Band Instruments & repair costs

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Nick Wilson, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. Nick Wilson

    Nick Wilson Member

    It has recently become an issue within our band that the costs of repairing band instruments is on the increase and often because players do not look after them as much as if perhaps they were their own.

    As a committee we are soon to discuss whether a charge to the player should be made, and if so should it be a nominal charge or based on a percentage of the repair cost? Could this all get too complicated (it's difficult enough collecting annual subs!) or might it entice people to leave instead of paying the fee.

    Of course the flip side of this is whether the band subsidises any repairs for those that use their own instruments.

    In my experience in the past the band has paid fully for band instruments and the player who owns their own instrument would look after it and should anything happen to it take care of the associated costs.

    I think it's an interesting point and wondered what everyones experience has been in their own bands?
  2. Spanky Rear

    Spanky Rear Member

    Band instruments and repair costs

    This subject came up for discussion at the last band I was in.Someone, in raising this matter,asked whether those band members who owned their instruments should pay a lesser amount for subs[we all paid the same annual amount].The discussion was indeterminate and matters stayed where they always had been i.e. the cost of repairs to band instruments was included in the annual subs and thus the risk was incurred by all. But from that time all band instruments were checked twice a year by a nominated officer and written instructions as to the maintenance and correct treatment of instruments given to all those using a band instrument.Furthermore detailed records were kept of who had what instrument etc.,etc.,....It was hoped that these new procedures would help to identify problems promptly,and so that the band knew where instruments were, and instruments would be kept playable for most of the time.
    I do not know whether these new procedures cured some of the previous longterm problems.But it was an improvement on the previous slipshod 'arrangements'.I couldn't imagine someone being as careless with an instrument they owned personally.
    I do not know whether the question of reduced subs for those owning and using their own instrument was ever resolved finally.
  3. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I think you might be opening a bit of a can of worms with this one. For instance - are all your instruments the same age and in the same state of repair? I'm sure players who might already be feeling hard done to because they don't have the best instrument in the band would really object if they were then asked to stump up more cash just to keep theirs working!

    Having said that, in (the usually unusual) cases where an instrument has been damaged due to someones negligence then it seems fair enough that the band askes that person for some financial compensation toward the cost of the repair. But it doesn't seem fair to expect players to pay subs and then extra to keep their instruments maintained - surely thats part of your subs isn't it?

    It might be easier just to increase the subscription fees - and maybe negotiate a good discount at your local repairers!
  4. Spanky Rear

    Spanky Rear Member

    Band instruments and repairs

    I should also point out that on two occasions my own personally owned instrument was damaged on Bandstand jobs by other members of the Band.Noone would admit to causing the damage.The cost to me as a result was well over £100.The instrument is not as good as it was.Needless to say these episodes left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
    Although this subject may open 'a can of worms' it is not one which will go away by Bands ignoring it.I think all Bands should discuss this sort of thing if they haven't already done so.
  5. catherine_S

    catherine_S Member

    Our band does not have subs, so the band has theoretically to meet all the costs. We work on the basis that minor costs are automatically met by the band. We also make it clear that members are expected to insure band instruments themselves, especially the big ones which will not automatically be covered by their house insurance. Band instruments left in the band room or lent to people helping us out are covered by the band's insurance (though members' instruments left in the band room are not!). If damage is clearly the player's fault they are expected (under normal circs) to pay for it themselves. If it is outside their control or the instrument is handed back with an obvious fault when a player leaves then the band sighs deeply and pays up! I'm off to get a horribly dented cornet repaired tomorrow - it got taken to a gig without a case in a player's rucksack (and yes he had been provided with a case!!) - but the lad in question has left the band, so it wouldn't be fair to make the next user of the instrument pay up!
  6. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Can you DO that? I thought (from something not related to a Band at all) it was not possible to insure something that you do not own or hire. (Something about having no insurable interest?)

    Must also make getting Bass players rather difficult, they seem in short enough supply, but yours face insurance costs of 5 or 6 times that the cornet players pay!
  7. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    I own my own instrument and it sometimes annoys me that people who use band instruments get free repairs and free insurance. I think the suggestion about different subs levels for those who own their own instruments is quite a good one.
  8. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    If I had a repair done and it wasn't up to scratch it would go back til they got it right.

    I have my own Tuba and prior to my buying it there was damage done to the bottom bow, a cornet case was droped on it causing a decent sized dent. the previous owner had put it in the case and not closed it, The cornet case fell from a table, nocked by kids running round. This kind of damage can happen so easily
    Iv'e not had it repaired yet as I am still searching for a repairer I can trust.
    I think I've found one and plan on getting it fixed soon after Christmas, I have said to the repairer it needs to come back as in mint condition.
    no good getting it fixed if your not happy with the results
  9. chizzum

    chizzum Member

    It also depends on what age your band is.
    If its a training band or intermediate band then in my opinion you shouldnt expect them to have to pay as they are only in it for enjoyment.
    Its the youth bands and up that should be made to pay themselves as it isnt for fun anymore, there being serious about playing!
    As for insurance, can u not get a band insurance? I know my Tba has cost alot over the years!
  10. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Something that needs taking into account with this question is - could someone using their own instrument be using a band instrument instead? If you have to use your own instrument at a band because otherwise there would be nothing to play, then the band should come to some arrangement about helping out with insurance and maintenance. But if you are playing your own instrument when the band has one you could be using, then that's your own choice...the band is still paying to insure and maintain the instrument that isn't being used, and shouldn't have to pay for yours as well.
  11. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I am all ears as to how this "mint condition" can be obtained, as my research has not offered me a repairer that can give the same "guarantee"

    I have some significant damage to my (Band owned) Sovereign E flat Tuba that needs repairing - it was damaged by someone at a concert who picked it up and dropped it on the bell, from just about 4 inches, twisting it and creasing it - plays fine, looks like a road accident, and is right where it shows too!

    A bit of research with several repairers leaves two main options:

    1. Have the creasing rolled out, cheap, looks "reasonable," ie. you can see it, but it comes back to you sooner, and means you need to polish the bare brass from now on as the lacquer is RUINED, and can never be anything like original, short of re-lacquering completely, which of the examples I have seen is fine for giving a new lease of life to a 40/50 year old instrument, but not for a 10 year old otherwise unmarked one (not including those defects built in by Besson!). While small instruments like Cornets seem to come out of re-lacquering fairly well, the bigger the instrument, the worse it seems to look, and explains the reason complete makeovers sold by instrument repairers are invariably Silver plated as the end result is FAR better. Silver plating is another 800 quid upwards, and even if this was financially possible which it is not, I DETEST silver plate and the black gunk and smell on my hands it leaves; besides life is too short to be polishing silver, I have done enough of it in the past.

    2. Replace the bell totally - costs 540 quit plus VAT just for the bell section (if obtainable!) then all other repair costs on top maybe better part of a Thousand quid in total! Of course, it RUINS the lacquer too, leaving bad lacquer, but this time in a different place, and is a little less visible as it is at the soldered join, the colour of the base brass is different after the heating process anyway, so even full re-lacquering, complete won't get rid of this totally, and has the look as option 1. above, but costs a lot more!

    Insurance company agreement apart, it is a bit of an endless loop.... ie. you end up playing an "Old Banger" either way, and value wise, the Band (Or other owner) is notionally out of pocket by several hundred quid, say £2500 or so instead of about £3000, as the instrument will never sell for as much as an unmarked one. (It is a later instrument, although unusually for that, it plays well, but suffers visible inbuilt defects like many of the other later Sovs!)
    None of this was a surprise to me, cars are much the same.... when they are right-offs, or have even suffered anything more than a light knock, they remain much devalued even if FULLY repaired & restored (and thats even though they also look more perfect than a repaired Tuba!)

    Up to now I feel better playing it in "Emu's Beak" condition, rather than a shoddy repair, at least it feels just temporary; but once Xmas is over, I suppose I need to act and get it sorted, and get used to playing old scrap.

    Having never damaged any instrument myself, it has upset me and angered me more than anything I can remember, and the fact it can never be repaired to look anything like as good as it was is something I have yet to get over :-(
  12. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Does the band not have insurance to cover "accidental damage"? We pay about £850 a year for all our instruments (new and old) and looking at the figures you've quoted for repairs it would have been worth the investment.
  13. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Of course it is insured , you have missed the point - either way it is repaired, and you end up with something that looks like buffed-up scrap. Functional, but aesthetically ruined as well as significantly devalued. That sort of issue isn't covered on any insurance I have ever seen on anything. To use the car analogy again, it is the difference between something you would see in a back street garage, picked up in an auction and t-cut to bring the shine back and the 18 month old pristine one owner models the main dealer has taken in as trade-in but keeps as stock for resale - and the value difference you could expect between the two would be similar.

    There is no "new for old" cover for 10 year old instruments like there is for household articles, and I have yet to see ANY repair of creases that would fool a blind man on a galloping horse, let alone one of enormous size that sticks up above the band and glints in the stage lighting!

    With a car, bend a wing, and it gets replaced, if it is not too old and you get a good repairer, with the aid of filler, 2-pack paints and lacquers and very very expensive electrostatic spray booths then you just might not see the paint mismatch. Filler isn't an option with a Tuba, and with lacquered brass instruments, the factory finish is totally different to any repair I have ever seen, at best they look about the same as you could achieve with a spray can from B&Q. The colour of the old lacquer is different too!

    The fact the rest of the band instruments are in top condition makes it even more visible!
  14. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Sorry - you can get "new for old" cover - we have that on our instruments - you just pay the premium on a the as new value not the what's it worth value - some time ago one of our older flugels was stolen and replaced with a brand new one - this instrument was certainly older than 10 years.
  15. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Well, I need to double check that then...... it must not be insured that way, or the Secretary would know... I will ask her to dig out the policy though.
    I tried to insure band instruments (ie. not VERY new) on this basis some time back, and could not find a single policy that covered this, so clearly I am out of touch if you can get this level of cover now, although I suspect it will be quite significantly more expensive, as it is in House insurance situations!

  16. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    We have had an on going policy for sometime and the instrument values increase as does the premium each year in line with an inflation calculation. So although our instruments are actually devaluing with age the "insured amount" is increasing - however it does mean in the event that we have any claim there is less hassle with the insurance company - they've had a premium for "as new value" and we are insuring risk on the same basis. I think at the moment our cover is based on something like £120,000 of instruments - that's for one 8 year old set of lottery instruments plus a 2nd set now used by our Training Band which were in use before the lottery funding.

    If you like I'll pass on our insurers details for you to check out at your next renewal.
  17. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Just done a quick bit of research on-line..... the definition of New for Old seems very different to that on household policies, and varies DRAMATICALLY....

    "New for Old: if your equipment is totally destroyed or stolen within a certain time period from new then the insurer will replace your old musical instrument with a new one."

    and another talks about 100% cover for less than 2 years old

    It certainly would not cover losses in this sort of situation, so it would mean a repair unless nicked or totally flattened under a bus!

    Yet another policy, which costs just one third the cost of one of the policies I looked at DOES appear to give the right cover!

    I hope the Band has the right policy.... I don't know which company it is, YET!
  18. Nick Wilson

    Nick Wilson Member

    Our band is an amateur band that is not nationally registered but does a lot of concerts and the occasional entertainment contest. There is a vast variety in the age range of the players from school kids right up to retired folk.
  19. Nick Wilson

    Nick Wilson Member

    Seems as though a bit of discussion has developed as to insurance. I must check what our position is and whether it is worth claiming in view of the fact that it will almost certainly increase future premiums.

    I'm still interested to hear if there are any simiar bands out there and what their policy is.

    As i mentioned in a previous post we are an amateur band, not nationally registered but perform regularly and take part in an annual regional Entertainment contest. Our subscription (I think) is £20 per year but less for concessions.
  20. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I am all ears as to how this "mint condition" can be obtained, as my research has not offered me a repairer that can give the same "guarantee"

    I have some significant damage to my (Band owned) Sovereign E flat Tuba that needs repairing - it was damaged by someone at a concert who picked it up and dropped it on the bell, from just about 4 inches, twisting it and creasing it - plays fine, looks like a road accident, and is right where it shows too!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2007

Share This Page