At 02:41 PM 5/14/02 -0400, Kenneth Wolman wrote:
>This is a question more for players than for makers but of course makers may
>play if they wish:-)...
>Are delays and slippages in delivery dates a standard part of life when one
>purchases uilleann pipes? Is uncommunicativeness between the maker and the
>purchaser the norm?
As a buyer I answer yes, and as a maker I must plead guilty at times too,
though I struggle to be better at it.
As a buyer I virtually always had slow turnaround from makers: one of the
top u.p. makers once going 8 months to deliver two reeds, another taking
12 months to return a chanter that had needed [and had been given] only a
very small adjustment. I usually had delays in Highland pipe orders when
I bought from a particular maker I favored.
I never had a maker actually fail to perform, but over 35+ years
and between myself and other pipers, most of us felt that makers who
were under pressure did not do their best work.
Pipe making is not a craft that tends to attract well-organized, thick-
skinned, competent business people. Some in the trade are very shy.
When they feel a challenge, even if the correspondent has only the
best intentions, they'll tuck into their shells like barnacles at low
tide. Culture clash can exacerbate this. New worlders can seem more
aggressive and impatient than they intend.
Some makers are very picky and develop slowdowns whenever quality
problems arise in natural materials. Some makers don't like anyone
to know of any quality challenges.
It's a strange trade. At times it's numbing mechanical shop work.
At times it's accounts and taxes. At times it's dealing with customers
and suppliers. Then comes the time to strap on the instrument that
will become the voice of the buyer, even if it's only a reed: this
demands a special sort of mood and focus.
In a trade this small, it's easy to understand that there could be
periods when few if any makers were outstanding at all these tasks.
There are some vendors reselling pipes. It's easy to get a certain
quality on demand from them, but we're still back to the better makers
not producing enough surplus to keep all the vendors well stocked with
good instruments on demand.
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