Buying from RL Music?

Buying 15 to 45 year old electronic devices can be a lottery and we have found, in the last 5 years, that the overall condition of what’s being offered on the private market has deteriorated considerably. This is probably because all the good, all original gear has been snapped up and now kept safely in studios and homes for posterity and all the old rusting, toured to death examples found in garages and lofts are being dusted off and sold as vintage classics.

Issues with exterior/cosmetic condition is easy to spot you might think but it’s also easy to doctor pictures and lie in descriptions so if you can’t actually see it to demo it then what is it really like?

Operational issues are, in our experience, also very rarely and honestly described and testament to all this is that we must now invest so much money and time into preparing these instruments for resale and year-on-year this gets harder and more expensive to achieve.

And what about the private seller – are they nice reasonable people who care about the deal and the equipment and even about you being happy with the purchase? Perhaps they are criminals trying to defraud you by just telling you want you want to hear to get your money and then you hear nothing for weeks, months or indeed ever.

We have had plenty of our own painful and costly experiences buying equipment from people which teaches you a lot about human behavior and how easy it is to loose your money. If you’re lucky and do actually receive your instrument then it’s heartbreaking to unpack something that is hardly worth the value as spares let alone what you paid for it and this might have been after several months and hundreds of emails and phone calls to chase it down.

Okay, it’s not always like we describe above but with the value of these rare and coveted instruments getting higher all the time then the risk to you is greater than ever and unless you’re an old hand and buying and selling high-value items from strangers in the same or different countries then we can offer you a better experience:

So. why buy from RL Music?

You can demo any items for sale.

We can offer quality high-resolution pictures of anything for sale.

We honestly describe the condition and history of everything we sell.

Everything is fully serviced and/or restored.

Everything is sold with a minimum 3 month warranty.

We can offer references from reputable sources.

We are a reputable UK business with many years experience.

We are professional when dealing with customers with polite & prompt communications at all times.

We ship world-wide.

We buy and sell world-wide.

We sell the finest vintage & classic synthesizers that can be found in the world.

We continually offer free advice and help to people looking to buy, sell and maintain vintage instruments.

We are a safe place to do business with.

Lastly – we love playing, owning, talking about, dreaming about and generally living and breathing vintage instruments and if it was just about the money then we would have stopped doing this a long time ago.

Do you buy synths as well? 

Yes absolutely!

We are always interested to discuss buying items from people. What we need to really get a clear idea is some detailed high-res pictures of the item you want to sell and your personal assessment of the condition, both cosmetically and operationally. Also we ask that you give us an idea of what your price expectation is so we can determine quickly if this is something we can consider to purchase.

All you need to do is email Richard Lawson all the information above and he will contact you by return. You are also welcome to just call in for a chat just in case you really not sure what to do about the item you have for sale.

Do you offer a brokering service?” 

Yes we do and in fact there’s a page dedicated to it in this website – check the page headers above.

We have been brokering synths for customers since 2002 and have been involved in hundreds of transactions whereby we service and warranty the owners equipment and then manage the onward sale to its new owner.

There are a number of ways to approach this service (commission or cost-Plus) depending on the seller and the equipment involved so please call or email Richard Lawson to discuss your requirements.

Can you service my synth?

We offer an extensive range of support services, so yes!

We work with a small number of ‘Approved Service Partners’ to offer a comprehensive range of service, repair & restoration services. We also are able to discuss custom project requirements and bespoke cabinet making as well. Please check our SUPPORT page for more info.

Please email or call Richard Lawson to discuss your requirements.

Professional Servicing & Restoration – what’s the difference?

What most people ask for (and expect) is that everything that’s sold by RL music is serviced which is right to assume and the answer is always yes – absolutely. However, when we talk about restoration we really mean something considerably bigger in scope, time spent and resources used to prepare the instrument for sale.

The term restoration is not banded about by us or used to aggrandise what some individuals (or even businesses) would really only mean to apply the most very basic attention too or an oily rag process to get the instrument sold with a supposed seal of technical approval etc.

The fact is that 15 to 45 year old electronic devices need a lot more than a quick tune-up and a wipe over with shiny chemicals to be able to have any hope of them working for 5 minuets after unpacking them and considering the rarity and value of a lot of these
machines, is it really acceptable to have them looking damaged, rusty, ripped/torn, scratched, missing parts and generally looking like a dogs dinner…nope.

When we started RL Music, we wanted to offer discerning customers the opportunity to own their dream vintage instruments in the finest possible condition and we have worked hard to continue that philosophy and build a reputation that sets us apart from any other business that just buys and sells gear.

The challenge to maintain this high standard of work is an interesting one as the condition of vintage equipment seen now is sadly getting worse by the year so the investment we have to make into them has never been higher and is apparent to increase.

On average we are now spending three to four times the amount in money and time restoring just about any make or model you can name from that of only 3 years ago so this investment has to be reflected in the final sales prices.

Naturally we fully appreciate that professionally restored vintage instruments are not for everyones budget but the intrinsic value our work adds something special and is equaled by or in fact exceeded by the monetary/market value of the equipment should our customers ever need to sell them (evidenced many times over).

Also, and most importantly, we know from feedback from our customers that the satisfaction of owning these restored instruments is very high and also evidenced by the fact that we see very few being resold so they are clearly coveted and to be kept for posterity.

Many customers will buy these restored vintage instruments from us to use in a professional recording (live production) environment, some will buy for home use and a few will buy as an investment or even a treasure to hand down to their children – which is fantastic![/learn_more]

Packing & Shipping – The Essentials

Ever had something arrive from the courier and before you even dare to open the box you feel a wave of dread come over you? You open the box and your fears are confirmed..aaargh!

It happens all too often and we have plenty of our own horror stories having received items like this but the stupid thing is about this problem is that it’s completely avoidable and totally unforgivable.

Not wishing to defame the considerable number of postal, courier and shipping companies out there but the reality of sending a rare, valuable an delicate vintage instrument into the transport system is that it is loaded with risk. The key to mitigating this risk is the use of good quality and over-sized packing or get a local packing company to do it.

There, how easy is that!

Obviously not simple enough as the problem continues with people shipping instruments in poor quality and too small a boxes (or just bubble-wrap), rolled-up newspaper for padding and anything else to hand like items of dirty clothing and old pieces of broken up
polystyrene & cardboard remnants and then five thousand foot of packing-tape around the box – as if that’s going to help.

The other myth (and big mistake) is to ship instruments in flight-cases thinking this is the ideal solution. Note: a flight-case is not designed to provide adequate absorbency from shock or vibration through the normal shipping experience.

Sure, the instrument will arrive (most times) without any obvious cosmetic damage but it is certain that the delicate circuitry/mechanisms will have been subjected to the equivalent of being thrown down the stairs. Added to this is people stupidly laying the power plug in a position were it will definitely damage the instrument panels…we really do see a lot of this and it’s a very expensive problem to fix.

We could actually write a book on the subject (how interesting that would be to read eh!) but all you need to know is that at RL Music we do actually know how to pack instruments properly and testament to this is the fact we ship restored equipment world-wide with a 100% success rate – so all perfectly cosmetically and operationally protected.

We will charge for packing materials only (cost) and use a local UK supplier for custom made boxes and internal materials like bubble-wrap and polystyrene peanuts etc. Every instrument is very carefully wrapped in several layers of bubble-wrap and then cocooned/ suspended in polystyrene peanuts (filling a minimum 20 cm or just under 8 inches area around the instrument) and then the high-grade cardboard cartons are sealed with shipping tape. We also mark each box with handling instructions and the customers full delivery address and contact number and our own. Every shipment is fully insured against loss or damage and our service warranty is also extended to cover shipping.

We also use UK based service partners for specialised packing requirements for larger instrument like the Yamaha CS80 where will will have these big-boys packed into a custom made wood crate with a high internal foam volume for protection against vibration etc.

The whole packing and shipping process is time consuming and frankley very boring indeed but it’s essential to get it right.

There is no particular joy in doing the packing and shipping as such other than the joy of getting the email from our customer telling us that the instrument arrived perfectly okay and how happy they are with their purchase…what more can we ask for!

What about after-sales service & warranty?”

Here’s one of those very dry subjects that you just look at the title and then instantly decide it’s going to be full of predictable company statements of quality, processes and care and you’ve heard it all before….well read on:

In fact sales and warranty would normally mean instantly getting through to the sales team but being put in a que to speak to the service team…funny that.

As RL Music and KSR are Richard Lawson and Kent Spong then there’s no hiding place and responsibilities for everything we do sit quite squarely on our shoulders and we are very happy this is so. We are in actuality only two people who own and operate our own
businesses (self employed) so who do you think pays our salaries…our customers of course.

Without our customer we don’t have a business or a living so we take our responsibilities very seriously – what does after sales and warranties all mean in reality?

Sure – we offer 3 (even 6 and 12 month warranties on certain items) against parts and labour and yes of course your satisfaction against the product and service you receive from us are fundamental but is that not what you expect? What happens when things don’t always go to plan?

Those of you who have dealt with RL Music and/or KSR will know that we will go above and beyond to help our customers and anyone who operates a small business will tell you that repeat business is always a good sign that you are doing a good job. We have a great many customers who support us with repeat business and maintaining a good reputation in a highly specialised market is hard won and so easily lost.

We stand by our products and services and really do care about customer satisfaction because it is so important to our business survival. This point can’t be made strong enough considering the world economic climate as we all need to work harder than ever to keep our jobs and be of value to our employers…well it’s no different if you own your own business.

We are not going to list out here how things are dealt with under warranty or wax lyrical about our after sales care but just let you know that we love what we do and take pride in our work so you can expect our interest and attention at all times should you need us.

Can I pay in Dollars or Euros?

We invoice in UK Pounds but do have an international banking service, so can accept currency payments that are not sent in £-GBP.

The prevailing published exchange rates will be the calculation used against the invoices we raise in UK Pounds at that time. These rates change constantly so we are unable to quote price a in Dollars or Euros on our website and hope to be accurate.

Please see our terms and conditions (section 3 & 4) for full details.

What methods of payment do you accept?”

Bank Transfer is our preferred Payment Method.

PayPal is also offered as a payment option for goods under £500 GBP but this will be charged at 4.9% of the sale invoice value to cover their charges.

We also accept personal cheque (UK Only) although funds must have clered before release of the equipment to you, and cash on collection is still accepted.

I live within the EU – do I pay VAT

If you live outside the UK, so in the European Union then we will not charge VAT on invoice, but you may be charged VAT at the point of import by your countries Customs.

I live outside the EU – do I pay VAT?

No. However, you may have import taxes to pay which may vary upon which country you live in. If you are uncertain of these import tax implications these we recommend you contact your local customs or government office for clarification.

I want to buy though my VAT registered UK business – do I pay VAT?

Yes. unless the goods being sold do not qualify for VAT. Most Brokered sales are VAT free.

Do I have to pay for packing?

Yes, but we only charge for the actual cost price of the packing materials we use.

Do I have to pay for shipping & insurance?

Yes, but you can collect your purchase from us in Reading, England. Shipping and full insurance costs will depend on your delivery address but we only charge cost price for this service. If you have a special arrangement with a shipping company and can get a better price then you are always welcome to have your order/s collected from us, some people do…and that’s cool.

My purchase has arrived but there is a problem – who do I contact?

You should contact Richard Lawson straight away. If it is a shipping related issue (damages) then you will need to retain all the original packaging for assessment. Not every problem is a bad one and on many occasions we can resolve issues remotely (by phone/ email/ Skype etc).

What warranty do you offer?

Most of our equipment is sold with a minimum 3 month month return-to-dealer warranty against parts and labour. Please see our terms and conditions (section 6.9) for full details.

What should I clean my synthesizer with?

A warm, damp and slightly soapy lint-free cloth is all you need for the main control surfaces and a wipe over after with a dry lint-free cloth. Real wood end-cheeks & cabinets are hand stained and waxed so the best way to keep these looking nice is to occasionally apply a wax coating and buff them up. Never use solvents to clean your synthesizer with.

Is KSR owned by RL Music then?

No. KSR is run by Kent Spong (Kent Spong Restorations) as an autonomous business that offer highly specialised synth related services to its own customers around the world. RL Music have worked with KSR since 2002 to develop unique restoration solutions for synthesizers and our relationship is one of partnership.

Who do I contact you about support?

You are welcome to speak with Richard Lawson by phone during normal business hours or by email at any time. The time-zone difference around the world sometimes makes it difficult to be available to speak to customers by phone within our normal business hours: 09:00 to 17:30 Monday to Friday GMT. We guarantee to respond to any email enquiry (sales or support) within a maximum of 24 hours. If Richard can’t help you directly with your technical enquiry then he will be able to recommend someone to talk to (or email) who can help.

Can you customise synth for me?

Many things are possible depending on your budget. Call or email Richard Lawson to discuss your requirements.

Do you supply spares?

No. We have a finite stock or spares that we need to utilise for the service and restoration of our own equipment. However, we are aware of some specialist suppliers in the world so we might be able to help you by directing you to these other resources so please call or email Richard Lawson to discuss your requirements – we’re happy to help if we can.

I really like your company and products – who do I speak to about working together to develop a new product idea?

That’s great & thank you! – please call/email Richard Lawson and he’ll be delighted to talk to you.