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!!

Visit us at the 2017 ClarinetFest in Orlando!!!

We are excited to be a part of ClarinetFest 2017!! The annual clarinet convention will take place in Orlando, FL from July 26-29. Tori recently returned from Buffet, where she and Richie Hawley hand-selected an amazing assortment of clarinets that will be available for trial. Also available will be Epplesheim's Contrabass clarinet for testing. One of our repair technicians will be doing free repairs throughout the show. A large variety of accessories will also be available for sale. And if all of this isn't enough, stop by to see Tori, Brandon, and Jessica's smiling faces!! =)

Virtual Tour of Our New Location

We absolutely love our new location and think you will, too!!  The store has doubled in size!!  We've added practice/lesson rooms, a recital hall, increased the size of our repair shop and sales floor.  Please stop by for a visit!  We'd love to show you around!

Our repair staff working hard in the new repair shop!

Our new recital hall with seating capacity of 60!

One of our new teaching/practice studios!

A street view of our new space.

We look forward to welcoming you in the store soon!

Schedule your instrument repair now!

Our repair department wants to remind you all that now is a great time to get your instrument repaired!

We are currently at a 1 week turn around!  This is the fastest we've ever been!  Send your instrument in for repair now to beat the summer rush!!!

As a reminder, here are your servicing options:
  • Daily Walk-in RepairsSame Day Turnaround Convenience
    Walk-In Repairs will be limited to one hour maximum bench time.
  • Appointment System: 1 Week Turnaround; Choose Your Repair Date
    This flexible option allows you to be without your instrument for the shortest time.
    As the summer nears, we may not have as many appointment slots available.  Call Tori, our Scheduling Coordinator, for more details.
  • Regular Repair Queue: 1 Week Turnaround as of 4/20/17
    Call for details about our current wait time, especially as the summer nears.
    We request Regular Repair Queue horns to stay at MMI before being serviced.
  • Rush Repairs: Limited Availability at an emergency rate.
    Please note that emergency work including body restoration, crack pinning and key maintenance may be a multiple day process.
For further details, please visit our repair shop webpage:
https://www.mmimports.com/repair-services/
Call us today to see how we can help keep your instrument in top playing condition!
We look forward to meeting you!
Best wishes,

Eric, Matt, Ginny, Caleb and Allen

 

Thank you for attending our grand opening celebration!

I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone that came to our grand opening celebration! For those of you that came, emailed, sent flowers or called with your best wishes, we are extremely grateful. Below are some photos from the event.

A big thank you again to our generous sponsors/vendors: Buffet-Crampon, Fox Products, Loree, Puchner, Heckel, D'Addario, Peak, and Clark Fobes.

We look forward to many more events and please keep an eye on our calendar for updates!

Best wishes,
Jessica Nelson, General Manager

Owner and founder, Mike Aamoth gets a thumbs up after the Friday night reception from long-time customer, David Braslau.

Katie with customers at the Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

 

Friday night reception.

Eric thanks a customer after work in the repair shop.

Our first customer during the celebration on Friday!! Jessica with her friend and oboist, Siri Garnaas

Friday was repair technician, Matt Reich's birthday! We surprised him with a cake.

Julie Gramolini William, Chris Marshall, and Greg Williams, of the MN Orchestra during their trio performance
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Instrument Cases - Is Yours Damaging Your Instrument?

Instrument CasesAs many players know, our instruments travel just as much as we do.  Our instruments spend quite a bit of time being removed from and placed into their cases.  If you're investing in your instrument, be sure to invest in an instrument case that cares for your woodwind too.

Many instruments that come through our repair shop suffer from ill fitting cases.  Some cases can actually be detrimental to your instrument's safety.  Reoccurring problems on your horn (rods becoming loose, keys going out of alignment) might actually be caused by the way an instrument fits in the case. We have seen bent keys from cases fitting both too tight or with excessive movement.  If your current case is not fit to your instrument, be sure to attend to this issue.  Scratched plating and blemishes in the body of an instrument can be caused by a loose bocal, screwdriver or other items left in the case.  Consider a case with an outer zipper pouch to collect all of your accessories!  We're here to help and our sales team has many options to offer when considering updating your case.   Visit our online store to see our options for cases:  oboe casesbassoon casesclarinet casessaxophone cases.  We can also special order cases--call us for more details.

Choosing the Right Instrument

The staff at Midwest Musical Imports has extensive experience performing and teaching on our respective instruments, in addition to the sales we do every day. We want you to make an informed decision and purchase an instrument that will serve you well for years  We hope that these guide will give you a more clear picture of what we have to 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 1-800-926-5587. Click the appropriate link below for your instrument buyer’s guide so you can get started on your research.

Choosing the right Oboe or English Horn

Choosing the right Bassoon

Choosing the right Clarinet

Choosing the right Saxophone

Reeds and Weather

objuliepaul-reedThe weather in Minneapolis took an upward turn overnight last night. Our temperatures are now in double digits above zero for the first time in weeks! With a dramatic change in weather you might find a change in your reeds.

I don't know if anyone has come to any scientific conclusions on how reeds react to different weather changes, but for most of us we just know that when the weather shifts, so will our reeds. We just don't always know how they'll change. There are some things you can do to even out the bumps though. These tips might also help you when you travel to a slightly different climate or altitude than your home. Your Mileage May Vary.

Try soaking up your reeds briefly, then just putting them away. Give them a chance to adjust to the new weather pattern without stressing them by playing. You'll find they've acclimated to the new conditions the next day.

Long term, you can spend more days in the reed making process. I find that a reed that has some time to settle as a blank before beginning the finishing process, and given frequent but short playing sessions for the first week after finishing, will usually be more stable over weather changes (and last longer) than reeds made and finished in just a few short sessions. For single reed players, this translates to a gradual break-in process for new reeds out of the box.

For more tips, visit the Tips and Resources section of our blog.

The problem with metronomes...

MetronomeThere's at least a dozen jokes about metronomes, but they can be one of the most helpful tools for a musician to play with technical and rhythmical accuracy. There's more to using a metronome than just setting the metronome to performance tempo and attempting to keep up. Here are some strategies for using  metronome more effectively.

1. Start way slower than you think you need to. You'll clean up your fingering and embouchure technique greatly if you practice at VERY slow and controlled speeds. To make sure you're not speeding up, lock that metronome at a subdivided tempo and stay with it.

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Clarinet Reeds Guide

Reeds

Reeds can be one of the most frustrating, but important, parts of playing any woodwind instrument. Reeds are expensive, and many times parents opt for the cheapest box of reeds available but this can have serious effects on a young player's musical development. Cheap reeds can be stuffy and hard to play, making it difficult to produce a good sound. There are many different brands of reeds and they come in different strengths, shapes or cuts. Read More...