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Hi, Matt. I thought I'd start the year acknowledging something good and you came right in mind.
You don't remember me, but about 6 years ago I had a old conn tenor sax overhauled by you. I was quick sick and wasn't able to play test it. Then, a kid came along, then graduate school came along and you can imagine the rest...
This past weekend was the first time I actually got to play that sax. It was always the back up of the back up horn and I barely played it, probably because I didn't think the quality was good enough but mostly because it was such an unwieldy horny. It always felt out of sync, unbalanced and obtrusive. It never felt comfortable to play or sounded good.
Last weekend I gave it a try, with a 6 year old overhaul done by you and I must say it almost brought me to tears. That sax is pretty old (there's an 1918 inscription on it). It played like butter and I was amazed at how jovial, alive, bright and aggressive it sounded, even for a non-pro horn. I can't stop playing it now.
So, long story short, thanks for this. Really. I'm really, really enjoying playing this sax. From years of neglect inside my storage, it's a horn that can't seem to leave my living room. I felt as if I have regained another child.
Best wishes for you and your family in 2018. Keep up the awesome work!
Matt overhauled my Balanced Action 24xxx tenor. It came back literally a different horn. The sound is rich and deep and response is quick. The low B flat comes out effortlessly. The action is precise and smooth and silent - really like a new horn, but it has the old rich sound, an ultimate combination.
Matt is great to work with. Communication is open. He is precise and careful and thorough and it shows in the horn.
He's a true craftsperson.
I play a Super 20 Alto or Tenor daily. Matt just completed a full overhaul on my Series Three Super 20 Alto. I'll have a hard time describing the amazing difference here in this review. Everything written before me is absolutely true. The horn is a completely different horn for the better. Like Matt says "Better than new from the factory". I imagine this is how King wanted all their horns to be! It feels perfect under the fingers, easy to play top to bottom. The mechanical setup is perfection. The intonation as a result is perfect, spot on. There are no hesitations in achieving any timbre or attack. It is the easiest blowing horn I own, using the same mouthpiece/reed combination as before. Matt's pad work is exquisite. You should fully trust Matt in his advice for pad and resonator choice. I have heard him play, he knows what sounds good. But he also is a great listener in order to fulfill the customer's wishes. As a result of Matt's work my playing has gained some confidence. I feel like I'm driving a Formula 1 race car to the supermarket!I play weekly in a traditional low key church setting as well as a full out contemporary worship band with a R & B horn section. A horn this well set up makes that transition very easy. The only problem is now all my other horns seem slighty sloppy in contrast! No one else will touch my horns for anything major if I can help it. I wish Matt were closer for all the routine minor adjustments as well. It's worth the wait, trust me! If everybody was this professional life would be so much easier! Outstanding job Matt, Thank you!
Apologies to Matt for the late review, but better late than never! I was lucky enough to hook up w/Matt back in May 2015, and asked him to help me find a great, easy-playing Alto from the days (couldn’t shell out the big bucks for a Mark VI). He happened to have just finished overhauling a CONN 1933 Transitional 6M Alto 254xxx, and told me it was a fantastic horn. When Matt tells you something, TRUST HIM! I did and bought it for $2550. BEST HORN BUY I EVER MADE!! What a great playing horn – what an amazing job he did putting it into perfect playing condition. Great SOUND, Great ACTION, Great INTONATION – I couldn’t be happier! I can’t guarantee you it plays better than a Mark VI – it may or may not… But, for me THIS HORN IS PERFECT! Thanks, Matt!!
I just got back my Mark VI after Matt performed his magic. Before the overhaul the sax could best be described as tired. Very weak projection and sloppy action in the keys. Additionally, low B and B flat very difficult to play with any semblance of intonation. Other issues too numerous to mention in this forum. Prior to the overhaul Matt and I discussed going to metal resonators and kangaroo pads and he dissuaded me from both. The horn came back a monster. Horn has much greater projection yet still keeps that darker mellow tone that I love from the 6. Keys all pop with authority and at the risk of sounding glib, playing now feels like I am driving a Mercedes Benz as opposed to a 1962 Plymouth. Matt is a true professional. He is not only a master at his craft, he treats you with with respect, and gives you his undivided attention during any phone call when discussing any issue involving your sax. Lastly, if you are considering an overhaul, Matt is your guy. If you have to wait for his service, then wait. As a new customer I had to wait a year. It was worth it.
Matt recently overhauled my sterling silver Series III Selmer Alto, which has seen several sets of expert hands, and he did a stellar, first-rate job. I've waited about 6 months to write this review to give it the credibility that it should have.
This horn had in some ways benefitted and in some ways suffered from experimentation (as one might expect) from other highly competent techs, so I decided to have Matt give it a crack while I was away in some military training. He listened carefully to what I was looking for, and was professional from start to finish.
There are glowing reviews of Matt's work all over here, so I'll focus on the job itself (from a player point of view): my alto was restored to a state in which I felt like I was fully responsible for what came out the other end of the horn, and where the saxophone played like itself. This is intended to be a high compliment. It involved no fancy resonators or pads. The key heights feel normal (they had previously been heightened to open up the sound, but at the cost of some facility: here I think the resonance stayed despite the correction). If you're into stereo hifi, imagine that feeling when you hear a solid "reference" output, and I've been very pleased by that. From what I can tell, the work is concentrated on zero-gimmick, solid fundamental technician work: perfect mechanical action, excellent pad work. This is a horn I use exclusively for classical music, and I was also pleased to find it very responsive, alive, and not muffled as prior work with white Roo pads has done a little bit to my horns.
Speaking of which: the Series III alto for me is heavily on the homogenous-sounding side of the character spectrum, and especially in classical playing it can be easy to think things are "right" when it's not hard to produce a stable, unoffensive, and controlled sound. In retrospect, I think some of this feeling of control comes from leaks, stuffiness, and mechanical underperformance. The other problem here, of course, is that with the confidence of the box comes the limitations of the box. So, this said, another part of the reason I waited to write this review is that I had to practice to get used to the heightened capabilities of what was essentially a new horn, a Series III I could really push in different directions, a horn ready to take on more variety of colors, more volume, more power. Like taming a wild stallion. As soon as I began playing on the newly overhauled horn, I felt like there was so much more I could do, and that I needed to practice a lot more to harness all of that. The sax is fundamentally more sensitive, responsive, and flexible in timbre than it was before, things which I greatly appreciate.
Matt and I were in Maryland All-State as high school kids, and it was a pleasure working with someone I've not only known for so long, but to be a part of his larger work in elevating the discipline of saxophone technical artistry. He's not just another tech, he's an incredibly intelligent, caring, and honest business-person, holding himself to an incredibly high professional standard. He is the quintessential saxophone nerd (but working out of an airstream, so it's hipster-nerd), and believe me: this is what you want.
I've known and worked with Matt for about 6 years now, and I've taken all of my instruments to him. Matthew Stohrer is the most honest person I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He's honest with the deals he does, the knowledge he graciously gives and with the painstaking amount of detail he puts into his work to make sure your saxophone is literally a different horn after he's done with it. Come prepared with questions and come with an open mind, I learn something new every single time I visit his shop. In my opinion, Matt blends the Art of saxophone repair with cutting edge science beautifully. Matthew Stohrer is a veritable "Mechanic Mozart" of our time.
Thanks to Matt for a masterful overhaul on a beautiful horn I thought was just plain "worn out." Now that Matt has resurrected it, I find that the response is immediate and even, all the way up and down the scale. Every note is fully resonant, and the altissimo register pops. The intonation is much better than it ever was before. The detail work that he did is amazing. The keys are now perfectly fitted between posts, an issue that really needed attention, due in part to 70 years of playing and in part to the original process for the gold-plated finish back in the 1940s. I'm satisfied that this horn is now working way better than it ever did, even when new. The overhaul was a great investment. Matt's work makes it possible for me to appreciate all over again the beautiful design and craftsmanship of the Selmer makers of long-gone days. Thanks for bringing this vintage instrument back to life. I look forward to playing it for many years to come!
I am extremely happy that I bought this saxophone from Stohrer music. I consider it money very well spent.
The action is wonderfully snappy and the pinky table is the best I´ve experienced.
I owned the very same model some time ago, but the feel and playability of my new horn is vastly superior thanks to Matt`s painstaking work and attention to detail.
I have owned many horns over the years, but have never seen an instrument overhauled to this level. A saxophone in such great mechanical condition is a joy to behold! And to play! I only wish I had had such a great instrument earlier in my career.
Doing business with Stohrer Music has been a real pleasure.
Thank you Matt!
Matt's outstanding workmanship and high quality standards are well documented (just read the customer reviews here and on SOTW) - I have nothing more to add to what's already been said on these topics.
My post will be about his Find-A-Sax service.
I contacted Matt with my requirements (tonal & mechanical), a couple of horns in mind that I thought would fit the bill, and a rough budget. Matt took the time to give me his expertly qualified opinion on each of the horns and made a recommendation.
When the price (itemised) he quoted for the job (details here: https://www.stohrermusic.com/2011/08/your-next-saxophone/) exceeded the budget I had in mind, he helpfully recommended alternative sellers of good quality instruments with lower prices.
Having checked the competition, which indeed had lower prices but not by much, I decided to buy from Matt, knowing I'll get the biggest bang for the buck.
Once I'd confirmed the order with a down payment, Matt set the wheels in motion and found a suitable horn, worked his magic on it (see the first paragraph) and shipped it to me. The horn arrived to my door in Europe in 5 days in perfect shape, sitting tight in its case, smothered in bubble wrap and with the keys corked closed to avoid anything going out of regulation.
Throughout the process Matt kept me informed of the progress and everything went smoothly.
Not only do I recommend this service highly, I hope to employ it again soon for another horn.