Instrument repairs are inevitable and they come as part of the parcel when you own an instrument. Below I’ve outlined some simple repairs tips which you can carry out by yourself – I hope it helps!
If you have a brass instrument, you will face the most common issue that is finding the mouthpiece stuck in the receiver. It often happens because the instrumentalists play it with pressure or forget to clean the moisture before playing or failing to detach the mouthpiece from the receiver after playing.
It is important for a person to use a correct tool to detach the mouthpiece from the brass instrument if stuck. One must avoid pliers/ wrench to remove the mouthpiece, as it may damage the mouthpiece or lead pipe and make the instrument unusable.
The mouthpiece puller is one of the right devices that is specially designed to pull out the mouthpiece from the receiver.
One more issue that is common with the brass instrument is when the mouthpiece falls off and dents the lower part of the mouthpiece called the shank where it fits in. Although this dent hampers the airflow via the mouthpiece and hinders the playing as well as the sound of the instrument. Whereas to correct the same, one needs to use a shank tool that will help to restore the problem and put the shank to its original place.
Trombones is a unique instrument and it can be repaired at home. Usually, the slides of the instrument become more sticky and move slower than you want them to. And this common problem can easily be fixed by regular and simple cleaning. One just has to detach the slides and clean them by running a cloth until the oil. If someone has a trombone cleaning rod, then you can wrap a muslin cloth and clean the outer slide. Whereas for the inner slides, one can use brass swab. After cleaning the slides, one can apply oil to make it move freely.
Trombone slides must be checked and lubricated within a regular period of time. If not oil, then one can use petroleum jelly as a lubricant. As its one of the lighter lubricants than oil and helps with the free moving of the slides. Also, lanolin is preferred if it has to sit for a long period on the instruments. As it is heavier than petroleum jelly, it dries slowly and protects the slide. Although if the lanolin is thick, then add some petroleum jelly to it to make it lighter in consistency.
Also one can pick up several tools from the Valentino Director’s Brass Fix kit that are typically made to repair the brass instruments. It has a mouthpiece puller, shank dent tool, stuck slide service kit, water key corks, rotor valve restringing kit as well as springs and an assortment of washers.
As you may have read, I’m a big fan of the wooden flute so over the years I’ve learned the best methods used to maintain them. It’s very easy to look on loose pads till the last minute but one can’t afford to stick to it till the concert night to repair the same. Although if you still do the same then you are left with the option of peel-n-stick pads for both corks as well as pads. This is a short term solution and it must not be used instead of glued corks to the pads.
Also guard screw and set screw are common problems occurring with the instrument. Instrumentalists are advised to loosen up these parts as they cannot be interchanged with the manufacturers. Even it is advised to the woodwind players to carry a small screwdriver with them to fix the loose screw or rods of the instruments.
Also, it must be noted by the player which screw is to be tightened and which not, as it’s not important to tighten up all the screws in the instrument. For instance, If key A has an adjustment screw then it is not to be tightened on Ab key. One needs to provide a gap between both the keys. And if the keys are tightened, then the Ab key will stop playing on the Clarinet.
On the other hand, Saxophone’s guard screws need to be tightened so as to avoid the fall off of the same. In the case of saxophones as well, no need to overtighten the screws as well as the rods.
With the woodwind instruments, another problem is the bent keys. At times, the bends are so simple that it can simply be moved back into the position. But many times, it becomes difficult to make the instrument work with a bend on it. Especially the bent in keys are most dangerous. In that case, one must move on to any professionals for the repair and avoid doing it on your own.
For the band director, Valentino Director’s Woodwind Fix Kit is a must buy. As this kit has complete instructions for repairs and has versatile tools that help with all kinds of repair work. It includes greater service capability, comprehensive assortment, peel-and-stick emergency corks and pads.
Whereas for extreme woodwind and brass repair it, Valentino Director’s Combination Fix Kit is on top. It has repair tools for both woodwind and brass instruments, woodwind screwdriver, 3 spring tool sizes, drum key, mouthpiece shank tool, scissors, file and much more.
The most common issue with percussion instrument is replacing the head and fixing up the snare. Although the innovation of plastic drum head has provided easy access to this kind of repair
With strings instruments, the common problem occurs with the strings, bridges as well as fallen sound. Mostly these instruments require string repair as well as dropped bridges. Repairing a string or bridges is an easy job, but restoring the sound post is a difficult task and needs to be done by an expert only.
Generally, the strings break because of over tightening during turning. Otherwise it breaks due to tension by the sine tuner adjusters as well.
As a starting point, the fine tuner adjustment screw must be placed on it. It is needed to raise the pitch. Although if the screw is tightened down the string, it will create pressure on the string. Whereas to avoid damage one must loosen the string and get the tuning close to pitch only. Afterwards, one can adjust fine tuner to actual pitch. One must be attentive while doing this as it can break some strings as well.
Players usually have with them a fine tuner adjuster for violin, cello and viola. Even they have perfection pegs for all the 3 instruments. Also, these are popular with string players. One has to keep in mind that it may be costlier to repair if the peg breaks.
If the repair part is not in your hand and you are planning to send it for repair, then simply note what needs to be repaired and what not. Avoid fixing the repair part with having a tape or stickers on the instrument as it leaves some residue on the instrument. Before doing the repair work on your own, one needs to know their limits and avoid harming the instrument more than while you are at the task.