Posted by Joe S. on April 18, 1999 at 02:35:45:
In Reply to: Tuba Dealer posted by anywhere but MI/IN/NC on April 18, 1999 at 02:10:45:
With these cheapo last-minute deals to Frankfurt, etc. (e-mailed to you automatically from the airlines on Thursdays, if you ask them to) maybe you could locate reasonable European retail dealers that would handle transactions on instruments picked straight out of the nearby factories. Some of those plane tickets (I think they involve leaving on the Saturday after the Thursday they are announced, and you are supposed to return in a couple of days - perfect for a tuba buying trip) are only about $250 or $300. Duty (at customs) is some little bit of trouble, but not that much money -- less than sales tax in most states, and less than shipping from MI/IN/NC.
I would imagine that through communication, you could firm up prices and determine availability prior to your trip to Germany. Someone pile one here, and correct/qualify/modify/shoot down my suggestion. I have only done this using a third party (a professional tuba player that was heading back to the U.S. to visit his parents), and lucked out wonderfully, saving about 40% and ending up with a sight-unseen purchased instrument that was the very best of all that I had ever played of that model (Do the Europeans keep the best horns for themselves?).