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!

 

A Music Center Blooms in North Conway

In 2008 we had the idea that a full service music center would be a nice addition to the North Country of New Hampshire. We did some research, asked some musicians, and founded North Conway Music Center in a little 800 sq.ft. storefront on the North side of town.

From day one we were busy. Thanks to such strong and growing community support, we needed more space. In 2013, having completely outgrown the initial space, we moved to a new upgraded location right on the strip in North Conway.

Our 4,000 sq.ft. space in the Red Barn Center hosts teaching studios, our repair center, rental spaces, lots of new and used instruments and all manner of accessories.

Among our many services, we repair acoustic and electric instruments, we buy and trade used instruments, appraise musical instruments, offer school band instruments and sound systems for rent, and much more.

Please come visit us and find out why so many folks have found us to be knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and convenient! We’re open 7 days a week right between SeaDog Brewing and Dunkin’ Donuts on the strip in North Conway. Call us at (603) 356-3562 or email us. We welcome your questions and comments.

Synthetic Vs. Petroleum Valve Oils – Which Should I Use?

You’re in the store, staring at the wall of oils. There’s Hetman’s, Superslick, Holton, Yamaha, an abundance of oils. But which one is right for your horn? And how do you know? There are easy answers for these questions, but let’s dive in to the reasoning behind those answers.

Synthetic Molecules
Petroleum Molecules

There are many reasons to switch to a synthetic oil, some being that it will last longer in your horn (gumming up much less, allowing you to go longer between cleanings), and it will stay consistent and stable, even when exposed to different temperatures. The reason behind this stability can be found in the molecules. In petroleum oils the molecules vary in size, allowing the oil to break down at different points, creating a sluggish feel in your oil even just days after it’s applied. With same-size molecules the breakdown process happens all at once, and much longer after application than the petroleum based. This creates a long-lasting, stable, and reliable feel in your valves. Overall, a bottle of synthetic will not only last longer than a petroleum bottle, but will feel better, longer.

Here’s some of our favorite brands of synthetic valve oil. Come on in to learn the differences! Nicole would love to discuss all our oils, and find what’s best for you.

Hetman Light Piston Oil
Yamaha Synthetic Valve Oil
Superslick Valve Oil with Silicone

Information and images sourced from the Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation