No Matter the Damage, We Can Repair It
Someone twisted the Leadpipe of a tuba when trying to get the mouthpiece out. This is what it looks like before and after we got it.
Doesn’t this horn look great now?
This horn was scheduled in to repair a loose brace but arrived having been run over by a truck!
Repairs to brass instruments include dents, stuck or broken slides, and seized valves. We also refurbish heirloom instruments and sometimes we are asked to salvage a horn that has been run over by a car or truck (literally).
Dents in the bell area are generally easy to fix. Dents in the smaller tubing are more difficult because the horn may have to be dismantled to gain access to the dent.
Stuck slides can often be freed with the right mix of heat and penetrating oil. However, if a slide has been stuck for a long time, it may have to be taken apart and each piece carefully removed using special tools.
Trumpet valves often stick because the valve casing has been distorted from yanking on sticky slides. We use a special honing machine to get everything back to round again. Rotary valves are more difficult to repair because the parts are pressed together and have bushings that require special tools to dismantle and adjust. Sticky valves may just need to be cleaned using a unique method we learned from clockmakers.
Heirloom jobs usually require careful disassembly and straightening. We can apply a matte finish in place of old, damaged lacquer. Salvage jobs often require us to manufacture parts when no repair parts are available.
We will provide a free assessment of your instrument and estimate the repair cost. Our shop rate is $75 per hour and $50 per hour for students. Most light repair work and cleaning can be done for less than $100. Heirloom refurbishing will cost from $150 to $300. Repair of more serious damage can run from $150 to $400. Salvage work can be around $800 for really crushed instruments.
Leaking pads and sticking keys are the main causes of woodwind malfunction. Many customers arrive expecting that their instrument will need a complete pad job. This can be very expensive, typically $300 to $600. However, unless the pads are ripped or deeply grooved, the pads can be adjusted rather than replaced. Adjustment (we call it regulation) can be done for $40 to $100 depending on the amount of regulation required. If the key work is bent and pads are torn, the repair will likely be $60 to $200 depending on the amount of damage. We also do complete repad work, although it is usually not necessary unless you are trying to restore the instrument to like-new.
Woodwind instrument keywork and mechanisms are difficult to clean and maintain for the individual player. Disassembling a woodwind instrument is complicated, and if you try to fix it yourself you can inadvertently get oil on the pads and ruin them. Putting it back together is many times more difficult. We can dismantle, clean and oil a flute for less than $100. A bass clarinet is the most difficult woodwind to work on and dismantling, cleaning and oiling starts at $100 if there are no regulation or pad issues.
We will provide a free assessment of your instrument and estimate the repair cost. Our shop rate is $75 per hour and $50 per hour for students. Most light repair work and cleaning can be done for less than $100.
The most common failure of an electrical instrument (keyboard, amplifier) is mechanical damage created over time by constantly inserting and removing the power and patch cords. Usually, the damage can be repaired for less than $100.
If electrical components have failed, the expense is in the time it takes to track down the specific component. Sometimes re-soldering a component is all that is required. Component failure can make the repair too expensive and it may be better to buy a new product. We charge an $80 service fee to track down the cause of the failure if it is electrical and not mechanical.
Here Is What Our Customers Say
Sir John Franklin School
“Daryl has been repairing instruments for my middle school band program for 4 years. He has been tremendously easy to work with, prompt in responding to requests for repair and innovative in many ways – finding ways to repair the ‘irreparable’ and looking for inexpensive solutions to some challenging repairs. His pricing is very reasonable and he is always looking into ways to do the job better. For instance, he has come out several times and spent the day right before a concert – addressing any concerns students have with their instruments on the spot, when they come to class. This has been tremendously effective, knowing instruments are going to be working on concert day! His latest innovation has taken it a step further – by creating his own mobile repair shop. He can come and park right outside the band room and he has everything he needs right there. I have very much appreciated the excellent work Daryl has provided for us!” Jane McLauchlin, Music – Sir John Franklin School, Calgary, AB
Former Principal Oboe, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
“I have used Caswell Music Works several times, including at least two emergency repairs and have been very happy with the results. Thank you for your professionalism and willingness to work outside of normal business hours.”
Calgary Trumpet Player
Daryl worked on a trumpet of mine that needed some major surgical intervention. It was a C trumpet that I had purchased used, and that turned out to have some serious intonation challenges due perhaps to unskilled repairs/alterations in its past. It was great to talk to someone like Daryl who clearly has both the technical expertise of an engineer as well as the sensitivity of a musician. I appreciated his methodical approach, and I felt completely comfortable having my trumpet go under the knife with Dr. Caswell. He performed the work carefully and precisely, and I am delighted to be able now to use this trumpet in performance. I have no hesitation in recommending Daryl for your instrument repair needs.
Sean Perrin – Clarinet Player and Teacher
Working with Daryl is always a pleasure. His work is exacting, thorough, and affordable. Highly recommended to all musicians in Calgary and area
Cheryl Grunsell – Band Director
As a beginning Junior High band teacher, Daryl has been an invaluable resource this year. Several times he has come to our school, fixed instruments on site and also taken the time to help me understand how they work, how to perform preventative maintenance and how to make minor repairs myself. On the day of our Winter Concert we had a catastrophic failure with one of the tenor saxes. I texted Daryl at 11:45 am and he showed up at 1:30 pm and repaired the instrument which was used in a performance mere hours later. Other repair shops take weeks (even months in some cases). I have enlisted Daryl to help overhaul our entire instrument collection in June so they will be cleaned and in excellent working order for the next school year. I am so grateful to Daryl for the amazing repair work and wonderful customer service.
William D. Pratt School
Sherman Montgomery – Trumpet Player – Band Director
Daryl did a great job on my professional Benge cornet. Service was fast and done with care. Beautifully done.
Melanie Collison – Bass Clarinet Player
Daryl Caswell has taken care of my vintage bass clarinet for a number of years. I’m happy to say his excellent work gives me the best out of this extremely complex, delicate instrument
Ilana Dahl – Clarinet Player.
Daryl always takes the time to assess the issue at hand and fix it properly – highly recommend!