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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000629.txt from 1996/01

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <el2@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: learn to repad clarinet
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 09:16:56 -0500

On Mon, 29 Jan 1996, SEAN wrote:

> The cost
> of repair people these days is outragous some places. I had to replace
> a pad and didn't know how myself and I took it to a place in
> Davenport Iowa and was charged like $30 to replace a 75 cent cork
> pad. Lord knows how much they would charge for a repad. I'm sorry
> to all the repair people on the list, but I don't understand that.

I am not a professional repair person, but I can do some repairs myself,
including replacing pads. However, I think I might be able to suggest a
couple of factors which have made the cost of repairs go up.

One of the problems is that music stores used to build part of the cost
of repairs and maintainence to the instruments they sell into the
original selling price. However, today very often people will buy
instruments from a high-volume mail-order dealer at a deeply discounted
price. Naturally, such a dealer either doesn't do repairs, or it is very
inconvenient to return the instrument to them for maintenance or warranty
work. So, the purchaser then takes the instrument for repair to the
local music dealer, who has made no profit on the sale of the
instrument. They have to charge a fairly high rate in order even to
break even on the transaction. It's not uncommon to be charged an hourly
rate which is comparable to that charged by service people in other
industries, such as appliance repair or automobile repair. The people I
use typically charge $30 to $40 per hour. So, if I take my bassoon for a
check-up or adjustment and regulation, and if I sit and watch him work on
my instrument for an 8-hour day, that can amount to $320.00. Any
significant supplies he has to use would be in addition to that. But, if
you think of a regular annual maintenance cost of $320 on a bassoon which
could be valued at $15,000 or more, it seems more reasonable. Also, it
seems to me that a $30 cork pad on a clarinet which might have cost $1000
or $1500 isn't outrageous.

Don't forget that instrument repair is a profession requiring a certain
level of skill and training, and an instrument repairer is entitled to
make a comfortable living, too. And, not all of the money you pay for
repairs goes directly into the repair person's pocket. There are
overhead costs, costs of utilities, tools, supplies and equipment, and
perhaps costs of doing business, such as advertising, accounting, etc.

However, on the other side of the coin, I do feel that at the rates we
have to pay for competent repairs, we deserve and should insist on
excellence in the results.

I really didn't intend for this to turn into such an _apologia_ for the
instrument repair profession, but at least perhaps this can partially
explain why we feel that prices have gone up so much.

Ed Lacy
Dr. Edwin Lacy University of Evansville
Professor of Music 1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, IN 47722 (812)479-2252

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