In an era of almost infinite choice of merchants on the internet, I strive to make the value of doing business with me stand apart from my competitors. I take more time and expend more effort to make sure that working together is good for both sides- because at its best, business improves life for everyone involved in the transaction.
This is what I believe in, and this is how I do business.
Too many times, before I was a repairman, I would walk into a repair shop and pick up my horn and ask, “What did you do?” and be given an answer like “Oh, just a little something to the octave mechanism”. I would walk out of the store having no idea what I paid for, whether I had paid a fair price, or how to make sure whatever was wrong didn’t happen again.
One particular time, after spending over $300 to have work I couldn’t detect done on a baritone saxophone of mine, I had had enough of being clueless about my horns. I decided I was going to learn about repair. Easier said than done! My local repairmen would not share any of their knowledge with me, and books on the subject at the time were less than complete.
Long story short, I persevered, and when I finally became a full-fledged repairman, I pledged to myself that I would always be free with my knowledge, and I would depend on my skills- not trade secrets- to earn and keep the trust and business of my customers.
My philosophy on repair is this: you deserve to know everything you want to know about what I am doing to your instrument. I will show you what I have done, teach you about preventative maintenance and where to get the supplies, show you the difference between different options and procedures so that you can be better educated to make your horn play like an extension of yourself. Because in the end, it is all about making music.
Unusual Makes and Models
I have had the good fortune to work on thousands of vintage saxophones, and I have made it a point to work on, own, and play not only on the more common makes such as Selmer but also the more rare, unusual, and less-known brands and models as well. Every saxophone has music in it and deserves to be treated with respect and care, regardless of the name on the bell.
How I Do My Work
The saxophone will tell you what it needs if you just know how to listen. No two are alike- even one serial number apart. They were different from the start and since then have all led different lives and been through different things to get to the here and now, and as such each one needs unique care tailored to its particular personality. I understand the underlying mechanical and acoustic concepts and I know my tools and my materials, and I work with the saxophone to give it the help and love it needs to be what it can be.
I use nothing but the highest-quality tools. I have made and continue to make a very significant investment in the best tools and materials available, and I spare no expense in making certain that I have the right tool for the job. Good tools ensure that I do not have to fight to do my best work.
My saxophone overhauls have a wait time- call to find out the current time frame. I go in chronological order, and you may reserve a place in line either by giving me your horn or a small nonrefundable deposit.
My waitlist is an inconvenient byproduct of how I do my work, and of the unfortunate rarity of my craft. I cannot rush this work, and I do everything myself- from unboxing your saxophone when it arrives to writing your address on the box when it leaves. It simply takes time to do right, and I will not cut corners, rush, or farm out the work- even to an apprentice, who should I ever hire one, would work on their own horns and not mine or yours. Stohrer Music is Matt Stohrer. That is what you came here for, and that is what you will get.
I am truly humbled by your patronage, and I owe it to you and to the saxophone to do my best.
I plan on being in this business for the long haul. I have experimented with selling new instruments and retail accessories, and though these things were profitable and less work-intensive per dollar earned, I have decided to narrow my focus to what I do best and what I am most passionate about: repairing vintage and professional saxophones. I repair saxophones for my customers, and I buy saxophones to restore and sell here on my website. That is it- the entirety of my business.
This decision came about for many reasons, but perhaps the best is this: as of mid-2013, assuming I stay healthy and work at this for the majority of the rest of my life, I can do about 1,600 more saxophone overhauls. Total. One thousand, six-hundred more saxophones that I will be able to bring back to life. This is such a small number in the grand scheme of things, a tiny minority of the saxophones that deserve it. This gave me a new perspective on my work: my time is short, my output is limited. Each one of these overhauls represents a significant, measurable portion of my life’s work, and therefore each one must be better than the last, and a moment spent unmindful is a moment wasted.
You won’t ever find one here- it’s as simple as that. I don’t believe in client lists; instead I choose to work hard and let word of mouth do my advertising.
Every repair I do is warranteed. I hardly ever have to re-do anything I have done, but if you ever have a problem with a repair I have done, just bring it back in and I will take care of you.
A Final Word
No matter whether the work takes 5 minutes or 50 hours, I use nothing but the best materials on every instrument I work on. Whether your instrument is worth $500 or $50,000, the same meticulous care is given. Whether you are a jazz giant or first year student, the same work is done for the same price. Feel free to call regarding repair pricing, but accurate estimates can only be done with the horn in-hand.
For more of my philosophy, see my blog post: The Unprofitable Valley Or: Why So Much Stuff Is Mediocre
If you have questions, please go to the “contact” section and get in touch.