera behind the desk. Yet these micro sized businesses contain the heart of all that is good about commerce. Families providing goods and services to other families for the benefit of the greater community.

    They deserve an extra measure of our patience so we can maintain a little of what's left that makes our human experience rich.
  17. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker

    Oct 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Well said, Uncletoad.

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