Blog and News Page

Previous pages known as 'Tales from the Workshop' can now be found here in PDF format - Thank you.

November 2020 - Work Update

Hi Folks

It's been a bad year for 'normal' business this year, for many people with the 'lockdown' in March, and for me. In the summer my wife had an operation, so we had to self-isolate for 6 weeks. Now we have another lockdown. This has meant that my 'Waiting List' just got longer. Many of my old customers would not go anywhere else and so diligently I have progressed through the list in time order. Some customers have been invited in but have not replied and so I moved on to the next on the list.

Additionally, adding to the problem, as I am near 70, I reduced my working week so limiting days of work from Wednesday to Saturday. I seem to get a lot of problem guitars that other people cannot fix and this means that they take longer to do. I also have to be extra careful because of having an autoimmune disease which makes me extra vulnerable.

I have emailed all the people on my 'Waiting List' to find out the 'true' extent of the work still required. If people don't reply, I assume that they no longer need any work doing.

For new customer set-ups I am afraid that I wont take on any more to add to my list as this is unfair, expectation wise. In better times I will lift this restriction. Small repairs can still be done depending on the repairs - so email and ask and maybe provide a picture and information about the guitar.

Thanks for your patience.

July 2020 - Work and COVID-19 Update

Hi Folks

So the latest update is that, despite the coronavirus, the majority of my customers have opted to stay on my waiting list. Thank you - that even suprised me!

Customers will note that I don't participate in social media - it never appealed to me - so this blog is my statement on my current workshop situation.

Slowly, I have been working down my waiting list but, with the current necessary safety measures in place, progress has not been as the 'normal situation'. This leads me up to another crisis point.

From mid-July, I won't be taking in any more work for at least 4 weeks due to having to self-isolate pending my wife's operation. Sorry about this. This will bring me to mid-August when I will review the situation further and give you another update.

Given the option, some customers are leaving their guitars with me to work on over the next 4-5 weeks so at least I can work down some of the current backlog during my isolation period.

There is no point in putting more people onto an already full waiting list even though it appears that people are very willing to go on it. I suppose this is an act of faith/vote of confidence based on past work done. Again, I thank my loyal customer following for this support. These are not normal times and it doesn't take a genius to work out that we could still be at a 'coronavirus status quo' this time next year.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 2020

Hi Folks

Since my reduced hours of working following state pension retirement a few years ago, I have carried on doing repair work and set-ups. This has entailed a long 'waiting list' of up to 8 weeks at times. My customers have been very patient with me, however the current situation and my age being one of the 'vulnerable' ones has led me to stop taking in any work for the duration of the current crisis. Obviously this will be reviewed as the virus situation progresses. Those people that I would have called in during the next few weeks will still be on my list and first in the queue as soon as I start up again.

Thanks to all my past customers for their loyalty.

In the mean time I have plenty to do - so see you on the other side!

Welcome to Peter Allen's Monthly (and past Weekly Blogs)

If you have been directed here by a Search Engine to this page, it is because the relevant information is in one of my weekly/monthly bulletins known as 'Tales from the Workshop'. Thank You.

January 2021 - Recap & Update

Hi Folks

So the year 2020 didn't get any better as it went along and the run up to Christmas and the rampant CV19 Virus led me to the decision to stay safe and stop work completely until I get vaccinated. Not an easy decision, as I feel I have a duty to my customers.

As for my 'Waiting List', that is remarkable in itself as most of the customers on it are past customers so they know what to expect. In November I sent out an email asking people if they wished to stay on it. This was to verify the 'real' extent of the work to do. Remarkably, 50% of those people said "Yes, just let me know when it's my turn." I still predicted 6 weeks waiting time! Well, clearly I should have invested in a crystal ball because that assessment of the workload is now put on hold. I shall be glad when it's all over and we can get back to normal.

For 2021 I moved my Server so there was some 12 hours off line due to problems with the pointing of the DNS.

So the answer to the question "What are you doing if you're not working on guitars?" is that I have been making another website to replace the old antiquated one that has served me well - even though it took some adapting. And here is the end result.

The other all consuming project is a Video of the Professional Set-up which I started on iMovies but (thanks to Apple's failure to maintain) became problematic and so had to switch to a Windows App. and redo it all over again. Thanks Apple.

Thanks for your patience and Stay Safe! Happy New Year!

March 2021 - Buying in the UK

Hi Folks,

With regards to buying from Music Shops I am just like any customer. In the past 30 years I have never had a bad experience until recently. There are 2 fundamentals that are required to aid a feel good factor in business: one being honesty and the other is good communication.

So recently I did a search to find a good price on a specific microphone. Availability was a problem and the retailers I would normally choose stated that the back-order time was 8 weeks - too long for me to wait. So I looked for other available UK shops, found an outlet called DV 247 and placed an order. Somehow, my sixth sense kicked in at the end of the following day when there was no confirmation of shipping, only money taken and order placed.

I wrote an email asking when they were sending my order – no answer. I wrote to cancel the order and suddenly got a reply, stating that it had been sent the previous day. Bad communication! That seemed a relief so I said ok, but then got an email from UPS requiring additional payment of £66 for ‘Import Duties and Broker charges’. This was in addition to the UK VAT already paid at £248. I thought that I was buying from the UK but it turned out the company’s main operation seems to be in Germany and this this is where they hold most of their stock. I cancelled the order even though the company said that there were no additional fees to pay but they said they would cancel the order anyway and refund me once they have received the item back. So, my unwanted goods sat in a German UPS hub for 10 days before moving. Instead of being recalled it still got sent to the UK and a week later was out for delivery. UPS don’t come out of this well either, as they sent me 4 emails saying that they had attempted and failed to deliver and collect funds over the past week even though I was at home all the time and they didn’t come to the door at all! On the day listed as their ‘Final delivery attempt’ (attempt 5), I just happened to be looking toward the bottom of the road when I saw the infamous UPS van pass by. I waited for half an hour and then got an email saying delivery would be that day followed by another email 10 minutes later stating that they had ‘Failed to deliver’ on the ‘Final Attempt’. I looked at the time of the UPS attempt and found this to be the very minute that I had seen the UPS van flash by! Go figure!

By this time a whole week had gone by and I had given up on trying to turn the delivery around. I had emailed and phoned UPS without success. I had even sent a message and the supplier’s email to UPS Accounts Dept. with their hand delivered Invoice. On the following day, I answered the door to the sudden appearance of UPS trying to deliver the parcel - unscheduled. Eventually, I was able to get UPS to ‘return to sender’ . PayPal are not interested in reimbursement unless agreed by the supplier and following a failed delivery. Current status on UPS now says ‘Delivered’ and then Rejected by: ‘receiver has cancelled the product order and refused delivery.’ PayPal say that until the item is returned they reserve their decision.

So having spent the past month watching the progress of an unwanted order I am now doomed to watch its progress back to Germany. Maybe another month will pass before the experience is at an end. Apart from honesty and good communication being part of the purchase experience, there is the ‘feel good factor’. One should feel good about getting an item you want. None of these boxes got ticked and so the warning is out there: To check on Trustpilot and Google reviews and ensure that the item is being sent from within the UK. It is not safe to accept its British because the price is in GBP. (example: BAX is a Dutch company selling in GBP and exporting to the UK). Brexit has a lot to answer for and I don’t think we are out of the woods yet. One of my German customers has decided to buy and store guitars in the UK for fear of issues with Brexit border crossings. I understand that gigging musicians also face customs problems crossing boards into the EU. I hope this is a warning to people to be vigilant in their purchasing.

April 2021 - Lockdown ends - Service Begins

Hi Folks,

I am waiting to email all my customers on the infamous ‘waiting list’ as April looms up and lock-down ends. Once I have replies, I can then assess how long the ‘waiting list’ is. New customers are being told to come back in a couple of months but soon as I know the real demand for services, I can amend this advice. See you on the other side.

June 2021 - Update

Hi Folks

Contrary to my going back to full time work, it seemed the only way to make an inroad to the work backlog. Now at the end of June the waiting list is about 6 weeks in length. For new customers the waiting time from before Covid times was always about 3 to 4 weeks and this is the aim for the future. The length of time is due to demand and reserving time for myself at the grand old age of 70. I enjoy working on guitars but there needs to be 'me time' as well. From the demand point of view, I seem to get the guitars that are problematic and from people that have been to other luthiers and technicians. From people who have experienced my work before, they are happy to wait for work and so the backlog has grown. Lets look forward to the Government relaxing restrictions and then people will be invited back into the workshop.

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