Maintenance Tips

Each month we hope to help you keep your instruments in excellent shape and in the proper playing condition, so don't forget to check back often for more helpful hints!

MAY: Is your guitar "buzzing" or has it become more difficult to play recently? If so, you likely need to have the guitar's neck adjusted. Yes, that can be done! The rapidly changing weather around here can affect the wood from which your guitar is made. Changes in the temperature and humidity can cause your guitar neck to move, either increasing the distance between the strings and fingerboard (making the guitar more difficult to play) or decreasing that distance enough to make the strings "buzz" on the frets. Both problems can be easily fixed if you bring your guitar to A-major Music for an adjustment; the typical cost of which is $10 or less.

JUNE: Believe it or not, strings do not last forever. Even if they're not broken, over time strings on all instruments - guitars, basses, mandolins, ukuleles, violins, cellos, etc. - wear out and need to be replaced. Strings older than six months lose tone, elasticity, and clarity due to usage, oxidation, and the build-up of finger grease and oil. Replacing them can give your instrument new life with a bigger, fuller sound. If you would like us to restring your instrument, cost ranges from $10-$15 dollars for labor plus the price of a new string set.

JULY: It is time to clean your trumpet, cornet, trombone, tuba and baritone! Did you know that this can be done at home? Cleaning a brass instrument is not unlike washing the dishes, and requires the same utensils: water, soap, and a brush (or two). Stop in to get the cleaning supplies you need, and we'll be more than happy to give you a quick lesson on how to clean your instrument to have it ready for the school year and marching band. If you'd rather not get your hands dirty, we're more than happy to clean your instrument for you. A basic soap and water bath starts from $35. A more thorough chemical clean and flush starts at $75.

AUGUST: What's the best method of keeping your reed instrument clean and free from repair? It's as easy as using a swab. Regular usage of a swab - be it cloth or silk - can keep your instrument's pads dry. Doing so will elongate the life of the pads which will in turn prevent air leakage, making the instrument perform better for a longer period of time. Using a pad saver, which is kept inside the instrument when it's not in use, will supplement the benefits regular swabbing will have on your horn. Swabs cost as little as $5.00 (depending on the type), and pad savers are available for $15 to $25 (again, depending on the instrument). It's a small price to pay to keep your instrument in tip-top shape and out of the repair shop!

SEPTEMBER: One thing both new and experienced reed players can do is learn to maintain their reeds better. While new players tend to go through reeds faster than more experienced players, simple tricks can help everyone keep their reeds fresher for longer. Soaking a reed prior to using is something every reed player should do, but investing in a reed case - especially one with a built-in humidifier - can greatly extend a reed's life. A one-time $20+ purchase of a reed case (no matter if you're a clarinet, sax, oboe or bassoon player) can pay for itself in a matter of months by keeping your reeds safe, flat, and ready to play at a moment's notice.

OCTOBER: With the weather beginning to change, it's time to think about humidifying your wooden instrument. It doesn't matter if it's a guitar, violin, cello, or clarinet - if it's made of wood, the weather can greatly affect your instrument. A $20+ humidifier which can be kept in your instrument's case can lessen the affect the cold, dry winter months have on your instrument. This will aid in keeping your guitar/violin from warping or cracking and increase the instrument's overall longevity. It's a must have item in this climate!