Don’t try this at home!

I’ve seen a lot. And I’ve heard a lot. Now let me tell you a few stories…

I once had a 14-year-old phenom come in with a sweet vintage Conn 8D French Horn with a screw bell. The bell was stuck. In an attempt to loosen the bell, his buddy had grabbed one end, and he grabbed the other – and they twisted the entire bell…past the hand guard, just shy of the bell to lead pipe brace, about 120 degrees. YIKES! A $25 job quickly turned into a $900 investment.

Don’t try this at home; bring it to the shop!

Then there was the time a guy, who happened to be into lapidary, who came in with a Yamaha 6310Z trumpet whose valves were a bit sluggish. He had come up with the brilliant idea to use rock polishing compound to free up the valves – NOT. This severely scratched the surface of the pistons and the casings. That being unsuccessful, his great idea was to rub the values with steel wool, which made things even worse. He managed to turn a $50 job into a $550 complete valve re-fit/re-plate.

Don’t try this at home; bring it to the shop!

Here’s a doozie. The father of a kid renting a trumpet comes into the shop to turn it in. I open the case. I see a bent and twisted lead pipe and a glob of JB Weld he got from Home Depot crudely attaching a crooked receiver to the bell brace. On to something, I pull it out to inspect further. I discover plier marks on the mouthpiece and sanding and filing marks at the joints. AND you won’t believe this – it has been covered with gold spray paint! All because the mouthpiece was stuck. I ask the guy, WTF??? His response:  “That’s the way we got it.” Mine:  “Let’s try that again.”

Moral of the story? You got it.

PS  Most shops will pull mouthpieces free of charge.

About randyjmueller

Sr. Instrument Repair technician
This entry was posted in Instrument Repair and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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