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Band instrument repair

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:28 pm
by Andrew McSpadden
Hi Everyone,

I am a long time guitar maker and repairman but have been asked to repair woodwinds and brass by several local stores due to the recent retirement of the only band tech in the area. I have replaced a couple of pads in my life but that is about it.

Is there a repair and maintenance video series out there? Books you recommend? Any place to start? I don't have the time to go take more than a week long course but I haven't found one of those either.

Any help would be appreciated. If you want to discuss anything with me please email me on my site


Re: Band instrument repair

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:55 pm
by Barry Daniels
Have you tried YouTube? There is a lot of useful content there about all kinds of stuff. I once rebuilt a clarinet and it wasn't too difficult, but it is certainly different from stringed instruments.

Re: Band instrument repair

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:30 pm
by Jim McConkey
You might also look in our Library of archived discussions. One of our former staff members was a professional brass and woodwind repair expert for the Army, but he unfortunately not around this board any more. We have a lot of archived discussions on band instrument repair. One thing I found in the archives is that Julian and others strongly recommended a jewelry repair course, of all things. Apparently the skill set required is very similar to brass repair.

The Brass and Woodwind Shop has a series of videos on YouTube about band instrument repairs, and one of them mentions the schools listed at the bottom of this list:

If you just google "band instrument repair" you will also get a lot of smaller colleges and technical schools that have training courses. Sorry, I don't know of any specific video series, but I imagine there has to be one out there.

Re: Band instrument repair

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 11:04 pm
by Clay Schaeffer
My suggestion would be that you get in touch with the gentleman who recently retired and see if he can give you some pointers as to the types of things you will be usually asked to do, and what resources are available for supplies and where to send work that is beyond your capabilities. The band tech I used to send things to would degrease and strip brasses, but would send them out for lacquering and polishing. He would then refit, repad and regulate the instrument.
For the typical high school band instruments you will probably be replacing a few pads, straightening a few bent rods and keys, replacing corks and springs and other minor repairs. If an instrument needs a complete overhaul, sending it out might be the best course of action until you gain enough experience.