Principal 3rd Horn Robert Gladstones has been repairing and servicing brass instruments since 2004. He gave us a tour of his workshop where he brings instruments back to life.

Having spent over 30 years as part of WASO, Rob spends a lot of time around instruments, even bringing them into his home life, “I work from my workshop at home and my clients include many schools, students, community players and professionals.”

Rob's at-home workshop

Rob services instruments, unsticks slides and mouthpieces, resolders broken joints, removes dents and generally tries to solve any problems that may come up, “I have had to remove foreign objects such as marbles, nerf bullets, coins, cleaning brushes and pencils that have become stuck inside. I have become a bit of forensic detective as to the cause of damage.”

Before (left) and after (right) repairs

While you would expect general wear and tear for instruments, Rob hears all sorts of stories when repairs are required, “You wouldn’t believe how many times the client says ‘it must have happened in the case...’ Most times not. I try to cater for emergencies and get the instrument back to playing order while the owner waits.”

Summer is always Rob’s busiest time, so while he might not be on stage performing with WASO, he’s certainly not short of work to do, “A number of schools send me instruments to service and repair over the holidays. This last summer there were over 140 instruments pass through my workshop.”

A work in progress

For anyone looking to purchase an instrument, Rob is the person to chat to, “I am always happy to answer any questions about which second hand instrument to buy. I can do a pre-purchase inspection and steer you in best direction with regards to the most reliable brands and models. Some brands are difficult to get parts for and can end up being expensive wall hanging if something breaks.”

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