Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

All about making money.
Post Reply
User avatar
BrianJohnston
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:49 pm
Location: North America
Contact:

Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by BrianJohnston »

Hi all,

I want to share my negative experience with dealing with Lätzsch. Before you make any sort of opinion on my post, please read entirely.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Upon looking to upgrade my alto to a top end pro model horn, I began researching the sounds and reputations of each of the major brands. After some time, I fell in love with one and only one alto sound, the Lätzsch alto trombone, specifically the SL 710 with the yellow bell option. I first started looking for used, but NOBODY is selling them, and they're quite rare to come across used, so I decided to purchase a new one.

I started sometime in late September exploring their website to see that there is no way to order anything directly, to get a hold of them, you must call or email. I sent an email (September 21st I believe), while using google translate from English to German. I NEVER got a hold of them. I sent about 3 more emails all in german up until around October 21st... NO REPLY. I gave up on email, so I tried calling. I got a hold of someone who knew VERY little english, so I said: "Better email?" He replied "Yes". So I figured he is now expecting my email. Sent an email, never heard back.

I then reached out to an American Lätzsch artist to see if they can get a hold of them on my behalf. This artist was very helpful and sent an email & tried calling on my behalf... I waited two weeks, no answer. Luckily I also know a german foreign exchange student from my time in undergrad who I asked to help me. I wrote him the details I wanted and asked if he could call and explain that I was serious about this purchase. My german friend did so, and told me that Lätzsch is expecting my email, so I sent another. Unfortunately, my friend called multiple times before Lätzsch finally emailed me around Thanksgiving saying: "We are making your trombone now" With no further information. At least i'm getting somewhere? I replied to this email with the basic questions, how can I pay, when do you think it'll be shipped etc, a week later (in early December now) I got an email saying it'll be ready in early December... (???)

Finally, I get an email around December 12th saying that the trombone is ready to be shipped TODAY and that it'll take seven days to arrive. Unfortunately, it wasn't shipped until a week and a half later, only to arrive at customs with a problematic invoice on Christmas eve... The invoice was in german, and it needed to be english or bilingual, so I asked Lätzsch to revise it. They sent another invoice in German... I asked them again to revise it. They send a partially english/german invoice without the country of origin. I asked them to send another one. Finally they send a working invoice, and it clears customs. I get the trombone on January 19th, after paying for it on December 24th.

Hoping to see an all yellow brass alto trombone (Like described with a picture on their website) Mine comes with a lightweight nickel slide. I've had enough of this company, and decide not to reach out to them about this, but rather just share my awful customer service experience with this company.

The alto trombone does play very well, but it's their customer service which has been remarkably bad.

I hope that Lätzsch custom brass fixes their customer service issues in the future, and I hope I am helpful by sharing my experience warning you all before you try to reach out directly to them.

- Brian
Fort Wayne Philharmonic
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 956
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Sion, CH

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by LeTromboniste »

The website only has it all in gold brass, not yellow. Did you specify all yellow or just the yellow bell option? It might be that they usually pair yellow bell with nickel slide.
Maximilien Brisson
Lecturer for baroque trombone,
Hfk Bremen/University of the Arts Bremen
User avatar
BrianJohnston
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:49 pm
Location: North America
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by BrianJohnston »

LeTromboniste wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 11:07 am The website only has it all in gold brass, not yellow. Did you specify all yellow or just the yellow bell option? It might be that they usually pair yellow bell with nickel slide.
I only asked for yellow bell because i thought it was the only option I had the choice of. Its clearly not a nickel silver slide on their website, also due to the lack of communications and mistakes via latzsch, I didnt even think to double check the slide material.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Fort Wayne Philharmonic
brtnats
Posts: 310
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:07 am
Location: Louisville KY

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by brtnats »

Call me Pollyanna, but you managed to get a hand-made instrument that plays very well across international borders during the holidays despite what looks like a persistent e-mail problem on their end *and* a language barrier. They’re clearly a shoe-string crew based on their website.

Sounds kind of like you pulled a rabbit out of a hat.
EriKon
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:03 am
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by EriKon »

Indeed, sounds like an odyssey. So, here's the big "but":
Lätzsch is absolutely not a typical "company". In fact they have like 3 people working there in total and everything needs to be done by these 3 guys. Repair, maintenance, website, sells, trades, invoices, orga, you name it. This is why it can't be compared to other similar brass manufacturers (Shires, Edwards or else). Maybe with Thein, but Thein also has far more people working there as far as I know.

I pretty much do everything with my horns with Lätzsch for years and I absolutely never had a problem (except for one minor mistake with a valve repair once). Of course I have the advantage of not living far away and being german, so no language barriers. Also a very regular costumer, so I know everyone by name and have good relations with all of them.

From my experiences I can tell this:
Yes, they are not super chatty (typical for people in Northern Germany). And they are not super fast with many orga things and sometimes a bit out of it, like sending invoices for example. But the quality has always been outstanding.

The best way to contact them is indeed via phone call for initial contact. I think it depends who's on the phone in terms of language. So they will probably tell you to write an email then.

I don't know if you still want to contact them at some point, but if so I could offer to forward something to avoid more misunderstandings. And I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience with them, because it's a super lovely factory and they're all very nice guys even if they don't talk much.

Oh and one more thing: Google Translate is often terrible with German - English translations. So better to write in English, I guess, if you write an email.
Erik Konertz
www.erikkonertz.com
Freelance Trombonist, lecturer for jazz trombone at Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media.
User avatar
BrianJohnston
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:49 pm
Location: North America
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by BrianJohnston »

EriKon wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 11:57 am
I don't know if you still want to contact them at some point, but if so I could offer to forward something to avoid more misunderstandings. And I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience with them, because it's a super lovely factory and they're all very nice guys even if they don't talk much.
That's very nice of you. I would like all yellow brass outer slide & a nickel silver lead pipe - But i've had enough of trying to communicate with them.
Fort Wayne Philharmonic
User avatar
spencercarran
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:02 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by spencercarran »

Trying to communicate with a small shop when you don't have any proficiency in the language they work in is indeed going to be challenging for all involved. I understand how that would be a frustrating experience, but I don't think it's reasonable to view it as any reflection on them.
MStarke
Posts: 378
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:33 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by MStarke »

I understand your frustration, but on the other hand the result actually isn't that bad:
You got your handmade personal highest quality instrument 4 months after your first contact, including international shipping and some back and forth at customs. I have seen Much worth with substantially more expensive items. You seemingly were not totally insisting or detailed enough on the precise configuration you had in your mind. With such a substantial language barriere - you cannot expect the world to speak English! - I would either have been even more ambitious to make sure you get the right thing or try to follow up and clear things up in a constructive way if things go wrong. And you still got a great instrument, didn't you? There would probably have been better ways to make sure they understand you correctly/get your requirements.

Still I understand that this could have been easier and better.
Also offering my support in case you need some German translation.
Owner of MST STUDIO Trombone Mouthpieces
https://www.mst-studio-mouthpieces.com/

Altos: Helmuth Voigt, Kanstul, Weril
Tenors: 3x Conn 6h, Blessing medium, Elkhart 88H, modern 88HT, Kruspe, Heckel, Piering replica
Basses: Conn 112h, Greenhoe Conn-style
User avatar
BrianJohnston
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:49 pm
Location: North America
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by BrianJohnston »

MStarke wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:25 pm You seemingly were not totally insisting or detailed enough on the precise configuration you had in your mind. With such a substantial language barriere - you cannot expect the world to speak English!
to be fair, based on their website, it's unclear that EVERYTHING is potentionally customizable, only the bell material is labeled as such, and from the photos it's clearly a yellow slide. I figured it would come with a yellow slide.

I also spent all of my energy just trying to get a hold of Latzsch, which I must've done nearly 40 times.

If I thought any of this was my problem, I promise I wouldn't be sharing a review or complaining.
Fort Wayne Philharmonic
MStarke
Posts: 378
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:33 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by MStarke »

BrianJohnston wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:55 pm If I thought any of this was my problem, I promise I wouldn't be sharing a review or complaining.
Then we obviously have a different opinion here. Not trying to convince you.
Owner of MST STUDIO Trombone Mouthpieces
https://www.mst-studio-mouthpieces.com/

Altos: Helmuth Voigt, Kanstul, Weril
Tenors: 3x Conn 6h, Blessing medium, Elkhart 88H, modern 88HT, Kruspe, Heckel, Piering replica
Basses: Conn 112h, Greenhoe Conn-style
Retrobone
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:56 am

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by Retrobone »

I'd just also like to add that I've had plenty of dealings with Lätzsch in the past, even before I moved to Europe in the late 1980's. I understand that Brian was very frustrated and rightly so, but I do believe there may have been some fairly serious health issues involved and basically, there are just three people working there. I have no idea if anyone there is fluent in English. I always communicate with them in my fairly rough but usable German. Herr Nienaber and Herr Dahms are really top level craftsmen and they might have an apprentice as well, but that's it... two chaps building wonderful trombones and repairing instruments continually. The business side is not really that modernized. They haven't retired yet either! If you ever have the luck to visit the shop,,, well it's like walking into the wand shop in a Harry Potter movie.
Tim Dowling
Principal trombonist, Residentie Orchestra, The Hague
Teacher, Royal Conservatorium, The Hague
EriKon
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:03 am
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by EriKon »

Retrobone wrote: Thu Feb 02, 2023 1:27 am ... well it's like walking into the wand shop in a Harry Potter movie.
This is the best comparison I've seen so far :good: 100% agreed.
Erik Konertz
www.erikkonertz.com
Freelance Trombonist, lecturer for jazz trombone at Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media.
WGWTR180
Posts: 978
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:32 pm

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by WGWTR180 »

MStarke wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 2:03 pm
BrianJohnston wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:55 pm If I thought any of this was my problem, I promise I wouldn't be sharing a review or complaining.
Then we obviously have a different opinion here. Not trying to convince you.
Yes he's a very specific individual.
User avatar
BigBadandBass
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:17 am
Location: NYC

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by BigBadandBass »

I was gonna say here, you got a full trombone made and sent with a huge language gap in the same time it took me to have a mouthpiece sent from Europe, with no language gap. I get you’re not happy but at this point, if you don’t like it I’m sure something on here will buy it or a maker closer to you would be willing to make you a slide.
User avatar
JohnD
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:16 am
Location: Germany

Re: Lätzsch Custom Brass Problems

Post by JohnD »

No complaints at all, never. Chances are good, it's all about translation. Next time I'll be there, I'm gonna ask him.
Hear, Ear !
Post Reply

Return to “Music Business”