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Musical Instrument repair can be very simple when you follow a few easy instructions. Knowing how to make minor repairs on your musical instrument can save you hundreds of dollars on professional repair shop costs, and also help you out of a major jam. Countless musicians have had to perform on an instrument that had problems they could have easily fixed, if they just knew a few simple rules.

All woodwind instruments are built basically the same way. They all have pads underneath the keys. These pads are used to assure the proper sealing of the keys when closed with the fingers, and can easily move out of place with use. Most instruments contain a small screw right on the top of the key arm, and this problem can be fixed with the simple twist of a screwdriver. The tools you will need are a small jewelers screwdriver and a dollar bill. The dollar bill is used to test that the pad is seating correctly—place the dollar bill under the key, and press the key lightly with your finger. Gently pull on the dollar bill to see if the pad is closing equally on all four sides. Do you feel less pressure on the back of the pad? On the front, or the sides? Turn the screw and repeat this process until the pad sits the same on all sides. This process can be used for all keys on all woodwind instruments. With most woodwind instruments, this is the only common problem you will have.

In a addition to the normal problems of woodwind instruments, a common problem on the flute is with the head joint cork—if your instrument is chronically out of tune, the cork may be loose. To fix this problem, unscrew the cap on the top of the head joint, and use your cleaning rod (all flute players should have one of these—if you don’t, you can purchase one at your local music store) to push the cork out. Use the screw on the top of the cork to condense the cork, and then place it back in your head joint—the process is that simple, and now you will be able to play in tune!

Brass instruments do not have many problems, as their construction is very simple, but one common problem is for the mouthpiece to get stuck—the only way to fix this is to buy a mouthpiece puller from your local music store. If you cannot afford this, ask your band director or music teacher if they have one. With a mouthpiece puller, the process only takes a few seconds.

Now that you are armed with these few simple instructions, you will never again be caught before a performance without an instrument in tip-top condition! With practice, musical instrument repair can be fun and simple.