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Thread: Major bummer...misleading price quotes.

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    Major bummer...misleading price quotes.

    But, there is a silver lining. Our mold is back from polishing and ready to produce.

    The Bummer?

    Recently I was connected with a company who offered some outstanding quotes for tooling costs and base-plates. After providing them with samples and drawings, they quoted... $1770 for the tooling, and base plates @ .85 each @2000 parts. EIGHTY-FIVE CENTS!
    I couldn't believe it. I was jumping for joy. Creaming in my pants.

    No so fast...
    I felt something was amiss, so I confirmed with them that thier quote was for nickel-silver. as requested.

    Woops. Sorry. The tooling will now cost $4650 and the parts will now be $1.15. $1.15 is OK. In fact, that's a pretty decent price and I'm happy to live with it. $4650 is not.

    That led me to another place... which does stamping for one of the majors.
    After I told them what I've been paying ($1.50 as of my last order of 2000 parts at the end of 2013), how many I generally order at a time, and what happened with the previous quote, they said "We can be very competitive" For an American-Made part.
    Again, jumping for joy. You'd figure "very competitive" would mean something akin to getting at least reasonably close to that price, right?

    I got the quote back today. Killer tooling quote at only $1250.
    Part cost? Not so killer, unless you're talking about my wallet. Even at 5000 pieces, parts would cost a whopping $3.08 each. And of course, higher cost as quantity lowers, as one would expect.


    Ouch. What happened to "very competitive?"

    Looks like "competitive" isn't so unless you order 75,000 parts. Then the price is downright amazingly outstanding. In fact, it's dirt cheap!




    I wonder what they'll come back with for pole shoe quote, and flatwork quotes...



    fek-all.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    That's why I'm a hobbyist, and not in biz!
    Are you going to be in business, and live long enough to pay for all the tooling?
    T

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    methinks it is time to contact an Asian supplier ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    That's why I'm a hobbyist, and not in biz!
    Are you going to be in business, and live long enough to pay for all the tooling?
    T
    Till the day I die. Heck, it's already been 18 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by bajaman View Post
    methinks it is time to contact an Asian supplier ;-)
    I've been buying my base-plates from Alex in Korea. They're OK, not great. Really wanted to go with a US-made part though, and have direct control over features, dimensions, material, etc.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Until you die, would depend on how old you are now?
    If you're 40, or if you're 70?
    If 40 then it might be worth while, if 70, not so much!
    I would stick with the import plates.
    I've used some that were quite good!
    T

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    I'd keep looking, there has got to be someone who is well suited to doing these for you. It sounds like maybe these folks aren't very confident of their ability to work efficiently with nickel silver and so they are quoting high to cover their butts and they have plenty of low risk work to keep them busy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Until you die, would depend on how old you are now?
    If you're 40, or if you're 70?
    If 40 then it might be worth while, if 70, not so much!
    I would stick with the import plates.
    I've used some that were quite good!
    T
    45 in 11 days. I still got time

    Quote Originally Posted by David King View Post
    I'd keep looking, there has got to be someone who is well suited to doing these for you. It sounds like maybe these folks aren't very confident of their ability to work efficiently with nickel silver and so they are quoting high to cover their butts and they have plenty of low risk work to keep them busy.
    They work a ton in nickel silver. For one of the big, big players.

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    Last edited by WolfeMacleod; 09-21-2016 at 07:51 PM.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    How about our own member Bruce Johnson?
    He makes all kind of stuff.
    Maybe he would know someone that could make these for you?
    T
    **I would think any sheet metal shop could easily make baseplates, with the right nickel sheet metal!
    Also all the house siding places do all kind of fancy bending, and braking with sheet metal.

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    Last edited by big_teee; 09-21-2016 at 06:50 PM.
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    I think the first place was the one I told you about right? I knew it wasnt going to be 85 cents each because I looked to see what we pay per piece but the tooling cost shouldnt be that much unless you are trying to get every tool mark to match an original PAF. get ahold of me tomorrow and remind me and I can look see what the tooling was- also it will save money if you draw it instead of them if you know protocall. A little study up on conventions goes along way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lollar Jason View Post
    I think the first place was the one I told you about right? I knew it wasnt going to be 85 cents each because I looked to see what we pay per piece but the tooling cost shouldnt be that much unless you are trying to get every tool mark to match an original PAF. get ahold of me tomorrow and remind me and I can look see what the tooling was- also it will save money if you draw it instead of them if you know protocall. A little study up on conventions goes along way.
    Yea, the one you told me about. I have drawings that could be used. I don't care about replicating toolmarks... just a nice, fine looking part.

    I'll ring you tomorrow. I got the quote back from company B today for forbon parts. It's a decent quote, and the quantities aren't outrageous.

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    Senior Member ken's Avatar
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    I think the first place was the one I told you about right? I knew it wasnt going to be 85 cents each because I looked to see what we pay per piece but the tooling cost shouldnt be that much unless you are trying to get every tool mark to match an original PAF
    I don't care about replicating toolmarks... just a nice, fine looking part.
    Jason and Wolfe are right, a good functional part will be a lot cheaper than one with all the 'vintage approved' tool marks and ripples in it. Unfortunately, every last added detail you put into a part is extra complexity for machinists to deal with, so 'vintage guitar forum approved' parts will be light years more expensive.

    Which makes me ask... I wonder why Montreux? went to all the bother to make a new mold that wasn't so good if all the one they had needed was a good freshing up? You would think a good cleanup would have been LOTS cheaper than making a new one

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken View Post
    Jason and Wolfe are right, a good functional part will be a lot cheaper than one with all the 'vintage approved' tool marks and ripples in it. Unfortunately, every last added detail you put into a part is extra complexity for machinists to deal with, so 'vintage guitar forum approved' parts will be light years more expensive.

    Which makes me ask... I wonder why Montreux? went to all the bother to make a new mold that wasn't so good if all the one they had needed was a good freshing up? You would think a good cleanup would have been LOTS cheaper than making a new one
    Yep, exactly All the tool-marks and stupid crap in the world don't mean shiat. Sure, I appreciate it, it looks cool, but in the end... it's basically worthless.

    If you're referring to the old Japanese bobbins, that mold wasn't owned by Yuichiro, so he didn't have any more control over it than did Allparts or Stew-Mac. He got them from the same source, who I identified wayyy back around 2005-ish, maybe earlier.
    I will be sending bobbin samples to Montreux/Yuichiro soon.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    A late friend of mine in Argentina made the original Di Marzio bobbin and base molds and punches, even before Di Marzio Inc was born.

    He actually made them for Alex Music Shop In NY, where Larry Di Marzio worked and among other things, rewound pickups, until one day he said: "boss, why dont we make our own?" Gibson patent was about to end.

    Alex who is Argentine, travelled to Buenos Aires for family business, met my friend, die maker Juan Sousa and ordered the full set, which given the then prevailing exchange ratio cost peanuts to him; the alternative would have been Japanese made dies and molds, very high quality but way more expensive.

    They had some legal trouble at the beginning, because they thought the Gibson patent had just expired but there was some legal haggling around that until that was set.

    They were sold as " Alex T Specials" and bobbins had a small "T" inside a circle; I had some of those bobbins myself.

    Then Larry Di Marzio got an investor and took off on his own.

    Juan Sousa custom made for me dies and molds for own production of: strap handles / metal corner protectors / rubber feet / metal skids / horn driver / tons of punching dies in all odd shapes such as slider pot slot ones, various rectangular rocker switch panel punches, aluminum bending dies to make custom heatsinks, and matching "knife and slot" sheet metal bending dies to make my own chassis,sadly left unfinished the chicken head knob die, and helped me build my vertical wood panel saw, also set up my lathe, a very talented and skilled person.

    By the way, no CNC way back then, everything was miller, lathe, the ubiquitous "Do All" metal saw and lots of elbow grease, including some hand filing.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    A late friend of mine in Argentina made the original Di Marzio bobbin and base molds and punches, even before Di Marzio Inc was born,,,,,,,

    They were sold as " Alex T Specials" and bobbins had a small "T" inside a circle; I had some of those bobbins myself.

    Then Larry Di Marzio got an investor and took off on his own.....
    Interesting. Very interesting. What years? I'm assuming "took off on his own" would have been some time in '75, when he started advertising....

    This might have been handy to know earlier, what with the lawsuit and all.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    70 something for sure.
    I remember Eric Clapton advertised the Alex T Specials, clearly remember the old black and white Guitar Player ads, and the weird thing is that he was not much of a hot endorsement way back then, he was in his "black years" , after the "God" era , and before he reinvented himself with a Strat instead of the earlier LP, maybe that helps place the year, which would be 1 or 2 years before LDM started advertising.
    I bet somebody around here will have a full GP collection and can check that.
    I remember they started selling the pickups, had to stop after a "cease and desist" letter, until it was proven it did not longer apply.
    FWIW Juan Sousa still had the first Dollar bill he earned with this, framed and hanging on a shop wall, as his "lucky dollar"

    As a side note, Rudy Pensa was also another Argentine who set up shop in NY.

    Back to your molds, congratulations, the best investment there is, they self pay in quite a short time and then give you the competitive edge.

    My doubt is: do you also have the sheet metal punching and bending dies or they are custom made by the stamping shop?

    U$1500 or 4500 looks very high for a "setup fee" .
    IF they custom make a set to do the job, fine, but then you *own* and keep it, and next time you pay a nominal setup fee, say a couple hundred $ at most, IF you order a sizable amount of course.
    Otherwise its plain highway robbery.

    Only part Im stamping now is the corner protectors (copy of old Acoustic / Sunn / ARP ones) , order them in lots of 5000 but they cost peanuts ... and are made in a single work day.
    In fact double or triple plating (copper>nickel>chrome) is more expensive than the part itself, so next batch will be just super bright Zinc, newer formulations look *very* good (Im using it for speaker frames) and costs less than discarded peanut shells

    Nickel silver is a very noble material to work with , very clean to work with, and they cant charge you more to punch it than to punck plain iron sheet.

    I always search for and deal with small car parts makers, who have all the necessary machines and personnel, work all day long, and are used to quote very competitive prices, since car companies (or aftermarket or second-source parts dealers) are as tightwad as they come.
    The ones I deal with, and I guess it must be universal practice, charge "so much by the hit/punch" , every press downward movement, no matter what is done, be it punching a hole or bending some part; I suspect they are charging you based on how much they perceive the final product will sell for, so "luxury" nickel-silver "should" be 3 or 4X more expensive than "humble" CRS.
    Well, that aint none of their business, the operation they make is exactly the same.

    Some colleagues call me crazy because I make almost everything in-house , but although production complicates my life, I can sell at Chinese prices if needed and still earn money.

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    Last edited by J M Fahey; 09-22-2016 at 06:42 PM.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    70 something for sure.
    I remember Eric Clapton advertised the Alex T Specials....etc....
    Very interesting. Can you help dig up any more information about this?

    So, essentially, it sounds like early Dimarzio's weren't Dimarzio at all? And they received a CnD to stop violating the patent?, which would have been 17 years and expired in 1976, according to the attorney that Sheptone was using...

    I wonder how this could impact the cream thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfeMacleod View Post
    patent?, which would have been 17 years and expired in 1976, according to the attorney that Sheptone was using...
    Expiration date would be 17 years after filing date.
    June 22, 1955 + 17 years = June 22, 1972.

    Patent Term Calculator | USPTO

    • In 1861, Congress again changed the term to 17 years with no extension.
    • In 1994 the US signed the Uruguay Round Agreements Act changed the date from which the term was measured. Because the term was measured from the filing date of the application and not the grant date of the patent, Congress amended 35 U.S.C. 154 to provide for applications filed after June 7, 1995....
    Seth Lover patent:
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=p.../US2896491.pdf

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    Last edited by rjb; 09-23-2016 at 01:03 AM. Reason: Added bolding
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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfeMacleod View Post
    Very interesting. Can you help dig up any more information about this?

    So, essentially, it sounds like early Dimarzio's weren't Dimarzio at all? And they received a CnD to stop violating the patent?, which would have been 17 years and expired in 1976, according to the attorney that Sheptone was using...

    I wonder how this could impact the cream thing.
    Wed have to literally "dig" , Juan Sousa passed away 2 years ago because of untreated cancer, I refuse to call Homeopathics-only a proper treatment.
    Not sure about the legal stuff, first pickups I mentioned were designed and made by Larry Di Marzio but working for Alex Musical and sold under their own brand and model designation (T Special), and it was Alex who had to momentarily stop selling them.
    I bet when Larry started with his own this was already settled.

    As of the "cream" issue, I find it ridicule and unenforceable.
    Maybe a "colour scheme" can be protected, if unusual and heavily associated with some product, but generic plain colours, such as black/white/cream/whatever are stretching it way too much.
    Beyond mere colours, can Fender protect use of black fiber?
    I guess not, and not being a silly/frivolous Company, I bet they wont even try.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Expiration date would be 17 years after filing date.
    June 22, 1955 + 17 years = June 22, 1972.

    Patent Term Calculator | USPTO
    Discuss this with my patent attorney. This is also the date I came up with, using that expiry date calculator. From the date ISSUED, not the date FILED.

    Hi Wolfe,

    Yes, according to my research, without having access to the full wrapper for this patent, patent number 2,896,491, the expiry would be July 28, 1976. It may have been shorter if there was a terminal disclaimer (which I see no evidence of in the patent) or later (if they had a patent term adjustment, again which I dont see any evidence of in the patent, and Im not sure if these adjustments existed in 1959the earliest Ive seen referenced is 1984).



    Thanks,

    Jim Haugen

    Patent Attorney

    Seattle Patent Group LLC

    4020 148th Ave NE, Suite D

    Redmond, WA 98052

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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfeMacleod View Post
    Discuss this with my patent attorney. This is also the date I came up with, using that expiry date calculator. From the date ISSUED, not the date FILED.
    OK, I stand corrected. July 28, 1976 it is.
    I was going by my interpretation of the USPTO site's wording.
    This makes it more clear: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_o..._United_States

    Year filed Maximum term of validity Established by
    -1789 - -
    1790–1835 14 years from issuance Patent Act of 1790
    1836–1860 21 years from issuance Patent Act of 1836
    1861–1994 17 years from issuance -
    1995- 20 years from filing Uruguay Round Agreements Act

    Whatever,
    -rb

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    Last edited by rjb; 09-23-2016 at 09:55 PM. Reason: changed "text" to "wording"
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    OK, I stand corrected. July 28, 1976 it is.
    I was going by my interpretation of the USPTO site's text.
    This makes it more clear: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_o..._United_States

    Year filed Maximum term of validity Established by
    -1789 - -
    1790–1835 14 years from issuance Patent Act of 1790
    1836–1860 21 years from issuance Patent Act of 1836
    1861–1994 17 years from issuance -
    1995- 20 years from filing Uruguay Round Agreements Act

    Whatever,
    -rb
    Well then.... are you saying that Dimarzio was capitalizing on someone else's unexpired intellectual property?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfeMacleod View Post
    Well then.... are you saying that Dimarzio was capitalizing on someone else's unexpired intellectual property?
    I really am not in a position to say.

    It would not be prudent to put 100% confidence in our derived expiration date; I got mine from freakin' Wikipedia, and you got yours from a lawyer who is unsure when patent term adjustments came into existence.

    If the question is "Did DiMarzio produce humbucking pickups before July 28, 1976?", then the answer is yes.
    But DiMarzio was clearly on Gibson's "radar", and, as Juan relates, "legal haggling" appears to have been settled.

    Perhaps a medium could be employed to contact Juan Sousa?

    -rb

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    Last edited by rjb; 09-23-2016 at 08:31 PM.
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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Not Di Marzio himself.
    Is Alex (senior) alive?
    It was he who actually ordered the dies and molds and paid for them, had the pickups wound and assembled at least by LDM but probably also by some other employee(s) , at least as a helping hand.

    And of course he advertised (nowhere less than GP) and sold them.

    Just guessing, but he should have registered "T Specials" as a trademark.

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    hi wolfe

    i have worked a lot in the plastics industry and have some tool makers here in OZ who do work for me.

    they also do injection moulding and make their dies in-house... or at least used to.

    they make many parts for the automotive industry, as well as many others.

    they now get their dies made in china and then "clean them up" in their own workshops.

    it seems to work well for them and they can remain competitive when it comes to getting tooling made, and they maintain control by having the expertise to finesse the dies in-house

    this maybe some food for thought..... i agree its better to get the parts made locally, but you could find someone who does similar things in the US

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