[Dixielandjazz] old horns -repairs

Larry Walton Entertainment larrys.bands at charter.net
Sat Sep 24 12:56:40 PDT 2005

A good shop should be able to re-plate those valves and lap them in.  The
enemy is dirt,wear and guys not pushing the valves down straight.  Crooking
fingers over the valves puts slight pressure on the sides of the valves and
causes lopsided wear.  Dirt and lack of lubrication speeds up the process.
Then add that the musicians of old used spit which has acids in it.  All
team up to wear valves but they can be repaired and made like new if the rot
hasn't settled in too far.  Brass in old instruments tends to get thin
because of the acids reacting on the brass and over years can eat away at
crucial joints.  Springs are another matter.  They do weaken with time but I
would take it to a shop that can work on it.  We have a super repair shop
here and it might be worth the shipping to send it to them if you don't have
anyone in your area.  I know the guys that work there and they are experts.
There are two owners one of whom works on mainly flutes and bassoons.  Every
time I go in Marvin is working on a bassoon.  I told him I couldn't believe
that there were that many bassoonists in this area.  It turns out that he
gets bassoons from just about everywhere.  The brass guy is also a partner
in the business and they do so much work that he now has at least one
assistant full time who does the cleaning and slide pulling etc.
They rework a lot of vintage instruments and they all look super when they
finish.  The guy that does the cleaning and other jobs on the brass is a
very accomplished trumpet player and knows what he is doing.

You might give them a call and tell them what the problems are and ask about
redoing the valves.  I think you may be surprised.
The shop is St. Louis Woodwind and Brass Repair.  You will want to talk to
Bill Meyers.  Their phone number is 314-921-0012

Larry Walton
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Cebuisle2 at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2005 11:31 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] old horns

> I will side with Larry on this one. I have an ancient cornet, dark brass,
> shepherd's crook style. It was built around 1880 by the Conn company.
Years ago
> they said it was one of their first, and wanted to buy it for their
> but  I never sold it. Anyway, the horn is pretty, but valve action quite
> compared to my l940's King model. Cleaning and oiling hasn't helped,
> stronger springs would. But I haven't altered it.
> I agree that some instruments made in the last few decades are not as good
> as the older models-Selmer  saxes come to mind.But others-Yamaha- are.  My
> about instrument quality, or lack of, was meant to refer to  instruments
> the earlier 20th Century. As an old retired (?) band director  I've had
> opportunity to compare many instruments. The machines that  made these old
> weren't as precise as today's instruments of  production.And-as I
> the guys didn't take as good care of them. I have  seen rubber bands
> down keys on saxes, and these guys were union  musicians! Probably many of
> could not afford to get the horns repaired just  for a single recording
> or occasional gig-
>  play it hot!         tradjazz
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