BEFORE: On the right is a flute head joint that we received last week. Obviously it has been pulverized. On the left is a flute head joint that looks like a head joint should look.
AFTER: Here are the same two head joints. To round out the damaged head joint and refit it, to the flute that it belongs to, took about 30 minutes. Some head joints that are damaged like this will take longer to repair. This one did actually cooperate with me.
If you have never seen a bass flute, well, here you go! I put a few things in the photo to give you a reference point. At the top of the photo is a piccolo. Below the piccolo is a regular C flute. Below the bass flute is a yard stick. As you can see, the bass flute is about 40″ long.
It is true! This is the largest gathering of geeks, on the planet, that repair band instruments. This was the 37th annual meeting. More than 200 people came from all over the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom. This organization was initiated in 1976. Back in those days there were no repair schools. The only way to learn how to repair instruments was to apprentice with a repairman. That is how I learned. Back in the day, if you discovered a new repair technique you didn’t tell anyone. That was your plus. You knew something that nobody else knew. Maybe you would get repair work that no one else would get because of this knowledge that you had. Well, one of the goals of NAPBIRT is to share ideas, repair techniques and tools. From this collaboration more ideas, repair techniques and tools arise. Everybody wins!
Garret Traylor and I at breakfast. Garret is band instrument repairman and piano tuner. He hails from North Carolina. We have encountered each other at previous NAPBIRT seminars. We swap war stories and concerns for our particular areas.
Left – Monty Clark. He is in charge of the parts department at Conn-Selmer. Trust me, that’s a lot of parts for a lot of horns. Monty’s previous job was being in charge of the repair shop at the School of Music located at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek Virginia. Right – Ross Watkins. He is the Administrative Manager of NAPBIRT. In other words, he is one of the “big dogs”.
Left – Jim Gleason. Repairman, clinician and one of the 2013 Conference staff. I have been in Jim’s clinics at previous NAPBIRT seminars. A very knowledgeable repairman and clinician. Right – Bill Matthews. Executive Director of NAPBIRT. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.
Left – Jon Mills. In charge of repair shops for Music & Arts. Right – John Blythe. Regional Manager of Music & Arts stores in North Carolina. Aren’t they cute?
Left – Allen Paul. Center – Steve Birckhead. Both from Shen-Valley Band Instrument Services in Harrisonburg, VA. They are the closest shop to my shop. Right – Well, it’s ME! The conference took place in Portsmouth, VA at the Renaissance Hotel. The view behind us is the Elizabeth River that separates Portsmouth from Norfolk.
I have two outstanding saxes for sale. I feel like no one knows they are at my shop. Saxes this great, at this price in a little shop in Charlottesville, VA? Believe it! Here is the info about the horns. Click on the photos and they will enlarge.
1st – The top photo is a 1968 Selmer Mark VI Tenor Sax. These horns are legendary for their sound and feel. Selmer has never been able to duplicate this sax. I want to get this horn into the hands of someone that deserves it. It plays great.I would keep it but I already have one. This sax was priced at $5900.00 but I have lowered the price to $5400.00! Come try it out.
2nd – The lower photo is a Selmer Super Action 80 II Alto Sax. This is a Pro model horn that appears to have never been played. Not a scratch on it. It was priced at $3495.00. I have just lowered the price to $3100.00. Truly a deal for an instrument of this caliber.
Even we don’t see one of these everyday. A silver plated, Conn Herald Trumpet. With a single valve, no less. I checked the serial number and verified that it was made circa 1924. I have been repairing for over 40 years and this is the second one that I have seen. We cleaned it, removed a few dents, did a little soldering and sent it on its way. To give you a reference point I laid the trumpet next to a yard stick. You don’t see many trumpets that exceed 40″ in length. Click on the photo to see a larger version. If you click on the larger version then it will give you a “full screen” version.
We are normally open on Saturday by appointment only. However, on Saturday, 11/24, also known as Small Business Saturday, we will be open. This will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Come out and support this small business. All accessories will be 10% off that day. We do free estimates on all band instruments. Bring your horn in and let me look it over for you. Sometimes a small repair can get your horn playing tremendously better.
School will be starting soon. Is your horn ready for marching band, concert band, etc? Are the low notes difficult to get out? Are your valves coming up slow? Are your slides not moving smoothly? Hum? Well, bring your instrument to us so we can repair it. We do free estimates. Remember, we repair all band instruments. That means all the instruments that are used in middle school, high school and college bands. Wind instruments like piccolos, flutes, alto flutes, bass flutes, all types of clarinets, oboes, English Horns, bassoons, all types of saxes, trumpets, trombones, French Horns, baritones, euphoniums, tubas and sousaphones. If you have an wind instrument that I neglected to mention please call us. We will be glad to let you know if we can repair your unique instrument.
For quite some time we have sold oboe reeds from Hodge Products. Now we also carry Hodge musical instrument swabs. These are the best swabs I’ve ever seen. Most of them are made of silk. This means that they are very absorbent. Plus they compress down to fit through any opening. For example, the Hodge Oboe swab goes in through the bell and you pull it out through the reed receiver. Amazing! There is a swab that goes through a bassoon bocal. I didn’t think any swab would fit a bassoon bocal. Equally impressive is a swab that fits through the curl of a baritone sax. These are some of the most extreme examples. We also carry Hodge swabs that fit soprano, alto and tenor saxes, clarinets, flutes, plus trumpet and French Horn leadpipes. Make these swabs part of your cleaning regimen.
During December I had a great number of instruments on sale. This will continue through January and February. Come give these horns a try. Bring your own mouthpiece and play anything you want. Then, compare them to what you are playing now. Don’t battle with your instrument. Enjoy playing an instrument that plays correctly. You will want to play more. I guarantee it!
I would like to get some great horns in the hands of students that would really appreciate them. Are you:
1 – At the end of renting an instrument and would like to purchase one?
2 – Playing a student model horn and are ready to move up to a better model?
3 – Looking for a professional model horn at a great price?
I can help you in all of these situations. I have instruments on sale for the Christmas season.
All the instruments I sell are always in perfect playing condition. Between now and the first of the year I am putting a select group of instruments on sale. I have many horns for sale. Here are two examples. One, a pro-model Tenor Sax and the other an intermediate model Flute:
1) 1968 Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone – was $6595.00, now $5900.00. A $695.00 savings on a classic horn that I recently repadded. It plays great.
2) Gemeinhardt “3B Ltd” Flute – was $795.00, now $695.00. A $100.00 savings on an great step-up flute. Plays great, solid silver head joint & body, gold plated lip plate.
If you have a child that is starting in band please check out our selection of used instruments for sale. I investigate many horns before I finally settle on which ones to purchase. My goal is to get a great looking, great playing horn for you or your child. I’ve been repairing horns for 39 years. I not only know how to pick a good horn, my staff and I know how to make them play properly. We get them into excellent playing condition before they appear for sale. These are used horns that play as well as if they were new. The result, you save money and your child gets a perfectly good instrument. You will see many horns available for first year students. I also have a good selection of horns for students that are ready to move on to a better instrument. An intermediate model or possibly a professional model instrument. If you do not see the horn you seek, ask me. I might have one available soon.
If you already have a horn for school, but it needs some work, we can certainly make it play better. Estimates are free. Bring your horn in and we will let you know if anything needs to be repaired. Plus, we have accessories for your instrument. Reeds, swabs, bore oil, key oil, rotor oil, slide oil, valve oil, cork grease, slide grease, electronic tuners, metronomes, music stands, instrument stands, neck straps, cleaning gear and more.
I hope to see you soon,