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So recently I went to fix my bicycle at a local university's bicycle collective. For those who don't know how they work, they are basically volunteer-run and funded in part (or maybe in whole) by the university. They have a workshop that is open once a week for three hours that has all the necessary tools, equipment and parts to fix pretty much any problem you might have with your bike. Basically what happens is that you take your bicycle in and fix it yourself, with help from the volunteer staff who show you step-by-step how to do it if necessary, and the only thing you pay for is the parts that you use.

So I got to thinking - would something like this be plausible for instrument repair? I'm not sure how different the worlds of bicycle repair and instrument repair are but the bicycle collective is a really great idea IMO - it's inexpensive and great for people who like to DIY but don't have the necessary tools or space, and it's run by people who know what they're doing so you generally are taught how to do something the right way. If something like this was available for sax repair, I'd definitely do it - however, maybe I just don't know how much work it takes to be able to properly fix a saxophone and this is a terrible idea.

What do you all think? I'd love to hear the opinions of some of the "Distinguished SOTW technicians."
 

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I would guess an instrument repair shop would cost more to set up and have a lot fewer potential clients. I doubt you'd get enough people to make it cost effective/ viable.
 

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I would guess an instrument repair shop would cost more to set up and have a lot fewer potential clients. I doubt you'd get enough people to make it cost effective/ viable.
That might be true. Maybe to avoid that it could be done at a regular repair shop and just have it open to the public once a week/month or something?
 

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I have repaired many bicycles. I can't think of anything on a conventional bicycle that I couldn't repair in a few hours including welding and machining parts. Band instruments are entirely different. As an experienced instrument repairer I often have instruments disassembled on my bench for long periods of time. Sometimes waiting for parts, refinishing, complexity of repair... I can imagine a place like you described having multiple novice repair people having multiple mixed up and missing parts that are NOT like bike parts in that you can't readily go down the street and get another if you loose it. If you ask a music shop to open their doors one night a week for this purpose, what's the up side for them? I wouldn't let a novice use my tools and machines as the cost of repairing and time involved in fixing them for when I needed them would not make it worth while.
 

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I have repaired many bicycles. I can't think of anything on a conventional bicycle that I couldn't repair in a few hours including welding and machining parts. Band instruments are entirely different. As an experienced instrument repairer I often have instruments disassembled on my bench for long periods of time. Sometimes waiting for parts, refinishing, complexity of repair... I can imagine a place like you described having multiple novice repair people having multiple mixed up and missing parts that are NOT like bike parts in that you can't readily go down the street and get another if you loose it. If you ask a music shop to open their doors one night a week for this purpose, what's the up side for them? I wouldn't let a novice use my tools and machines as the cost of repairing and time involved in fixing them for when I needed them would not make it worth while.

yeah i suspected that would be the case. oh well :p
 

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I would guess an instrument repair shop would cost more to set up and have a lot fewer potential clients. I doubt you'd get enough people to make it cost effective/ viable.
Give everyone a free instrument...and I bet it would be a hoppin' place.....

It's not that bad a thought, really...I always like the idea of community; and I feel proletariat in that everyone should know how to do some basic repair on their axes....although the aspects of stocking it w/ tooling and such does make it seem impractical. NOW...IF a Tech decided to run something like that, almost a quasi-apprentice sorta drop-in thing (for a small fee)...that might be cool.
 

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This was done in Austin years ago in VW 'Bug' repair... Great meeting place for students and the like, trading VW parts etc... Sax co-op repair shop for neophytes and students... Hmm... Maybe in Boston or Philly... Still a lame idea for serious sax owners or players... Maybe a college scene??? Would 'you' fund this type of venture? Bad idea I think!
 

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Well these are certainly idealistic projects and will fit well in a Kibbutz or a Commune but , I think, could have some problems to be established in a more profit oriented society. I would be very positively surprised (well I already am in reading about the existence of the bicycle collective !) if anyone could establish that in the States! What you need is considerable funds to establish a workshop and provide it with the necessary tools and machinery and , last but not least, you need some dedicated, capable and idealistic people to provide the expertise for free!

The best way to carry this out is to detach it somehow from idealism and put it into a form that people can adapt and accept easily, which means to make it part of a learning institution.

If you have a college where people learn to fix band instruments you could ask them if they are interested in opening a practice shop for the student to practice on customer's instruments (a bit like they do at hairdresser's schools where you can get free haircuts or catering college where you can eat for cheap while the students practice cooking and all the other skills of a restaurant ), the school would provide the premises hte work force and the materials.....
 

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I could join an instrument repair course at university ...

We used to do something similar with our RC model building club.
It worked great for basic things.

It might work with basic instrument maintenance, ie. cleaning, lubricating, replacing a cork, ...
It would be harder to pull off for jobs where you need some experience or tools. Oops, I just burnt this pad, and a post fell off the body for no apparent reason.
 

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I don't think I would mind doing something like this. A few hours a week, that's ok. Issues of instruments taking long, waiting for parts, etc. are not a big deal IMO, it will just be limited to repairs that don't require them (which are by far most IME). It will be a one person thing though, so a lot less time for each person. I guess that make sense comaprison instruments to bicycles anyway. I guess full overhauls etc. would take too long and too much time so maybe not, or at least only a guide for the people to continue themsevles mostly. But this is all wishful thinking... the biggest issue would be:
So recently I went to fix my bicycle at a local university's bicycle collective. For those who don't know how they work, they are basically volunteer-run and funded in part (or maybe in whole) by the university.
No one will sponser this here. The local music university can barely afford things that are far more important. Honestly even if I was going to invest money for the university I would choose many things before that.....
 
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