FAQ - Questions and Answers Page

More information and questions asked by our customers.

Repairing Instruments    Is it an extra cost to silver plate any instrument?
Leaving it in brass is always less expensive.
Here are some thots on finishes:

Instrument Finishes    Is RAW BRASS finish recommended?
1. Some HS and college student players seem to want RAW brass, i.e. stripped, cleaned and buffed and then no lacquer re-applied. I don't recommend that for elementary and HS students. There are some health issues with raw brass as brass poisoning can become an issue and I don't want to be held responsible if someone wants to make it an issue. Lawyers are too expensive.
Many Pro players play raw brass horns. (See Wynton Marsalis and his RAW Monette on the video on my website.) I don't agree entirely about raw brass infecting players so much. The inside of all trumpets are raw brass and if you play with your horn slanted in an upright position, you will sometimes get a taste of "old brass" directly. Maybe that is why Dizzy Gillespie had his bell slanted upwards. LOL
It is important to keep you instrument cleaned out on the inside as well as the outside! More information on brass poisoning and Dizzy Gillespie can be found by "Googling".
2. The reason some players want the raw metal is that it changes the timbre to a brighter sound and they like that in some jazz playing. Lacquer "dulls" and darkens the sound.
3. This may be why silver plating is popular. You can have the brighter sound and not worry about compromising your health. The other reason for silver is that some bands and orchestra directors want a uniform color for all their instruments - preferring either yellow brass or silver. Some schools want to own the silver instruments because of maintenance issues. Lacquer can wear off after years and look pretty ugly. (Is that an oxymoron?)

Lacquering Instruments    What kind of lacquer do you use?
There are two kinds. Air dried and baked on epoxy. Yamaha and some manufacturers usually apply a very hard epoxy lacquer and that makes it harder to repair and overhaul their instruments. Air dried lacquer is not as durable but repairs and "spot lacquering" can be done at a more reasonable rate. We use the air dried lacquer unless a customer wants to pay the extra charge for epoxy. While air dried lacquer is not as long lasting, it is more serviceable.

Repairing Instruments    Are key of "C" trumpets available?
We try to always have a "C" trumpet or two available. We can produce one fairly quickly if you need one. We usually modify (cut down) a good horn so it will play in the key of C. We do modify customers horns to play in C when sent to us. When you turn pro and you need a good "C" at a reasonable price - Please remember us!

Repairing Instruments    Should I have my instument silver or gold plated?
Plating an instrument will usually increase the value. Sometimes not. The "rule of thumb" is to produce an instrument as close to an original as possible for repairing and reselling reasons. Collectors usually want it as close to original as possible. Changing and modifications lessens the value for several reasons. Replaced parts are a problem if they are "Bo-jack" non-standard parts because of quality, fitting and appearance. Some horns have special coloring and covering it over will diminish the desirability for collectors and may hinder the tonal quality and/or intonation.

Repairing Instruments    Why should I not have a custom finish applied to my horn?
Sand or bead blasting or having it "brush finished" or some other idiotic "custom" finish will usually decrease the value. Once again an instrument close to original is usually best. These finishes lessens the value because some sellers want to disquise or hide problems found in the instrument. Holes that have been filled, rose rot covered over, blemishes such as scratches and pitting not entirely removed are hid with some of these really bad finishes. These finished horns are almost always offered on eBay. Don't buy it!

Repairing Instruments    How much should I spend on repairs or restorations?
Our restoration prices are found here on our website: http://www.tucksmusicstore.com/OurPrices_01.html
Unless you are sentimentally attached to your old horn, it may not be a good idea to fully restore it. I know this sounds cruel but an ugly horn will usually play just as good as a completely overhauled one if it is well maintained mechanically. However, if it is an inexpensive horn and good looks are important to you, go ahead and have it completely restored by us. It will make you proud to own it and play it in public even though you may not recoup the price if you want to sell it.

Repairing Instruments    What kind of instrument should I buy for a beginner?
We particularly like to help student players and do all we can to get them a good horn to encourage them. We also try to help their parents by finding an instrument they can afford. You can usually get a good Olds Ambassador for about $100. Add to that the shipping. If it has not too many problems, it can be re-done for the $155 (plus shipping). Prices increase rapidly when un-soldering is necessary to remove the dents fully and re-soldering it back afterwards and refinishing it. The problems with some horns is that they are old. Usually they need the mouthpipe replaced because of corrosion. I usually include one in the $155 if the customer will pay for the part - $20.

Repairing Instruments    Should I buy a horn on eBay?
Before you buy an instrument on eBay ask the seller some questions.
1. Does it show any "rose-rot" anywhere?
2. Do the valves have lateral movement when halfway removed in the valve casing?
3. Are all the parts still with or on the horn?
4. Are any slides stuck or dented?
5. If the seller seems reluctant to answere your questions move on to the next one offered.
6. Sometimes the pictures are not good enough to tell the true condition of the horn. If you suspect something is not revealed, ask for more pictures.
7. If you intend to send it to us for repairs or restoration, we will be glad to give you an opinion of the horn listed.
8. If all this is favorable, it probably can be done at a reasonable rate.
9. CAUTION! Some ebay sellers know full well the true condition of their items for sale but they will try to convince you that they know nothing about the item. Even to the extent they will turn parts upside down to convince you of their ignorance. Just check their past sales on their "feeedbacks". If they are moving several musical instruments regularly, they are probably hiding something. Move on!


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With so many inferior Asian instruments being sold today, we do not service or sell certain brands. These instruments do not stay in playing condition for long and many times are not worth the cost to repair. Replacement parts are usually unavailable and are non-standard. Retailers who sell these instruments usually try to mislead consumers by saying that these instruments are "band approved" "teacher approved" or "instructor approved". Please be aware of this before you purchase an instrument that is priced at a fraction of the established brands.