Why should I get my instrument serviced?
Human breath has a humidity level of about 95% and a temperature of about 35 degrees C. Humans breathe out up to a teaspoon of water every hour. And when you play, this water goes straight down the bore of your clarinet, flute, trombone or other wind instrument.
Woodwind instruments have multiple tone holes which let some of the water vapour escape, and brass instruments have spit valves to drain the instrument of condensation. But there is always moisture left trapped inside.
A good maintenance routine will include the use of specially designed woodwind swabs and pull throughs which help remove the moisture, and brass instruments can be regularly washed to remove debris that may have dried inside the tubing. The outside should also be wiped down to remove grease and oils.
However even with regular cleaning, we can't remove all the residue. Think of it like brushing your teeth - there are places that even the most meticulous amongst us can't reach. A US study grew 259 different types of bacteria, yeasts and moulds from a group of school band instruments. Young players in particular are often in a hurry and neglect basic cleaning routines that prevent problems in the future.
As well as health issues, physical problems caused by moisture include deterioration of woodwind pads and corks, build-up of oxidation causing pad sealing problems, and acid and verdigris build-up in brass instruments causing partial occlusion and damage to the brass.
Wear and tear:
Most players eventually find that their instrument is not playing as well as it did when it was new. As well as the build up of debris and deterioration due to moisture and age, the constant handling of wind instruments and accidental bumps can put things out of alignment.
Wear and tear can show in different ways. For woodwind instruments, keys may become misaligned and leaks appear. You might have trouble playing some notes. As they get older, pads and corks will deteriorate and need to be replaced. For brass, slides might seize and pistons and valves become sticky or laggy, and valves, guides, felts or springs require replacement. Mishandling when assembling instruments can cause parts to come out of adjustment.
Lastly, accidents do happen and instruments can be knocked, bumped, or dropped which can cause further problems.
It's very sad that new instruments don't stay new! But with a good maintenance routine and regular servicing you can keep your instrument in optimum playing condition.
Remember that ignoring maintenance and handling instructions can result in problems appearing well before 12 months, and even well cared-for instruments need regular servicing just as we visit the dentist annually for a clean and check-up. Services fall under wear and tear and are not covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
Bookings are essential!
A service price guide and other details are on the booking page.