(or an instrument repairer's blog)
(Please note that most of the pictures on this
page have now been reduced to thumbnails so they will download more quickly -
just click on any of the thumbnails to enlarge them and then use your browser
buttons to return when needed).
This page is for a bit of fun and
interest. Like most repairers I take a few 'before & after' pictures when I get
involved in something special, sadly often I don't realise just how special the
repair is until its halfway through and then its too late to take the 'before
pictures'. But I have still
captured some interesting images that I thought it would be nice to share. These
images are copyrighted and if you should seek to use copies of them elsewhere
you do need to seek my permission, which will usually be granted.
Quite a number of the repairs were brass repairs
from my time when I repaired both woodwind and brass instruments. Although I no
longer do brass repairs (except for saxophones of course which are classed as
woodwind instruments because they are reed instruments) these were interesting
projects that others may be interested in.
Absences and presences of grey hairs give a clue to the
age of some of the photos and proof of just how long I have been in the trade!
Damage to crook on Vintage
Buescher Alto Saxophone ......
Its surprising how many crooks
get damaged on saxophones and even more surprising is the unawareness of many
players to the effect any damage to the crook can have upon the playing
characteristics of the saxophone. Manufacturers put enormous effort into
developing the optimum profile along the whole length of the crook so that all
notes speak as well as possible with the required tonal qualities.
One of the more common causes of
damage to the crook is when the crook is dropped and just happens to land on the
top of the octave key, pushing the octave key saddle into crook. I am always
stressing the importance of taking your time when getting your instrument out of
its case (and putting it away) and assembling it - no matter how much of a rush
you are in, just take a few extra seconds, calm down and handle things
carefully! 5 seconds either way can make a big difference to the health of your
instrument (and your own health!!).
The next few pictures are of a
typical repair job to a crook to correct this type of damage. Compared with some
damaged crooks the damage was relatively minor but any damage to a
saxophone crook is bad news as it can affect everything about how a sax plays.
The first picture is of the crook with the octave key removed but the saddle
still in place and initially if you are not sure exactly what to look for all
may seek OK. But the next picture shows what things look like with the saddle
unsoldered and its a lot easier to see how the saddle has dented the crook by
being pushed into it. The final picture shows things after the dent has been
removed and the saddle carefully re-soldered to produce minimal damage to the
silver plating. Unfortunately when this sort of damage occurs it is almost
always necessary to unsolder the saddle to achieve accurate restoration of the
Crack Pinning in Wooden
Clarinets and oboes ........
Until the last few years I didn't
usually photograph my crack pinning work because its simply not very photogenic.
But for the last few years I have been photographing all my crack pinning work
to keep a record of the position of the pins. This is because I have had a few
instruments to pin that have already had some pins fitted and it struck me it
would be very useful to know the exact position of the existing pins. Over the
last 25 years or so there have been big improvements in the 'invisibility' of
crack pinning as the materials and techniques used have been improved. Someone
skilled in this type of work can now pin cracked wooden clarinets and oboes so
neatly that the work is almost invisible even to the trained eye. Hence a few
years ago I started photographing all my pinned work at the stage where the
holes had been drilled but before the pins had been fitted, but just for the
photos I push a bit of something white through the holes so that their position
can be easily seen. The owner of the instrument gets a copy of the photo of the
pin locations and I retain a copy in my files. If any further pinning work needs
to be done on the instrument it makes the repairer's life a lot easier if they
know exactly where the existing pins are when drilling new pin holes - one of
the last things you want to happen is for the drill to crash into an existing
The first two photos below show
the drilled pin locations across a crack at the top end of a B & H Edgware
clarinet and also after the pins have been fitted, crack sealed and ends of pin
holes filled. Compared to some pinning jobs I have done this was a very simple
one but useful to show the reason for photographing all my pinning work. The
next two are of pin locations in an oboe and a Yamaha clarinet.
Dent Removal on a
Nearly New Selmer Super Action 80 Series 3 Tenor Saxophone......
I am always saying to customers
that the only instruments that never get damaged are the ones that never get
played. Surprisingly often its not even the players fault that an instrument
goes literally flying across a stage thanks to another player. This is just what
had happened to this tenor saxophone. The dilemma when this happens to a nearly
new instrument is whether or not to fit a complete new section or remove the
damage and re-lacquer the existing section or just remove the damage and hope
that the finish is not too badly spoiled in the process. Because the response of
an instrument is such a personal issue to the player then changing a complete
bell or body section or even re-lacquering either of these carries the risk of
changing the response of the instrument. Often the answer is to remove the
damage and see just how much the finish has been spoiled as a result. Then its
down to the player whether they would rather accept the loss in cosmetic
appearance or have it re-finished with the playing risks involved. Most players
prefer to keep their instruments looking as nice as possible (with just a few
exceptions where something that looks a bit more used is preferred!) but I have
yet to meet a player who is willing to sacrifice the response of their
instrument to improve its appearance. So, coming back to the particular sax in
question, this is what the damage looked like to start with:
I must add that its the dents you
should be looking at. The damage had not been so bad as to knock the bell
section off the rest of the body - I had already removed it to start on the dent
removal work before I decided to take some photos! Thank you Monsieur Selmer for
introducing detachable bells, 90% of the time you have made life a lot easier
for us repairers. 10% of the time life can be more complicated because of leaks
at the joint and/or the bell section is not secured enough to withstand normal
handling - but this is normally only a problem on the cheaper brands of saxes.
The next two pictures show the
same areas on the saxophone after the dents had been removed. Both the player
and myself were very pleased with the outcome and it was an easy decision to
decide against any re-lacquering.
These photos do flatter the work
done to some extent as 'in the flesh' some crazing of the lacquer is more
visible but the outcome was still very good. A great testament to the durability
of modern lacquers - with the older cellulose lacquers the amount of lacquer
damage would have been far worse.
Tone Hole Damage to Vintage Buescher
An all too common problem with
vintage saxes is that a bad knock on the bell pushes the brace between the bell
and the body into the body and as this brace is mounted between the F and
F# tone holes these tone holes get distorted. The result is that any notes lower
than G# just won't speak properly if at all. When this sort of thing
happens the player may at first think that not much damage has been done by the
knock but discovers otherwise when they next go to play it. Its an especially
common problem with saxes carried in poor gig bags when even putting the bag
down a bit 'firmly' is enough to do the damage!
The sax involved here was a very
nice 1950 Buescher Aristocrat alto and the damage had actually been caused
during transit to its new owner who fortunately had enough experience to
recognise the fault immediately. This is what the damage looked like with all
the keywork still in place:
Unless you know exactly what to look for its not easy to see just how much damage has been caused. The
next picture is with the keywork removed and the damage is now easy to see:
You can see how the foot of the brace has
been pushed into the body and distorted the tone hole chimneys so the tops of
the tone holes are no longer level and unable to form an airtight seal with a
pad. Sometimes this distortion can be corrected without unsoldering the brace
and bell section but when its this bad you always get a better end result if the
bell is unsoldered which is what I did next. So the next picture shows the full
extent of the damage without the plate at the end of the brace hiding any of the
The damage was corrected and the next two
photos show things immediately after the body has been trued up and the tone
hole chimneys made level and after the bell has been re-soldered and
everything cleaned up again ready for re-fitting all of the keywork (including
new pads to all the keys in the damaged area as when this sort of damage happens
there is zero chance of getting a prefect re-alignment of the old pads):
I should add that on more modern
saxophones this type of damage is much less common as the bell brace is now
usually mounted onto the body via quite a substantial plate which is mounted
well to the side of the main body and not sitting between any of the tone holes.
New Undersize Bottom Caps for a Besson
Sovereign Eb Tuba Repair......
Towards the bottom of this page
there is the story of a very major repair carried out to the bottom caps of a
quite an old Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb Tuba. The current repair was less involved
but very interesting because the tuba involved was only a few years old and one
of the Besson Sovereign BE981 Eb tubas. The serial number was 901xxx indicating
it was probably one of the last few to come out of the Watford assembly plant.
There is a lot I could say about the whole Boosey & Hawkes/Besson story but this
is not the place for it, except to say I was fortunate enough to have visited
the original Edgware factory on several occasions and visited the Watford plant.
The amazing thing about this particular Sovereign was that on first impressions
the threads on the bottoms of the main valve cluster (ie valves 1,2 & 3) had
been stripped/worn away so badly that the caps would no longer stay on so that
an otherwise excellent Sovereign Eb tuba was useless! Closer inspection revealed
that although a certain amount of over-polishing of the bottom threads during
manufacture had removed the top of the thread profile in some areas this was not
bad enough to have caused the failed thread caps. The main cause of the loose
bottom caps was that during manufacture the threads at the bottom of the valve
cluster had been machined to too small a diameter. All the caps fitted securely
on the 4th valve casing, which on the Sovereign tubas is normally the same
diameter as those on the main cluster. Careful measurements of the thread sizes
on the main cluster in areas where the thread form was complete showed them to
be undersize. So the repair for this tuba involved making three new bottom valve
caps with the diameter of the threads being machined undersize to match the
undersize threads on the valve casings. I was careful to match the external
appearance of the new caps with the old caps so that not only was the instrument
made playable again with a normal life expectancy of many decades but its
aesthetics (and value of course!) were not altered. Pictures below show the 3
new caps off the instrument and in position.
Adding mother of pearl risers to a Selmer
Reference 54 Humming Bird Alto Saxophone ......
Everybody's hands are a bit
different and repairers are often asked to do some customisation of woodwind
instruments to suit players with small or large hands. Sometimes it may just be
one finger that is a little too short or too long or maybe getting a little
stiff to comfortably reach a key. In which case the answer can be to modify the
keywork in some way so that the key is moved nearer to the finger etc. With
saxophones this is often a problem the left hand palm keys (ie high F, D# and D)
and various 'risers' can be bought which slip over the tops of these keys so
they can be reached more easily though they are not always that nice to use as
many are made of rubber which stops the hand sliding so easily over them. Often
the player himself or a repairer will have glued some cork on to the tops of
these keys which if well shaped can do the job very nicely though don't
always look all that good. When a Selmer Reference 54 'Humming Bird' alto
saxophone repair came in needing some risers I was very concerned not spoil the
appearance of such an attractive instrument and after some discussion it was
decided to make up some risers from mother of pearl for the D and D# keys so
that not only would they meet the functional needs but would also look good and
hopefully further enhance the appearance of this beautiful sax. Also because of
the slippery feel of the mother of pearl the palms would slide very easily over
them with a nice feel. The player had also commented that the position of the
thumb octave plate key was a little low for his hands and so we also decided to
build this up with a mother of pearl overlay. We were both very pleased with the
final outcome. I have also included a few pictures of the 'humming bird'
engraving on the bell because not many players will have had the opportunity to
see this excellent engraving work that Selmer Paris have produced and for which
they are to be congratulated.
Badly dented bottom bend of trombone
Undoubtedly the most common
problem that trombone repairers have to cure is that of trombones with a stiff action on the playing slide.
This is usually because
of some damage to the slide either from dents to the outer slide or it being
bent in some way so that the alignment is no longer true. A very common problem
is also dents to the bottom bow of the playing slide which are often as not
caused by bumping into the music stand or chair of the player in front when
going for 6th and 7th positions. A few minor dents make little difference to the
playing of the trombone but bad dents such as the one below are a different
story. On this slide the damage was bad enough to have also disturbed the
alignment of the slide which is common when the damage is so bad. The repair had
involved unsoldering the bottom bow, unsoldering the guard and water key
assembly, removing the dents from the bottom bow and guard, re-soldering it all
together and finally re-aligning both the inner and outer slides. The before and
after pictures ........
New front F key lever for Buescher Alto
Sometimes when a piece of keywork is damaged
or missing on vintage saxophones the easiest thing for a saxophone repairer to do is set to and make a
new piece of keywork. Its not a particularly cheap option as it can be quite
time consuming but here is an example of a new 'front F key lever' I made up for
a Buescher True Tone alto saxophone. The original was completely absent,
probably because when these saxes are being rebuilt after a strip down this key
needs to be fitted before any of the L/H stack keywork is fitted and presumably
the individual involved had forgotten to do this and rather than stripping it
all down again decided to just leave this key off, which had then got separated
from the saxophone! Luckily another Buescher True Tone alto was close at hand to
get exact measurements from and an idea of the keywork style so that a replica could be
Spike Holder made and soldered
to the bell of an Alto Clarinet ......
Although every Bass Clarinet I
have ever come across has a spike holder I don't recall ever seeing one fitted
to an Alto Clarinet before. This was a special job to make a holder up and
solder it to the bell of an alto clarinet. As far as I can see the only
drawbacks with having a spike on an alto clarinet is that the spike ends up
being rather long and heavy. To minimise the extra weight I made the spike up
from some high strength aluminium large section rod which solved the problem of
getting a spike that was stiff enough but still fairly light.
Hole in the seam of the bottom bow of a Conn C Melody saxophone ......
During the course of a relatively
routine overhaul and re-pad on a 1920's Conn C Melody saxophone I was intrigued
to discover a hole in the brazed seam on the inside of the bottom bend. From the
position of the hole which was just outside of the area covered by the
reinforcing strap added during manufacture to seal any holes in this area I
presume this hole has been there since it was made and somehow escaped the
normal eagle eye of the inspectors. It was a simple matter to seal the hole but
unusual to be correcting manufacturing faults from the 1920's! To get a picture
of the hole I back lit it with a small bulb so that the hole appears as the pin
point of light viewed through the open D# tone hole.
Presentation plaque for historic tenor horn....
There was an unusual story behind
this request to do nothing more than to make and attach a presentation plaque to
a an old Besson tenor horn that had certainly seen better days. I cannot vouch
for the accuracy of the story, but the story goes that it was the only brass
instrument available in Port Stanley during the 1982 Falkland Islands
hostilities and been used for some 'rousing' bugle type calls by the Harbour
Master to help maintain moral. The horn had been found by the Governor in his
attic. At the end of the hostilities it was given to the Harbour Master as a
souvenir and my task was simply to add a plaque with the specified engraving.
Lyre Holder for a curved soprano
The otherwise truly excellent
Yanagisawa curved soprano saxophones do not have a lyre box and I was asked if I
could make an adaptor for one of these saxes to hold a music lyre. As the
particular instrument was almost new I didn't want to spoil the finish by
soldering a traditional lyre box on to it and there was no obvious place to fit
one where it would not be too visually distracting. A modified bell rim type of
lyre like that is sometimes used on trumpets, flugel horns and trombones was
considered but decided against because I was afraid it would not be secure
enough unless being very tight which might then mark the bell rim. The answer I
came up with was a clamping system across the top of the bell which produced a
very secure fixing without excessive tightening and no damage to the bell. The
presence of the single thin strut across the bell made negligible difference to
the playing tone - especially bearing in mind this was being played 'on the
Straightening the bell of a Bach
Removing dents and straightening
trumpet bells is fairly regular work for most trumpet repairers and I certainly
do my fair share of them. This particular crumpled trumpet bell repair sticks in
the mind for a few reasons. Firstly the instrument had been like new until it
was sat on whilst in a gig bag. Actually most repairers love gig bags because
this give us so much work! There are very few gig bags that I would ever
recommend and with the introduction of modern lightweight hard shell cases there
seems little justification for ever using them. The other reason for this repair
being particularly notable was despite the quite severe damage I was able to
achieve a virtually invisible repair without needing to have the instrument
re-plated and despite quite a lot of unsoldering and re-soldering during the
course of the repair. Unsoldering and re-soldering often leaves a few marks and
its usual for brass repairers to warn customers about the finish being spoilt where
this has to be done. Its almost impossible to judge beforehand just how much
damage to the finish will be done because it depends upon several things
including how well the joints were fitted when made, the quality of the silver
plating or lacquer finish and how steady the repairer's hand is feeling on the
day! The end result on this trumpet was especially pleasing.
On arrival in the workshop:
Making and fitting a thumb
trigger to an Imperial Euphonium to adjust the main tuning slide......
This came about as the result of
request from a customer who wanted the facility found on the modern Besson
Prestige and York euphoniums etc to be able to move the main tuning slide at
will during playing to help intonation in the higher register on her much loved
and otherwise excellent Imperial euphonium. This developed into a challenging
but very interesting project with a very satisfactory end result. Challenging
not just to make something that functioned satisfactorily but was also in
keeping with the general appearance of the instrument and sufficiently robustly
made to withstand normal usage - so no plastic guards here!
The first two pictures show the
thumb lever itself which was carefully positioned and pivoted so as to be very
comfortable in use when operated with the thumb of the left hand - on these 4
valve euphoniums the 4th valve is usually operated by the 1st finger of the
left hand (though a few players sometimes find it more comfortable to use the
2nd finger) which leaves the thumb free for this type of trigger. Thought and
experimentation went into deciding upon shape/position/pivot locations etc to
get a good ergonomic design that would be comfortable and easy to use. I fitted
a lockable adjusting screw so that the height of the trigger in the 'free'
position could be adjusted to suit the player. The position of the main tuning
slide was also adjustable from a second adjustment in the linkage to enable
complete freedom to adjust the 'free' tuning whatever 'free' height the trigger
was set at. The overall pitch of the instrument being flattened by pressing the
thumb lever in, which was made with a spring return so that when the thumb is
raised off the trigger the slide (and hence the pitch) returns to its original
(Remember you can click on any of these thumbnail
images to enlarge them)
The next two pictures show the
reverse side of the instrument and the guard fitted to protect the main tuning
slide assembly. The successful operation of such a large trigger operated tuning
slides on euphoniums depends very much on the accuracy of the alignment of the main slide
assembly and the guard therefore has a dual function. Not just to prevent the
players clothing from fouling the slide movement as the player cuddles the
euphonium but also to protect the main slide assembly from accidental damage.
Of course although this work was
done to fit a trigger to an Imperial euphonium the same design
can be used to fit a trigger to a Sovereign euphonium or any similar euphonium.
Dolnet (Paris) Alto
Nothing too remarkable here, it
was just a full repad/recork and good clean up but these Dolnets are not very
common in the UK and this one had some nice 'art decor' style key guards and
brace on the crook, so worthy of a few photos. I have been lucky enough to have
worked on a few Dolnet saxophones and as these were made literally just down the road from
the Selmer and Buffet factories there is a bit of quality about them.
Severe top end damage to a
Buescher Aristocrat Baritone Saxophone.....
Baritone saxophones seem to
acquire more damage than most of the other saxophones put together but the 'top
end' damage on this one was especially bad and almost terminal. Quite how it
came to be so badly damaged on the 'top end' is a bit of mystery but my guess is
that it was in a poor fitting case that was dropped on its 'top end' causing
dreadful damage to the high F tone hole and crumpling of the top loop tubing.
Pictures 1 and 2 show it in the damaged condition (with the keywork removed so
the damage can be seen more clearly), picture 3 with the top bend removed and
picture 4 after the damage has been repaired (including polishing and
re-lacquering of the top end).
(Remember you can click on any of these thumbnail
images to enlarge them)
Fitting lever type triggers to a
Many players prefer a lever
operated triggers for the 1st and 3rd valve slides rather than the original
pusher type of arrangement on these instruments. The picture below shows the
cornet after the levers have been fitted.
Filling a microphone pick-up hole
in a King Super 20 Tenor Saxophone neck ........
Some of the King Super 20 tenor
saxes were fitted with microphone pickup in the silver neck (crook). When the
pickup is removed a hole is left and in this repair a sterling silver plug has
been silver brazed into the neck to fill the hole giving an almost invisible
repair. Pictures show before and after fitting the plug.
Converting a British brass band style BBb
tubas into a shoulder mounted display marching tubas......
When first asked if I thought this conversion
was possible my reaction was 'probably but I won't know all the problems until
its tried'. How true this was and we certainly found quite a few unexpected
problems to solve but happily found solutions to them all. The 'we' being myself
and my colleague, fellow NAMIR member Allen Hughes of Colwyn Bay - these things
are not easy to work on single handed and in this project two heads were
definitely better than one. A lot of
traditional brass bandsmen may not be familiar with this type of instrument and so the
first picture is of a USA produced DEG Dynasty marching tuba being modelled in
its normal playing position.
Some may recognise Adam Kennerly of the
Kidsgrove Scouts Band doing the modelling work, concern for the light fitting above explains
the anxiety on Adam's face!
The first of the pictures below
is of a British
style brass band BBb tuba before conversion
and the next two pictures are after conversion.
The main problems encountered in the
conversion had been concerned with getting the right valve and mouthpiece
positions to give a good balance on the shoulder with the mouthpiece in a
comfortable playing position whilst keeping the instrument in tune. But it was
also important to find new positions for the various tuning slides
so that they were
within the main wrap of the instrument as much as possible so they were not
vulnerable to damage. Suffice to say the end result was good enough to warrant
the conversion of another two tubas and so here are the pictures of the Mk 1, 2 and 3
Although it may not be too clear in the
pictures, all three have also been fitted with swivels on the mouthpipes so that
the mouthpiece can be adjusted by the player into the most comfortable position
when being played and swivelled towards the main instrument body when not being
played for its protection.
All 3 conversions were done to ex-Salavtion
Army 'Triumphonic' BBb tubas which were well suited for conversion and rare
amongst the older 3 valve BBb tubas in having 19inch diameter bells giving a
similarly proportioned instruments to the DEG Dynasty tubas. OK, these were not
cheap conversions and with so much unsoldering and resoldering work the
cosmetics of the instruments were spoiled a bit but the end result was 3 working
shoulder mounted tubas produced by recycling 3 redundant tubas at around a
quarter of the cost of new ones.
Finally, a few pictures of some of the work in
Before and after of schools tuba bell........
(Remember you can enlarge these images by clicking on
Just quite how young persons could be allowed to abuse
the bell so badly on £2000s worth of tuba defies belief but the amazing thing
about this bass tuba repair was not the amount of original damage but that the lacquer
pretty well stayed in place during all the reshaping which is a testament to the
durability of modern lacquers when they are correctly applied. Typical of a
repair on a schools instrument it was done on a 'limited budget' and the
challenge was to straighten the bell out as far
as practical without soaking up the music department's whole budget for that year. Perfection was never the
target but the end result was still very satisfying.
Repair to bell rim of Yamaha 668 French
This Yamaha French horn arrived for repair
with a very usual problem at the bell rim. Cracks were spreading inwards from the rim of the
bell for about 50% of its circumference with about 6 cracks so far.
With the benefit of metallurgical experience
it was quite clear that this was a case of the infamous 'season cracking' or
'stress corrosion cracking', something which is not seen so often nowadays in
brass alloys as it once was but can be a problem when brass is exposed to ammonia. I can
only speculate that this horn has possibly been left in some ammonia rich
cleaning solution at some stage in its life which has caused this problem.
Anyway regardless of the original cause, these cracks had already caused the rim
to split around the rim wire in places and if left to spread were going to scrap
an otherwise very good and quite valuable horn. The common way of repairing a
splits in bells, especially in the rim area, is to solder a patch over the split
- it doesn't always look very neat but at least makes the instrument playable.
Because there were so many cracks I decided not to do it this way but to make up
and fit a reinforcing ring around the complete bell rim i.e. a bell garland.
Pictures below show some of the stages in making and fitting the garland ring
and the end result. Even more pleasing was that the playability of the horn was
not noticeably impaired.
'Stood on' Alto Saxophone before, during and
This alto had quite literally been stood on - if you
look closely you can nearly make out the boot print, at least a size 8! Not an
easy repair to accomplish with quite a bit of unsoldering of pillars, bodywork
straightening and then resoldering of pillars.
Stood on flute before and after
Flutes get stood on as well!
4 Conn Vintage Soprano Saxes meet again.......
This must have been the largest gathering of Conn
soprano saxophones this side of the Atlantic since WWII! Those that know me
will know I am quite a fan of vintage Conns and as long as you can cope with the
top end intonation problems the Conn soprano takes some beating. I don't see
too many of them in the workshop but I was amazed back in 2004 to have 3 arrive
in the workshop in the same month. Bringing down my wife's Conn sop into the
workshop brought four of
them together, all made by the same workforce within a few years of each other back in the mid
1920's. A simply amazing coincidence. When I have time I will dig out the serial
I see even fewer ophiclides than Conn sopranos, in fact
this is only the second one I have ever worked on but it was a great photo
Tuba bottom valve cap repair........
This was quite a long time ago now,
back in the early 90's. A local band
had what seemed to be a well used but still useful Imperial 4 valve Eb
tuba donated to them. However, when the bottom valve caps were unscrewed from
the valve cluster it was discovered that the threads on the bottom of the valve
casings were falling apart.
The first photo shows the valve cluster after its
removal from the instrument. The newly machined bottom caps and thread inserts have been
machined to suit are shown at the bottom of the cluster prior to their
The second photo shows the valve cluster at a critical
stage when the bottom of the valve casings were being counter-bored to receive
the inserts which were subsequently soldered into place.
Another equally tricky part of this repair was making a
new 3rd valve piston as it was also discovered
this was in an advanced state of decay. Sadly I never photographed that process
but am happy to report the tuba is still in regular service some 22 years later and still with the same band,
Band Tref Aberteifi (Cardigan Town Band).
Split tenon on Buffet Crampon Elite
Clarinet repair .......
This was definitely one of those 'not for the faint
hearted' repairs. A Buffet Elite clarinet (famed for the thin walled body and
lack of metal reinforcing rings on the tenons) had developed a crack spreading
from the upper tenon (female) on the bottom joint, passing through the area where the
inset carbon fibre reinforcing band should have prevented this happening. Close
examination of the 'carbon fibre band' revealed there were no reinforcing carbon
fibres in the band which was probably why it had not prevented the crack
forming. The repair then involved the machining out of the old carbon fibre
insert, fitting a new insert made up of a carbon fibre ribbon/epoxy composite
and finishing the area where the insert had been fitted to restore its original
The first picture shows the tenon area before the
(keywork removed). Some of the original 'carbon fibre band' has been removed to
see whether or not there was any carbon fibre in it but the crack can be seen
running left to right towards the tone hole.
The second picture shows the same end after the old
insert has been machined out.
The third picture shows the same end after the crack
has been sealed and the new carbon fibre/epoxy composite band has been fitted
and finished to blend in with the natural wood finish on the rest of the bottom
Badly damaged knuckles and mouthpipe etc on
Besson Sovereign Euphonium repair.........
Just simple before and after pictures which say it all
- I should add the picture with the badly dented valve knuckles etc is the
'before picture' and the dent free one is the 'after picture' and these really
are of the same euphonium with the same valve cluster!
Not exactly a repair...........
but my granddaughter Ffion , just happened to be
visiting the same time as a new Monnig bass flute was in for a checkover and I
could not resist the photo opportunity. It was a few years ago so she is a lot
taller now and has front teeth again, but the flute is the same size!
And here she is again and a lot older now! Taken on
tour in Germany with the Somerset Youth Orchestra in 2010.
They don't engrave saxophones like this any
This was a Martin Handcraft alto that came in for some pad
work. It was a gold plated model which probably explains why the engraving had
survived so well as there had been no need to polish it and re-lacquer etc which
would have destroyed the sharpness of the engraving. I have seen some fabulous
engraving on Conn altos (including the 'wood lodge scene') and on some British
made presentation cornets but the quality of this engraving surpassed anything
seen so far especially as it included this wonderful portrait of another
lady. Look at the hair. Must have been a Martin 'Ladyface'!
(Click to enlarge)