Instrument Repair Technicians Without Borders? Bookmark and Share

Instrument Repair Technicians Without Borders?

Postby iattp » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:27 am

Okay, living in Macedonia I can admit to there NOT being a dearth of amazing horn players. Not lots of tuba players that I've met, but there are also not that many tubas to begin with.

I met an awesome tuba player last weekend, Aki. He was playing a wedding down the street from where I live, and the sound pulled me out of my house. His helicon, peace and blessings be upon it, was beaten up. Rubberbands for springs, electrical tape for spit valves, and God knows what for soldering joints. He's not alone. I've seen some pretty gnarly horns out here.

I can do some work with him, as I know a FEW things about tuba repair, but not enough, no, not by any means.

Which lead me to an idea:

We've got Doctors, Journalists, and what not w/o Borders. Why not instrument repair techs? Come out to a country with horns. It doesn't HAVE to be Macedonia, but I'd be happy if it were. You'd be put up with a family, get to live in another country, share your knowledge of horn repair (aka hold teach-ins) fix a few busted horns, give kids the chance to play music, and have a great time.

I've worked on some of the trumpets at my local music school. They weren't TOO bad, I just took them apart, cleaned them, oiled, greased, aligned where possible, and took inventory of their stuff. There are a few that need soldering, but I don't have the equipment or knowledge to fix that *yet.

Do you think there would be any interest in doing something like this? Like Peace Corps (but not 2 years, unless ya wanna) but for horns.

There are, as far as I've heard, no technicians in Macedonia, and there are TONS of horn players.

So, ideas? Feedback? Desire?
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Re: Instrument Repair Technicians Without Borders?

Postby bort » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:23 pm

Sounds to me like a business opportunity for someone in (or willing to live in) Macedonia to get the training, accumulate the tools, and operate a successful business.

All 3 of those are difficult and time-consuming to do... but if capitalism is favorable in Macedonia, then this is about as good as it gets -- filling a obvious void to provide a service that people want and need.

Otherwise, the idea of something-for-nothing (with brass repair) seems of little benefit to most people with the repair skills. Perhaps someone could be coaxed to be paid to travel there and train people how to do this... but I doubt it would happen for free.
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Re: Instrument Repair Technicians Without Borders?

Postby The Big Ben » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:00 pm

My dentist currently is in Africa for a month doing dental work for free through his work with the Rotary Club. He likes it because he is doing good for some people who couldn't afford dental care even if it were available. The organization does some training in teeth cleaning and the like to try to prevent dental problems in some who could be serviced by local people.

One reason he can do this is because he does not have to make any money by going to Africa. It can be supported by his work and income in the US. As much as I'm sure horn jockeys would like it, I doubt that the income of a full time repair studio in the US could support a month in Macedonia working for free.
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Re: Instrument Repair Technicians Without Borders?

Postby iattp » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:34 pm

Yeah, I'm not saying only Macedonia, but I do get it...it's not easy. It's more of an idea, and if it were possible, what would it take? Capitalism favorable in Macedonia? Sorta...depends.

It wouldn't necessarily have to be a situation where all the shop equipment is packed up and brought over. Perhaps someone on the ground would be able to come up with some of the necessary tools and/or improvise what is needed. It's kind of like an adventure of sorts. Maybe something a retired technician would be interested in doing, or something a journeyman might do. Honestly, it was an idea that popped in my head, and knowing how difficult things can be, I realized it MAY be somewhat of a pipe-dream, but it's not something I'm willing to push off into the dustbins of my ideas (like learning Hindi for a girl).
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Conn 20j - Gudrun
York Eb Sousaphone - Ellie Mae
King K-90 - Bazookaphone
Červeny Bb helicon - Brandon
Ultratone P-R - Blatmobile
Eb tuba - Commander Riker
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