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gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:32 pm

I deleted a similar post (to this one) yesterday, because I decided it was stupid to ask others to help me decide how to run my business, and it's totally my responsibility to figure this out.

That being said, here's the damn thing back up again...and it will stay, I guess...

I'm REALLY getting inundated with requests for gold-tone titanium-coated rims (currently, the majority of rim orders).
They cost more (an additional $35) and take considerably more time to manufacture (because they have to be sent elsewhere for the titanium coating).

Should I just friggin' have ALL of the rims made up with this coating, and have the "plain" ones be "special order"...!?!?
no...I don't want to offer BOTH the black-tone and the gold-tone...just too much stuff to stock, and hardly anyone is asking for black-tone (which resembles the appearance of "gun blue").
Is this just a "sales cycle", do you think, or a solid "trend"...??
Were YOU to order one of my 'pieces, would YOU order it with the gold-tone coating on the rim?

yeah...sorry...but thanks... :oops:

...and yes, I'm REALLY asking, and no, this post is not meant to be some b.s. way to promote my wares.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby emcallaway » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:40 pm

Aesthetics aside, what benefits does the titanium coating give you? I've been using steel mouthpieces exclusively for years and have no complaints about "raw" steel.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:45 pm

emcallaway wrote:Aesthetics aside, what benefits does the titanium coating give you? I've been using steel mouthpieces exclusively for years and have no complaints about "raw" steel.


MYSELF...I see NO REAL BENEFIT.
Some customers INSIST that the polished titanium coating feels different than/from the polished stainless steel.
I'm fine with that, and don't necessarily believe them to be falsely sensing something, just because I sense nothing.

I personally use the rim colors to tell mouthpieces apart...but rarely need that assistance, because the mouthpieces stay with their tubas.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby tubacorbin » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:59 pm

I prefer the titanium-coated rims because they don't feel as slippery as the regular stainless steel. That being said, I have always opted for the regular stainless steel rims because they are $35 cheaper.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby pauvog1 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:23 pm

I've always been happy with the standard stainless steel rims. I doubt I'd order anything with extra coatings.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:06 pm

Feedback is helpful. Thanks.

You're probably right. There probably is a difference, even though I can't feel it. To me, they all feel so much smoother than even one month old silver or gold plated rims that they just feel… Well…smooth.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby Stryk » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:16 pm

bloke wrote:Some customers INSIST that the polished titanium coating feels different than/from the polished stainless steel.

Feeling aside, they look great. I also like the lexan rims, because they seem a tad "grippier". I may be imagining it, but I am pretty sure I can feel a difference between the gold and uncoated stainless. If I had no option, I would be perfectly happy with the plain stainless, but since you offer the option, I chose to take it when I ordered mine.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby Cobra1502 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:21 pm

In the spirit of the “usual helpful” answers you can expect here - sell it with spray paint for customers to customize however they want. Lol.

But in all seriousness...from someone who owns 2 rims, 4 bowls and 4 shanks

I originally ordered my #2 rim with titanium coating as I thought it looked neat. When it wasn’t in stock and gold was - I went with gold. I didn’t want to wait. It not only feels good it matches any gold accents that some folks have on their horns.

For some folks it is also important that their MP look expensive/different/good when playing an expensive mouthpiece rather than just blending in with everybody else’s.

IMHO I would ditch the titanium if you are trying to limit your stock.
Last edited by Cobra1502 on Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby tubazach07 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:53 pm

I play a lot in my job and in the last week of switching to a stainless steel mouthpiece with a black titanium rim I find the titanium to have more grip and my chops feel better at the end of the day then with a silver plated mouthpiece. I did have some stainless steel rim examples to try but I just liked the feel of the titanium. In terms of color I think the black(gunmetal blue) looks nice. My advice would be to take note of your popular selling rims that are sold in gold hkote and maybe carry a couple of those and not carry any black unless someone watns to special order.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:28 pm

Yeah… I think I'm going to move over to mostly coated, with some not coated.
Of course, the cash flow thing is a minor issue… No big deal… But the other thing is the manufacturing/supplying delay.

There's no doubt (at least, in my experience) that the Lexan rims are not as slippery. Their primary purpose is to save someone's face in subfreezing playing situations... but – as I always say - i'm glad to sell them for any purpose, including as a doorstop or a paperweight.

As just a final observation, it's quite apparent – at least to me – that quite a few people have been spending more money during the last year and a half. My customers have been, I have been, and when I drive down the road – even in "low income" areas - countless others are obviously spending more money as well... so: $35 for a little bling…?? No big deal, I suppose.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby Schlepporello » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:29 pm

OK, my 2 cents worth. The only rims I have for my Blokepiece is a stainless steel and a clear Lexan. I have no desire to get a titanium rim at all, though if Lexan rims are available in colors now, that would interest me.

Were a Titanium rim offered to me, I'd be happy with the gunmetal finish, but would consider the added bling of gold providing the plating lasts. I have a gold plated Laskey 30H and it seems to me that every time I take it out, the finish is wearing a little thinner and I really don't even use it that often. For this reason, I'd really have to weigh the possibility of gold plating.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby Art Hovey » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:31 pm

I know that gold plating wears off quickly and silver wears off eventually. How does titanium Nitride compare?
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:01 am

If the surface receives good exposure to the titanium being blasted onto it, it's good for an extremely long time. I have the same thing on my out of style faucets (remember gold faucets…??) all over my house... The goldtone titanium coating over stainless steel. We are not dainty around here and abuse the hell out of our faucets. The stuff has held up - so far - for 18 years.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby pjv » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:29 am

Isn’t there another way of “painting” the rims?
If that’d sell it might replace the other coatings.
As far as slippery vs not slippery this is a non issue for me. I try not to use any pressure when I play. The idea of gripping my mpc with my lips is a foreign concept. I’m also more of a dry mpc player.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:56 am

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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby peterbas » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:04 pm

I"ve 3 rims of which one is black coated. I find that the coated one has a smoother feel and I would have bought al three coated if I supply.
I think the black looks very good on a silver tuba.
Also bought a brass mouthpiece (made in china) totally coated in gold color. Coating starting to came off within a few months so not all coating is alike.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:55 pm

All rims have to be polished.
Once a rim has been subjected to the coating process (diagram above), it has to be polished again.
Subtle differences in individual polishing jobs may (??) explain why some people believe uncoated rims are slipperier, and some people believe that coated rims are slipperier. Again, unlike silver or gold plated brass, these metals are very hard, and pretty much stay the way they were when manufactured.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby Mark Finley » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:18 pm

I've had a black rim and a gold rim. For me, the joy of a stainless rim is the ability to use a buffer on it to make it feel brand new. Can't do that with the coatings (I assume)

Doss the coating defeat the main advantage of stainless? Meaning... You can use it forever and it never wears out or wears through.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:06 pm

Mark Finley wrote:I've had a black rim and a gold rim. For me, the joy of a stainless rim is the ability to use a buffer on it to make it feel brand new. Can't do that with the coatings (I assume)

Doss the coating defeat the main advantage of stainless? Meaning... You can use it forever and it never wears out or wears through.


The coating is very hard, and - again – is thick enough to withstand the required polishing job after the ionic application.
Earlier in the thread I pointed out that we have the same titanium gold tone coating on our stainless steel faucets all over our house… Now: out of vogue, but popular when they were installed. We do not particularly treat any of them gingerly, and there is no sign of that stuff failing on any of the faucets or their handles.

I'm not arguing for or against its salient points. I'm just trying to figure out what the hell to stock to meet demand. Candidly, there are really more choices than either I or Dave would preferred that there are, and keeping all of the stuff available actually cuts into profitability.
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Re: gold-tone titanium coated rims

Postby tofu » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:17 am

You want the TNFJ to make business decisions for you? Are you new here? Have you NOT seen the TNFJ in action?

Seems to me the market is telling you what it wants and you are using your sense of what you would pay for one yourself as a substitute for what you think the market should want. There could be a lot of reasons for the surge in coated rim demand. If I recall the up-charge for coated is the same as it was a few years while the cost of blokepieces has gone up considerably from the old two piece to the new 3 piece models and as a result the cost of the up-charge as a percentage of the total cost of a blokepiece has actually declined and now approaches roughly 10% of the total cost of a coated rim / cup / shank combo and I think for many buyers if they think in those terms, a 10% cost for coated seems more reasonable than when the two piece was originally (if I recall) something like $125 where a $35 up-charge - totals close to $160 and the up-charge is close to 22%

Have you plotted the geographical area of the buyers? Is there a commonality? Have you plotted the ages of buyers and looked for commonality? There are a lot of these things like student or adult / amateur or pro / number of years playing the tuba / amount of face time on mouthpiece in any given week / number of mouthpieces owned or played on a regular basis / # of blokepieces owned/ type of horn played / number of horns played and owned / education level / income & wealth level / types of groups played with - there are dozens of things you could plot and analyze - if you really want to truly know and understand your current customer base and who might be a potential customer. Obviously, you would need to start devising ways to collect data from and about your customers (including those who buy blokepieces other than direct from you and on the secondary markets) and develop a database.

Have you asked any of the coated rim buyers why they bought one vs an un-coated one? Seems like an easy enough question to slip into a phoned in order or conference table sell. If you get one kid in a HS program who is a center of influence to his crowd of buddies -it is amazing how many will follow his/her example and have to get what they have. And kids have a pretty high disposable income since mom & dad cover all the fixed costs / necessities of life. Even a kid working only 20 hours a week at min wage of $15/hr is pulling in 300/week. More than enough to indulge in a highfalutin coated rim blokepiece.

I own several of your pieces and rims. One a flea bay buy came with a gun metal coated rim and the cost to me was the same as if it was just a regular stainless. I like the feel over the stainless, but I don't think there is any difference in how it performs. I'm too cheap to have paid the upcharge for coated if I was ordering a new one. What I have noticed is in my one band we bring in the top HS students from the 5 local HS to play a concert during the winter season and in the summer it is a couple top college kids. The kids are the ones who always notice the rim and ask about it. One came back a year later to listen to a concert and came back stage after to find out why I was using a stainless rim and not the coated rim and for his tuba playing buddy to see it. Amazing how important the visual is to that age. Different horn - different blokepiece. And when other older players in concert crowds approach me about it they are almost always 30 and younger. But that is my own personal anecdotal and not empirical data.

I'd assume these coatings are done on a small batch job basis and if so the set up costs are relatively fixed to a certain extent - so the more you have done at any one time lowers your cost per piece. Without knowing your current market size and potential untapped market size it is hard to give an answer. But this is the TNFJ and like the Honey Badger the TNFJ don't need analytics! I'll offer this... If the number of rims you sell in a year were 80% converted to coated rims and in particular gold and done all at one time - if that number would lower the up-charge for gold coated rim to $20 or less and either increased your margins or kept them the same - it's a do it. Especially if the bling brought in even more buyers who might have otherwise not considered a blokepiece.

:idea: new slogan :arrow: Blokepieces - the choice of millennials everywhere!
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