SIMPLE ON THE SPOT REPAIRS FOR WOODWIND AND BRASS INSTRUMENTS
Band Directors are a very talented breed,being able to teach,administer,coax ,cajole and heck,even do repairs, making them a real Multi -Tasking Person of the Twent-first century.It is in this last category of repairing that I am somewhat reminded of the Star Choice Viewing Packages of Gold,Silver and Bronze because the level of confidence and comfort that each director has for repairing instruments so clearly falls into Gold,Silver and Bronze levels of expertise.
This group are the type who feel very comfortable tackling most mechanical repairs and, when an instrument from their programme finally comes to my shop, I know that every attempt has been made to fix it and now it really needs repairing.
Either a brass player who can do alot of maintenance work on horns but the world of woodwind is sacred,conversely a woodwind player feels happy tweaking springs and seating pads but brass reapairs leave them breathless.
Very capable teachers but they tend to have two left hands covered with ten thumbs and freely admit their incapacity, so off to the shop with all repairs.Fear not there is hope yet.
Because of such a wide audience I will try to provide both Gold and Bronze answers to some basic problems that arise in your band room.
Gold /Silver: screwdrivers ( as many sizes as possible)
round nose pliers
long nose pliers
spring hook ( made from crocheting needle)
small butane light from Canadian Tire
small watercolour brush or hypodermic needle type oiler for
an assortment of pads ...clarinet 10mm/17mm
cork sheets 3/64 inch and 1/32 inch 1/16
(who cares if I mix measuring
water key corks
Bronze : small jewellers screwdriver ( as you cannot do too much damage with
clear nail polish
1. Water key spring is loose or weak.
Gold:Grab the end of the spring with long Bronze: Wrap an elastic
nose pliers,pull and wrap end band around the
around the post. entire
2. Water cork missing.
Gold: Heat cork cup,dab of glue on Bronze:Wad of Kleenex in
cork,insert and level . cork cup and seal
tight with duct tape.
3. Weak piston action
Gold: Good cleaning in hot soapy water Bronze:Try pulling the spring
if no improvement then stretch spring (gently) and lubricate
by holding at both ends. pistons generously.
4.Broken solder joint on anything
Gold:If it is accessible,then duct or electrical Bronze: Same as the Gold guys
tape it back together.
5.Poor Trombone slide action .
Three reasons to diagnose.
A) * Remove the inner slide and place the outer slide on a flat surface.
* Then line up the tips of the inner slide with ends of the outer slide (in order to
ascertain if the distance between the tips of the inner slide are greater or less
than the opening s at the top of the outer slide.
Gold:Grip the ends of the inner slide (that fits Bronze:Say three Hail Marys
into the bell section) and apply slight
pressure to open or close the tips,so they
line up with the openings of the
outer slide. <----->
B) *Lay inner slide on flat surface and see if one of the ends is twisted up .
* If you press either one of the slides there should be no movement....if so....
Gold:Grip ends of inner slide that fit into Bronze:Face Mecca and pray.
bell section ,apply twisting movement
and rotate ends:check to if the slides
lie flat on the surface.
C) * If the outer slide is sprung,you will see a bow or curve when you eyeball it.
Gold:With your right hand hold slide end Bronze: Don't go there
that fits into bell section.Place other
end on bench ,with left hand apply slight
pressure along entire length of slide.
6 Sticking middle valve on trumpet
Usually caused by student putting too many books in the case,that leads to a sprung valve casing.
Gold:Push on slide with base of your palm. Bronze:Make student do 20
them not to do it
7 Sticking valves.
Caused by a variety of reasons such as dents or a sprung piston casing,due to removing tuning slides without the pistons in placeand this will necessitate a shop repair.
However ,it can be simply a tight lower valve cap,so just undo it a fraction and it may release the piston.
8 Tight top cap on valve casing.
Unable to open for oiling.
Gold:Tap cap gently with rawhide hammer Bronze:Tap student on
the head and
them for not doing
9. Rotary valves sticking on french horn/bass trombone
Gold:Tap the retaining screw (in centre of valve) Bronze:This is an easy one.
with mallet. Give it a try.
10.Restringing french horn
Rather than give a lenghty explanation,I can only say that Band Directors fall into two groups when it comes to restringing a french horn.......those that can restring and those that can't.The only suggestion that I do have is that Lee Valley Tools have an excellent Utility Cord for only about $8.00 a roll of 50yd,and it works great.
1 Octave key problems.
A) Extension that contacts the neck octave key is bent.
Gold: Bend extension so it is Bronze:Give student a different horn.
parallel with sax body.
B) The neck octave key is bent.
Gold:Hold the ring firmly against neck Bronze:Give student some
and press down on pad cup.Press music that is all
thumb octave key to see if the neck in the lower register.
octave key opens.If not, the key
was bent too much so reverse bending
procedure,by holding cup firmly and
pressing on ring.
3 Sticking Bb or G# pad.
Gold:Place thin piece of cotton cloth under Bronze:You can easily do
the pad ,push down and draw out this.
the cloth.Repeat if necessary.
4. G# key not sealing when lower keys played.
Gold: Put some tape around the extension Bronze:Use Duct,electrical or
arm coming off the F# key,until masking tape.............
it closes without interferring experiment
with F key.
5 Shrunken neck cork,will not hold mouthpiece properly.
Gold: Apply cork grease to cork and wave the Bronze:If you want to
cork through the flame of a propane torch. attempt this,check
Move it rapidly. you have Fire
around cork for desired thickness
6.Keys clicking on key guards D#/C
missing felt bumpers.
Gold:Glue a thick piece of cork to under side Bronze:Wad up a small piece
of key guard. paper and attatch to
underside of key guard
7 Key guard screw missing.
Gold:Use a twist tie ,but twist it tightly Bronze:The Gold Guys are doing a
to reduce any rattling. Bronze repair.Dazzle them
by finding the screw and
8 Loose pivot screws
Lubricate with oil,tighten and seal with a drop of clear nail polish.
9. Unable to play anything.
usually some kid has fiddled around with the adjusting screw on the Ab key.
Gold:Turn adjusting screw anticlockwise Bronze:This is the one repair
so it is not touching the A key. that will impress anyone.
and it is why you have the
10 Cannot play low C
check side Bb trill key as this can easily be bent.Straighten with pliers.
Gold.Usually 1/32" cork.Use contact Bronze.Wrap masking tape around
cement to attach.Trim with sandpaper joint,for desired thickness.
12.Problems with upper octave on bass/alto clarinet.
leaking from high C and B keys.
Gold.Replace pads if possible. Bronze:Put some duct tape over the
13 Loose pivot screws
Lubricate with some oil,thighten and seal with a drop of nail polish.
14.Loose head cork
Gold:Coat cork with grease and pass it Bronze:Wrap some masking tape
rapidly through flame on burner. around cork and reinsert.
15. Loose foot joint.
Gold & Bronze:Wrap a small piece of masking tape around end of main flute body.
16 Loose pivot screw especially D/E/F/F# key assembly.
When you find these keys do not play,the pivot screw has become loose and the entire assembly has 'floated' up.Lubricate and tighten it ,not so tight that the keys do not move,then a drop of nail polish,should do the trick
Oboe , bassoon ,and piccolo....... don't go there unless it is something obvious like
a cork joint
If a problem arises and it is not mentioned here ,it is probably because there is not a temporary solution to the problem and the instrument either needs a special part or tool .
All these ideas work as I've seen them all come through the shop.However,they are only temporary and will get you through a concert,or whatever ,until you can get it repaired.
The management will not accept any responsibility for utilizing the above information and if you would like to raise any queries ...too bad.
Seriously,please contact me with any further ideas or suggestions.
The average medium size piano has about 230 strings
Each string has about 165 pounds of tension
The combined pull of all the strings equals approximately eighteen tons
The total string tension in a concert grand is close to thirty tons
A full-size upright piano weighs between 600 and 700 pounds
A boxed model D Steinway grand piano weighs 1400 pounds
The working section of the piano is called the action, having about 7500 parts
The name 'piano' is from the Italian: 'piano et forte' meaning 'soft and loud'
The first practical piano was built in 1726 by Italian, Bartolomeo Cristofori
The oldest piano still in existence was built in 1720.