Updated December 2006. They are in bankruptcy but still worth using
Written: Oct 31, 2005 (Updated Dec 9, 2006)
|Ease of Ordering:
Further Update, December 2006
I received an email from a Music 123/Woodwind and Brasswind employee, who said that there had been no dismissals, business was proceeding as usual, vendors were cooperating.
I then saw a late November article in the South Bend Tribune that said that the bankruptcy was a chapter 11 filing, which means that a company can keep operating while selling off assets to benefit the creditor. The creditor that precipitated the bankruptcy was a $9 million judgment against Music 123/WWBW by Music 123's former owners, who had been fired.
In an article dated December 7, The South Bend tribune reported that that Conn-Selmer, through its Steinway unit, bested the Guitar Center offer Steinway, Inc. has given an offer for purchasing the assets about 2.3 million higher netthan the Guitar Center offer, after deducting the $1.1 millinion breakup fee that WWBW will owe to Guitar Center if the assets are sold to another buyer.
Offhand, this looks to be better for the employees because Conn-Selmer has no retail presence in the US.
On the other hand, there will likely be unsold inventory that will be subject to asset sale. The sale will likely be less than at full cost. So, it's possible that some of the items remaining, might be sold by whomever buys them at a huge discount. It is also not clear as to whether WWBW/Music 123 will remain in business after the asset sale.
While I'm happy that they are restocking items, these facts actually don't change the recommendations in my original epinion much.
Customer service and stock of saleable, high-volume items might be better than I first thought. However, the closer January gets, the more uncertain returns become. On the other hand, they have great prices on great brands. So, you might want to try instruments at their headquarters in South Bend, Indiana, or even take a chance on a name-brand instrument. Name-brand, in-stock supplies or accessories are worth buying, although items with lesser volume might be cheaper after the asset sale, if the buyer closes them out.
My previous epinion is shown below the ++++++s
Update: November 2006
They declared bankruptcy on November 21. An asset sale to Guitar Center's Musician's Friend subsidiary was announced the following day, to take effect in January.
They are still in business, and I would use them for in-stock accessories and supplies. I wouldn't buy a mouthpiece or band instrument from them because of concerns about returns or warranty.
I called on Friday morning and was told by a REAL LIVE woodwind specialist that they were "absolutely" filling orders. What's interesting is that I also called the 800 number for their sister company, Music 123, and got the same woodwind specialist. They are probably down to a skeleton crew.
The remainder of my original epinion is below.
A great alternative for musical accessories and supplies
Pros: Tremendous inventory, low prices
Cons: If youre not sure about a product, you cannot see it first. Make sure its returnable.
Bottom line: I recommend using a good local music store for supplies and accessories that they stock. However, the Woodwind and the Brasswind is an excellent alternative for getting what you need at a low cost.
I needed a replacement Bass Clarinet case. The one I has was original and was not very protective any more.
When school started, one of my students switched from clarinet to bass clarinet and that is why I took it up again. However, I had forgotten why I had stopped playing it to begin with the instruments 5 piece bass clarinets (those with 2 middle sections like a standard clarinet) are extremely fragile and need frequent adjustments. This is why more modern student level instruments have one long middle section instead of the two found on more expensive instruments. The instrument had been getting weekly check-ups and my repairman and I looked around to see if we could find a replacement case in which I could keep the very fragile middle sections together, instead of putting them together each time.
The repairman said that there was a case available and that he could order it, but he figured that the was a 50% chance it would fit and he could not take a return since the case was special order. He suggested that I check the Woodwind and the Brasswind to see if they had the case (they did) and it was returnable (it was). I also checked with another local store and they did not have the case in stock.
I ordered the case online from www.wwbw.com late Wednesday afternoon, October 26. The price was $119. The online store was running a promotion where orders of $149 or more get free shipping, otherwise, I would have paid $9.99 for ground, so I ordered some reeds to get the price comfortably above that number. Checkout on the site was easy and safe.
They shipped the following day, although after the Fedex daily cutoff so it was not reported as shipped in Fedexs system until the 28th. I received it on Saturday, October 29th. I was able to monitor the order on the web site and this was helpful, since they were offering an additional 10% off on accessories starting on October 29. Since WWBW has a 45-day price match guarantee for ADVERTISED prices, including their own, I called in and got a credit for the 10% applied to my credit card.
The shop has an extensive inventory of musical instruments, mouthpieces, accessories , supplies and software for woodwind and brass instruments. Through sister companies, it offers instruments and accessories for rock and electronic instruments, strings and percussion. It has a sizable collection of musically-themed gifts and has a modest collection of sheet music. They also offer repair services. One of the nice things about the site is a clearance section, which I used for one of the items I added to the order.
I have used them in the past for mouthpieces, accessories, and supplies without any problems at all. While their prices on instruments are very competitive, I likely would not order an instrument from them through the mail. The reason being is that their retail store is within 2 hours drive of my house, and I would prefer to try the instruments there, since they have so much inventory.
I also prefer to deal locally for repairs. There are two local music stores I use with regularity. Each of them has reed prices that are discounted so that they are close to the WWBW price. In addition, I want to stay within the good graces of each store, as they are a source of referrals for students. I want to be able to get quality repairs very quickly when I need them.
On the other hand, there is no need to pay full retail price for reeds. If a local store will not discount them, then by all means use WWBW site.
I will not order something not in stock, so I have no experience with how quickly WWBW handles them. I do know that, if they list the item online, it is their intention to stock it. Therefore, if something is stocked out, its because of the manufacturer, not them.
You can also get an additional 3% rebate for purchases linked through the Ebates web site. For more information, please check out my review of the Ebates site.
Ebates web portal
Thanks for reading. God bless!
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What product did you purchase or try to purchase? Pro-Tec Bass Clarinet Case plus reeds