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STEPHEN BUTLER
Specialist Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone Repairer.

 

Repair Procedures

 

I have decided to break down the list of repair procedures as there is always much confusion as to what is an overhaul, service or just padding regulation. I have also extended the levels of servicing available because I often find that the work required to put the instrument back into good playing condition can fall between standard procedures. In my experience; customers have often paid for more work than is necessary just to keep within the perimeters of a standard repair price list.

A flute, clarinet or saxophone will require regular maintenance throughout its life even if the instrument spends periods of time stored under the bed. Often, unplayed instruments deteriorate just as much as those played regularly; ending up with sticking mechanisms, pads chewed by a pad mite which love the skin and wood drying out resulting in cracks appearing when played regularly again.

As a general rule flutes, clarinets and saxophones will require maintenance from anything between one and three years. The first adjustment required is often to just have the padding regulated. If the instrument has been purchased from a reputable shop this level of repair is normally necessary after one year. Sadly, as a percentage of instruments are purchased off the internet, the vital check and setting up process before being sold just does not happen.This nearly always means that the new instrument will required adjustment at some cost to the customer, often reducing any money saved buying from the normal retail outlet.

A service will be required every two or three years. I have divided servicing into three categories, part service, standard service and full service. In all three levels of servicing the mechanism is oiled but the amount of cleaning, replacment of corks, felts and pad shimming differs, this is what often takes a lot of the time.

At some point in the instruments life it may require a complete overhaul. Repairers and those of us in the know will say that this should occur approximately after ten years or several services, I am less rigid over this time scale. If the instrument has been regularly maintained; renewing pads, corks, felts and shims when required, it can keep going like this for many years. It is the instrument that has not been serviced at regular intervals which will require the overhaul. Also over time replacement parts become a mixture of different materials and brands, this is also is a time when the player may ask to have the instruments put back to as new condition as possible.

 

There are three pricing levels dependant on the quality of the instrument. These are as follows.

--Student range--

--Intermediate/semi handmade--

--Handmade--

I have tried to steer away from the one price suits all policy.

 

How Repairs are priced up

 

The cost of a service

Student---- Intermediate/Semi handmade---- Handmade.

Replacement parts

How many pads, tenon corks, springs, headcork etc.

Damage

Bent bodies, dents, soldering etc.

 

 


Stephen Butler specialist woodwind repairer for Flute repairs, Clarinet repairs, Saxophone repairs,

located in Bromley Kent, London suburb, South East England.