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Don't leave instruments abandoned or gathering dust. Many instruments can be repaired and given new life. It does not make sense to have unusable instruments taking up precious storage. Here are a couple of examples of instruments one school was actually going to throw away!

However, before you read on and get very excited, please realise I am primarily a performer, composer and teacher. My skills as a handyman/craftsman come way down the list, but I have discovered some ways of making some instruments usable again! Here are some of the jobs I have tackled.

This xylophone came in with perished and split rubber isolator strip and many of the note peg rubbers were missing. The school had all the note bars ... at least they were found when we had scrabbled about in the backs of cupboards and under the piles of bits on the "music trolley"! It took an hour to strip off the old rubber and replace it with new pins and rubbers and clean up the note bars that had gathered a lot of grime over the years.

Most schools seem to have a Granton glockenspiel or two lying around. They were built like tanks and often sound fine. Unfortunately they are no longer made and neither are the parts. The one above had seen many years service, but was unusable through neglect and age. The repair took about four hours and involved stripping off the old rubber and replacing it with commercially available rubber note pegs, rubbing down the sound box to bare wood and revarnishing with two coats of varnish, repainting the damper bar and replacing the missing felt strips, cleaning and polishing the note bars to remove the signs of age and oxidation.


In addition to glockenspiels, xylophones, metallophones and so on, many unpitched instruments can also be repaired. This includes some otherwise obsolete instruments like New Era timp-toms, for which I was able to have tuning clamps made by a local engineering company. While that source has now dried up, unfortunately, I am on the lookout for someone else to make them. By all means get in touch if these are what you need and I'll be spurred on to look harder. I should say at this point that if you have a professional performing quality instrument you need a specialist repair service, not my diy skills. I will happily tackle many jobs on educational and classroom instruments, but out of respect for your time, your work as a musician and your instrument that has probably cost you thousands I know my limitations!