Who Can You Trust?
- Some people look at their saxophone as a companion.
- Do you have strong feelings toward your saxophone?
Whether you do or not, who can you trust with your instrument? In this post I’ll provide 6 tips for finding the correct repair technician (tech) so you can have confidence that your saxophone is in top shape. Top shape means you have the potential to get your best tone!
Take your saxophone to a repair shop at least 1 time a year to keep it in top playing order. If you do this, you’ll be less likely to have a huge bill of repair. Keep maintenance up and your saxophone will take care of you, and your wallet.
How do you know where to go- who to trust? Go where the pros go! You can find this out by asking any college/university saxophone faculty member where they take their saxophone. Email or call them.
Don’t have a school in town? Many pro saxophone players will have a website with their contact information. Search for a local saxophone player- pro musicians want to be found so it should be fairly easy to find contact information. Keep in mind that this should not be an awkward phone call/email at all. Artists love to help out others and we love to give our opinion and advice!
Go in prepared! You don’t need to be prepared to play for them, but you do need to take in your full setup just in case. Don’t show up without your mouthpiece, because the technician may customize their work according to your mouthpiece. If you need your mouthpiece, then of course that’s different. The repair tech may not want your mouthpiece at all, but it’s best to go in prepared.
Your technician is like a good car mechanic. They may be talented at what they do, but they aren’t psychic, and you know your saxophone better than anyone. Make a list of items that you’d like repaired on your instrument. Here’s an example of a list:
- Low Bb won’t play
- The Eb key makes a clicking sound
- Middle B key keeps on sticking
- Felt came off
- Dent in bell
Automatically, any repair tech is going to make sure the saxophone pads are sealing correctly. Then they’ll begin work on your list. Go over it with them when you drop off the saxophone and point out the requested repairs on the saxophone itself. This will aid in producing the final results you’re looking for, and will help in an overall positive experience for you and the tech.
How long will the repair take? First, if you’re not in a big hurry to get your saxophone back from the repair shop (because you’re going on vacation for example), let them know. If you need it back quickly because you have a gig, or you’re on a roll in your practicing, let them know of your urgency. I’ve had techs drop everything, go straight to my horn, and fix my emergency problem while I waited. Don’t expect that will happen every time, but understand there can be some flexibility. Most repairs (even the basic ones) can take anywhere from 1-5 days because they are worked on in the order they are received. Let the tech know of your time and situation, and be considerate of their time and schedule as well.
When you pick up your saxophone take the time to check out the work. Play the saxophone and make any repair requests that were not attended to or solved. This process is normal, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation on your part to perform this check. After checking out the work, and all is well, verbally express your appreciation for the quality work.
There you have it! Take care of your horn and be considerate to your tech. Follows these tips and both will take care of you. There are a lot of cool techs out there too, and it can be fun hanging out and talking about the music and experiences. Have fun with it!
Have you ever taken your saxophone into a repair shop? Did it play better afterward?