I was wondering if anyone has worked with Lisa picking out a clarinet and how your experience was. I am in the market for a new clarinet and thought Lisa might help reduce the amount of time it would take to try many clarinets from different places. She lives close to me so it would be convenient to go this route.
I have used Lisa to pick out my personal clarinets and have purchased 12 additional clarinets and bass clarinets where I teach. Every clarinet that she has sent me has had excellent intonation, feel, and sound. I would recommend her to anyone in the market for a Buffet clarinet. She can also send you instruments based on specific things/aspects that you are looking for in a clarinet. Hope this helps.
I bought my R13 Bb clarinet through Lisa last summer. I talked to her on the phone for about 15 minutes, and then, within a month, she sent me three beautiful R13 clarinets. All of them were outstanding, and had she only sent me one clarinet, she could have sent any of the three and I would have been happy. I picked the one I liked the most, and I'm still happy with it.
There was one aspect of my interaction with Lisa that would cause me to pause before reccomending her. When she asked if I needed an A clarinet to go with the new Bb I had just bought, I told her that I had already purchased an excellent A clarinet at an excellent price from Walter Grabner. She responded, somewhat incredulously "Have you ever heard Walter play?" And then started talking about how Walter Grabner was a good mouthpiece maker, but not an especially good player, that his skills as a repair tech were lacking and that she wasn't sure if she would trust a clarinet that he selected.
The clarinets she sent me were wonderful, but I wish that she had stopped short of badmouthing Walter Grabner, which just seemed unprofessional to me.
I'm in Australia so picking out good clarinets from good stock is difficult. So I got Lisa to send me out three R13's to try. As has already been said, I could easily have saved money on shipping by only asking for one, because any of the three were better than anything I could find over here. There were subtle differences and I chose on preference.
My instrument is full of overtones, has great intonation and extremely even tone and feel throughout. All three I received in immaculate (and superior) mechanical condition. Anyone who tries my instrument comments on how awesome the keys feel.
You get what you pay for - if you don't mind spending more for a better instrument, Lisa is the way to go. VERY highly recommended. My only regret is not having a pair sent out when I had the money, now I have a great R13 Bb and a pretty good Leblanc Concerto A (which she chose about 4 years ago)!
Principal Clarinet, Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, London
Masters Graduate, Royal College of Music, London
If I remember right, Lisa selected my Patricola Eb from among two or three that she got when I ordered one from her. I'm not a pro, and at the time (six or seven years ago) I was not far from a beginner so having someone select for me was probably a good idea. Mechanically, there were some problems with the LH pinky keys -- it was unplayable when it reached me, my tech told me that he had to do major surgery -- but it is a wonderful instrument, I've never heard a sweeter eefer.
<<When she asked if I needed an A clarinet to go with the new Bb I had just bought, I told her that I had already purchased an excellent A clarinet at an excellent price from Walter Grabner. She responded, somewhat incredulously "Have you ever heard Walter play?" And then started talking about how Walter Grabner was a good mouthpiece maker, but not an especially good player, that his skills as a repair tech were lacking and that she wasn't sure if she would trust a clarinet that he selected.>>
Golly, I didn't KNOW I was so worthless!!!
It seems odd - that I have thousands of happy customers, and that I once won an audition for a professional symphony orchestra, that I continue to get invitations to appear as a soloist with local groups, and that I have played solo and chamber music recitals at Heidelberg College, Lake Forest College, Northen Illinois University, Oakton Community College, and the University of Oklahoma, to name a few, and that I do seminars all over the country.
For those who do not know, I have remarried and my new name is Lisa Canning. I still have an email address at LisaArgiris@aol.com that is frequented but I go by Lisa Canning these days.
I felt the need to add a comment about remarks made on this thread; since they are about me.
First, not everything we are told in life is repeated correctly; remember that old telephone game? One person tells another person what was said, and each time the story changes somewhat, so that it winds up having an entirely different meaning at the end?
I think it is very inappopriate to comment on hearsay in this forum and in this case, especially if it is about something I supposedly said in a certain context; as was indicated by Walter Grabner's post. This is simply something unfair to me to do; because the comment was taken out of context and then responded to unfairly as a result.
The intent and meaning of a private conversation, I had or you have should remain private. It is one thing to state your opinion; its another to be quoting what others said.
I would encourage each of you to not be so quick to retell things others have said in this forum unless both parties approve of those comments. By making assumptions that your sharing information correctly as it was said; when the other party involved in the coversation might entirely disagree about the context you put it in; becomes hearsay and does not belong in this forum, in my opinion.
Oh and the comment made from a student kev182 about how difficult I was to deal with; is also equally unfair. Over 22 years I have developed a very, very good system for ensuring that I can meet the needs of the individuals who come to me. On the rare occassion ( and it is very rare) that a client cannot give me the things I need to do my job well to serve that client; I will suggest that my services are not the best fit and encourage and help the client find a better fit elsewhere. WIthout going into any details, because that would be hearsay, I will simply say that that situation falls under this descripion.
The most important thing to me is that clarinetists are able to be well served, through excellent information, and excellent service. Wherever each of you finds that, is what is most important to me; as my goal is to help anyone who wants my help to play their very best and to musically and artistically grow.
Every good wish,
Lisa's Clarinet Shop, Inc.
I had a very positive experience having Lisa select a Patricola C clarinet for me around 5 years ago. It is a truly exceptional clarinet and the transaction went smoothly.
However, I have to say that it is disappointing to read Lisa's comments about Walter Grabner. I hold Walter in high regard. I've come to use Grabner soprano and bass clarinet mouthpieces exclusively -- I've found them to be a perfect match for what I want -- and through conversations with Walter it's clear to me that he has a deep level of clarinet understanding. I would not hesitate to purchase a clarinet from him. The only problem, I no longer use Buffet.
For the record, hearsay is second hand information. Max, relaying his conversation with Lisa is not hearsay. If I were to relay the Max and Lisa drama to someone, THAT is hearsay as I was not a witness to the original converstation.
If it is in good taste to air dirty laundry on a message board - that's another matter entirely.
> I think it is very inappopriate to comment on hearsay in this
> forum and in this case, especially if it is about something I
> supposedly said in a certain context; as was indicated by
> Walter Grabner's post.
Read a little higher, Lisa. Walter did not relay hearsay - a poster relayed what he or she claims to be a direct conversation with you. I have rules against hearsay - 1st person negative narratives are just fine since we can identify the actual players. 2nd or greater are not.
> The intent and meaning of a private conversation, I had or you
> have should remain private. It is one thing to state your
> opinion; its another to be quoting what others said.
If a vendor is telling me something in the course of a normal business transaction I would think that the vendor would realize that it might be made public. Private conversations are normally not in the guise of a business transaction.
> I would encourage each of you to not be so quick to retell
> things others have said in this forum unless both parties
> approve of those comments.
???? If that were true then no negative comments would ever be made.
> Oh and the comment made from a student kev182 about how
> difficult I was to deal with; is also equally unfair.
Comments made in the 1st person, both negative and positive, are eminently fair. I have yet to see any vendor complain about any positive comments (ever hearsay ones). All businesses get some complaints over time. Some warranted, some not. It happens.
I made an email inquiry telling her what I am playing, etc., and she responded to the effect that my R13 is now too old and has to be replaced because clarinets go out of tune as they get older and nothing can be done about it except to replace them.
My impression was that she doesn't understand that the first precept of selling is NEVER to run down your customer's equipment (whether it be an auto or a clarinet), and if anything, try to find something good to say about it. She completely turned me off. I simply never responded to her email.
My clarinet is not "out of tune" (whatever that means) any more than it was when I bought it. If I ever do replace it, it won't be with her.
> I made an email inquiry telling her what I am playing, etc.,
> and she responded to the effect that my R13 is now too old and
> has to be replaced because clarinets go out of tune as they get
> older and nothing can be done about it except to replace them.
I guess I'd better throw away about 6 of my mid 1960's R13's, including the pair I just played this evening in an orchestra concert.
kev182, not saying that this was the case, but if Lisa selected clarinets you didn't like, perhaps it was the way you described what you wanted in the instrument? She can only choose what you have told her to. In my case, I got exactly what I asked for.
Just a thought as I don't know the situation.
Principal Clarinet, Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, London
Masters Graduate, Royal College of Music, London
I'm not sure how it is possible to choose a clarinet for someone based on a description. If you are a good clarinetist, and you choose good clarinets for you, there's a (good) chance others will also think they're good. It's also possible they won't.
Since even something as basic as intonation can be so different between different players on same clarinets, it's mostly impossible to describe this, let alone much more abstract things like sound. If I would need to describe to someone what sound I'm looking for in a clarinet, I would have no idea what to say, eventhough I am very clear to myself on what I'm looking for.
"an instrument that is fundamentally in tune is going to serve anyone better than something with quirks that 'suits' someone."
Of course an instrument that is too much out of tune will be bad for most anyone..... but I was referring to small differences (for one example, slightly sharp or slightly flat throat notes). Have you read the part talking about this subject in Jack Brymer's book about clarinet? He explains this the best and clearest way IMO.
"I also have to say that... That's something someone who hasn't got a professionally selected clarinet would say!"
First of all, you don't have to say that. Second of all, if you meant that it sounds like my clarinet wasn't professionally selected (that's how I understood what you said), then actually it was - I selected it.
I'm interested to know from someone who actually did it (regardless of whether you were happy at the end or not), what was your description to the person who selected your clarinet (or selected several for you to choose from)?
As can be seen in this thread and the reference thread quoted by Gregory Smith - having your clarinet selected by someone else isn't always the panacea one would hope for - but it is one of many options to choose from and there are many people very satistified with the service
All businesses try & please their customers, but when there's a lack of communications or a requested service can't be provided then it's good business practice to politely refer them to someone else (perhaps a competitor) who can supply the service. I have to do that from time to time as one of the "side" businesses here is to provide hosting and email services to people. I can't provide certain features and refer those people (with regrets) to other places.
As for talking about your competitors ... that's been going on forever. It's just now, in these highly interactive and public forums, where what you say, even in passing, is going to be relayed to thousands of people. Astute businesspeople are going to have to learn to keep such comments to themselves or to make sure that the comments are made only to people they trust. They're going to have to learn to act like any other public figure. Where in the past your geographic span was measured in a few tens of miles and your words dissipated quickly, we now have instantaneous communication over ten thousand miles and permanent records of what you told someone.
It's a new medium and we're all trying to learn how to use it.
GBK: I work for the county here in North Arkansas. and we have a very nice waste management facility. Please send all your R13's that are over 20 years old. I will see that they are retired with the proper respect and honor that they have earned throught those years of glorious concert performances which have worn them out. All in the public service. Eu
Although I was the first to post anything "negative" about Lisa, I have to say that, despite the one sour note in my interaction with her, I was very satisfied with the instruments she sent me. A friend of mine ordered some Buffets from the WWBW (three of them, I think), and none of them played anywhere near as well as the instruments that Lisa sent. This may have had as much to do with the fact that they were not set up as well at the WWBW as mine were at Lisa's shop, but I did notice a relatively radical difference between the R13's that wwbw sent out, whereas the instruments I got on trial from Lisa were all subtle variations of what I had described to her.
And clarnibass, those small differences that you talk about are things that you can request she keep an eye out for. You can write a multiple-page treatise on what clarinet should and shouldn't be, and Lisa will try to find the right one. It might not be quite as good as being able to choose from all of the instruments at the Buffet factory, but I didn't have that opportunity. My other option was to try three or four at a time from wwbw, or go to the music stores around San Francisco. I've never been terribly impressed with instrument selection of these stores, since they do most of their business in student instruments and accessories. It may not be the right route for everyone, but it certainly worked well for me. Plus, I remember the prices being rather competitive, even with the premium that you pay for the service. This was right before the prices went up on R13s.
I would still reccomend her service, I just hope that she keeps some (certainly not all) of her opinions out of her customer interactions.
I am equally happy with both of my clarinets. The Bb I got from Lisa, and the A I got from Walter. They both do good work, and I would work with either of them in the futre.
Perhaps remarrying improved Lisa’s disposition, maybe it even got rid of any acne.
I wasn’t going to write this. In fact, I wasn’t going to write it the first time a similar post was done many months ago. Then, I decided to simply share my personal experience.
Just over a yr ago, I ordered, on trial, a clarinet.
I was told it would be set up by her personal repair tech, and then mailed. The mailing was delayed 2X as I was then told due to the repair tech.
The clarinet arrived and the pkg was opened amid several friends. Obviously, a repair tech never touched this clarinet. Several keys were clearly out of adjustment, there was dog hair inside the case and inside the case sleeve, no factory paperwork, warranty card, swab, etc. A local repair tech easily adjusted the keys. The tenon corks clearly had evidence of the clarinet being assembled numerous times and finger smudges on the keys.
I tried the clarinet and listened. I played and others listened. Others played and I listened.
Was it a good clarinet. YES. Was it a great clarinet? NO. Was it $3000+ better over what I already had….certainly not. I returned it.
(although I didn’t own a dog, I did vacuum the case so I couldn’t be viewed as the one responsible for this)
Simultaneously, I ordered a clarinet (different key) from Walt Grabner.
The clarinet arrived in impeccable condition, properly set up, all factory paperwork.
I went thru the same playing/listening process. I made the same assessment: was it good? YES. Was it $3,000 better than what I had? NO.
I returned the clarinet to Walter, sharing my findings and thanked him. He responded by thanking me for the opportunity to work with him. A gentleman.
While I had still had this clarinet from Lisa, she asked if I had any older R13’s I’d sell and specified the general years. I had an Anniversary year Bb that was fully overhauled by John Butler and only play tested.. I instructed John to send the clarinet directly to Lisa and informed Lisa that John was sending it.
While my older R13 was in transit, Lisa had already received back the trial clarinet.
Upon receipt, she sent me nastiest, most arrogant , holier than thou email. I shared this email with others. They, too, mentioned they’d not do business with her if the opportunity arose.
Lisa professed how great her clarinet was, that I was low level player, a player who didn’t want to attain a higher level in my playing, wouldn’t know a great playing clarinet, wasn’t serious about buying one and that I wasted her time.
I simply responded by reminding her that a few years prior, when my Moennigized R13 set (previously owned by my teacher, Leon Russianoff) was at IMS for minor work to be done by Tom Fritz, she phoned asking me if I would consider selling her the set.
She added that she never wanted to hear from me again, would not do business with me under any circumstances and was blocking my email..
I shared those emails with several people, I had no favorable feedback.
Lisa is very friendly and accommodating…until one disagrees with her, her assessment or opinion of a clarinet.
ODDLY, a month later I received her mass mailing via email offering her services. I deleted it, yet still received these mass mailings.
One cures it by marking it as spam.
After she received my Anniversary year R13, she made choice comments on that: it needed $300-400 work done on it and a new case. Bear in mind this had a full o/h with cork pads on UJ done by John Butler and shipped directly to her. She offered me ½ the price we had initially spoke about.
When I mentioned I’d sell it on eBAY, she criticized eBAY as a venue for buying/selling of clarinets.
Needless to say , she returned the clarinet…….and I then sold it privately to a freelance recording artist who not only loved it’s tonal coloring, intonation, etc, but mentioned it was better than his best which he’d been using for 20 yrs. and also commented upon by his cohorts.
Regardless of Lisa’s personality, forcefulness and biased opinions, she does perform a selection service. This is an invaluable service when buying a new clarinet. There are others who also perform this service ; Walt Grabner for one. Walter concentrates on clarinets and immediate clarient accessories. Period.
There is also a renowned symphony player who is a Buffet sponsor who also performs this service….on an individual basis, no ‘inventory’. He does this on an infrequent basis and does not advertise. Once he knows the specifics of what you are looking for, it could take up to a year to find the clarinet you asked for. And, if not happy, you’re under no obligation to purchase other than pay the ‘going rate’ ‘finder’s fee’
Please don’t view this as anything but what it is: an accurate description of events.
...and I'm not looking to engage in a dialogue
Who needs such aggravation? There are a lot of very nice people in the clarinet business. Incidentally, Leon Russianoff was one. He sold me my R13 - sent it out to Long Island to Buffet for adjustments and cork throat and side key pads before he'd let me take it. It's been superb all these years. He was the world's nicest man. Rest his soul.
I`m beginning clarinetist.
Once very much for a long time, more 20 years ago, I played clarinet at a small wind band.
Now I`m 42 – have a few free time and I try to remember how correctly to put fingers on clarinet apertures. LOL!
I didn't want to buy a plastic clarinet, I very much would like to buy the good instrument with a fine sound. Successfully to be engaged and willingly to waste time on music – I should fall in love with a sound of the tool. In search of such tool some months I looked through different sites on the Internet. Consulted to experts. Has come and on this site too. Here I have got acquainted with Sir Walter Grabner.
It has appeared, sir Walter very worthy person, the remarkable master. And he sells excellent instruments. And still makes handcrafted mouthpieces. I have informed him that I the beginner. But, in spite of the fact that I the beginner, instead of the professional musician - He have concerned me very benevolently and have recommended to choose any of his clarinets.
I have expressed interest to one of Buffet Festival from his collection. Then Walter Grabner has in detail described to me a sound of this instrument and its feature. I set many questions (because I have no a lot of experience in a choice of such difficult musical instrument and I can not define that is good and that isn't good).
Sir Walter patiently answered me my numerous questions, made different recommendations and as a result I have chosen Festival Buffet from his collection. It has arrived to me urgent mail for very short time. Packing fine, good service. This clarinet and both handcrafted mouthpieces – really above any praises.
My teacher of a clarinet – is a 1-st chair of a clarinet and the principal of clarinetists group in a Symphonic Orchestra of Shenzhen City (South China). This guy understands a clarinet very much.
And so he was lost in admiration from my clarinet and from mouthpieces which were made by Walter Grabner. A sound of this clarinet Festival – more excellent. Magnificent mouthpieces - anybody in China can't make that beautiful mouthpieces. It is more excellent work.
I have more gratitude to you, sir Walter, for your excellent work and for your fine relation to me.
I have received from Walter two mouthpieces К-11* and К-14.
It you have correctly told - there are killer mouthpieces!
Golly, I didn't know I`m so happy!!!!
It is simply excellent sound and it is adjusted directly in a point!
I have bought numerous instruments and accessories from Lisa Canning and regard her as a smart competative, but fair, business person. I also have had the occassion to meet with Walter Grabner whom I also hold in high regards as a mouthpiece craftsperson (I play one of his bass clarinet mpcies) and repair technician. Lisa is very good at selecting instruments for your trials and is quick to offer advice. You pay a bit extra for her services, but I think her assistance is worth every penny. Walter will go out of his way to make you the mouthpiece that is best on your clarinet. He also has a good selection of new and used instruments from which you can pick--truely, one of the "good guys" in the clarinet business. Lisa & Walter, perhaps not a "couple made for each other" (they are competative), but both are honest, knowledgable and good people to work with. I recommend them both--with either, you cannot go wrong.
btw--I've heard them both play and would not want to face either in an audition situation.
Hi, I think its best for me to respond to this because clearly you did not understand our process. I am going to respond bit by bit to make sure I am clear.
'Um, nope hartt. Things haven't changed. I recently struggled to understand the process with her, gave up when I began to feel pressured to buy a particular instrument... then received the nasty email and was "blacklisted." Seems she should remove the bit about simply paying a fee if you don't find what you like, and state that if you don't accept her recommendations you'll be shunned. '
Never the case. Clearly you misunderstood. If you don't find what you like on the first try we send more instruments without a shipping charge. We bat 99.9% and truly help people if they allow themselves to be served and helped. You did not. You decided when one email was not returned promptly, because I was actually purchasing more of exactly what you wanted to try and just trying to finalize when it could be shipped, to not call and do something differently. Completely your choice but a phone call would have cleared everything up for you.
/Gosh. I understand that it takes time to set up instruments, but I did pay for that. And for the record, I only had one shipment. I think that all I needed was some hand-holding, but I'm guessing she's way too busy for that. Too bad for me.'
It also takes time to find the right ones and buy them too. But in the end
I am so sorry you did not feel served. I think I tried but you failed in this email to mention that after I sent you an instrument you loved, you went to other stores to find a new instrument without ever asking me to help you find something similar. And then you did not tell me this so I could not understand why you did not want the one you loved at the right price. I think my reaction was justified actually and logical.
We invest a ton of money into the set up of the instruments we sell- money that is never recovered from our set up fee when you elect not to continue to work with us. At no point did I/we ever give up on helping you. You gave up on us helping you. We will go to the end of the earth to help our customers. But not if they walk away and use our experience and intel to find the right instrument elsewhere. This is what our expertise is and we deserve to be paid for it when we get it right and to work with customers who are honest about what they are doing. I get you don't feel experienced and now perhaps you are a little more and have a great instrument thanks to the model we sent you to work from.
/I was never impolite, just not really knowledgeable about the process, and somewhat nervous about the amount of money I was ready to spend ($6000+). Some clarification of policies would have been helpful (conflicting info on web site and in paperwork sent with test clarinets). She quickly lost patience, and the sale. Too bad for both of us. Now I'm challenged with finding another person to work with...'
And all you had to do was call us and it all would have worked out perfectly for you. I have new inventory I purchased just for you! Without any additional cost you would have had new instruments picked out based on the results from the first shipment and sent. And you would have been thrilled. I am sure!
This business is basically made up of trust. How can I do my best for you trust has been broken. I think loyalty matters a lot here friend. Its really hard this business and we work really hard to please our customers.
Everyone at Lisa's Clarinet Shop wishes you a wonderful experience with your new Bb.
😂 this is why I play yamahas! They are all pretty constistent from clarinet to clarinet. In my humble opinion for $3K and up every Buffet should be great. That is a ton of money. That being said my Yamaha 650 soprano and 622 II low C bass where improved by Mike Hammer of hammer woodwinds. A difference that could be heard by my band and orchestra collegues. Mike Hammer offers hand picked buffets too!
> 😂 this is why I play yamahas! They are all pretty
> constistent from clarinet to clarinet. In my humble opinion
> for $3K and up every Buffet should be great. That is a ton of
> money. That being said my Yamaha 650 soprano and 622 II low C
> bass where improved by Mike Hammer of hammer woodwinds. A
> difference that could be heard by my band and orchestra
> collegues. Mike Hammer offers hand picked buffets too!
> Post Edited (2017-09-26 00:00)
Except for still unsold stock, Mike Hammer has announced he's getting out of the new instrument business. He had a sale a couple of months ago to sell off the inventory he had. I don't know what if anything he has left.
I 'm little disrurbed by what went down in this thread. I speak to my share of music repair people and retailers. Some things that are said are between me and them are not to be shared. All this thread did was upset Lisa and Walter. And what did that accomplish? Nothing. And if something is said in confidence just because you disagree with what's said doesn't mean you should breach that confidence. If someone's says something that is less than flattering about someone and you don't appreciate it change the subject and don't repeat what's said. People have feelings.
My conclusion from all this and other things I've read on the subject is that I could probably work well with Lisa, but I don't think I'd feel comfortable having many of my students connect directly with her. She does provide a valuable service and if I was in the market for Buffet instruments I'd likely reach out to her. It is a tricky business for sure!
However Yamaha has my full attention right now. I'm heading to their California Atelier tomorrow for myself and my students. If the instruments are as consistent as I've been lead to believe, and they all play like the ones I have on trial, I think I'm done messing around with new Buffets unless a student brings one or several directly to me to assess, and then with all the caveats if it hasn't been worked on yet.
Some of the comments on this thread have indeed been very hurtful.
I do this work for the love of helping you all play and be your absolute best. If you ever come to my shop and see me work with a student you will see how much I help them as much as I help professionals. I am as giving and helpful as they get so I am told. I finally believe it now too.
Years of criticism to play this instrument well has caused all of use to become overly critical and sometimes cruel. And many of us suffer from low self esteem when we should be proud of what we all have accomplished and try and do more to help the world with the music we make too.
I sincerely apology to anyone who feels slighted or bruised or hurt by anything I or my shop has ever done. It is never my intent.
I do think however that more reverence should be paid to the commercial community who tirelessly works on your behalf. I challenge any of you to become a clarinet consultant and work with me and see just how demanding you all are and how hard it is to make money doing this. Kyle McKay has it figures out. I am proud to help him too.
I have worked at this for 35 years proudly and will do all I can to continue to help the clarinet community as long as I am alive. I wish each of you well who criticizes me too. Stand in my shoes a minute, like I stand in yours daily, and maybe you will realize that you need to have more empathy and be kinder and more loyal and understanding. Learn more about what this job requires to deliver amazing instruments to all of you too. That would help.
> I say "his" cause I couldn't imagine a female being like that.
You are so very wrong about the person can't possibly be a female. A female oboist posted slanders, lies, insults and racial slurs against me all over the internet using close to 50 fake names in retaliation for a review I wrote of her CD.
I worked with Lisa on two clarinet purchases in the last four years. I had a great experience both times. The biggest problem I had was choosing between the instruments she sent me as all were good. Saved me a ton of time and I was able to try them out in rehearsals and with colleagues.
I agree with Dan that anonymous attacks are unethical and shouldn't be allowed.
My question is: how do we know if "real names" are indeed real? The oboist who attacked me (and used lies to have me fired from my position) created multiple fictional characters, complete with first and last names, as well as professions etc. How would Mark C. tell real real names from fake real names?
Wai Kit Leung (my real name)
Dan Shusta wrote:
> I have read and reread this thread several times. What bothers
> me the most is that it appears to be totally BB approved for a
> person to remain totally anonymous and complain or downgrade a
> vendor with totally impunity.
> Now, I truly believe Lisa knows precisely who this person is.
> But, did you notice that Lisa was "loyal" to this person by not
> revealing his or her name? Yes, Lisa defended herself but she
> did not retaliate by exposing this prospective buyer's name.
> That carries a lot of integrity weight with me.
> Mark C, IMHO, I don't think it's in the best interest of this
> BB to allow such anonymous attacks. If a person isn't willing
> to reveal their real name, I believe such character attacks
> should simply be deleted.
> IMO, the longer the complaint from "Merry Clarinetist" remains
> in the BB digital world, the more damage is done to Lisa's
> Just my opinion. And yes, I may be totally wrong.
I agree that the ananymous trolls who are so negative about their experience have no credibility - at least not with me. While I've never worked with Lisa, I know many people who have, and they've all been very satisfied with the level of her service and her expertise.
What's truly astounding to me, however, is that we let a major company (Buffet) get away with quality control SO terrible, that we have to have knowledgeable artists hand-select instruments so we don't get a lemon. Would anyone tolerate that in any other field? Would we think it normal to have professional drivers try out a bunch of Fords for us, to make sure we didn't get a horrible car? Truly amazing - yet we put up with it in this case.
When I was younger (and a serious player seeking orchestral positions), I played exclusively on Buffet - I owned an R13 for 20 years, and a Prestige for more than 10. I think they were outstanding instruments. However, I no longer recommend Buffet instruments to my students, due to the lack of quality control. Personally, I don't hear any special "ping" in the sound that I don't also hear out of a great Yamaha, Selmer, Backun, Ridenour, etc. But I do know one thing - when I recommend a Yamaha, Backun or Ridenour to a student, I know they will get a great instrument right out of the box, and no tweaking will be necessary. The idea that one would buy a brand new ANYTHING, and immediately have it sent off to a technician to get it "fixed" is just beyond me - I guess I'm just old-fashioned.
"What's truly astounding to me, however, is that we let a major company (Buffet) get away with quality control SO terrible, that we have to have knowledgeable artists hand-select instruments so we don't get a lemon. Would anyone tolerate that in any other field? Would we think it normal to have professional drivers try out a bunch of Fords for us, to make sure we didn't get a horrible car? Truly amazing - yet we put up with it in this case."
I think it's more like dating than cars. People put themselves through a lot of marginal and really embarrassing stuff, but you only need to get lucky once to make it worthwhile. Don't do Buffets anymore myself, but if that's what someone needs in order to make music the way they want to, then large amounts of hassle are worth it if the end result is the instrument they really want. Think you're right about students, though. It makes more sense to point them at makers who can deliver good quality without an overly arcane selection process.
I was at the Yamaha Atelelier yesterday. I played well over a dozen really great clarinets, including at least 6 CSVR Bb's, in an incredible sound room that let me hear every flaw and nuance in more detail than I ever have before. It still took me a long time to pick out the clarinets I wanted to purchase for myself and for a student - because they were so darn CONSISTENT. I brought a pair there with me from my local dealer and they equal to what was at the Atelelier. In fact, I selected the dealer's A for myself. I'm done with Buffet for the foreseeable future. The only A clarinet I've ever played that was equal to the one I bought was a particular hand selected Buffet Divine at more than double the cost.
If I have a particularly good or bad experience I'm inclined to post a review. I think this is pretty common. In the old days information exchange was more one-sided and most people had to chose a service or product based largely on marketing. Today information flows much more freely and is more readily available.
Based on the totality of the reviews and Lisa's responses I am actually more inclined to use her services than I would be otherwise. I consider the source and other factors in evaluating posts like this. I feel like I might now have a better informed speculation about the pros and cons and considerations involved. I don't see a problem. It's an open forum on the internet with all the benefits and drawbacks one would expect. Wishing it to be otherwise is just tilting at windmills.
Dear Clarinet Friends,
I want to explain why I refused to deal with this particular buyer again.
I have spent 35 years perfecting my process of helping others improve and perfect their knowledge about their playing needs and the playing characteristics of instruments they buy. If you know my service than likely you have heard me say: People come to me to help them improve their playing. They pay me for that and leave with a clarinet in a case.'
My work helps players first and foremost make more intelligent decision as well as solve problems with pitch, color of sound, projection and other issues that result in their instant growth. I don't just sell clarinets. I help people play better.
This particular buyer found exactly what they though was not possible to find. As routinely I am able to do for others. And then because I failed to return an email timely, while I was buying them more of the right new instrument to try, they elected to not pick up the phone, but use the knowledge I helped them gain to go to other stores until they found a new version of what I selected.
If I were charging for my educational services I would have been paid for that, right? But I am not exactly doing that entirely. My costs are way more for this effort than just my time.
It is not fair to me to put in a position to absorb over $1000 of work on clarinets. In addition this customer kept the instruments beyond the 2 week trial policy and when they called tried to negotiate their way out of any additional fees- which those I did waive- while they proceeded to not tell me the entire story about what had happened. They used my expertise that most say they find no where else. The restock fees to deliver this service do not cover my costs. I generously always go above and beyond based on trust. To encourage this behavior I even have a loyalty request clause on my website and explain why I ask for it. I have always said shop around before you come to me. I am usually folks last stop and am fine waiting to see if they value my service enough to put me there. And if not, I wish them well. This customer was fully aware of my process too and admitted to understanding it.
The only course of action I have in rare situations like this is to not make my services available to them in the future.
I am very clear and transparent about why this is the case. Of course when others want to try Selmer's or Backuns or Yamaha's against anything I have I never have a problem with it. But in this situation the customer directly avoided telling me the truth. Had they told me what happened honestly, I think I would have been willing to help them in the future but they elected to not tell me the truth when I honestly gave them my best and they admitted I got it exactly correct. All to negotiate them being late and trying to avoid additional fees because they were busy trying instruments elsewhere.
I am a reasonable, honest, truthful person and I expect the same in return to use my service. I don't think I am asking too much or that my decision to turn them away in the future is unreasonable. I don't trust them anymore.
There is a reason that ratings on sites like Uber and Amazon are 2 ways. We as vendors are equally allowed to review our buyer as they are to review us for our services. My refusal to work with them was my review. Although none of this would have ever been made public, except to them, had they not written on this thread.
Sent with love and respect and appreciation for some of your recent comments that reflect kindness and thoughtfulness and heart. I do agree that anonymous posts should be banned. The fact that I privately called this customer out on their behavior should not be allowed to damage my reputation through their public comments and anonymity.
> Mark C, IMHO, I don't think it's in the best interest of this
> BB to allow such anonymous attacks. If a person isn't willing
> to reveal their real name, I believe such character attacks
> should simply be deleted
I know who the person is, as does Lisa.
It was far from a character attack - It was the result of what one person encountered when dealing with Lisa as a businesswoman. It was a personal experience, not a third party tale. I have had horrible experiences with a very few of the favorite vendors on the Board, but since my voice carries unwarranted weight I choose not to post those experiences here.
I see plenty of reviews where a vendor is pilloried, sometimes without someone even buying a product (seems shooting at Silverstrin earns you points on the BB, it seems, and if thou happen to think that Buffet makes great new instruments prepare to defend that decision). In this case there wasn't a meeting of the minds. It happens. It's an instructive tale, isn't It!
I always allow both sides to post, and they did. Any vendor will have a small number of detractors and hopefully a much larger number of supporters.
I am surprised to hear that people on this forum feel that Buffet's clarinets are so inconsistent in quality. Does this inconsistency extend through the line and even up to the most expensive horns? For example, do people think this lack of quality control is evident on a Tosca model bass clarinet?
Perpetual student, maybe not the Tosca. It's still hard to play test a whole bunch of Toscas. But for the other instruments, like the R13, R13 Prestige, RC, etc., they are very inconsistent.
I mean think about it from a business standpoint. Your brand of clarinets is dominating the market. Everyone is buying them. If you lower the quality, a lot of people are not going to realize and are still going to buy it. Just like me a year and a half ago. I thought Buffet was the best, and just bought the best R13 through playtesting. Didn't even test others like Selmer, Yamaha, Uebel, etc.
Basic supply and demand economic laws tell us as the demand increases, the supply decreases ... UNLESS the producer is able to cut corners by lowering the quality of the products they manufacture. I believe this is what Buffet is doing. Yes you can find good Buffets, but you need to search awhile. Whereas most Yamahas you pick up are good right out of the factory.
If I felt comfortable enough to audition with a "right out of the box" Yamaha Csvr, and was able to earn 1st chair as a freshman in high school, then it says volumes about the quality controls at Yamaha. My teacher is a Buffet enthusiast, but even he acknowledges the inconsistencies with Buffet. Who ends up with 7 of the 10 Buffets that are substandard?
> Who ends
> up with 7 of the 10 Buffets that are substandard?
Players who prefer Buffet's sound quality. They take the instruments to a good repair tech to have them set up (regulated) and go on their way happily ever after. Buffet's inconsistent assembly line aside, most of those instruments aren't sows' ears that can't be made into silk purses. Most only have pads that leak or don't open correctly and springs that aren't tensioned correctly.
Anything but a major structural flaw can be fixed.
You still end up with an instrument that sounds like a Buffet, not like a Yamaha. Some people prefer that. Choice makes the world go around.