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Services

REPAIRS & RESTORATION

String Instruments

Allegro Music Center is a full service violin shop with luthiers on staff qualified to perform the most basic to the most complex repairs and restorations. All such work is done on the premises and we can turn most repairs around in less than a week. We offer a comprehensive repair service for violins, violas, cellos, basses and bows, of all sizes and for every level of ability.

We recommend repairs consistent with the instrument's value. By entrusting your instrument or bow to us for care, you are assured not only of top quality craftsmanship, but also of receiving the appropriate repair for your particular instrument. After careful consideration, we will help you make an informed decision about how to best repair or restore your instrument or bow and provide you with a free estimate. Wherever possible, we will try to present you with several possible repair options. Work on your instrument or bow will not commence until receiving explicit instructions from you to do so, once you have had a chance to review our assessment and estimate.

We use only the highest quality parts and materials, and all our work is fully guaranteed. We take great pride in the standard of repair and restoration services we provide for all instruments and bows, and ensure that your instrument sounds as good as it possibly can. When undertaking restorative work on finer, more valuable instruments, our emphasis is on preserving as much of the original craftsmanship as possible, in order to retain the unique character of the instrument. Your complete satisfaction is our mission.

We can also work with you to get the sound you are looking for out of your existing instrument. We would be happy to inspect your instrument and discuss your sonic expectations from your instrument, and how we may be able to help you achieve that.

Guitars

Allegro Music Center offers repairs on all types of acoustic and acoustic-electric style guitars, in addition to doing set-ups, re-stringing, fretwork, and tuning.

One of our luthiers, a guitar player himself, is well-versed in the subtleties of this instrument, and can handle anything from eliminating "buzzing" sounds to performing cosmetic repairs and touch-ups.

Woodwind and Brass Repairs

We have a number of experts locally, who perform the specialized tasks for brass and woodwind repairs for Allegro Music Center. We are equipped to assist with issues as simple as mouthpiece removal, to common repairs such as recorking, replacing springs, repadding, adjusting keys and pads for proper alignment (regulation), fixing dents and dings, and can even perform an overhaul, where the instrument is completely taken apart and put back together again with new springs, corks, and pads, has dents removed, is freshly lubricated, and is completely regulated.

In most cases involving the need for repair or reconditioning of a brass or woodwind instrument, you will need to leave the instrument at Allegro Music Center for a few days before we are able to get our specialists to have a look at it and provide us with an assessment and cost estimate.

INSTRUMENT CARE & MAINTENANCE

Any fine musical instrument should be seen as an investment, and as such should be protected as you would protect any investment. We do our part to ensure that every instrument that goes out the door at Allegro Music Center has been properly cleaned, set-up and adjusted, to provide you with an instrument with superior sound, and in its optimum state of playability. After the instrument leaves our store, it is up to you to take care of it, so that it will retain its value and remain in top playing condition, as well as keep repair costs to a minimum.

String Instruments

Players should get into the habit of conducting a periodic inspection for problems such as broken string windings, leaning bridges, improper string height, open seams, and cracks. Left unattended, these problems could result in serious additional damage. It is also advisable to have your instrument checked by a professional, once a year, to determine if your instrument needs repair. Always consult a qualified luthier when your instrument needs repair and attendance. Unskilled craftsmen can cause severe and sometimes irreparable damage to your instrument, resulting in more difficult and more expensive repairs.

Strings become lifeless as they get old. Also, old strings require more tension to keep in tune, thus putting excessive pressure on the instrument. Replace them with fresh strings at least once a year. More active players should change strings every six to eight months.

Bows should be rehaired at least once a year. If hair is missing, or the hair hangs below the stick when the screw is loosened, then it is time for a rehair.

  • NEVER leave your instrument in the car or the trunk. Both heat and cold will damage it.
  • NEVER leave your instrument in direct sunlight.
  • NEVER let anyone else use or touch your instrument.
  • NEVER leave your instrument unattended when it is not in the case.
  • NEVER carry your instrument while riding a bicycle or moped.
  • NEVER take the instrument out of the case when you are outside or in a vehicle such as a car or a bus.
  • NEVER leave CELLOS or BASSES leaning against a wall or a chair. ALWAYS lay instrument on its side.
  • ALWAYS leave your instrument in the case unless you are playing it. Make sure the case is closed.
  • ALWAYS use caution when you are handling the instrument and bow.
  • ALWAYS clean the excess rosin with a cleaning cloth after playing the instrument each time.
  • ALWAYS loosen the tension of the bow when done playing each time to avoid warping the bow and stretching the hair.

Woodwind Instruments

  • Use a soft, lint free cloth after playing to reduce the effect of dust on the mechanism and acids and oils from the hands on the plating.
  • Clear the instrument of moisture after every playing session - excess moisture on pads is the greatest contributor to seating problems.
  • Always take the instrument apart after playing and replace in the case. Never leave it together overnight.
  • Try to avoid sudden changes of temperature, for example, don't blow warm air down the instrument immediately after coming indoors from a cold street. It is best to leave the case open for a few minutes before starting to blow.
  • Don't play a new instrument for too long at a time. After 30 minutes or so, dry it out thoroughly and leave it apart for another 30 minutes.
  • If the joints become tight to assemble or take apart, don't play the instrument until the tenons have been freed by a repairer.
  • Don't store the instrument in extreme temperatures, such as near a radiator or in a cold cloakroom.
  • Apply a light dressing of wood oil to the bore regularly as directed by an experienced teacher.

Brass Instruments

  • Flush out the instrument at least once a month with a mild soapy solution using lukewarm water. Then rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly. Don't use hot water - it may damage the lacquer.
  • A flexible cleaning brush should be used to clean out slides and tubing, but make sure this is renewed at least twice a year to avoid breakage inside the instrument.
  • Use a valve case cleaning brush to clean out the valve casings (do not use a standard flexible brush).
  • Use a lint-free cloth, such as cheesecloth, as a swab. This may also be used to wipe the pistons which should be very carefully removed and care taken to replace them in the correct sequence.
  • Use only a quality tuning slide grease when lubricating slides and a minimum amount of valve oil on the pistons. Use of inferior lubricants can affect the performance of your instrument.
  • When you have finished playing, loosen the valve caps by half a turn. This avoids the trapped moisture causing corrosion in the screw threads.
  • Make sure that mouthpieces are cleaned thoroughly with warm water and a mouthpiece brush. Deposits in a mouthpiece or mouthpipe can be detrimental in the response of your instrument.
  • Care should be taken when polishing lacquered and silver plated instruments. Harsh abrasives must be avoided at all times and only the correct cleaning cloths are recommended.
  • Try to keep your instrument in an atmosphere of even temperature and humidity, do not leave it in sunlight or near a radiator, even in the case!
  • For piston valve instruments (trumpet, baritone, etc.) oiling valves is an absolute necessity. Ideally, piston valves should be oiled after each playing. The mild acids and food particles in saliva cause corrosion and galvanization of the pistons and casings while the instrument is in the case. Application of oil after use displaces the saliva and coats the parts.

Trombones

  • Fill the complete slide with warm soapy water and activate the slide up and down several times. Remove the water and rinse through with clear, cold water. Repeat as necessary.
  • The inner and outer slides should be disassembled and cleaned using a flexible cleaning brush, in conjunction with any good slide cleaning kit, to make sure that the cleaner reaches the bottom bow of the outer slide.
  • A small amount of good quality slide cream should be applied to the inner slide stocking and sprayed with clear water.
  • Ensure that the bell and tuning slide are kept clean by running them through with lukewarm water and a tuning slide swab. After drying with a lint-free cloth, apply tuning slide grease before reassembling.

APPRAISALS

We offer professional appraisal services to all those possessing fine older string instruments. Expert and reliable certifications can be provided for violins, violas, cellos and bows.

Appraisals at Allegro Music Center are done by the proprietor, Manuel Berberian, by appointment only. He has been a collector of fine and rare instruments for over 30 years. Currently, with over 50 violins in his own personal collection, he not only has a deep appreciation for these instruments, but also commands an extensive knowledge of string instruments.

The two types of appraisals available are verbal and written. A verbal appraisal is free. A written appraisal, usually required for insurance purposes to determine replacement value, is $75. Bows may be appraised individually for $25.00. Among the many aspects in determining the value of an instrument are the authenticity, originality, historical period and its condition.

We cannot properly appraise an instrument unless we have it in hand, especially due to the proliferation of fictitious labels inside instruments. Additionally, to be able to provide thorough appraisals, you may be asked to leave your instrument or bow with us for proper examination to ensure accurate valuation.

CONSIGNMENT

From time to time, we receive enquiries from customers, requesting assistance with selling an instrument that is in their possession. Although we will gladly entertain any request, generally, we only take an instrument on consignment if it is of adequate value and if we believe that we have a reasonable chance of selling it.

For more information, you may download the PDF of the Consignment Agreement here.

INSTRUMENT LOAN

Under certain circumstances it is necessary to be able to more extensively evaluate the suitability of an instrument, than what is possible to accomplish by just playing the instrument in store. This is the case when dealing with fine and rare, expensive instruments. Any requests to take an instrument home for a brief period of assessment will be reviewed on a case by case basis. It is recommended to set up an appointment in advance with Manuel Berberian, to discuss the suitability of such an arrangement.


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