“It’s My Instrument’s Fault!” - Reasons to Keep On Top of Maintenance

Brae Grimes - Product and Repair Specialist, Band and Orchestral - Yamaha Music Australia

1. Longevity

Keeping an instrument in good working order can extend its overall lifespan. By cleaning after use using absorbent swabs (e.g. thin microfibre leadpipe and body swabs) we can reduce the chances of bacterial deposits building up, which often lead to permanent damage, such as red rot. In addition to this, regularly removing old, built-up lubricants (such as cork grease, valve oil, etc.) can reduce wear on moving and sealing components. This will also save some money on repair or service bills, ensure good resale value, and possibly reduce our overall impact on the environment.

2. Performance

Squeaks, squawks and the painful whinny of stuck valves – these are the sounds we hope never escape the practice room! While some of these problems may be addressed by an adjustment in technique, there are sometimes mechanical issues that need to be addressed, such as:

  • pads not sealing correctly
  • old oil on valves
  • chipped/warped reeds
  • worn/damaged corks.

To avoid these problems, we can learn the most effective way to assemble our instruments as well as ensure that we have our instruments assessed by a Yamaha Authorised Service Centre.

3. More time for music

In addition to improving the longevity and performance of our instrument, regular maintenance can save time in fixing issues, and encourage more practice. If we wait for an issue to arise before we perform any maintenance or repair work, we lose a lot of time that could be spent having fun playing music. We might miss a rehearsal, a concert or even an entire week of playing while our instrument gets fixed for an issue that may have been prevented through care and maintenance.

Furthermore, playing an instrument that is working exceptionally is far more enjoyable and inspiring than playing an instrument that is barely operating. If we have an instrument that works well, we will want to practise and we will sound great!

Brae Grimes (B.Mus., Hons. — Monash University)

Brae is part of Yamaha Music Australia’s Band and Orchestral team, in the role of Product and Repair Specialist. Brae has had various roles in the music industry: performer, educator, retail sales assistant, and technician. Brae is a qualified technician under Yamaha Music Japan, having trained at the Toyooka Factory in Hamamatsu, Japan. In addition to this qualification, Brae is currently Director of Region 9 of NAPBIRT. Outside of his role at Yamaha, Brae has a passion for jiu-jitsu and woodworking.