Instrument abuse

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by TooLoud, May 24, 2014.

  1. TooLoud

    TooLoud New Member

    I've noticed that a lot of brass banders don't look after their instruments. Some instruments are full of dents and scratches, usually due to abuse rather than age. If I spend hundreds (or thousands) of pounds on something, I would look after it. Some people use band instruments because they can't afford to buy their own instrument, but then they still abuse them. If I had a band instrument I would make sure I looked after it, so that I can have many years of use out of it, and the next person after me can still have a nice instrument. When the instruments are 20+ years old and in poor condition, I can partly understand, but some instruments are brand new. Here are some of the things I see:
    • Bells on floor (very common, especially for bases), this'll scratch the edge bell rim
    • Feet on bells (when bells are on the floor)
    • Cleaning cloths on floor (these pick up all of the grit and will then create scratches when used for cleaning)
    • Instruments left unattended (many ways for them to be damaged, but it's particularly bad in windy weather when the stands can blow over onto them)

    Are you an abuser? What are your thoughts?
  2. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    It's pretty much the same as any other item you don't "own".......if it belongs to a band ,some people won't bother to look after it, if it's your own, you never let it out of your sight. Bit like having a company vehicle that get's thrashed all the time and then you go around in your own at a steady 50. But it's still wrong.........:frown:
  3. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    if my tuba is not being played I keep it in the case ( hard case not gig bag ) that is the best way to keep an instrument safe. I hate seeing instruments left out and getting knocked about. mine is 20+ years old and it gets mistaken for a new one when being serviced. My Instrument tech takes pride in saying nah thats over 20 years old. My sousa was built in 1945 and is also in good nick.
  4. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    Good thread.

    Aye, basses seem to get the worst abuse. Our band spent over £8,000 of lottery money on one. The first young lad who used it was as proud as punch and certainly did look after it as if every penny was paid for by himself on his paper round. The hardcase went everywhere with hime too. When he left the band for university it was given to an older guy who treated it like a lump of scrap metal. It was sickening and saddening to see the instrument go rapidly downhill. Our band is desperate for basses and with this guy having supposedly indispensable status you couldn't tell him, as he had left the band previously in a fit of pique.

    Other than a cursory wipe over with a cloth that might be hanging around the place, it has never had a proper clean in 2-3 years and looks battered and as if it came out of some old dusty attic.

    I'll say again - sickening and saddening.
  5. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    bet he'd look after it if he had to pay repair fee's
  6. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    Many would think harder if that was the case but it would also lead to arguments too ...... who decides what damage has been done when and who decides what a fair repair cost is etc.

    Basses are prone to damage as their size and weight makes them difficult to handle safely, though I'm sure many manage perfectly well. Some bands also struggle to get particular chairs covered and accept behaviors that aren't ideal. I believe that in days past the bandmaster would tell players to switch instruments rather than ask for volunteers. IMHO players, particularly 2nd anything, should expect to change chairs every couple of years and do their time on the less popular instruments, its all part of being in and supporting 'the team' and is good development for both band and player too.

    There will always be some damage to instruments. I have my own now but despite much care accidents have still happened over the years, in that case all you can do is try and learn from them and then try harder to recognise and manage potential hazards.
  7. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    So there we where, playing at the opening ceremony of the new bypas. When down the road rumbled a vintage steem roller, oh it was beautiful, adorned with a magnificent paint job. The whole band was transfixed with its beauty. The bass section more so than any of us seemed almost hypnotized, just forgeting everything and just staring as it trundled past the band and gave us a freindly toot of its steam horn.

    download (5).jpg
  8. tromboneyone

    tromboneyone Member

    For amateur ensembles, bands do a lot of playing and so this probably contributes to the wear and tear on the instruments beyond what is seen in other groups. Of course, if you have spent your own cash on something then you will look after it more attentively (at least at first). However, most pros I know either change instruments fairly regularly, have a 'stock' of instruments to use (although they all seem to have a favourite) or pay money for regular repair and maintenance. Most band instruments I see rarely see a professional repairer for maintenance (often only when the instrument changes hands or is going to be sold).

    Therefore I don't think it is always the player who is solely at fault, but I think many of us probably could do with cleaning our instruments more regularly, but with two rehearsals a week and band jobs every weekend, who has the time? ;)

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