3 Instruments To Fix

Hey everyone!

I was recently contacted by my first customer, Jean Kester. She requested that I look over her grandchildren’s instruments, which included a trombone, clarinet, and alto saxophone. She wanted me to look over the instruments, and clean, oil and adjust them. Jean is great! She told me that she brings the instruments to a technician two times a year (summer and Christmas breaks) so that they can be looked over and kept in the highest working condition possible.

And without further adieu, let me show you what I did on the instruments!

Bach Trombone

The first instrument that I worked on was the Bach Trombone. The biggest problem with it was that it was very dirty. So, I started by taking the trombone apart and carefully cleaning it.


After that, I replaced the missing rubber bumper from the end of the hand slide, and I re-installed the water key (or as it is more commonly known, the spit valve) using a new spring while I did so, because the old one was broken off. WP_20150812_001

After cleaning, I put everything back together, play-tested the trombone to make sure it worked, and I vacuumed and cleaned the outside of the case.



Next up was the clarinet. This one was fairly simple to fix as there were no broken parts or pads that needed to be replaced.

I started the cleaning process by disassembling the instrument so that I could make sure none of the keys had screws that were stuck and were free of corrosion.


After I had it all apart I took the body to my sink and scrubbed the whole instrument with a gentle soap and water treatment. Once the instrument was dry, I put everything back together, oiling the keys as I went. I also replaced missing corks as I found them.


Finally, I play tested the instrument, and again vacuumed and cleaned the outside of the case.

Jupiter Alto Saxophone

Last but not least was the Jupiter alto sax. I put this one last because it needed the most work. It was fairly clean, so I only had a little bit of cleaning work to do on it. The biggest problem was the case. One of the hinges was missing, so I ordered a new one. The saxophone also needed a lot of adjustment work, which is typical. Saxes are sort of my specialty, as they are what I have the most experience on.


I replaced the Eb key pad because it was badly worn and didn’t match the other pads on the horn. The Eb key pad is one of the most commonly replaced pads on the alto sax because of where it sits. Debris and spit have a tendency to collect there. It is also a key that is held closed while it it’s resting position, so the pressure of being forced onto the metal tonehole also increases the wear on the pad. While working on the adjustments I found a few corks missing. I replaced them so that the keys wouldn’t click while the instrument was played. During my final adjustment, I realized that the bell keys were not seating correctly. which clued me into the fact that the bow was no longer sealed.

On most modern alto and tenor saxophones, the joint where the body (the straight part of the sax) and the bow (the curved part on the bottom) meet, is glued rather then soldered to allow for easier disassembly. When the glue fails, that joint becomes loose and the bell keys will no longer line up properly. After re-gluing the joint, I was able to get the keys to line up and the sax played great!


Fixing the sax was only half the battle, though. Once I fixed the sax it was time to fix the case. With one hinge missing, the single hinge was taking on extra strain and was starting to fall off itself. So I took the good hinge off and then re-riveted it back onto the case. After that, I drilled out the holes for the new hinge and installed it.


After fixing the case, I vacuumed out the case and wiped down the outside. Then, I wiped down the instrument.

Jean also asked me to order her some accessories to help take care of the instruments (cork grease, slide oil, plastic clarinet reeds), as well as a new mouthpiece for the trombone.

And with that, I completed the project and sent the instruments back with Jean for the kids to enjoy all school year long!

Fixing Your Dreams!