Repairing Instruments

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Repairing and Overhauling

No definite schedule can be laid down for repairing and overhauling instruments, for the treatment given them by different players and their quality of construction vary too much. In general, the solo instruments such as cornet, trumpet, Bb clarinet, oboe, flute, alto or tenor saxophone, trombone, and French horn should be given a complete overhaul annually. The bass and harmony instruments, such as bass tuba, sousaphone, euphonium, alto horn, baritone horn, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, and bassoon, should be completely overhauled at least every two years. Some contend that all reed instruments, including alto and bass clarinet and bassoon, should be overhauled annually, and we do not disagree. Any schedule can be criticized from individual standpoints, and only very general and flexible recommendations can be laid down.

Necessary repairs should be taken care of at once. Keep the instrument in top playing condition. This will save overhauling charges and total amount of repairing, to say nothing about prolonging the life of the instrument. It is good practice to have instruments checked over and adjusted often. This prevents unnecessary wear, breakage, and major repair bills.

There are some Conn sousaphones still being played in a certain high school after 20 years of constant use. They are in first class condition. If you were to guess how long they have been in service, you might guess all the way from six months to two or three years. These instruments have had intensive usage but also have had excellent care. The players are instructed on how to take care of them and how to clean them and keep them in playing condition. They are sent to a repairman at the end of every school year for check-up and such overhauling as is needed. A good instrument's life depends a great deal upon the care it receives. The same instrument may last 5 years, 15 years, or 25 years, depending upon how it is treated and kept in repair.