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Brass Repair

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Professional Brass Instruments:

Chris Moller does all repair work on site except for some specialty repairs such as plating. You can expect the highest quality repair work available. There is no substitute for talent, tooling, schooling, a six-year apprenticeship, and continued training along with 15 years of experience.

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Student Instruments:

The extreme precision demanded by professional musicians is not necessary for beginning students but your instrument does need to be clean and play easily without parts sticking or seizing. Most of the time Chris is in the shop and can give an accurate estimate before the instrument is left. All work is done on site with fast turnaround times and loaners are usually available. Please bring everything used to play and care for the instrument including the case and mouthpiece.


Professional dent work is performed to minimize work hardening and finish damage


Professional solder work is performed with parts fitting closely and under no tension. Much of the burnt lacquer and runs on silver plate can be avoided by using a well trained technician.


I use a chemical designed and purchased locally. It is very gentle on plating and lacquer while removing grease, oil, calcium and lime deposits effectively


I always isolate what is causing valve problems before any work is done. This means no burnishing; lapping or straightening is done until I know exactly what I am repairing.


Many brass instruments come from the factory leaking through the ferrule solder joints. Leaks can cause brass instruments to play weaker and notes may not center as easily. Never buy a musical instrument without the option of returning it and have it checked out at Agave Music while you can still return it. I often find leaks in instruments that have been played on by a quality player for decades. Once repaired there is a very noticeable difference in the power and response.


The up-stroke and down stroke align the different ports. The better these ports are aligned the more precise the trumpet will play. Fast runs will respond easier and high/low notes will center easier. A basic valve alignment is included in a chemical cleaning but for a more precise alignment very thin shims are used with mirrors and measuring tools to achieve a far more exact alignment. Sometimes solder work is necessary as well because the barrels are not aligned with the ports in the casings.

As the sax is played the leather pads dry out from moister. Eventually all the pads have to be replaced. At Agave Music a re-pad refers to replacing all the pads while replacing only the key silencers that are questionable or missing. This includes removing all keys, straightening bent keys/posts/body/neck, levelling pad cups as needed/levelling tone holes as needed, meticulously levelling and seating all pads, a complete regulation, oiling, play test and so on.  (Only available on certain newer saxophones)



It is important to understand that saxophones do not “either play or not”. The more they leak the more difficult they are to play. If you think you may be playing on a saxophone that is under-repaired we recommend you bring it in and have the sax checked out (even if another technician has already looked at it). We’ll let you know what can be improved, its play-ability and how much it would costs, all while-you-wait.


Done while-you-what as time and workload permit 


I recommend having your trumpet professionally cleaned every 1 or 2 years. Regular cleaning will help prevent valves from sticking, slides from freezing and corrosion from ruining the instrument.


Trombone slides should feel smooth without any “hang-ups”. I recommend each trombone be brought in once a year to clean, straighten, align and have dents removed. Many times even professional players are shocked by how easily their slide moves once it is repaired correctly. It is very important that only a properly trained technician works on your slide, even student slides.


Brass instruments are soft soldered together to allow parts to “break off” rather than causing more damage. Most of the time I can solder parts back on so you can barely tell anything ever happened.


While most dents do not significantly change the way your instrument plays keeping the brass instrument in good cosmetic condition will encourage the player to care for the it properly.

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