Featured Saxophone--NEW Yamaha YAS-62III Alto Saxophone

I was brought to life in 2018 and like all my brothers and sisters, I went through our repair shop after arriving at Midwest Musical Imports for a thorough checkup. I’m happy to report that I received a clean bill of health. Yay! I am considered to be one of the most affordable and consistent instruments Yamaha has ever produced and some players even prefer me over the more expensive models. 🙂  Versatility is my middle name and I feel equally comfortable playing Classical, Jazz or anything else!

I’ve received some upgrades in recent years and I would love to share them with you. For starters, my new 62 style neck provides a faster response and greater control. Yamaha has also given me a bit of a makeover with some beautiful hand engraving on my bell. Finally!! I would love to become a part of your family and I come in a very nice semi-hard case with backpack straps so you can comfortably take me wherever you go.

For more information: https://www.mmimports.com/product/yamaha-yas-62iii-alto-saxophone/

Featured Bassoon of the Week--Fox 680 #56XXX

I’m just a young whippersnapper at only 5 years old!  My physical health has been given an A+ after my recent checkup with the bassoon doctor and I’m ready to run my next scale and etude practice marathon.   I have a powerful voice that projects very well, yet still I’m quite flexible.  If you are looking for a partner to help you keep up with the levels of the trombones and trumpets in group settings, I’m the one for you! I also have an Ab-Bb trill key for pesky passages in the Ravel Piano Concerto or the Mozart Bassoon Concerto. My right hand Eb trill key will make trilling your next favorite activity after scale and etude marathons! 😉

My dream match is a new Fox B2 bocal--I know we would make the perfect pair!! (I also really like matching with a Heckel bocal!)  Are you ready for your next bassoon marathon?  Take me home and let me show you how I can make your bassoon playing so much more enjoyable and fun! (And if you do, ask Nick to send one of my preferred bocals, too!)

For more information and photos:  https://www.mmimports.com/product/used-fox-680-56xxx-bassoon/

Featured Clarinet of the Week--Yamaha SEVR (NEW) (Bb)

I was born in 2018 and have traveled far and wide refining my skills as a clarinet. I was professionally setup at the Yamaha artillery in California and was hand-selected at the 2018 Midwest Clinic in Chicago.  The fine folks at MMI have taken me in and introduced me to wonderful new people, but I'm still looking for my forever home.

I sparkle with all silver keys and travel well with a compact case and cover. I have been described as having a warm and centered tone, similar to a Buffet Festival. I might not be most clarinetists first choice, but I am must try. You will be amazed at how easy I am to play and you will enjoy my ability to stay in tune!  Will you take me home on trial?

For more information and photos: https://www.mmimports.com/product/yamaha-custom-v-series-sevr-bb-clarinet/

Featured Oboe of the Week--Fox Maple Sayen

Fox Maple Sayen (NEW)

I was born in South Whitley, IN and the first maple Fox oboe of my type made its debut at the IDRS conference in 2018!  I’m made entirely of maple with a liner in both the top and bottom joints to prevent cracking.  If you prefer an oboe that feels light in your hands, I’m perfect for you!  I will help eliminate any wrist pain or stress caused by the weight of the oboe.  Let me lighten your load!  I’m very flexible, versatile, and perfect for chamber music, solo literature or orchestral playing.  I’m so excited to be part of the new oboe line up at Midwest Musical Imports!  I would love it if you were to take me on an oboe trial to see what a perfect duo we can be.  Bonus, I’m a lovely red color that will be admired every time you play me!

For more information and photos: https://www.mmimports.com/product/fox-maple-sayen-oboe/

Introducing Opinel Folding Utility Knives for Reedmaking

Recent trends in the world of bassoon reeds have introduced one of the great debates for a new reed-maker: knife or file? There are many advantages to both tools; while files can remove cane very quickly over a broader surface area, a sharp knife is able to make a precision scrape without compromising the structure of the blade to the same extent. Knives do, however, require more time to master the skill of scraping.

The other main issue with today's reed knives is the cost. The most recommended type of blade is the double hollow ground, which even at MMI will run you at least $40. With the cost of bassoons already so high, a young initiate to the world of reeds can't help but question the wisdom of the choices they've made. Personally, I balked at first at the cost of reed equipment and very often it still shocks me how costly some tools are.

Enter the Opinel knife

Opinel is a French knife manufacturer that produces quality blades for all types of purposes, from regular table knives to steak and chef's knives, as well as outdoor knives for camping, hunting, and much more. The blades are made of either carbon or stainless steel. The handles of most of their products are made of high quality wood and feel comfortable in the hand.

The best part is, at least for a reed-maker, the price. Now, of course, this brings to mind several questions for the more discerning reed enthusiast: is it made well? Will it keep from wearing out and rusting? Will it hold its edge? And the answer to all of those is yes, and remarkably so.

I was first introduced to the Opinel knife when I participated in an orchestra festival the summer of my junior year of undergrad. It was in a quaint seaside town in British Columbia. Every night after rehearsals we enjoyed exploring the town or heading to the beach right on the edge of the Puget sound. One day, for our "masterclass," the bassoon teacher took us aside to show us his reed-making process - pretty standard fare for a 2-week festival. The big takeaways from his lecture were to have cane ready in every step of processing, and to obtain one of these Opinel knives. He informed us that he'd been using one knife for several years without needing to sharpen it. While an oboist would cringe at the mention of such a fact, I was fascinated; because, naturally, I didn't like having to sharpen my reed knife every couple of days.

Blade grinds and their shapes

Image from Wikipedia

The most important aspect of any knife is, perhaps obviously, the blade. But what goes into a blade? How does it maintain its edge and what factors determine this? For reed-makers, one of the most advertised features of a knife is the grind of the blade. Reed knives are generally made with a hollow (#1) or chisel (also known as bevel, #4) grind. The bevel grind makes for a very effective cutting edge - it is a typical blade grind for Japanese kitchen knives. Conversely, the hollow grind, often used for shaving razors, makes a blade that is exceptionally sharp but structurally weak. This means that it will need to be sharpened more often, and consequently will need to be replaced more frequently as well. As a side note,  they should actually be sharpened using stropping, as opposed to using hard stone or glass (take note, oboists!).

Opinel knives, in contrast, have convex blades (#6). This is basically the opposite of the hollow grind, where the blades curve outward instead of inward. This means that the blade is structurally stronger and is able to hold its edge well while maintaining a good amount of sharpness. To me, this is the perfect marriage between practicality and utility. Bassoonists do not strictly speaking need blades that are as sharp the hollow ground knives - we don't dig into the cane the way an oboist does because of a bassoon reed's tapered slope. Rather than sharpness, longevity becomes the name of the game; I've been using my Opinel No.8 for five years and I've never looked back. The handle feels comfortable in to grip, much more so than any reed knife, and I've only needed to sharpen it a handful of times.

Opinel also has a fantastic variety of woods for their handles, and a plethora of other color options and even some etching patterns that look really amazing. In the future we hope to carry a greater variety of these types of handles. I think any practically-minded bassoonist will really fall in love with these knives, just like I have!

Reduced Pricing on Many New Selmer Saxophones for 2019!

We're happy to report that Selmer has greatly reduced the pricing on many of their professional model saxophones which means big savings for our customers. Please have a look below at the 2018 pricing vs. the reduced 2019 pricing and contact our saxophone specialist Brandon at brandon@mmimports.com with any questions.

Thanks!

51J Selmer Paris "Series II" Soprano Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $6,629.00 - Now $5,759.00!

52JU  Selmer Paris "Series II" Alto Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $6,759.00 - Now $5,599.00!

53J Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $8,029.00 - Now $6,509.00!

54JU Selmer Paris "Series II" Tenor Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $7,859.00 - Now $6,849.00!

55AJF Selmer Paris "Series II" Bari Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $13,959.00 - Now $12,269.00!

62J Selmer Paris "Series III" Alto Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $7,549.00 - Now $6,439.00!

64J Selmer Paris "Series III" Tenor Saxophone: (Standard Lacquer)
Was $8,539.00 - Now $7,369.00!

66AFJ Selmer Paris "Series III" Baritone Saxophone (Standard Lacquer)
Was $15,329.00 - Now $13,439.00!

72 Selmer Paris "Reference 54" Alto Saxophone: (Dark Lacquer, Hand-Engraved)
Was $7,959.00 - Now $6,869.00!

74F Selmer Paris "Reference 54" Tenor Saxophone: (Vintage Matte, No Engraving)
Was $9,429.00 - Now $8,579.00!

84 Selmer Paris "Reference 36" Tenor Saxophone: (Regular Lacquer, Hand Engraving)
Was $9429.00 - Now $8,579.00!

52AXOS  "SeleS" Alto Saxophone: (Regular Lacquer)
Was $3,599.00 - Now $3,349.00!

84F Selmer Paris "Reference36" Tenor Saxophone: (Vintage Matte, No Engraving)
Was $9,429.00 - Now $8,579.00!

72F Selmer Paris "Reference 54" Alto Saxophone: (Vintage Matte, No Engraving)
Was $7,959.00 - Now $6,869.00!

74 Selmer Paris "Reference 54" Tenor Saxophone (Vintage Lacquer, No Engraving)
Was $9,429.00 - Now $8,579.00!

52JBL Selmer Paris "Series II" Alto Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $7,259.00 - Now $6,579.00!

52JM Selmer Paris "Series II" Alto Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $7,259.00 - $6,519.00!

52JS Selmer Paris "Series II" Alto Saxophone (Silver-Plated Lacquer)
Was $7,569.00 - Now $7,069.00!

55AFJM Selmer Paris "Series II" Baritone Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $14,529.00 - Now $14,189.00!

51JBL Selmer Paris "Series II" Soprano Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $7,159.00 - Now $6,759.00!

51JS Selmer Paris "Series II" Soprano Saxophone (Silver-Plated Lacquer)
Was $7,459.00 - Now $6,799.00!

54JBL Selmer Paris "Series II" Tenor Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $8,359.00 - Now $7,909.00!

54JM Selmer Paris "Series II" Tenor Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $8,359.00 - Now $8,049.00!

54JS Selmer Paris "Series II" Tenor Saxophone (Silver-Plated Lacquer)
Was $8,859.00 - Now $8,499.00!

62JBL Selmer Paris "Series III" Alto Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $8,159.00 - Now $7,609.00!

62JM Selmer Paris "Series III" Alto Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $8,159.00 - Now $7,489.00!

62JS Selmer Paris "Series III" Alto Saxophone (Silver-Plated Lacquer)
Was $8,359.00 - Now $7,969.00!

66AFJBL Selmer Paris "Series III" Baritone Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $17,129.00 - Now $15,679.00!

66AFJM Selmer Paris "Series III" Baritone Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $17,129.00 - Now $15,939.00!

53JBL Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $8,679.00 - Now $7,709.00!

53JM Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $8,679.00 - Now $7,599.00!

53JS Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone (Silver-Plated Lacquer)
Was $8,959.00 - Now $7,709.00!

64JBL Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone (Black Lacquer)
Was $9,129.00 - Now $8,739.00!

64JM Selmer Paris "Series III" Soprano Saxophone (Matte Lacquer)
Was $9,129.00 - Now $8,589.00!

Job Opening--Woodwind Repair Technician

Midwest Musical Imports is looking for full-time woodwind repair technician.  Applicants should be experienced in all aspects of woodwind repair, preferably with a focus on oboe and bassoon repairs.   We pride ourselves on quality repairs over quantity.  Instruments we repair include:  oboes, English horns, bassoons, contrabassoons, clarinets, flutes and saxophones. Our clientele includes beginning players, schools, college professors, and symphonic professionals.

Qualified candidates should be a graduate of a band instrument repair course and have a basic knowledge/skill to different types of padding, adhesion, key fitting, dent and tenon work.  Preferred skills include body cracks and tenon replacement, but on-site training for these is available. Other necessary skills include:  machine tool operations, soldering/brazing, and understanding of levers, spring, hinges and threaded adjustments.  Candidate will regularly work with customers and must be customer service orientated with good people skills.

Permanent full-time benefits include:  competitive pay, bonuses, paid vacation, paid holidays, retirement plan, generous employee discounts, paid NAPBIRT dues and ongoing educational classes (including attending NAPBIRT conferences and meeting with woodwind manufacturers.)

Pay is commensurate with experience. This is an hourly position.  Current store hours are:  Monday and Thursday 9-7, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday 9-5, and Saturday from 9-3.  Schedule may be flexible.  Location is in Minneapolis, MN, in a brand new, light-filled repair shop.

Please send a resume and cover letter via email to: Jessica@mmimports.com  Position is open until filled.  Must be eligible to work in the United States.  Qualified applicants will be contacted to schedule a bench test.

To find more information regarding Midwest Musical Imports, please visit our website at:  www.mmimports.com

Bassoon Brands and Models

Choosing the right bassoon can be a daunting task. This guide will clarify what bassoon brands and models we offer as you seek the right instrument for you. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone, so please don't hesitate to call us at 1 (612) 331-4717. Click on the model number of each listing below for a link to our store page for that instrument.

Midwest Musical Imports is proud to offer:
Fox Bassoons
Heckel Bassoons
Puchner Bassoons
Walter Bassoons
Wolf Bassoon
Yamaha Bassoons
Read More...

Tips from our Techs--Humidity Issues

 

Tip from head repair technician, Eric Anderson

Summer is that time of year when humidity increases and the wood body of instruments begins to expand.  This happens along the width and length of the wood grain affecting both the fit of keys, levers, and tenons.   When the wood expands in the summer months, woodwind instruments often don't fit together without a struggle, if they even fit together at all! We find that this issue is most prevalent during the first year of a new instrument's life, and especially prevalent in newer clarinets.

If this happens with your instrument to the point where abnormal force is required to take it apart, it's best to have an experienced repair technician take care of it.  A technician will be able to adjust the fit of the tenon cork, the exposed wood on the tenon, or sometimes both.  Ignoring the problem and blowing warm, humid air down your instrument will only make it worse!

The humidity will also make keys fit looser, but don't worry!  We never fit keys too tightly in the summertime because they will most likely expand in the fall/winter and potentially bind once the humidity drops.  Loose key fittings won't harm your instrument, they only cause them to be slightly noisier.  If you can live with the loose key fitting in the summer, great!  It should return to normal in the fall/winter.  If it is an issue for you, we can certainly fix it, and if we do, don't forget to come back to get the fit readjusted after the humidity changes.

If you ever experience issues with your instrument and don't know what to do, remember we are only a phone call away and are happy to help!!

Introducing our newest repair technician, Brian!

We are happy to announce that we have a new team member!  Brian DeGayner has joined MMI in the repair department.  He graduated from Southeast Technical in Red Wing with a diploma in band instrument repair in 2016. Prior to joining the repair team at MMI, Brian worked for Twin Cities Instrument Repair in Edina, focusing on flute and double reeds. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and attends state and regional conferences. Brian spends most of his free time outdoors, or playing in local orchestras.

We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better!

What got you started in repair? 

"After a few years of playing horn, I realized my love for working with my hands could be applicable to the industry. After talking with Greg Beckwith, I dropped everything and went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing."

What groups were you playing in prior to going to school for repair?

"I have played for several orchestras around Minnesota. Mankato Symphony, St. Andrew’s, Bloomington Symphony, Minneapolis Civic, Wayzata Symphony, and currently St. Paul Civic."

Any favorite pieces? 

"I love Mahler’s symphonies, especially 3, 4, and 5. Ein Heldenleben, Holst’s Jupiter, Sibelius....basically anything horn-heavy. Otherwise, I’m usually partial to playing in small ensembles, such as Daniel Baldwin’s Landscapes for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano, Martinu’s Quartet for Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Snare Drum, or Barber’s Summer Music."

What is your favorite repair to do?

I love a challenge. My favorite work to do is overhauling instruments: breathing new life into an instrument is very rewarding, and hearing an instrument I fixed on stage always makes me smile.

Any hobbies at home?

I would consider myself a maker. I’ve used my machining experience to make plenty of hand tools and a few machines to help with various projects. Currently, I’m refinishing my tool chest, painting models, and working on my jewelry making skills. I wouldn’t mind getting into watch and clock mechanism repair...

You’ve mentioned your love for the outdoors...

I go hiking and camping as much as I can, year round. I am an Eagle Scout (Troop 494, White Bear Lake, 2009), so I basically grew up outdoors. My family moves a lot of timber every year, and I hunt and fish whenever I can.

 

Please join us in welcoming Brian to MMI!  We are so happy to have him part of our team!

Happy National Teacher's Day!

We are so appreciative of all of the teachers that have helped us become who we are, and the teachers we help in the store!

In honor of National Teacher's Day, we are offering free standard shipping through Sunday on any accessory order shipped within the US.
Use code WELOVETEACHERS at the checkout.

From MMI, a HUGE thank you to every teacher, not only on your special day, but always!!