In Disgrace with Fortune…   Leave a comment


 (With love, to Medea, and to Sappho, for all their help…)

The financial tightness that began February 15, that I anticipated I would resolve in a week, maybe two…

Has persisted for over two months now…

March 16, into the bonecrusher with my tale of woe… he could supplement his income as a counselor I imagine…

“The market’s a fickle thing” said Dr. Frankenfürter, after I recounted to him my dire situation.  He told me a bunch of other stuff, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Suffice to say, the instruments didn’t sell.

… “Life doesn’t give you what you want. Life gives you, what it gives you. And you deal with it, as best you can” I e’d Kavanagh, some time in 2008/9, who e’d back: “Ain’t that the truth.”

Seems to me 9 months later he was dead. At least I’m still kicking, and… Any day you’re above ground, is a good day.

I have the love of two good women in my life… Sappho paid  for Cagnie Cat’s veterinary bills  in the middle of this mess… Medea will not let me sell my Larrivee Classical Guitar, Serial # 71…

And I have to remind myself too: I don’t have Cancer, I’m not sick. I haven’t committed a crime, I’m not going to prison. I haven’t hurt anybody. I just owe a shitload of money is all… and I have no means… at the moment… of paying it back…

How did I do this to myself? I thought I’d learned my lesson.

Apparently not.

Meanwhile, to return from my circumlocution, what were Dr. Frankenfürter’s pearls of wisdom?

“If you act in desperation, you tend to dig a bigger hole.. The first thing to do is to find out what your financial situation is exactly; see what sort of wriggle room you have… See about a lien of your property, since it’s paid for…” And also: I needed some kind of a business plan; “Selling instruments on Shitauction does not a business make”: I need to know among other things about marketing, specifically marketing a service business = go to the library.

Fastforward to April 19 (life is always “fastforward” dammit), just over a month later.

Sky hasn’t fallen, a few morsels of work came in, in the form of a flute, 3 clarinets, two oboes… and a bassoon bocal… = $1,359.95… Is there a line of work much more obscure than repairing musical instruments? Because I’d love to know what it is… and while this is somewhat encouraging, it’s just enough to have paid a few outstanding bills, meet my rent.. But not enough to meet my credit cards, which haven’t been paid in three months…

… And the banks won’t even look at giving me a lien for my pile, since it’s a mobile home. This may be a blessing in disguise.

But once again, however, I digress. My purposed way forward, looks a bit like this:

My Way out of the Mess – April 19, 2014

1 Oboe. Loree (repairs, not sale) 280.00 280.00
2 Clarinet, Boosey & Hawkes “Edgeware” 250.00 530.00
3 Piccolo, Armstrong model 74 300.00 830.00
4 Saxophone, Baritone, Buescher “Aristocrat” 1,500.00 2,330.00
5 Saxophone, Alto, Buescher “True-Tone” 450.00 2,780.00
6 Saxophone, Tenor, Buescher “True-Tone” 750.00 3,530.00
7 Saxophone, Alto, Conn “New Wonder” 750.00 4,280.00
8 Saxophone, C-Melody, Martin 400.00 4,680.00
9 Flute, Artley 8-0 (silver, open-hole) 400.00 5,080.00
10 Saxophone, Alto, Old’s “Ambassador” 350.00 5,430.00
11 Flute, Artley 18-0 125.00 5,555.00
12 Flute, Artley 18-0 125.00 5,680.00
13 Flute, Artley 18-0 125.00 5,805.00
14 Flute, Artley 18-0 125.00 5,930.00
15 Flute, Armstrong 104 125.00 6,055.00
16 Flute, King “Cleveland” 610 125.00 6,180.00
17 Bassoon, Conn 1,000.00 7,180.00

.Big B 2

Looks so easy, doesn’t it? I honestly thought these instruments would sell quickly and for what I thought they were worth. But, I’m stuck. Treading water so to speak, in 15 feet of molasses while wearing a pair of hipwaders. In the words of Catherine from The Taming of the Shrew : “I could tear my flesh for madness!!

Big B 1Two of the saxes on that list — the Buescher “True-Tones” — are jazz-era saxophones from the early 1920s. The Baritone is a Buescher “Big B”, made in 1958, five years before the Selmer takeover that resulted in Buescher’s quality going tits up… Supposedly one of the Great Horns, nothing like the sound of a Buescher in full cry. Unless it’s a Conn “Naked Lady” in full cry. Naked LadyOnly trouble was this sax spent its working life as a high school band horn.. When I got it, it looked like it had lived in the Ape House of a zoo. Top and bottom crushed. I think some charming teenager had placed the top bow against a cinder block wall and kicked the bell bow, wearing a pair of steel-toed boots. And some very intelligent “repair tech” decided to polish it up, with a buffing wheel…

… Some idiot… actually used a buffing wheel… on a Buescher saxophone? It’s like pissing on The Grave of ElvisGrave of Elvis: Oughta be toasty warm corner in Hell reserved for such people… along with the teenager who kicked it in the first place.

But all that’s immaterial: Doesn’t have a low “A”. Bari saxes have to have a “low A” these days. Doesn’t matter this is a Buescher “Big B” Aristocrat, and saxes from that era didn’t “Low A’s”… Doesn’t have a low “A”.. So it won’t sell quickly…

“Asinine” is another good sobriquet for “The Market.”

The Alto and the Tenor?


The alto Some dipshit buffed it, too  just sat there on Shitauction, for a month, and the most it was bid for? U$130…

The tenor 59 ChevyBuddy in Hong Kong who bought57 Chevy it from me via Shitauction (had to pay them $100 for listing fees and commision, even though it didn’t actually sell), stiffed me after he noticed the neck belonged to a Buescher Aristocrat — leaving me very much up Shit Creek  I didn’t deny it in my sales pitch, and truth is, difference between a Buescher True-tone and a Buescher Aristocrat is the difference between a ‘57 Chevy, and a ‘59 Chevy.. Outside? Totally, totally different.. Under the hood? Drivetrain, all the way to the differential? Identical.

But it’s “the wrong neck”. Tried to sell it separately before I figured out that would be an even bigger disaster; I’d have a body with no neck — a body, by the way, that plays perfectly well.

But I digress.. What about all the other instruments on the list?

Neck - True ToneTruth is, barely fixed half of them… Been busy with a bunch of stuff that was vitally important at the time.. Now I can’t remember what it was…Neck - Aristocrat

…Back to work…


Posted April 19, 2014 by Capt. Roy Harkness in Uncategorized

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