Paul's 1st Love

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Paul’s 1st Love

How an overhaul touched my heart

Paul dropped his instrument off when I was not at the shop and I’m glad about that. It meant he didn’t see me tearing up when he told me his story over the phone.

I called Paul to see how far he wanted me to go with this repair and he joyfully told me about how this 1951 Selmer clarinet was constantly at his side and helped him through his youth. He played in a wonderful school band and then moved - every teenager’s nightmare - but this clarinet helped him find a new group of familiar friends.

State honors ensembles, solo concerts and scholarship offers followed and all from his work with this clarinet. Paul even worked at a music store through school and when he was only 17 years of age, the owner left on vacation over the summer and had him run the place!

Then Paul met the 2nd love of his life and she quickly became his primary love interest. They married and started a family. Paul worked his way through college (which took him 13 years to finish) and his job, family and school took the place of playing his instrument. Paul helped to develop a few companies and enjoyed a good, long career.

Paul told me about his wife; how lovely of a mother she was to their kids, how devoted she was to their marriage and how she set an example of being a good woman to those around her. I started to tear up as Paul told me how hard it has been for him over the past year since he lost her. His pain was palpable.

“I figure it’s time to go back to my first love.” he said “Do what it needs. It’s been a companion for a long time.” Paul is 83. I asked if he knew about any of the wonderful playing opportunities in town like New Horizons or the Washington City Band and then he started to cry. Playing an instrument creates more than music - it’s a community of instant friends, like minded people gathering to create something larger than themselves.

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Before

Notice the logo & color of Silver

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After

Logo re-done & silver polished

I set to work with a desire to do some of the best work I’ve done in years. I wanted Paul to have an experience when reunited with his 1st love. I had a mission.

This era of clarinet was engraved with the logo and wording where many of today’s instruments are laser etched or screen printed. The engraving was then filled with a gold embossed wax which, over time, falls out or gets covered by grime from our hands. After disassembling the instrument, removing all pads and corks, I went to task with a needle and cleaned out all the old filling then filled the logos with new gold wax.

I then buffed the keys, leveled tone holes, swedged keys, installed new pads and key corks and did a full set of adjustments. Paul’s first love can keep up with him again.

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I got the response I was looking for when Paul came to pick up his instrument. I opened the case and he did a slight gasp, pursed his lips and nodded his head in approval. It was a good moment.

The repair was fun but what made this one special was being able to do it for such a good man. Nice to meet you Paul. I hope you enjoy your 1st love again.

Steve France3 Comments