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6/28/2011 2:54:07 AM
The Repair Shop!
 
INTRODUCTION

Face it we will all need to have our instruments, amps or speakers repaired and when we do time may be a factor, so a little preperation goes a long way against that day. If the repair person knows you, your gear and how crucial the situation is they may be able to drop everything and get your stuff repaired and you are more likely to get it done if you are already on friendly terms. I have friends who have worked behind the counter at several repair shops and I would like to make a few suggestions that you may find helpful. They were always amazed at the expectations and demands made by perfect strangers. Personally I like to work with a shop that isn't associated with a music store but you may not have that option where you live. If you live in a small city or town try the nearest bigger city.

GETTING STARTED

To get started get out the Yellow Pages and let your fingers do the walking, plan to spend a day checking out all the available shops, if you aren't sure about a location call for directions. Also ask other musicians who they use, who they like and don't like and why, always ask why their reasons may not be yours.

RESEARCH

When you get there be friendly, look around and buy something worth a few bucks. Ask what kind of repairs are done in the shop and how experienced the repair person is. Find out if they stock any parts especially any older parts (someday you will need to replace a lost or broken part). Find out if they are snobs or "experts" or just cool dudes who wanna fix your stuff. Go home and think about the shops and decide where you would want to take your cherished broken thing to.

Once you have decided give them a test run if you can afford it, have something small repaired or a set up done. Try to visit regularly and develop a relationship, it may sound corny but when the darkest days come it will pay off.

INCENTIVE

Drop off a tape or CD of your band and invite them to a gig, put up a poster. Find out if they play in a band anywhere and try to go see them. Send them a Christmas card, remember their birthday or anything else just to be nice. Take them food, cookies, candy, tamales. Really anything to get them to remember you, they probably see a lot of customers and instruments each week.

DO'S

1. Listen and ask questions but don't argue, let them know what you understand and what you don't, try to get them to explain or show you what they mean.

2. If you are a beginner ask them to show you the right way to restring and set up your instrument, they may or not show you, but ask anyway.

3. Ask them what instruments or amps they like or use.

4. Have them check out a used piece of gear (it should be an item they don't sell) just like you would get a used car checked out. Be willing to pay for the service.

5. Discuss the job when you drop off the repair, try to get a ballpark idea of the cost and if you cannot afford it, try to work something out, sometimes you may be able to work off a repair by cleaning the shop or some other odd job that always needs to be done.

6. If you get a high repair bill ask them about the work done, some jobs do get complicated.

7. If you make an appointment be on time, remember it's business. If you have to be late or cancel call them, don't no show or be an hour late.

DONT'S

1. Don't be a jerk (even if they are) they may be the only game in a pinch.

2. Don't waste their time, or ask for free or how to do it advice, respect that they do repairs for a living.

3. Don't leave something to be repaired and abandon it & don't be surprised if they sold something left for too long.

4. Don't be an "expert" (even if you are) everyone has an opinion.Don't expect an estimate sight unseen over the phone they will need to see what you've got and what the problem is.

5. Don't wait until the last minute, every day is a precious thing.

Probably the least cool thing to do is to talk to them about how great the competition or how cool Ebay is, ususlly they will respect your buying decisions just don't rub it in.

Don't ask if you got a good 'deal' somewhere else.

FINALLY...

You are probably asking is it worth it to do these things. My practical experiences say yes. This is how I have stayed in good graces with the repair people I use including my auto mechanic and my family doctor and dentist.

When the rainy day comes: Rule #1 Call First, set up a time and be on time! Be ready to pay!
 
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