The Importance of COA’s for Woodwind Instruments

What is a COA?

A Flute Undergoing a COA

The abbreviation “COA” means a Clean, Oil, and Adjust. In length, this means that your woodwind instrument is going to have all the keys taken off. I’ll then clean and polish the interior and exterior of the body, as well as all the keys, hinge rod tubes (the place the rods go in), screws, and rods. This cleaning removes any old oils or dirt that could cause the keys not to work as freely or smoothly as they should. I’ll then assemble the instrument, oiling the rods and screws, adding or replacing any felts or corks as needed, and making any key interaction adjustments needed. When your instrument is all clean and oiled, not only will it’s fingerprint-free finish polishing make it look nice, but it will play with a faster touch response, and smoother movement.

A Saxophone on the Bench for a COA

A COA is common maintenance, occurring every 3-4 years, depending on the player. It’s important to know that this cleaning can become necessary in the instrument’s ability to play throughout its life. Without regular cleanings, rods and screws can freeze up, and keys (as well as the body) can start to deteriorate. Cleaning your instrument helps it live longer, play better, and look swell in the process.

How Long Will I be Without My Instrument?

COA’s are a common maintenance procedure, and can usually be turned around anywhere from 2 days to a week (depending on the lineup at the bench). Please allow the appropriate time for cleaning your instrument before you need it.

For more information on COA’s or to see if it’s right for you and your instrument, please bring it by for us to look at. Every instrument is different, and will be evaluated before determining if the COA is right for it. Our evaluations are free and done in shop, so drop by anytime. Thanks for learning with me, and I hope to see your horn on my bench soon!

 

Author: Nicole

Hi! My name is Nicole and I am the Band Instrument Repair Technician, as well as the Assistant Manager, here at the North Conway music Center. You can find me in the back of the store at my bench, or up front ready to help you learn!

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