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The Ebay Dilemma


In recent years, we have seen several players find a deal on Ebay that was too good to be true, and it was. Instruments that are imported from foreign countries are not necessarily bad, but some have very low quality components. Even more troublesome is the concept that there are no replacement parts available in the event of a manufacturing defect or later damage. Working on these slides presents a real issue of concern: If a tube breaks during a repair, there are no avenues to pursue to replace the tube on many of these instruments.

For this reason, the Slide Doctor encourages you to pay close attention to the details before purchasing an instrument. We believe that it is in your best interest to purchase instruments made by manufacturers who offer parts and service in the United States and who have reputations for excellence in manufacturing. If you have questions about specific instruments, please address them to

Also, several players have purchased instruments through Ebay and have sent the slides to me for “restoration.” In all but one case, the slides were best described as in rough shape. In one example, the slide was beyond even the “Lazarus Trick.” Here is a brief description of this slide that was sold as “in excellent playing condition.”

There were three major crease dents, one of which crushed the inside tube just above the stocking. Someone had attempted to repair this by filing off the high spots. The dent, on the outside tube, was so severe that it cracked the silver plating and perforated the tube. The inside tubes were severely worn and the right had grip was so badly torqued that it looked like the “made up” example I show on the site as an example of a torqued inner slide. One tube was ½ inch above the stone. The crook was crushed. There was more wrong, but this gives you a good idea of the extent of the damage. The owner is a “prince “ of a guy and I feel so badly that a fellow trombonist would rip him off like this.

The second issue concerns horns that are being sold as “like new,” and that look great in pictures, but are, in reality, horns with severe wear that have been reconditioned on the outside. I have seen two of these in the past few months.

Finally, when we established the $155.00 price for setups, it was done with the idea that we would be working on regularly used instruments, with an occasional dent removal or birth defect to fix. This seemed more than reasonable. Thanks to Ebay, many old horns are coming out of closets and are being sent here for restoration, remanufacture or what we lovingly refer to as the “Lazarus Trick.” I enjoy trying to get these old slides to work again, however I am finding that I spend as much as eight to ten hours on some of them. This was never the intent of the $155.00 rate.

In the future, setups will continue at the $155.00 rate. Please understand that work beyond the normal scope of a setup will result in additional charges to the owner. Please also understand that it may be necessary for me to admit that restoration is impossible. I have had to do this on a few cases. I don’t like it, but there are just some slides that are beyond my ability to restore to playing condition again.

So, Ebay is both a great service and also a risky adventure. Do try to be sure that you ask if the instrument has been overhauled. Also try to work out a foolproof way to get your money back if you discover that the horn was misrepresented.

I’ll look forward to helping you to get many of these wonderful old beauties singing again.

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