Jim & Rodney,
Thank you so much for the recent organ purchase experience. I feel fortunate to have discovered Keyboard Exchange International (KEI) in Sanford, FL, so close to home. I like the '1-stop shop' concept you offer (purchase, repair, restoration, service, upgrades, lifecycle support of all things organs & Leslie cabinets, organ lessons, advice, & friendship). I especially appreciate how cooperative & easy-going your 'just-right' salesmanship is. I never felt pressured or disregarded. I think that your business-model works well.
Organ Purchase Experience:
You should know that I chose to buy from you primarily because KEI is a reputable, full-service organ source who stands behind the deal. When I looked at organs from various sources, the price range seemed inexplicably wide, with some examples of direct sales from individuals seeming 'too good to be true' when compared to the prices from established dealers. But when I thought through the scenario from a 'total ownership cost' perspective, I realized that going with KEI was actually the best bargain. You get what you pay for in life¡¦ & you don't get what you don't pay for. The comparable on-line listings of D-152s were sometimes cheaper when buying from private individuals or junk dealers--But what would I really be getting? The risks & ancillary costs worried me. I didn't want to get in over my head with a non-returnable purchase of something that requires the sort of commitment that a vintage organ does. I'm happy that the price I paid KEI for my undeniably mint-condition organ included the mint-condition Leslie cabinet, the initial delivery from the original owner's house in Maine to KEI in Florida for induction into inventory, the full-fitness check-out, the setup/refurbishment & a guarantee that everything is as-claimed & functioning as designed before I ever had to commit to buy. Then, as a bonus that purchase included the local delivery to me & in-home install (ie, a painless experience for me at a 'turn-key' price). Many of the 'non-dealer' sellers of Hammonds do not include any of those extras (representing potentially thousands of dollars more expense to get the customer's organ to the same point), & I'd have less recourse if the seller proved to not be legit on his claims. Clearly, shipping costs (& dangers) could turn a direct purchase from a distant individual into a bad experience. So I was willing to pay the KEI price to get a 'single-owner' organ that was 'like-new', had nothing wrong with it & no hidden costs.
Life Cycle Support:
With this purchase I've established a business-relationship with KEI (& gained new friends in you, Rodney & Gary). So when I need future product, service or advice, I'll feel welcome & assured of enjoying a 'returning-customer' status with you. I don't have to search out a service shop & be put in the back of the line to pay 'walk-in' prices like other organ-owners who didn't buy from that shop. Many of the cheaper organs from non-dealer sources may be compromised or in need of service, or have been serviced incorrectly by someone who is not qualified (didn't you tell me that your organ tech, Gary used to actually work in the Hammond factory?). Many vintage organs have had their original US-made RCA & Tung-Sol vacuum tubes replaced with new Chinese tubes (unreliable & sonically awful). I recognize that a vintage Hammond organ is not a plastic, digital keyboard which relies on modeling software, but an antique electro-mechanical device with point-to-point/hand-wired vacuum-tube amplification & aged switches/wires/capacitors/bearings/motors & other components (not to mention antique furniture). Like any such glorious equipment from the past, Hammonds require service to remain functionally optimized. For that investment though, the owner gains an inimitable musical sound (modeling SW is an approximation of the real thing). There is no substitute for actual analog circuitry, spring reverb tanks, tube harmonics, trademark Hammond scanner vibrato & percussion tone, authentic swirling sonics of a real Leslie's phase-coherent amplitude-modulation & frequency-modulation, etc. Hammond-ownership is an honor & privilege similar to classic Corvette Stingray ownership¡¦ There are certain impracticalities that we just have to lovingly accept & endure in order to properly care for our treasures. The thought of owning a Hammond with no qualified service center to count on for its care & feeding is a stress I don't need in life.
For the sale price & my choice to commit to your company I got the largest, most full-featured, most original, most mint-condition 1964 Hammond organ & Leslie cabinet I've seen, with all original NOS US-made vacuum tubes, & an original owner's manual (hard to find)... All delivered worry-free to my house with the promise of future needs met by a qualified life-cycle support facility. I couldn't ask for a better batch of equipment or a better service group. As with anything in life, you have to pay a realistic price to get the very best. The organ I got was sort of a '1nce-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for me to get the nicest example out there, with no guess-work. That is what I wanted, since this is a 1nce-in-a-lifetime purchase for me (ie, I'm not planning on buying any more organs). I wanted to do it right the 1st time & be done with it. With the purchase behind me & a lifetime of great organ ownership ahead of me, I'm glad I trusted KEI to do the research & legwork required to provide me with a superlative vintage instrument in like-new condition. Decades from now, it won't matter how much I paid for it. And decades from now, vintage Hammonds will be worth so much more money that no one will be able to afford to buy them then. Thank you for filtering the market choices for me & delivering a premium product/service experience for a very fair/reasonable price! I am very happy with it.
The way I see it, you have got only so much time left in life, & then you're dead. Once you're dead, your money won't do anything for you. Your instruments will likely be sold for scrap-value at a yard-sale by disinterested surviving family-members who just want to get all of your 'junk' out of their lives & move on. So when I look at that whole picture, why quibble over the few extra pennies (relatively-speaking) that it takes to get the gear I love now, while I can enjoy it? You've got to cram everything you want in life into the remaining window of time between today & your death. As that window shrinks in size near the end, you won't care about money anymore. A man dying in a desert will pay everything he has for a drink of water. A drowning man will pay everything he has for a breath of air (he's got no need for any more water). On the last day of your life, you'd pay everything you have for just 1 more day of time. That's the nature of resource management. Whatever you need the most is what you will pay the most for. I'm trying to look ahead & outsmart that whole scheme by getting everything cool, rare & valuable now, along the path of life (while it is still 'relatively-affordable'), so that when I'm old & retired, I won't need much income because I'll already have everything (I need & want) paid-for in the past. Here is my itemized motto...
- A mint-cond/original musical instrument of a recognized pedigree from a collectible year is never a bad investment. It will always continue to increase in value over time. Whatever you have to pay for it now, will seem 'cheap' when in the future you reflect back on what you COULD have had it for if you'd only known. Nice musical instruments are better than gold. They are ALWAYS money 'well-spent'.
- You mustn't wait until you can afford something valuable in order to justify buying it. You will NEVER be able to afford it. If you insist on justifying it, you will never get it. You will forever be falling short, & never finding satisfaction in life. Go For it!
- In the end, money doesn't matter. It's only 'worth' is in its buying power of the moment. That buying power is continually being eroded by the fiscal/monetary realities of political policy. Once you can't buy anything with money anymore, the people who own all of the 'hard-assets' they need in life (land, houses, cars, fuel, food, guns/ammo, tools, gear) will be the wealthiest. He who saves up huge stockpiles of money will have nothing but worthless 'paper' to adore in his future. Furthermore, he will have missed out on all of the magic he could've enjoyed along the way if he'd used his money for what it was intended. When you find something that gives you magic in life, it's priceless.
I discovered a great, ready-made pedal -board cover in the form of an automotive sunshade (the large, folding, fan-shaped, aluminized-Mylar, windshield reflector panels available at Wal-Mart or automotive stores like Auto Zone or Advance Auto). Given the pristine condition of the pedals on my organ, I wanted to keep them in as like-new condition as possible, so I needed a way to keep the dust off of them. I questioned, "What have I seen that is in the same size/shape as the pedal-board?" Then it dawned on me. Since those windshield reflectors are readily-avail, cheap, light-weight, soft, & bring the added bonus of keeping the pedals in the dark (just in case finish-fading UV sunlight enters a window), the idea is pretty effective. Also, I've discovered that the cloth skirt that goes around the Leslie's bass rotor as a dust barrier also serves as an aerodynamic cylinder to lessen the whipping noise of the slab-sided & cavitied plywood drum spinning at high-speed, while remaining sonically transparent to the bass frequencies exiting the rotor's scoop. This improvement would be especially helpful if the bass rotor is to be mic'd & amplified.