Stephen Howard Woodwind - Repairs, reviews, advice, tips and tales...
Haynes woodwind maintenance manuals
Testing...Testing - real-world tests of techniques & materials
Haynes woodwind maintenance manuals

Testing section

We've all heard of "old wives' tales" - "A stitch in time saves nine"; "A rolling stone gathers no moss" etc...but has anyone ever really tested these old saws?

OK, so I can't see many people tossing rocks down a mountain to see how much moss they collect - it's 'something we all know'.
In any trade, profession or hobby there are people who pass on accepted wisdom with a nod and a sly wink - and on the whole such advice is usually well heeded. But in the music business in particular there seems to be an air of mystery surrounding some of the things many people hold to be true.

I'm inclined to think that it's because there are two distinct levels of expertise at play (excuse the pun). On the one hand you have the musicians themselves, many of whom have reached the giddy heights of stardom - and whose word is subsequently taken as gospel on all matters pertaining to music.
But there's another arm of expertise at work - the people who make and maintain the tools of the trade.

Unfortunately, knocking the dents out of a saxophone is somewhat less glamourous than playing Carnegie Hall and repairs seldom feature in the centre section of arts magazines, and what gets said there carries weight.

And so myths are propagated.
I've seen first hand how it works. Clients tell me that such and such is a good idea 'cos so and so told them it was, and so and so must be right 'cos he's the teacher. And if you find that teacher and ask him why such and such is so he will tell you that so and so told him...and so and so must be right 'cos he was his teacher.... and so on, ad infinitum.

But here's where the buck stops!
In this section of the site I shall be going back to basics. I shall be taking nothing for granted.
Unlike most players I have the facilities to test the theories - if I have to saw a clarinet in half to see how something works then that's exactly what I'll do.
I hope to be able to demonstrate and prove why something works....or doesn't work - so that you are able to make clear and precise choices based not on hearsay, but on demonstrable facts.

If you've enjoyed this article or found it useful and would like to contribute
towards the cost of creating this independent content, please use the button below.

Copyright © Stephen Howard Woodwind 2016