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Repair prices

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Repair prices

Postby rattusses » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:32 pm

My handmade flute is in the shop after several years in the case without playing. Estimated cost for a full clean and 2 Straubinger pads replaced is $400-$450.

I play in a community group, but don't play as regularly as I would like to, nor at the frequency at which I played when the flute was purchased 12 years ago. Am I crazy paying this price to have my flute repaired when the minor leaks aren't bothering me too much? Any recommendations on parts of the standard G.P.C. that I could cut back on?

$400 is 1/4 of my monthly salary.

Perhaps this is the flute gods telling me I need to get back to playing more to make the repair worth it. :)

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Postby fluteguy18 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:39 pm

That's not an outrageous price range, but to me it does seem to be on the higher end of the scale. Steve Finley is in Boston and generally charges $400+ for that kind of work.

I send my flute back to the maker/distributor (Miyazawa) and a COA from them is about $250-300. I recently had a COA performed, 3-4 pads replaced and had two toneholes leveled (they had gotten damaged) and it cost $450. But, with express shipping because I had a performance of Beethoven's Leonore in less than a week... that was quite pricey.

So... crazy? No. Expensive? Yes.

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Postby pied_piper » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:00 pm

Most of the cost of that job is in the labor. Straubinger pads take more work for the tech to get them adjusted and sealing properly because the surface of the pad is firmer than most ordinary felt pads. The pads themselves are more costly than ordinary pads, but if the skins have deteriorated or are torn, they definitely need to be repaired or replaced. Some Straubinger techs will re-skin (recover) the pads, but the additional labor cost will probably be as much or more than simply replacing the entire pad.

If you want your flute to play properly, about the only place that you could cut cost is to eliminate the cleaning. A properly repaired and well adjusted flute that is tarnished will play equally as well as a shiny one (with everything else equal).
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Postby rattusses » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Well, that makes me feel better to hear that it's not completely out of the ballpark. My head's just been reeling since I heard the quote!

I suspect that my repair may be more complex because it hasn't been serviced in so long, and will need a fair amount of precise adjustment to get it back into shape. I don't mind paying for the cleaning, either, because it has been so long, and it's a heck of a lot easier for him to clean the tight bits when the flute is in pieces.

My flute is a Miyazawa, so it's nice to know that sending back to them is an option. I did, however, enjoy having the technician watch how my hands and flute interact to better understand how I can play for more extended periods without pain. That's the kind of service one can't get by sending the instrument off, and I do appreciate that.

So... time to cut back on the expensive fizzy drinks and nice cheese for a while, and to sell the old Gemeinhardt. Sticker price heart attack averted, thank you. :)

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Postby Zevang » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:11 am

Overhauling is a completely different work from just oiling and changing a couple of pads (even Straubingers).

Although straubingers really cost much, it seems to me you are paying too much.

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Postby fluteguy18 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:55 pm

Well... think that's steep? At least you'll get a lot of use out of it. Today I just had an engagement ring reset in 14k white gold. Do you have any idea how much that cost? WAAAAYYYYY too much. I thought it would be around $200-300USD. Nope. Way more. Evidently 14k gold is almost twice as expensive as 10k, and furthermore jewelers base prices off of the immediate gold prices. How much was gold today? $1300 per troy ounce. I could have bought a new ring with a new diamond manufactured several weeks ago (the time it would take to get into a store) for the price I paid to reset an heirloom.

But... she' worth it.


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Postby Classitar » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:11 am

Sounds like some big things are happening Fluteguy18!
And congratulations on your scholarship for the summer program - hope it went well

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Postby fluteguy18 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:20 pm

Thanks! I am very happy. The summer program.... well... it went. I learned exactly the kind of teacher I NEVER want to study with, nor the kind of professional and person that I want to be. So it was good. Learning what you do not want in life is almost more important than learning what you do want.

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