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DEPARTMENTS   »   Curriculum and Instruction Support   »   Secondary Education   »   Music   »   Instrument Repair Shop

Instrument Repair Shop and Instrument Care

Instrument Repair Shop

 

Eric Haitz, Instrument Repair TechnicianThe shop is well equipped and is capable of minor repairs to full restorations of all brass and woodwind instruments from piccolos to tubas. Its purpose is to maintain the musical instruments owned by the district in proper playing condition for the benefit of our music students.  The shop was established in January 1982.


Shop Bulletin Board
Information for OPS Music Teachers

The doors to the Career Center are locked every day at 3:30. After that, you can use the entrance on the the east side of the building.

Please return to the shop any central inventory instruments not being used.

Woodwind Care

Flute / Piccolo

Daily Care 
1. When removing your flute from its case never pick it up by its keys. Remove it by the ends where there are no keys.  
2. Put the flute together with a slow back-and-forth twisting motion, never push or pull the flute when assembling or disassembling. This can cause the instrument to become bent at the joints.  
3. Each time you put the flute together a small amount of debris will build-up on the tenons (this is normal), however, this can make it difficult to assemble. Wipe the tenons (joints) with a soft cloth before assembling.  
4. The use of lubricants on the tenons is not recommended - this can cause damage over time. The only exception to this rule is on some piccolos and wood flutes that have cork joints. You should apply a small amount of cork grease to these joints, as needed, to aid in assembly.  
5. After you are finished playing, use a cleaning rod with an absorbent cloth to swab out the inside of all parts to remove moisture. Carefully wipe off the outside of the flute to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.  
6. Store your flute in its case when not in use. This helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument from tarnishing. Do not place anything in the case that can press on the flute, this can bend keys. 

Monthly Care  
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your flute to a repair shop to have them adjusted. It is not suggested that you try and adjust them yourself because they can be over tightened or damaged. 

Yearly Care  
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are effecting the optimal performance of your instrument.

Clarinets 

Daily Care 
1. When removing your clarinet from its case never pick it up by the keys. Remove it by the ends where there are no keys.  
2. When putting your clarinet together, first apply a small amount of cork grease to the tenon corks. 
3.Put the clarinet together with a slow back-and-forth twisting motion, never push or pull the clarinet when assembling or disassembling this can damage the tenon or tear the cork.  
4. When tightening the screws on the ligature, the device that holds the reed on the mouthpiece, take care not to over tighten them this can cause the screw to break.  
5. After you are finished playing, pull a cleaning swab through all parts of the clarinet to remove moisture. Carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument and keys to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.  
6. Always store your clarinet in its case when not in use, this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not place anything in the case that can press on the clarinet, this can bend keys. 

Monthly Care 
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your clarinet to a repair shop to have them adjusted. It is not suggested that you try and adjust them yourself because they can be over tightened or damaged. 

Yearly Care 
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are effecting the optimal performance of your instrument.

 

Saxophone 

Daily Care 
1. When removing your saxophone from its case never pick it up by the keys. Remove it by picking it up by the bell.  
2. When assembling your saxophone be sure to wipe the neck joint and inside of the receiver with a soft cloth this will make it easier to assemble.  
3. Apply a small amount of cork grease to the mouthpiece cork to help the mouthpiece move into position. 
4. When tightening the screws on the ligature, the device that holds the reed on the mouthpiece, take care not to over tighten them this can cause the screw to break.  
5. After you are finished playing, pull a cleaning swab through the saxophone to remove moisture.  Carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument and keys to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.  
6. Always store your saxophone in its case when not in use, this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not place books or folders in the case, this can bend keys. 

Monthly Care 
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your saxophone to a repair shop to have them adjusted. It is not suggested that you try and adjust them yourself because they can be over tightened or damaged. 

Yearly Care 
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are effecting the optimal performance of your instrument.

 

Brasswind Care

Trumpets (And Other Piston Valve Instruments)

Daily Care 1. Valves on brass instruments need to be lubricated on a regular basis. To do this: (a) Unscrew the valve cap and pull the valve out about half way. (b) Apply a drop of valve oil to the wide part of the valve. (c) Push the valve back into position making sure that it is lined up correctly. (Note): The valve has a guide that keeps it in place. To check for correct alignment gently try to turn the valve. If it doesn't turn, it is lined up. If it turns, keep turning the valve till you hear a slight "click" and the valve stops turning.  2. Occasionally a mouthpiece will become stuck in the horn. If this happens don't try force to remove it - this can cause major damage to the instrument. Take it to a repair shop or music store to have it removed. Most shops do not charge for this service.  3. After you are finished playing make sure you remove any excess moisture from the inside of the horn by opening the water keys and blowing through the instrument. Carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.  4. Always store your trumpet in its case when not in use, this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not place books or folders in the case, this can bend slides and cause valve problems.

Monthly Care 1. Check all slides to see that they move freely and lubricate them with slide grease if needed. 2. The inside of your instrument needs to be cleaned regularly. This may not be needed every month but should be done at least every 3 months. See the section below on brass cleaning for more information.

Yearly Care If you clean your instrument on a regular basis you may not need any additional yearly care, however, repair shops have the ability to chemically clean your instrument which is a more thorough cleaning than can be done at home.

 

Trombones

Daily Care 1. Great care is needed when handling your trombone. The smallest bump or dent in the slide can cause problems with its proper movement. Due to the precision needed in adjustment of the slide, repairs are time consuming and costly so...Be Careful !  2. The slide needs to be lubricated on a regular basis. Apply a small amount of slide oil or cream to the boot area of the slide as needed. The boot is at the very end of the slide, so be careful not to allow the slide to slip off the trombone.  3. Occasionally a mouthpiece will become stuck in the trombone. If this happens don't try force to remove it - this can cause major damage to the instrument. Take it to a repair shop or music store to have it removed. Most shops do not charge for this service.  4. After you are finished playing make sure you remove any excess moisture from the inside of the trombone by opening the water key and blowing through the instrument. Carefully wipe off the outside of the trombone to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.  5. Always store your trombone in its case when not in use, this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not place books or folders in the case, this can bend slides and cause problems.

Monthly Care 1. Check the tuning slide to see that it moves freely and lubricate it with slide grease if needed.  2. The inside of your trombone needs to be cleaned regularly. This may not be needed every month but should be done at least every 3 months. See the section below on Brass Cleaning for more information.

Yearly Care If you clean your instrument on a regular basis you may not need any additional yearly care, however, repair shops have the ability to chemically clean your instrument which is a more thorough cleaning than can be done at home.

 

Brass Cleaning

Brass instruments need to be cleaned internally on a regular basis. The following is a description of that process. Please note that rotor instruments such as French Horns, Rotor Tubas, and Rotor Trombones should not be cleaned at home, they have special requirements and should only be cleaned by a qualified repair shop. To clean your instrument you must take it apart completely. You will also need some cleaning brushes (available at music stores), valve oil, slide grease, and some liquid dish soap. You will also need a place to clean the instrument. Unless you have a large sink the bath tub is probably the best place.  1. Carefully remove all slides, valves and valve bottom caps. Extreme care should be taken with trombone slides as they are very delicate, especially when they are apart! If any of the slides are stuck take your instrument to a repair shop to have them removed. They can be damaged if not removed properly.  2. Place all the parts, except for the valves, in warm water containing some liquid dish soap. Let the instrument parts soak in the water for about 10 minutes.  3. While the instrument soaks, take the valves and run warm water over them and brush out all openings in the valves with the valve brush. Shake off any extra water and set valves aside to dry.  4.Next brush out all tubes with the "snake" and the valve casings with the valve brush. Be sure to clean any debris from inside the valve bottom caps.  5. Use clean water and rinse out the instrument. Wipe off any excess moisture and set the instrument aside to dry thoroughly. It is important that the inside of your instrument is completely dry before you proceed.  6. Apply a small amount of slide grease to each slide and reassemble. Be sure not to put slide grease on the main trombone slide. Use slide cream or slide oil on this slide.  7. Install the valve bottom caps. Put a drop of valve oil on each valve and install them in their proper location. Valves are numbered and must be in the correct location to operate properly.

Stringed Instrument Care

Violin / Viola Care

1. Always keep your instrument in its case when not in use .

2. Avoid rapid temperature changes. If you bring your violin from a cold area into a warm area leave it in its case, to change temperature slowly, because cracking of the finish or wood can occur. A good rule-of-thumb is not to leave your violin any place that you would not like to be. So don't leave it in extreme hot or cold environments.

3. After you are finished playing, remove any rosin and hand oils from the instrument with a soft cloth. Don't let rosin buildup on your violin. Remove it after each time you play. It is very difficult to remove if left on your instrument for any length of time.

4. Keep an eye on the bridge. As you tune the instrument the strings tend to pull the top of the bridge toward the fingerboard. If the bridge tips too much it will fall over. This can break the bridge or even crack the top. If the bridge falls the soundpost inside the violin may also fall over. The back side of the bridge (side toward the tailpiece) should be at a right angle to the top and the feet of the bridge should touch the top uniformly. If your bridge tilts have your music teacher show you how to straighten it. It’s not hard to do but unless it is done correctly you could break it.

5. Be sure that your pegs turn freely with minimum pressure toward the peg box. Over time the pegs will go out of round and start to slip. If this happens they will need to be refitted for proper operation. During dry conditions they may shrink, causing slipping. In humid conditions they may swell causing them to stick. Never force a peg into the peg box if it’s slipping. If a peg is stuck, don't force it, either. You could break the peg or the peg box under these conditions. Take your instrument to a repair shop and have them correct the problem.

 

Cello / Bass Care

1. Always keep your instrument in its case or bag when not in use.

2. It is always best to set your cello or bass on its side when you are not playing. If your instrument falls over it may break the bridge or the neck. Be Careful!

3. Avoid rapid temperature changes. If you bring your cello or bass from a cold area into a warm area leave it in its case, to change temperature slowly, because cracking of the finish or wood can occur.

4. After you are finished playing remove any rosin and hand oils from the instrument with a soft cloth. Don't let rosin buildup on your instrument. Remove it after each time you play. It is very difficult to remove if left on your instrument for any length of time.

5. Keep an eye on the bridge. As you tune the instrument the strings tend to pull the top of the bridge toward the fingerboard. If the bridge tips too much it may fall over. This can break the bridge or even crack the top. If the bridge falls the soundpost inside the instrument may also fall over. The back side of the bridge (side toward the tailpiece) should be at a right angle to the top and the feet of the bridge should touch the top uniformly. If your bridge tilts take your cello or bass to a shop and have them straighten it. Unless it is done correctly you could break the bridge.

6. Be sure that your pegs turn freely with minimum pressure toward the peg box. Over time the pegs will go out of round and start to slip. If this happens they will need to be refitted for proper operation. During dry conditions they may shrink, causing slipping. In humid conditions they may swell causing them to stick. Never force a peg into the peg box. If it either slips or sticks, don't force it either. You could break the peg or the peg box under these conditions. Take your instrument to a repair shop and have them correct the problem. Basses and some cellos have mechanical tuners and a drop of light machine oil should be applied to all bearing surfaces about every 6 months.

 

Bow Care

1. Be careful not to bang the head or drop the bow as this can break the head.

2. Keep the bow away from extreme heat. This can warp the bow.

3. Always loosen the hair when you are not using the bow. Over time this can warp the bow and stretch the hair.

4. Keep the bow stick clean by wiping off excess rosin and any perspiration after each use.