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comment by scissortail

I feel extremely lucky--I landed in a career I love right out of college. I repair wind instruments for a living, and it's satisfying in quite a few ways:

>I constantly have to solve problems every day. I have decision trees that I run through, and am always refining them and establishing new ones. In the same vein, I encounter completely new problems on a regular basis, and have to solve them creatively. This is partially because I am still green (<5 years of experience), but even my mentors who have been doing this for 3-4 decades still see completely new problems fairly frequently.

>I get to help people make music. Even though my own musicianship is covered in meters of rust, I am still meaningfully involved in making music happen. Perhaps most meaningfully, I help kids play (and hopefully learn to love) music. Even though kids are often little shits who bang up really nice instruments, I want them to have as few external barriers to success as possible.

>I get to work with my hands. There's something satisfying about this that is difficult to describe. I get serious satisfaction from making something that can barely wheeze out a note into something that sings. There is definitely a fine degree of craftsmanship and aesthetic judgement that can be applied to the work, too. There are also tons of adjacent skills and bodies of knowledge that I can refine to make my work better--woodworking, metalworking, chemisty, toolmaking, the list goes on. Hell, I even plan to learn drafting and 3-D printing in the future.

Plus, scheduling is flexible and I get to play with fire and acids all day. What's not to like?

cgod  ·  860 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Can I ask you something?

I have a Selmar Mk VI Tenor that I want to sell.

It's sat in a case for the more than a decade. I take it out and play it about once a year, the pads seem good, there is one spring that needs to be replaced.

Should I get it reconditioned before I try to sell it?

How much should that cost?

Thanks if you have any thoughts.

scissortail  ·  860 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, it's hard to say anything for sure without both seeing the horn in person and knowing the geographic area you are in--prices in the industry have no real standards, and fluctuate wildly depending on where you are.

My first and most important recommendation is to take it to your local repairperson. If they are worth their salt, they will assess the instrument's condition honestly and for free. Not many of us are skilled at valuation for sales, but they should be able to tell you what it needs and how much it will cost. Try to get someone with at least a decade of experience in woodwind repair, if possible.

The Mark VI is a quality horn, and will likely fetch a decent price even with a broken/missing spring (so long as you are up-front about it, of course). I personally would get it repaired before selling, though. If your assessment is pretty close and it only needs one spring replacement and some regulation work, it should cost very roughly between $45 and $85 (again depending on where you are). That said, horns sitting for a decade often need more than that, usually because of the age of the pads (or if they have been eaten by bugs). A full repad of a tenor (sometimes a necessity in these cases) will almost definitely run north of $350 and sometimes $600 or more.

Again, an assesment by a trusted technician in person is the best way to understand what your horn needs. It should only take a few minutes for a good technician to make an accurate assesment. I hope this was helpful in some way, and good luck on the sale!

cgod  ·  860 days ago  ·  link  ·  


It was last repadded 20 years ago, I shouldn't be surprised that it's a hell of a lot more expensive now.