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This may sound stupid but I dont believe that I am the only guy around here that has not had their horn looked at by a tech as often as should be done.

Due to response finally becoming an bother I posted and got some suggestions from techs in my area. I got several great names and choose Miguel Maldonado in SE Portland. (No offense to anyone recommendations. This worked for me and there was no reason anyone was not chosen). Aside from being a really easy guy to deal with I think Miguel did more to my horn than I recall getting for the dollar in past years.

The main point: My VI plays better than it EVER has. I mean better than the day I got it from the dealer (which is a little bit of a rub I wont go into). My horn always had a really nice tone but it seemed a bit spread and now I know why. Uneven tone holes and very small leaks all through the stack. But now this thing is a focused beast, I always thought it was pretty powerful and easy to blow but I was wrong...NOW it is. Bell notes vibrate the room.

It roars and subs softly all the way to B flat with no problem.

Do yourself a favor. If you have put it off make an appointment. You will likely be happy you did.
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Let me just second everything sigmund said. It's all true!
 

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Let me just second everything sigmund said. It's all true!

Dead on. The tiniest leak can change the tone of your horn. Had a 40-something year old student who refused to take his new but leaky horn to a tech, couldn't be bothered. I finally told him we would hold off on further lessons until he could show up with an instrument in good repair since I couldn't help him as it was.


Left in a huff and of course he never came back. I'll bet that shiny new horn of his still sounds God-awful.


Some learn the easy way, some learn the hard way. And of course some refuse to learn at all. :(


So people: Eat your veggies. Get lots of exercise. And treat your instrument with respect.


:glasses7:
 

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So true.

I took my horn to the local Long & McQuade a few weeks ago to get an alignment and a couple pads replaced (they suddenly started sticking whenever they got warm/moist). It took them four days, charged me $50, and used such cheap pads that the problem didn't go away. I ended up filing the pad down with a nail file and using a q-tip to massage mineral oil into it.

Yesterday the cork on my G# pinky key came off. I went to L&M's competiton St. John's Music and showed them the problem. Their tech came out to the front counter to look, then took my horn and did the job in about 3 minutes. He also commented "man you have the action really stiff on this thing!" So I grinned ear to ear and asked him "can you make it even stiffer!?"

"Sure, no problem. Here, gimme a second."

Another three minutes later he was back. And he didn't even charge me anything! I will most certainly be taking my business there in the future.
 

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So true.

I took my horn to the local Long & McQuade a few weeks ago to get an alignment and a couple pads replaced (they suddenly started sticking whenever they got warm/moist). It took them four days, charged me $50, and used such cheap pads that the problem didn't go away. I ended up filing the pad down with a nail file and using a q-tip to massage mineral oil into it.

Yesterday the cork on my G# pinky key came off. I went to L&M's competiton St. John's Music and showed them the problem. Their tech came out to the front counter to look, then took my horn and did the job in about 3 minutes. He also commented "man you have the action really stiff on this thing!" So I grinned ear to ear and asked him "can you make it even stiffer!?"

"Sure, no problem. Here, gimme a second."

Another three minutes later he was back. And he didn't even charge me anything! I will most certainly be taking my business there in the future.
I always preferred St. John's to L&M when I lived in Calgary for reasons like that . Although when they recorked the neck of my alto a few years ago they did a really terrible job of it - it was not smooth and WAY too big - but they fixed it up okay when I went back to complain.
 

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This may sound stupid but I dont believe that I am the only guy around here that has not had their horn looked at by a tech as often as should be done.

Due to response finally becoming an bother I posted and got some suggestions from techs in my area. I got several great names and choose Miguel Maldonado in SE Portland. (No offense to anyone recommendations. This worked for me and there was no reason anyone was not chosen). Aside from being a really easy guy to deal with I think Miguel did more to my horn than I recall getting for the dollar in past years.

The main point: My VI plays better than it EVER has. I mean better than the day I got it from the dealer (which is a little bit of a rub I wont go into). My horn always had a really nice tone but it seemed a bit spread and now I know why. Uneven tone holes and very small leaks all through the stack. But now this thing is a focused beast, I always thought it was pretty powerful and easy to blow but I was wrong...NOW it is. Bell notes vibrate the room.

It roars and subs softly all the way to B flat with no problem.

Do yourself a favor. If you have put it off make an appointment. You will likely be happy you did.
+1 re: Miguel. Going over there tomorrow to pick up my sop.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-17
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I wish there were a good tech around here. Does anyone know a good tech somewhere, anywhere, between Montgomery and Tallahassee? Actually, there is one guy here but he's so busy with student horns it's impossible to get much attention.
 

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I wish there were a good tech around here. Does anyone know a good tech somewhere, anywhere, between Montgomery and Tallahassee?
Hopefully someone will know, but isn't there some sort of 'yellow pages' or website for local services around there? Of course in 'Bumfunk' there may not be a good local tech. Worst case, send the horn off to one the reputable techs around the country.

Good to see this thread revived. Since it was first posted, I've seen numerous posts, usually from relative beginners, who ask for solutions to all kinds of problems that almost certainly come down to a leaking horn. Until you've experienced the difference, it's hard to realize just how important it is to keep your horn in good playing condition. Even with experienced players, it may not be obvious because an experienced player will compensate as the horn gradually goes out of adjustment or develops leaks. They don't realize how hard they are working to overcome problems with the horn.
 

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I will praise my local horn doctor as well. I thought my TH&C was pretty wonderful, but Janet (Second Wind, Albuquerque, NM) spent a few hours on it, and found/corrected push-in at the bell brace, a leaky body octave pip, motion in the neck tenon, a few uneven tone holes in the lower stack (causing leaks), a loose key guard, and too-conservative (low) key heights. Now it is truly a marvelous force of nature.

Calling her in advance really paid off. I made an appointment a week in advance to let her know what to expect, and she set aside the time to take care of my horn.

Do I tip my tech? You bet!
 

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Forum Contributor 2014-2017
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Miguel set up the Grassi 2000 soprano I bought from JayePDX a few years ago. Did a pretty nice setup.
 
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