A clarinetist that was recently in the shop

The adjustments that your performed and the new barrel are working very well! I’m able to project the sound much more easily and the intonation is much more dependable. Thanks! You’re the man! Tom

A comment from a friend/colleague/former repairman

Decades ago, while a journeyman saxophonist, I moonlighted as a band instrument repair tech for a local mom + pop music store. My buddy at the time Michael Elswick went on to become a master repair technician.  Mike Cogswell

Another happy customer

Michael is on top of his game as a musical instrument repairman. Top.
He is fair & looked at 2 instruments for me w/o charge. One he said to scrap & the other he did a bit of minor work & handed it back to me no charge.
Do you know how rare this is?
He is worth his weight in gold, or maybe silver, lol.
He’s always in good humor & gives excellent directions to his place of business or anywhere else really.
He’s a practicing & practiced musician & can tell you where to listen to live music whenever you happen to be in Charlottesville area.
Do you know how rare this is?
This is what a successful businessman looks & acts like!

Also from a regular customer

We got a really nice “used” tenor sax from Elswick’s and had him refurbish two clarinets and have been really happy with his work. Holly

After a recent post that I put on Facebook this response popped up.

As a band director for over 50 years I strongly recommend Mike for your instrumental maintenance needs. Bob Moody

This is from a regular customer. He just purchased a third instrument from me.

Great knowledge and skill and very fair prices. Michael has repaired half a dozen instruments for us. We are exceptionally lucky to have him in our Charlottesville-Central Virginia community.

A recent instrument purchase from me.


FYI, I gave the clarinet to my daughter. She thought it was new.

Thanks, Paul

This is an email that I received from an instrument that I sold to someone in San Francisco.
Subject: alto flute purchase

Message Body:
say Michael,  picked up the alto at fed ex on my way home from work tonight. this baby is absolutely gorgeous. glad I waited and found your place. it’s going to take a while to get used to playing it. I love the tone quality. thanks sooooo much.  mq

A clarinetist brought his horn to me thinking he would have to leave it but I repaired it while he was here.

Dear Michael

Thanks so very much for your prompt and expert repair.  I just told Bob (a mutual friend) you are the best person in the world!


Here is an instrument that I didn’t actually repair but I gave the player some advice. Someone told him, a very learned player he thought, to use valve oil and water on the valves. I told him, “Like the old saying goes, oil & water don’t mix”.


Your diagnosis was exactly right. I took the trumpet apart, cleaned and dried it,
oiled the valves and greased the slides, and it works perfectly. Many thanks
once again.


Oboist Anne from Richmond, VA

This involves a second oboe that she owns. She had a problem reaching the low B & Bb keys so I re-positioned the keys plus I did a little pad work.

Hello, Michael! Thank you for adjusting the spatula keys for B and Bb !!! With just a little practice I was able to hit the notes wonderfully well and w/ ease- yes!! Also have had no trouble w/ octave key or mid range Bb w/ new pads.  Again, THANK YOU!!! I can play again!!! Anne ( :

This is from an Air Force musician that was touring through the area. He got a dent in his trumpets 3rd valve casing on a Friday afternoon and needed the trumpet on Saturday afternoon for a gig in Staunton, VA.

“Mike did a superb job fixing my horn. Extremely quick turnaround and very knowledgeable. Highly recommended!”

Airman 1st Class Mark Morgan
Trumpet, Rhythm in Blue
USAF Heritage of America Band


Oboist Anne from Richmond, VA

Subject: Oboe works EXCELLENTLY!!

Howdy, Michael! Thank you for your skilled workmanship on my oboe. I took it to community band last night and all the notes sounded w/ease and intonation was fabulous (even w/ my mediocre reed).  Regards, Anne  ( :


This is from a customer who needed last minute repairs on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend:

Thanks so much for fixing my clarinet today so quickly and with no notice!  Will definitely keep your card so we can find you next time!  Michele Wood


This e-mail is about a student’s flute that we overhauled and what the band director, who is a flutist, thought about our work:

Hi Mr. Elswick,

I LOVE what you did to that flute! Most excellent, that was just superb.

Ruth Horne
Music Instructor
Charlottesville Catholic School


This is a note from one of the assistant directors of the UVa Marching Band:


Whoever did the work on the euphonium deserves a medal.

Nice freakin’ work!!!

Thank you,




This e-mail is regarding a custom-made musical instrument lamp that I made for a customer:

Michael Elswick worked magic on Leo’s old sax. The silver plate is very good. It has real pearl buttons. It was made in the 1920’s. There is fine silver designs on the face of the big horn. I love the light on it. This is the first sax he made into a lamp. We love it.



Here’s another satisfied family:

Thank you so much for your service.

The Satterfields


This is from a happy parent from Wetsel Middle School:

I just wanted to thank you all for really going out of your way.  Alicia Strickler is the band director at our middle school in Madison. She brought you all my sons alto sax after it took a fall. It was after hours and you all stayed to fix the sax on the spot. We are very grateful! He has districts and concerts coming up and really needed the practice time. It is not often that people go out of their way like this. Kudos to Elswick Band Instrument Repair!

Thanks again,

Denice Herrman



Prince William County Summer School Repairs:

Hello, Michael.

Thanks for your help with trying to get all of the instruments back.  I know that you were swamped this summer.



Joyce Zsembery
Supervisor of the Arts
Prince William County Public Schools



Thanks again for all you do for Louisa and the schools in our area.

All the best,

William Lamb
Band Director
Louisa County High School

Ray Caddell – Nobody touches Big Ray’s horns but EBIR.


On Wednesday, July 13, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Elswick, owner of Elswick Band Instrument Repair, a locally-owned shop in Charlottesville. He examined Taylor’s clarinet, played it, and said it was in very good condition. If you or your students need to have an instrument repaired or want to purchase a used instrument, I highly recommend Elswick Band Instrument Repair, Charlottesville, Virginia. The telephone number is 434-973-4299, and the web address www.elswickband.net.



Mike, just wanted to say again how much I am enjoying my Yamaha (flute)! It has definitely helped my playing, and several people have commented positively on my tone.

And thanks again for supporting the Municipal Band on the spring concert – hope you can come to some summer ones, which start a week from today at the Paramount.

Stay cool.



Thanks. I did see the bassoon guy I mentioned to you and he was quite impressed with the condition of the bassoon, believing it had very little play time since the silver plating on the keys was like new. Thanks for the excellent instrument. Rodger