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BrassWindFix Celebrates 5 Years!

Happy Birthday to BrassWindFix – we are 5 years old on 1st September 2013!

BrassWindFix 5th Birthday

Thank you to all our customers!

BrassWindFix is a specialist woodwind & brass musical instrument repair business providing repairs, servicing and sales for all woodwind & brass musicians.  Based in Wrington, near Bristol, BrassWindFix was first established in 2008 by Justin Pavey who wanted to strike out on his own and begin his own business.  From a humble start in a small unit near Keynsham in 2008, BrassWindFix quickly grew in reputation as one of the top specialist Woodwind and Brass Repairers in the South West and relocated in May 2010 to our current workshop and retail premises in Wrington.

With over fifteen year’s service in the music industry, Justin not only has the knowledge and experience to produce work of the highest quality, but also understands a musician’s needs and requirements.  With the majority of repairs and servicing coming via recommendation we are very proud to say that five years on BrassWindFix are busier than ever and we would like to thank all our customers for their continued support over the past 5 years!

By way of a “Thank You” to all our customers we are having a 5th BIRTHDAY PRIZE DRAW and it’s really easy to enter!

THE PRIZE!

The prize is a £25 BrassWindFix Gift Voucher that can be used to purchase £25 of accessories from us OR it can be used towards payment for a service or repair for your instrument at BrassWindFix in 2014!

HOW TO ENTER!

The next time you are in the Workshop – check out our accessories for sale – many start at just 50p and everything is competitively priced!  All you need to do is buy an accessory for your woodwind or brass instrument between now and the 31st December 2013 and we’ll enter you in the prize draw to win the £25 voucher.

Not visiting the workshop for a while?  Well all our accessories are also available in our on-line shop via the website.  We’ll automatically enter you for the draw!

There is no minimum order requirement, all reeds are postage free, and each transaction will give you an entry into the prize draw!

Winner to be announced in January 2014!

Accessories are a perfect gift for any musician and are also fantastic stocking fillers!

Please visit our on-line shop or drop into the workshop to see all our current products.

 

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Servicing & Silver plating

“Hi Justin

Just to let you know that to say I am delighted with the sovereign cornet that you have just overhauled and re-plated for me would be an under-statement. Everyone that I have showed the cornet to has been amazed and most could not believe it is a 1979 cornet. Many thanks for doing such a fantastic job for me. I will certainly be back for all my repair and service work and I am sure those who have witnessed the quality of your work will be contacting you in the future.  Kind regards.”

Graham Davies

Graham visited the BrassWindFix workshop with his much-loved 1979 Sovereign Cornet recently.  Originally the instrument had been lacquered and Graham had asked to have the cornet silver-plated. The cornet had certainly been well-used used over the years and naturally had some dinks and dents as well as a build up of verdigris in places.

Justin stripped down the instrument ensuring all the preparation work was carried out to his usual high standard.  All dents were removed, the tuning slides and valves refitted, the instrument received a full overhaul before being put back together and sent off for silver plating.

It returned a couple of weeks later and indeed did look like a brand new instrument.  BrassWindFix were really pleased with the result and also really pleased that Graham was also delighted.  We’re sure that the 1979 Cornet will be treasured for many more years to come.

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Servicing Woodwind and Brass

The activity in BrassWindFix is at an all-time high at the moment.  brass-wind-fixWe certainly know that Christmas is on its way (yes we KNOW it’s only September) but we’ve had a flurry of calls into the workshop as customers are desperately trying to book in their instruments for servicing before the season begins.

We’ve heard about all the upcoming School Christmas Concerts, Brass Band Concerts, Grades and exams and we know first hand that there will be lots of exciting Theatre shows happening all across the South West.  Musicians far and wide are ensuring their woodwind and brass instruments are ready for the onslaught by booking their instruments in for servicing now!

As a result, our dates are filling up fast!  If you haven’t booked your instrument in for repair yet then please call now and get it in the BrassWindFix diary!  We’ve a few dates left in December but these are going quickly!

Alternatively, if you have a jam-packed diary on the lead up to Christmas and can’t part with your instrument even for a day, then think about treating it to some TLC in the New Year and get in early for the date you want in January/February.

Don’t forget that we have some great brass and woodwind stocking fillers available from the on-line shop!  You could win a £25 voucher towards BrassWindFix accessories or servicing too! Celebrating 5 years in business your name will automatically be entered into the drawer with every purchase from BrassWindFix.

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A thank you!

Another couple of satisfied customers in the BrassWindFix workshop!thank you

“Thanks so much for the wonderful service that you’ve just done on my tenor. It has never sounded so good. And I can get the low notes so easily. You are brilliant!

Many thanks, Annie”

 

“I thought I would drop you note to thank you for the superb work you did in repairing my trumpet, what you have done is truly incredible. All the dents of time have gone, not just the ones that occurred when I dropped it, the slides have never worked so well and the general service you did in replacing pads, corks and springs is amazing.

I did a gig on Saturday and it was like playing a new instrument, no clattering valves and rough slides – brilliant.

I certainly won’t hesitate to recommend your services. Many thanks Ducan.”

 

“Thanks again for repairing my tenor sax in time for my band practice this evening.  I have tried it out and it is better than before the accident. Regards Rob”

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National Saxophone Choir

BrassWindFix came across this little gem on YouTube recently – the National Saxophone Choir of GB performing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody at the Arts Fest in 2009 and thought we would share it with all our Saxophone clients!

Click here to hear and see them in action!  There are other videos on YouTube showing some of their repertoire – Bach Tocatta and Crazy Rag being pretty awesome performances too!

The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain is a lively, talented and enterprising ensemble of saxophonists committed to presenting challenging but accessible music to as wide an audience as possible.  The NSC was founded by Nigel Wood in 2003. It has already made a big impact on the saxophonic world and currently attracts players and guest conductors from all over the country to its monthly rehearsals in Birmingham. Standards are rigorously maintained by audition but the ethos is friendly, co-operative and adventurous.

It’s nearly the season for – dare we say it – Christmas Concerts.  If you have a diary full of bookings for the season ahead then don’t forget that your saxophone needs some TLC to keep it in tip-top condition.  BrassWindFix offer a basic service right through to the monster of all services!  Now taking bookings for October onwards and don’t forget that we can also supply you with Rico and Vandoren reeds and accessories too!  Pop into the workshop and see us or order your accessories from our on-line shop.

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Back to School

Instruments-BrassWindFixWell the summer is nearly over and its nearly time for parents all over the country to start frantically buying everything needed for the new school term starting in September.

The list of items needed for the new school term is never-ending!  Not to mention frustrating!  What used to be the simple buying of standard school uniforms from Marks & Spencer now seems to be impeded with current fashions and teenage cries of  “There’s no way I’m wearing THAT skirt/top/coat”” combined with hours and hours spent trapsing round the shops searching for the right school bag and what seems like a suitcase full of contents.

Your child may be considering taking up a new musical instrument, or already have music lessons,  and be looking forward to returning to a term of  exams and the endless list of Christmas concerts.  Over the summer, with all the excitement of holidays and excursions, it’s easy to forget that your brass and woodwind instruments need regular maintenance to keep them in the best condition and be ready for the hours of playing ahead.

It may be that you’ve been super organised and had this instrument serviced or repaired over the summer months.  However, it is something that many parents and students forget or don’t consider.  Keeping your woodwind and brass instrument in the best possible condition and regularly serviced means it’s always ready for the most challenging of playing and won’t let you down in an exam or that all-important solo performance.  If you haven’t thought about servicing any woodwind or brass instrument over the summer then please think about booking it in now!  BrassWindFix offer an excellent service and repair service at highly competitive prices and excellent workmanship is always guaranteed.  Although BrassWindFix are currently booked up solid in the diary for the next six weeks so if you want your instrument serviced or repaired before the Christmas Concerts begin then ring to book it in the diary NOW!

You may have totally forgotten to buy new saxophone reeds or clarinet reeds?  Do you need bore oil to keep your wooden clarinet lubricated? Do you need a new silver cloth to keep the keywork clean on your flutes or clarinets?  For all your woodwind and brass accessories please visit our online shop where all these items are available.  They can be posted out to you the next day to ensure receipt in time for the new school term.

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My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard johnny bruce

And they’re like, it’s better than yours

Damn right, it’s better than your’s

I could teach you but I have to charge”

Ok, BrassWindFix doesn’t actually sell milkshakes – these lyrics are of course from the hit single by Kelis in 2003 called “The Milkshake Song”.  Why are we quoting them you ask? Well…. this week Justin had to repair the trumpet owned by the now famous Jonny Bruce who was playing with Kelis at the Lovebox Festivo recently.

All set to go on stage, waiting in the wings Jonny, was eager to get started and perform in front of the heaving masses who’d turned up to listen to an amazing performance by the band.  Unfortunately, right at that moment, Jonny dropped his third slide from his trumpet and it not only dented from the impact,  it created a sizeable hole!  Scrabbling around in every musician’s first aid kit Johnny found the essential item he was looking for: gaffa tape to “plug” the hole to see him through to the end.  Ever the professional, he then performed the entire set with his trumpet in that condition!  That takes some skill – and also a fair bit of ongoing repairs with constant gaffa tape replacement due to it getting soggy.   Awesome stuff!

So this week he popped in to see Justin and left his trumpet for an emergency overnight repair so that his pride and joy would be ready for this weekends events.

Justin had to fit a strengthening patch and an Amado waterkey to the third slide.  Here are some pictures of the trumpet to show the repairs that Justin carried out.

 

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Verdigris build up – brass instruments

Never a brass banddull day at BrassWindFix as yesterday Justin was working on a Besson Sovereign Baritone Horn.

This instrument had a few valve issues which entailed the valves being completely removed and then expertly refitted.

As any brass player will know that valves are used to change the length of the tubing of a brass instrument, allowing the player to reach the desired notes.  Each valve pressed diverts the air stream through the additional tubing.  This lengthens the vibrating air colum in turn lowering the tone produced by the instrument.  As such, valves require regular maintenance and lubrication to ensure a fast and reliable movement.

On this particular instrument there was a small verdigris  build up  inside the valves.  Every brass instrument needs to be wiped off regularly but, even the most lovingly cared for instrument will show signs of this greenish/white verdigris build up.  Sadly, once it builds up it can be a little like cement in consistency and therefore difficult to remove.

The client on collecting the instrument asked: “Is it ok to clean the instrument occasionally with home kitchen products? Would this help with reducing the verdigris building up?”

This is difficult to comment on but BrassWindFix would not recommend the use of kitchen products in this way.  Purely because the product has not been specifically designed for use in this way for brass instrument cleaning.

BrassWindFix Advice

Some instrument valves are made of stainless steel, others of monel (a mix of nickle, copper, iron and other trace elements).  The stainless steel may well withstand the kitchen cleaning product but the monel definitely would not.  In addition, any cleaning products designed for use on stainless steel may escape and go onto the brass of the instrument and this could cause damage to the brass on the instrument.

BrassWindFix Tip

To be sure that you don’t damage your instrument, and to help keep verdigris at bay/building up quickly, the best way to clean your valves would be to wipe them off regularly with a kitchen towel or a cloth made from lint free material ie cotton.

Best to leave the heavy duty cleaning and removal of this substance to a trained professional when you have your brass instrument serviced.

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Today’s Brass Instrument

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In the hottest summer since 2006 Justin Pavey from BrassWindFix is working today in the coolness of the workshop.  A cool workshop in this heat we hear you cry? How so?  Well…it’s cooler because the door is wide open and a gentle breeze from the industrial aeroplane sized electric fan is blowing around the room! No natural breeze today but let’s not complain – this heatwave may not be around long!

Today Justin is giving a full service to today’s brass instrument – an Alexander French Horn – lucky french horn!  In addition there is a little bit of soldering work needing to be done but this instrument will be in optimum playing condition once it leaves the workshop.

Interesting Fact Alert:

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Alexander – or “Alex” – horns are a popular choice with professional players. Probably the best-known Alex horn is that played by Dennis Brain in his near-legendary recordings of the Mozart horn concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra. His instrument was badly damaged in a crash which killed Brain, but the instrument was restored and is now on display in the Royal Academy of Music museum.

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Meet Justin Pavey

Today Justin Pavey is working on a classic old Besson Sovereign Cornet and is thoroughly enjoying the experience!  It’s nice to be able to work on old instruments that have been lovingly cared for by its owner over the years and the quality of the original workmanship of this cornet is wonderful – they certainly made them to last!   This particular Besson Cornet is the pride and joy of a regular BrassWindFix customer who performs in a brass band and this Besson Sovereign Cornet has a warm, full sound when played.

However, the original lacquer is now looking a little sorry for itself so today Justin is overhauling the cornet and preparing it ready to be silver plated.   This will mean that the cornet will be more hard wearing and will also look like a brand new instrument once finished.  Call it cosmetic surgery for brass instruments!

There has been a lot of debate over the years as to whether instruments should be lacquered, silver plated, gold plated or left as they are.  Many musicians are concerned that this process may affect the sound of the instrument slightly afterwards; making them sound slightly brighter or slightly darker.  However, if you decide to have your brass instrument re-lacquered or silver/gold plated then, as with major repairs or servicing, the instrument would need to be completely taken apart, overhauled and dents/dinks removed first.  Any work on a brass instrument could therefore essentially affect the overall sound afterwards – in Justin’s expert hands – the overall playability and sound is always for the better!

We can’t wait to see this one when it’s finished and it’s great to see someone so happy in their work!

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Alternatively email... repairs@brasswindfix.co.uk