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 Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Marge (---.washcoll.edu)
Date:   2006-02-28 03:47

As of tonight, I am without a functioning clarinet. Awhile ago the middle-joint cork went on my better clarinet, and since it's a project getting such a repair done given where we live, I've been using an old Vito. However, tonight at rehearsal a pad came unglued and I couldn't re-stick it using the old heat-em-up method.

A thought came to mind: This Thursday I'll be accompanying a family member for a medical appointment in Fairfax City (Fairfax Co., in DC area). There will be about a 2-hr. window (from about noon to 2 p.m.) for me there that I would otherwise spend reading in the waiting room (near intersection of Rts. 29/50, which may be called Lee Highway, and Rt. 123, Chain Bridge Rd.). I'm hoping I can use this time to get these clarinets fixed, but not having to leave one or both if possible. Actually, leaving both for pickup another day is out of the question as we have a concert coming up.

Can anybody offer a suggestion as to where I might find a (good, of course) repair tech in the vicinity? Of course, I would need to call ahead to see if my desire to have these (rather small) repairs done on that day can be accommodated. If you can suggest someone, it would be great if you could also offer a phone number.

Thanks!
Marge

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: crnichols (---.pools.arcor-ip.net)
Date:   2006-02-28 05:57

Tony Valenti is a very good technician in that area. He's in Alexandria, VA. E-mail me for a phone number, maybe he can help you.
Christopher Nichols
1st Infantry Division Band

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Dan1937 (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net)
Date:   2006-02-28 09:58

Although not as close as you might like, Lee Lachman in College Park, MD, does all my horns (and I'm near Richmond, VA). He's a great repair tech, and reasonable, too. I know you would agree.

If you'd like to talk to him or e-mail him, please e-mail me:

musicman37@comcast.net

Dan



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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: LarryBocaner (---.dc.dc.cox.net)
Date:   2006-02-28 11:25

I don't know of any reliable tech in the immediate area of Fairfax City, where you will be. Tony Valenti and Lee Lachman are both very good, but travelling to their locations and back would consume your entire 2-hour time window. I suggest you might contact Dave Spiegelthal, a frequent contributor to this forum, who lives in Centreville, VA, about 10 minutes from your destination. I don't know if his day job would allow him to be available when you would need him, but I'm sure he would be able to do your repair in a professional manner. You might also try Wayne Titerence, a retired US Air Force Band clarinetist, in Burke, VA, to whom I've referred some of my students who needed light repairs. He is located about 20 minutes from your destination.

Good luck!

Larry Bocaner
Fairfax, VA



Post Edited (2006-02-28 11:33)

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Lelia Loban (---.tx-dallas0.sa.earthlink.net)
Date:   2006-02-28 12:51

Tony Valenti did all of the dent work on my bass sax back in 1997, when he wasn't dealing directly with the public. He kept the sax for more than a year, but he did a fine job. He's a genius with a dent ball.

I've had all of my other professional restoration work done by Peter Ferrante, of Presto Brass and Woodwinds. (He's the one who took my bass to Tony Valenti for the dent work.) Peter does a fine job. He's a pro clarinet and sax player himself and understands these instruments well.

Presto Brass and Woodwinds
2219 Columbus St.
Suite 302A
Arlington, VA 22207
703-841-8335

That's a block off Lee Hwy.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Scotti (---.natpool.uc.edu)
Date:   2006-02-28 13:59

Just a bit of clarification on the time needed for a Tony Valenti repair job. Occasionally, I'll see someone on this board make reference to an instrument left for months or years, and that must scare any reasonable person off.

The bottom line is that he will keep your instrument until you bother him about it. I have a friend who I believe left a flute there and hasn't gotten it back. It's been years.

BUT, the bottom line is that it is your responsibility to pressure him about it. It may not be fun, but if you've ever seen his place and how he operates, you can understand how things get buried. If you need it done by a certain time, make that clear and stick to it. I usually don't allow him to keep my horns now, but I haven't had anything extensive done in a while. Instead, I try and make an appointment and wait on it.

He can be cranky, but he's also a genuinely nice man, which isn't all that common now. His work is as good as any high-end repairman I've ever worked with, and I've been forced to work with a lot.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Marge (---.washcoll.edu)
Date:   2006-02-28 15:00

Another possibility would be someone who's close to our route to/from Fairfax, so that dropping off the clarinets on our way there and picking up on the return might be done. We take US 50 across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the Eastern Shore (thus passing the Annapolis area), then NY Ave., 6th St., and Constitution Ave. through DC, then I-66 to Chain Bridge Rd. The only downside to this is that we're always pressed for time going to Fairfax (and always aware that we could get hung up by a road delay en route), so the stop couldn't be very long or terribly far off our route.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Mark Charette (---.ford.com)
Date:   2006-02-28 15:11

Scotti wrote:

> Just a bit of clarification on the time needed for a Tony
> Valenti repair job.
...
> BUT, the bottom line is that it is your responsibility to
> pressure him about it.

It is NEVER the customer's "responsibility" to pester anyone who holds their property for any unreasonable time. It is incumbent on the proprietor to notify the consumer and offer to return the item unrepaired. Anything else is at best bad business practice and at worst may be illegal.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: crnichols (---.pools.arcor-ip.net)
Date:   2006-02-28 15:40

I recommended him because I was able to make an appointment and he fixed my clarinet while I waited, which is what Marge asked for. I have heard such stories before, but that was not a part of my experience with Tony.
Christopher Nichols
1st Infantry Division Band

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: clarinetist04 (---.RES.cmu.edu)
Date:   2006-02-28 16:44

I have worked with Tony for the last 6 or 7 years and yes, he can be slow if you tell him that there is very little time constraint. If you tell him that you need it in a few days because you're going back home, I'm sure he would get it done faster. I had my Bb overhauled over last summer and I told him I needed it by the end of July. I gave it to him in June and I gave him a call in mid-July and he said it would be done at the end of the week, which it was. The Eb I had him repair took over a year, but that was because I told him there was no time constraint at all and he does compensate for the time issue with his pricing. It is some of the cheapest, high quality repair work I've ever seen. For my Eb he had to redrill holes and repad it, shine it, re cork it, fix a tennon or two, replace the springs, etc., etc. He only charged me $100.

I wouldn't go as far as to say what Mark did, but, sure, his timing can be a little rediculous but if you catch him on a good day, he's the nicest guy in the world.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Mark Charette (---.ford.com)
Date:   2006-02-28 16:52

clarinetist04 wrote:

> I wouldn't go as far as to say what Mark did,

What I said is business 101, no matter what business, when there's property involved or cash up front (essentially the same thing).

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Avie (---.lax.untd.com)
Date:   2006-02-28 21:34

Marge,
Centerville is a bit closer for you but Annandale is also close to you and as I remember it is right off rt. 50 I believe. I bought my Buffet there 4 years ago when I lived in Reston. If you are interested E mail me direct for the phone number. He should be able to help you . Good luck...Avie



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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Scotti (---.natpool.uc.edu)
Date:   2006-02-28 22:50

Mark wrote:

"What I said is business 101, no matter what business, when there's property involved or cash up front (essentially the same thing)."

I just can't agree with this. There are all kinds of different businesses, including ones that have grown out of people's homes that operate in different manners. I think holding onto an instrument for that long a period of time is excessive, but give me a break. If it meant anything, a simple call would be placed and that would be the end of it (hopefully).

If you weren't given an estimate on how long a job would take, how long would you wait before calling and asking what the deal is? Years??? That's ridiculous.

Furthermore, to bring this back to the specific case, you define "anything else" as bad business practice? What definition are we working off of? Tony is overloaded with work as it is, so it's not a matter of him keeping customers happy and needing their business. And "at worst may be illegal?" You're generalizing here.

In this business model, the rules and assumptions are different. Dealing with an instrument is a personal thing, no matter who is doing the work. To think that "business 101" applies to all transactions is naive. One meeting with Tony lets you the customer know what you're dealing with. That's all you need for this situation.

Scott

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Mark Charette (---.sneezy.org)
Date:   2006-02-28 23:11

Scotti wrote:

> Mark wrote:
>
> "What I said is business 101, no matter what business, when
> there's property involved or cash up front (essentially the
> same thing)."
>
> If you weren't given an estimate on how long a job would take,
> how long would you wait before calling and asking what the deal
> is? Years??? That's ridiculous.

If I weren't given or demanded an estimate for how long an expensive item would be left in someone's care then I would be stupid to leave it in the shop.

> Furthermore, to bring this back to the specific case, you
> define "anything else" as bad business practice? What
> definition are we working off of? Tony is overloaded with work
> as it is, so it's not a matter of him keeping customers happy
> and needing their business. And "at worst may be illegal?"

If someone gives you an estimate of a year and you're happy, that's great. Taking an instrument when you're overloaded and have no intent on working on it unless "bugged" about it is bad business, period. The shopkeeper needs to be upfront about how long it will take and that they need constant reminding. If you accept those terms, everything is fine.

I am NOT and HAVE NOT referred to Tony per se; if a shopkeeper in general gives you up-front warning that your instrument will not be seen for a long time, and you accept that and the fact that this shopkeeper can't be bothered to give you a call when the instrument is overdue (however, leaving an instrument with someone who won't give you an estimate on when it can be seen leaves the issue of "overdue" in the air ...), then go for it.

Why a shopkeeper can't advise you a week or two before they're ready to work on your instrument so they don't have to keep it for months languishing in a corner is beyond me ...


But m y statement about "Business 101" stands ...

> In this business model, the rules and assumptions are
> different. Dealing with an instrument is a personal thing, no
> matter who is doing the work. To think that "business 101"
> applies to all transactions is naive. One meeting with Tony
> lets you the customer know what you're dealing with. That's
> all you need for this situation.

I am decades away from being naive in business. The business model you describe is just plain bad business ...

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: JWC (---.washdc.east.verizon.net)
Date:   2006-03-01 04:12

I have used Wayne Titterence frequently and he has always done good work for me. You could also try Alberto Grossi Woodwinds in Falls Church, Virginia. (703) 237 4554. I recommend you call ahead and talk with him to get instructions to help you locate his shop, it is not obvious from the street.

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Marge (---.washcoll.edu)
Date:   2006-03-01 16:42

Many thanks to all who responded to my posting, whether on-BB or off! This board, with its great participants, always seems to come through, no matter what question I throw out. I will indeed be able to get at least one, and probably both, clarinets fixed tomorrow during our trip to Va.
Marge

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: LarryBocaner (---.dc.dc.cox.net)
Date:   2006-03-02 02:13

Marge, I hope you will debrief us on your return home tomorrow!

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 Re: Repair tech in Fairfax, Va, area?
Author: Marge (---.washcoll.edu)
Date:   2006-03-03 05:24

Since some of you seem eager to know, here's the outcome report:
David Spiegelthal, who works only two exits west (on I-66) of our Fairfax destination, most kindly offered to fix both clarinets during what I'm afraid was much of his lunch hour. (We had a two-hour window, but he had only a one-hour window because of a meeting at one o'clock.) Luckily, we made good time on our trip to Fairfax, and David made the necessary repairs most competently and carefully (having brought to work his tote-along repair kit). Both clarinets now play splendidly, and now I have no excuse for not practicing!
Marge

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