Repair Work

Minor repairs/Emergency repairs/'Starter' instrument repairs

Due to the pandemic I cannot currently perform 'on-the-spot' minor or emergency repairs. For a guide to Covid 19 Precautions in relation to visiting my workshop please click here.

'Starter' instruments: these are instruments bought cheaply, such as new 'budget' instruments (Clarinets and Flutes retailing for less than £200, Alto Saxophones retailing for less than £400, and Tenor Saxophones for less than £450) or very old second-hand student instruments. These instruments can have a role helping a beginner get started but it is rarely worth spending much money on repairs and these instruments should really be considered disposable - however, sometimes a relatively minor repair (up to £37 on a Clarinet or Flute and £58 on a Saxophone) is all that is necessary to keep the instrument functioning for a while longer and in such cases it makes economic sense to repair it. Because these instruments are usually poorly manufactured or are reaching the end of their useful life I do not warranty these repairs and indeed there are some makes or models that I will not repair.

Larger repairs (excluding 'Starter' instruments)

Beyond minor and emergency repairs are larger repairs - sometimes an instrument only requires repair to a specific part of the instrument (the rest of the instrument being in reasonable condition) - sometimes the instrument requires a service, overhaul, or re-pad. For all of these larger repairs the musical instrument can be left with me once it has been assessed, or it can be booked in; if it is booked in then you take the instrument away after assessment and bring it back at an agreed date and time for me to work on. If the instrument requires a service and I have serviced it before then I probably won’t need to assess it – you can just phone me and book it in.

I have two different grades of repair work depending on whether the musical instrument is a student instrument or a graduate/professional/vintage instrument.

Student repairs (excluding 'Starter' instruments

(usually for student Clarinets, Flutes, Piccolos, Saxophones, and old student Oboes)

Beyond a specific repair there are three levels of student repair work which reflect the condition of the instrument and the work required: a student service – generally for student instruments that are less than 3 yrs old or I serviced less than 2 yrs ago; a student overhaul – generally for student instruments that are older or have gone longer without a service; and a student re-pad – generally for student instruments in a very poor condition.

Student repair work is intended to make a student woodwind instrument play adequately for players up to and including grade 8 (depending on the quality of the instrument). The instrument is completely stripped down; the pads, tone-holes, mechanism, and tenons and sockets are cleaned; any leaking pads are replaced or re-seated as necessary; any loose or missing corks are replaced; the mechanism is regulated (with any excessive play or binding being removed); the tenons are re-corked or tightened if necessary (and the head-cork on flutes and piccolos is replaced if required). For a guide to my repair charges in PDF format click here.

For Alto & Tenor Saxophones and Flutes, as an alternative to a student service, there is sometimes the cheaper option of putting the instrument into basic working order - this is suitable for players up to grade 5 playing on lower quality student instruments. This is an option when it is possible to deal with the major faults without completely stripping the instrument down - thus saving time and reducing the cost of the repair. For a guide to my repair charges in PDF format click here.

Custom repairs

(for suitable Clarinets, Flutes, Piccolos, Saxophones, Oboes, and Bassoons)

Beyond a specific repair there are different levels of Custom repair work that reflect the condition of the instrument and the work required: a custom service – generally for graduate, professional or vintage instruments that are less than 2 yrs old or I serviced less than 2yrs ago; a custom overhaul – generally for graduate, professional or vintage instruments that are older or have gone longer without a service; and a custom re-pad – generally for graduate, professional or vintage instruments in a very poor condition.

Custom repair work is intended to make a graduate, professional, or vintage woodwind instrument play as well as possible. The instrument is completely stripped down and cleaned throughout. The mechanism of the instrument is made to operate as quietly as possible and to feel as balanced as possible; this is done by removing play or binding from the mechanism, balancing the spring action, and using felt instead of cork on all articulated keys and some specific key heels. All pads are made to seat as well as possible – this may involve re-aligning keys (particularly the ring keys on a Clarinet) on Flutes, for example, the pad seating of the open keys is tested by unhooking the springs and letting each key close to sound the note without any finger pressure. For a guide to my repair charges in PDF format click here.

Materials, Parts, and Spares

The costs of materials such as glues, cork, felt, plastic sleeving etc, are included in the estimate for the repairs. The parts (pads, head-corks, tenon corks, and springs) required for the repair are charged for separately and I give a separate estimate for this cost when assessing the instrument. Occasionally I have to replace spares – such as worn screws or rods, these are also charged for separately but I cannot estimate this cost in advance, however the cost is usually small.

Time required to do larger repairs (Services, Overhauls, Repads)

Large repair jobs can only be collected the day after the work has been completed; this enables me to check the instrument first thing in the morning to see whether the mechanism is 'sluggish' when it is cold. Due to the complexities caused by the pandemic the 'turnaround' time for all repairs is much longer than in previous years and is also unpredictable. For a guide to my repair charges in PDF format click here.

Warranty on repair work

I usually warranty my repairs for 3 months (but I do not warranty repair work on 'starter', 'budget', or vintage student instruments). If an instrument has been serviced then this warranty covers all problems that would reasonably be expected to be my responsibility (such as jamming keys) but not problems such as cracks in wood. If the instrument has not been serviced but instead a specific repair has been done, then the warranty only covers the specific repair. If the repair has failed due to careless assembly of the instrument, or if the instrument case is in poor condition then this may invalidate the warranty. Note - an explanation to the terms used on your repair receipt can be found in the repair glossary sheet on the information sheets page.

Payment

I accept payment by cash, cheque, or Bank transfer; I do not accept any form of card payment. Payment is expected within a week after collection of the repaired instrument; invoiced customers (such as schools) are expected to pay withn 30 days of the invoice date (the invoice will be emailed once the repaired instrument is collected).For a guide to my repair charges in PDF format click here.